The UHDTV marketplace is heating up big time with Panasonic announcing its first entry, the 65-inch TC-L65W600 LED-LCD flat panel. Most importantly, this is the world's first UHDTV with HDMI 2.0 input capability, allowing it to accept a UHD signal at 60 progressive frames per second—in other words, it can accept 2160p/60. Also newsworthy is the inclusion of DisplayPort 1.2 input capability, which PC gamers will welcome with open arms.
Notice I said HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 2.1 "input capability." According to the press release, "The next-generation 4K 60p input, designed based on HDMI 2.0 and Display Port 1.2a specifications, helps assure compatibility with future 4K-players, set-top boxes and next-generation gaming consoles." Hmmm, I'm not sure exactly what that means. Does the TV have HDMI and DisplayPort ports or some sort of hybrid input that can accept both types of connectors? These connectors are similar but not identical, so if it's a hybrid, it would need an adaptor for one or the other (or both). I've asked Panasonic to clarify, and I'll update this post when I hear back on this point.
Meanwhile, there's plenty of other info to share. The WT600 is THX 4K-certified, which means it meets certain requirements in terms of color and other parameters, though no one knows if those parameters will change as UHD specifications are developed. For example, will UHD end up using a wider color gamut than Rec.709?
The new 4K Fine Remaster Engine upscales all lower-resolution content to UHD, which is essential in any UHDTV. And Intelligent Frame Creation improves motion detail by synthesizing new frames between the incoming frames, even with UHD sources, up to 120 frames per second, analyzing scenes with movement in a variety of direction and optimizing each object independently.
If you prefer not to engage frame interpolation because of the dreaded "soap-opera effect," the WT600 offers something called 2400 Back Light Scanning, which is also designed to improve motion sharpness. And a feature called Local Dimming Pro "enhances overall image quality by improving control of details in both darker and brighter areas." Both of these features seem to imply that the set uses full-array LED backlighting with local dimming, but I have yet to confirm this. Other manufacturers have used similar names for "pseudo local dimming" with LED edgelighting, so we'll have to wait and see what Panasonic has actually implemented in this set.
As you might expect, the WT600 features ISFccc calibration modes, and it's compatible with Spectracal's CalMan software. In addition, the Panasonic TV Remote 2 app for iOS and Android devices lets you set detailed curves for gamma, white point, and color saturation.
Of course, the WT600 provides WiFi connectivity, which lets it access content on the Internet or local devices on your home network via DLNA streaming. Among the many apps available on the TV is Skype video calling with an automatic pop-up webcam and a 4K web browser, which is best used with an optional USB or Bluetooth keyboard. You can also connect a USB device or SD card and play anything stored there, including UHD content.
So when will this bad boy be available? Mid-October. And how much will it cost? $6000. That's right in line with the 65" UHDTV offerings from Samsung and Sony, which will offer HDMI 2.0 input capability via hardware and/or firmware update. But the WT600 will have that capability from the get-go, along with DisplayPort 1.2, making it a mighty attractive alternative.
For more on the TC-L65WT600, visit Panasonic's web page about it. To celebrate the launch of Panasonic's Google+ page, visitors will be given a chance to win one of the new sets, though no details have been posted there as of this writing.