Panasonic brings 4K UHD to haunted Ham House

posted on Thursday, 30th October 2014 by Steve May

AWE Europe  Panasonic  4K 

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Panasonic staged a Halloween take-over of Ham House, one of Britain’s most haunted houses, to demonstrate the uncanny black level and shadow detail performance of its new flagship AX900 series 4K Ultra HD screens.

Located on the banks of the River Thames in Richmond, the 17th-century National Trust property boasts 15 active apparitions, including a King Charles Spaniel and the 300 year dead Dutchess Elizabeth Maitland. However it was the ghost of plasma that the brand was really trying to exorcise.

To that end, a bespoke horror film was created and screened, shot in 4K, replete with dark shadows and devilish detail. Panasonic UK managing director Andrew Denham (pictured below, not undead) told Inside CI: “We’ve seen demand for 4K screens grow dramatically this year. This is not like 3D. the technology is not going away.” Denham also stated that while personally he was not a fan of curved panels, he pointed out that the brand has always said that it would strive to provide consumers with what they want - a hint of things to come at CES 2015?

Marketing director Simon Parkinson (also below undead, but with a dodgy knee) adds: “In some ways the rapid take up caught us out, we hadn’t expected demand to be so strong. But with the AX630 now providing a new entry point and the AX900 series at the high-end, we’re really confident about the future of 4K.”

Panasonic 4K Display

The 55- and 65-inch Panasonic AX902 screens utilise IPS panels, a technology known for its brightness but not necessarily its black level performance. To improve shadow detail, Panasonic engineers (several of which have been drafted over from previous plasma R&D groups) have developed a Local Dimming Ultra which works in conjunction with a full array backlight to dim across 128 zones. Backlight control is adjusted on a block-by-block basis, aided by Area Gamma Control. This analyses the dark and bright areas and dynamically moderates the gradation.

Both the 55-inch AX902 and 65-inch AX902 are built around a 700 nit Ultra Bright panel. Behind this is a new 4K iteration of the brand’s Intelligent Frame Creation technology empowered by a Quad-Core Pro 5 LSI. High speed interpolation delivers 4K at 100fps.

All AX900 screens have an HEVC decoder, integrated Netflix 4K and HDCP 2.2 copy protection. Panasonic has also developed a new image upscaler which works with both the original picture resolution and a texture detection engine. Calibrators can also adjust the AX900 series screens using the brand’s new TV Remote 2 Smart app, which offers an astonishing level of deep picture quality control.

The AX900 flatscreens also feature Studio Master Drive, which adjusts the image in extremely fine brightness steps through the use of Super Chroma Drive, designed to manage colour vibrancy in low light scenes, and a Black Gradation Drive. In demonstrations, the sets significantly reduce the LCD halo effect often seen around bright objects on black backgrounds.

The 55-inch AX902 and 65-inch AX902 will retail for £3,499 and £4999 respectively. The 85-inch AX940 will retail for £12999. Panasonic is distributed by AWE. More details on the new Panasonic 4K LED screens can be found here. For more on AWE’s product portfolio and services, visit our partner page here.

Ham Collected

Also read:
Panasonic intros Beyond smart 4K UHD TVs
Netflix promises to end 4K content drought
AWE confirms November Expo Open Day

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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