Modest exterior hides a superb offering

Panasonic says the 65DX900S has a honeycomb filter that helps to reduce light leakage from the backlights.
Panasonic says the 65DX900S has a honeycomb filter that helps to reduce light leakage from the backlights.PHOTO: PANASONIC

Against the latest high-end TV sets that sport wafer-thin frames, Panasonic's flagship 65DX900S has an old-school feel about it.

It looks massive, with a fairly thick chassis that sits on a wide and deep stand. It leans slightly backwards, probably to prevent this 42kg TV set from falling on its front. The ports are located on the left and are easily accessible.

The chunky rear is because of the fans required to cool the set's backlighting system. The DX900S uses a full-array backlighting system, where its LED backlights are spread evenly throughout the screen, compared with edge-lit systems where the LEDs are at the edges of the display.

In addition, Panasonic says this model has a honeycomb filter that helps to reduce light leakage from the backlights, leading to less blooming or halo effects, where bright parts of the picture appear to seep into the darker areas.

As a result, the DX900S produces inky blacks that are among the best I have seen for an LCD TV. The set does really well even when the brightness is cranked up to maximum for HDR content, though I did notice some instances of blooming.

However, the top and bottom black bars in a movie are not as dark as they would appear on an Oled TV set. When viewed from the sides, TV images look less bright and vivid, which is expected of an LCD screen.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $6,999

    PICTURE FEATURES: Maximum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, HDR, 3D support

    AUDIO FEATURES: 40W output

    OPERATING SYSTEM: Firefox OS

    CONNECTIVITY: 4 x HDMI 2.0a, 3 x USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct


    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

This model comes with two THX modes that are calibrated to show off the screen's lush colours. I would recommend turning off most of the settings like noise reduction and motion smoothing, but play around with the three levels of adaptive backlight control settings to get the ideal black levels for your environment.

Powering the DX900S is the Firefox OS platform. Its Home screen has three circular icons - Live TV, Apps and Devices - and you delve into each for more options. The best feature: You can pin frequently used apps, devices or input sources to the Home page for quick access.

The Apps Market has a decent number of apps, but only a handful seem even remotely interesting.

You can issue voice commands to the TV set via the larger of the two included remote controls. But it is not as accurate as Android TV's voice controls.

This remote control has a Netflix shortcut, as well as the usual number pad and playback buttons. The smaller remote control, which has far fewer keys, has a touchpad for surfing the Internet using the built-in Firefox browser.

However, there is a jarring shift when I switched from the Firefox OS interface to the TV settings, which appear to use Panasonic's in-house interface.

This interface is functional, but could do with a facelift.

Vincent Chang

• Verdict: This TV set produces excellent picture quality and has a competitive price tag. But Panasonic should consider switching from Firefox OS, which does not have much support from third-party developers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'Modest exterior hides a superb offering'. Print Edition | Subscribe