REVIEW: In truth, going from last year's iteration of the Panasonic range of OLED televisions to the latest model doesn't offer much of a jump in terms of what you can expect as a viewer.
But it does improve on the output, offering a substantially brighter viewing experience that's worth buying into. And if you're serious about your television watching or spend long times in front of the box, this is one to seriously consider due to its under-the-hood upgrades.
If placed next to last year's game-changing LZ2000 OLED 65-inch TV, you'd be hard pressed to tell the models apart: the MZ2000 OLED 65-inch looks pretty much the same as last year's incarnation, with Panasonic probably deciding it wasn't necessary to fix what wasn't aesthetically broken.
It's more the functional tweaks that have been added into the MZ2000 range that makes the latest TV feel like it's still a superlative viewing experience.
Chiefly, the most noticeable of these is in the set's brightness.
While OLED and 4K have pushed the boundaries of how a TV presents its picture quality, there has been a continual thirst to ensure the picture is the brightest it can be.
To that end, Panasonic's Multi HDR (High Dynamic Range) has helped their sets to optimise brightness and colour scene-by-scene, no matter what the source is. It's noticeable from the choices you make when setting up your viewing experience. Using the brightness-boosting MLA (Micro Lens Array), the set can seamlessly segue into giving you the best picture you can get by brightening each OLED pixel.
From sci-fi series like the latest Doctor Who, whose opening titles use an array of deep blues and purples to the lush green world of the Planet of the Apes remakes, everything seems to pop in its wake, with crisp details shining through.
The AI within the TV also seems to be able to pinpoint what's the best choice of output as well, but options like Filmmaker, which strips back lighting yet boosts detail, and Dynamic, which boosts the brightness, all help to make the viewing at its optimum.
With regards to the higher brightness, there's been no noticeable side-effect in terms of heat generated from the TV at all during playback for a service that's operating at a higher level. Tech specs online seem to imply the brightness of the OLED is boosted by 50 percent, and it's definitely noticeable if curtains are wide open during sunnier days while watching.
Combined with the Dolby ATMOS sound quality and the noticeable boost from that side of things, the Panasonic MZ2000 has improved what was already a superlative and at times revelatory viewing experience. It's undeniable this is a quality piece of viewing kit for those serious about how they watch their favourite shows and films.
It's not all perfect though - and some niggles persist with the Panasonic range.
In the review of the LZ2000, I bemoaned the placement of the HDMI ports at the back of the TV, and the difficulty to be had either accessing them or changing them out if needed. Aside from the fact this time around only two ports have 120HZ capability, nothing much has changed.
This remains an utter challenge for the industry and an absolute abject frustration for anyone who's placed the TV on its stand and on a unit with limited space. It remains a design flaw many TVs are unable to overcome and while the collection of the HDMI ports on this latest model don't vary, their positioning remains an irritation.
Having spent a lot of time with the MZ2000 and the LZ2000, I've noticed there's at least one flaw with the Apps side of the TV in that you can't add in any apps from providers that have not been placed within the Apps market. That means while it has a broad list of local and larger providers like Neon, Disney+, ThreeNow, TVNZ+, Apple, Netflix and Amazon built-in and found on the home screen, there's little option to add others if there are niche services you want to include.
Wanting to play titles from the excellent streaming service DocPlay? Well, you're out of luck - the only way to access that is to hook your computer up to a HDMI port on the TV and stream from your computer. It's less than ideal, but even in doing so, the transference of picture from computer to big screen is still impressive. Panasonic told me that's unlikely to change as well, given "there is a limitation on the volume of apps available [for its own in house app] compared to an operating system like Android TV, Google TV or Amazon's Fire TV. Each developer is required to develop their app for the My Home Screen operating system which of course is dependant on demand and markets we trade in. This development is then put through a rigorous QA process both locally and via our engineering teams in Japan to ensure stability and usability before being added to our app market."
I'm also not entirely sure how much easier this TV is to wall mount, given it - like the LZ2000 range - has most of its surround speakers on the back and is not as slim as other models. But the included stand does its job well enough for what's needed.
But these are minor niggles: admittedly, they're similar to those experienced from the prior models and are clearly ones Panasonic doesn't intend on changing any time soon, preferring instead to perhaps rightly concentrate on output instead for its flagship range.
Ultimately, it must be said that if you've already invested in any of the LZ2000 range of Panasonic TVs, it's harder to recommend upgrading to the latest premium model, unless you're obsessive about small details and improvements to an already impressive picture quality.
More a case of 'it's not broke, so you don't need to fix it', the Panasonic range remains a top of the line viewing experience that does offer bang for buck, but with the price creeping up to over $5000 for the larger models in shops, this may be one for purists over price-watchers.
Newshub was provided with a Panasonic MZ2000 65-inch for this review.