When it comes to the best TVs, it seems kind of bizarre for me to be talking about the best-sounding one straight off the bat – isn't that what the best soundbars are meant for? – rather than, y'know, the utmost in picture quality first and foremost.
But having had the Panasonic MZ2000 setup in my living room for a full two weeks now, it's hard not to gush about its sound quality – because I'm yet to hear anything better. And seeing as the Philips OLED 937 – that's more akin to an integrated soundbar with TV solution – and former Panasonic LZ2000 sounded sensational, that goes to show what a special thing the MZ2000 is. It's got sound quality miles ahead of the LG C3 or LG G3 OLED models.
Sitting at the top of Panasonic's 2023 OLED range, the MZ2000's secret sauce compared to the step-down MZ1500 – also a 5-star TV in its own right, as per our review – is that it has a fully integrated 7.1 soundsystem that can decode three-dimensional audio, such as Dolby Atmos, and genuinely output it in a psychoacoustic surround sound format.
When first setting up the MZ2000 it prompted me to use its Space Tune feature – a loud and somewhat obnoxious-sounding process that uses various frequencies from all of those eight channels to bounce sound around the room and from surrounding surfaces so it can adapt the sound profile to best deliver sound to you, the listener )(and, indeed, watcher) sat in your favourite seat, front and centre to the TV.
It's an important process, because it gives the TV an understanding of where surrounding reflective surfaces are and it can then use those to its advantage. As the MZ2000 has upfiring speakers – part of the reason it's so bloomin' thick, I wouldn't fancy having this 65-incher as a wall-hanging telly – it can bounce sound for an overhead ambience and additional immersion.
It's not just good with Dolby Atmos, though, as the MZ2000's sound presets – Auto AI, Standard, Music, Speech, Stadium, Game (RPG/FPS), User – cater for all manner of scenarios. The Music setting, in particular, is so good at delivering low-end bass without the need for a separate subwoofer – although the MZ2000 can cater for that, if you provide a wireless one to connect it with – that I've found myself sitting and working in the living room rather than home office just to listen to tunes. It's bangin'.
But while I find the Panasonic MZ2000 can hit sound highs that not even LG can muster, there are some points that will be a problem for a large portion of the world: if you want to buy this Panasonic you'll need to be based outside of the States, as it doesn't sell there. And if you can buy it, then you'll need a fairly serious bank balance.
Just how much am I talking? The Panasonic MZ2000 comes in three sizes: the 55-inch TX-55MZ2000B, priced at £2,699; the 65-inch TX-65MZ2000B, priced at £3,599; and the even larger 77-inch TX-77MZ2000B, which is priced at £4,499. Although you'd not really want to consider the 77-incher as it doesn't feature the same ultra-bright panel as the 55- and 65-inch versions.
And this is where my tale of tip-top TV sound does shift attention to picture quality: because the Panasonic MZ2000 is an exceptional panel. Indeed, it's the same MLA (or Micro Lens Array) panel type that LG is using in its G3. That means striking images (although I personally found the LG's more punchy and less fussy with auto-adjustment from ambient sensors) and with a full suite of high dynamic range support – Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive, HDR10, HLG – for often sublime picture quality. But I'll save that chat for my full MZ2000 review in the near future...