Watch out Samsung! I tried new TV that’s a game-changer for your home

Panasonic announced new flagship TVs during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas and while they have brighter and faster displays compared to last year’s models, it’s the Fire TV integration that’s the most exciting element. This is especially true if you have adopted Alexa in your home and if you have Alexa-compatible devices like Philips Hue lights or a Ring Video Doorbell. Rather than using an Amazon Echo to turn off your lights or play your favourite track, you can ask your Panasonic Z95A or Z93A TV instead and you don’t need to lift a finger, including picking up the remote.

In our demo of the new Panasonic TVs, we turned off the lights and opened the curtains simply by speaking to Alexa through the TV, which was refreshingly simple. The far-field microphones means the television will pick up your request whether you’re right up close or a couple of metres away on the sofa.

Not having to activate Alexa with the remote – as is typical with other Fire TV devices – and then submitting your request removes a step, allowing for a more natural smart home experience, especially when watching TV.

A picture-in-picture mode is supported too, which is very convenient. It means you could be watching Reacher on Prime Video for example, and when your takeaway arrives at your front door, your Ring Video Doorbell feed will appear in the top right corner of the TV on top of the content your watching. You can then respond without moving from your comfy sofa spot, or missing any of the action.

Along with smart home control, you can also ask Alexa to open apps, find shows and discover weather or calendar information. Meanwhile, the Fire TV Ambient Experience turns the TV into a giant picture frame should you want 55-inch, 65-inch or 77-inch images of your dog appearing front and centre in your living room.

More useful than a personalised photo frame however, are the customisable Alexa widgets that can show information on your big screen like Trending News, Smart Home Favourites, Recently Watched Live TV and Weather, offering incredibly easy access to simple settings.

Fire TV is featured on some lower-end TVs, but building it into a flagship TV as the main interface when you turn it on not only delivers an interface that is both familiar and easy to navigate, with hugely convenient features especially when it comes to the smart home, but you get the benefits of a more impressive TV too – delivering the best of both worlds.

Alongside the brighter and faster display we mentioned – which was evident compared to last year’s model in our demo – the Panasonic Z95A and Z93A both come with Panasonic’s 360 Soundscape Pro sound system too. The hardware for this sound system remains the same as the 2023 model but a new software feature has been introduced called Pinpoint Positioning, which enables you to adjust where you want to direct the sound – similar to what you can do in a car where you select between rear speakers, front speakers or the centre of the car.

It works very well and means you can have the TV sound directed at one side of the sofa for example.

Elsewhere, there is support for a 144Hz refresh rate, which is great for PC gamers with high-end machines, while the new processor allows for an impressively bright and fast display.

If you’re in the market for a new TV, the Panasonic Z93A and Z95A are certainly ones to watch when they arrive later in 2024, especially if you want Alexa on the biggest screen in your home.


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