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IFA 2017: Panasonic Unveils Hi-Fi Google Smart Speaker, 77″ OLED With HDR10+

In a surprise move, Panasonic matched Apple with a smart assistant speaker targeted to the audiophile — and also currently unavailable — when it announced the SC-GA10 speaker with Google Assistant at its press event at IFA.

The company also unveiled a 77-inch OLED Ultra HD TV, its largest, which supports HDR10 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). Panasonic outlined its plans to enable the EZ1000 and previous HDR models to playback content encoded in HDR10+, the proprietary but royalty-free alternative to Dolby Digital co-developed with 20th Century Fox and Samsung announced two days ago. Amazon already has noted its intention to make its content available in HDR10+.

Co-designed by Michiko Ogawa, director of the resurrected Technics brand, the GA10 smart speaker is a deceptively simple tower rectangle equipped with two 20mm soft dome tweeters with a silk diaphragm designed to provide 180-degree directional sounds, a 3-inch woofer with a dual voice coil for more impressive bass, enhanced by a long port back bass reflex system.

A new Panasonic Music Control app will be released when the GA10 ships. Users will be able to use the app to access music stored on a smartphone, tablet or network-attached storage device; combine two GA10s to create stereo; or create and control multiple GA10s in a multiroom setup. The GA10 will include access to major music streaming apps including Spotify, Google Play Music and Tune-In Radio.

Panasonic’s GA10 speaker is on display at IFA. 

The GA10 will be available in black or white, but no timing or pricing was announced.

OLED Advances

Panasonic expanded its OLED TV offerings with its largest-ever version, the 77-inch EZ1000.

To differentiate itself from other OLED suppliers, Panasonic dipped into its Hollywood connections to tune and test its picture quality. Inside the THX-certified EZ1000, which meets the updated UHD Alliance’s Ultra HD Premium specifications for HDR and WCG, is the Studio Colour HCX2 chipset, which enhances black levels and creates more accurate color.

For sound, the EZ1000’s base is actually a 70-watt Dynamic Blade Speaker. Also designed by Technics’ engineers, the deceptively slim system includes eight woofers, four “squawkers” and two tweeters, plus a quad passive radiator to boost bass.

Technics director Michiko Ogawa during Panasonic’s IFA press conference

The EZ1000 also will be available in a 65-inch version. No availability or pricing was announced, and it’s unclear if the set will be sold in the U.S.

In addition to the speaker and TV, Panasonic also unwrapped a premium direct drive turntable, the SP-10R (summer, 2018, pricing TBA), a descendant of the company’s highly regarded pro SP-10 Mk I (1970), Mk II (1975) and Mk III (1981) models. Technics plans to sell a complete turntable system based on the SP-10R with a separate tonearm and other components.