LG’s 65EG9600 OLED Ultra High Definition TV is King of the Television landscape, crowned following a tally of the votes cast during the 11th Annual Value Electronics Flat Panel Shootout. This year the event was held on location at CE Week in Midtown Manhattan, and Robert Zohn (Owner, Value Electronics) brought big league talent to moderate yet another successful head-to-head evaluation of the best televisions available.
On the scene were industry experts Rob Sabin (Sound and Vision) and Scott Wilkinson (AVS/Home Theater Geeks), calibrator guru David Mackenzie (HDTV Test), and several manufacturer representatives. Each event began with an introduction by Zohn and presentations by company representatives. Audience members were then guided through a seven stage evaluation of the participating televisions, judging Black Quality, Perceived Contrast, Color Accuracy, Off Axis Performance, Screen Uniformity, Motion Clarity, and Day Mode (High Ambient Light), as each television was fed identical screen content.
Four different reference televisions were in the event, including Sony’s XBR-75X940C (flat, LCD, $8,000), Samsung’s UN78JS9500 (curved, LCD, $10,000), LG’s 65EG9600 (curved, OLED, $9,000), and Panasonic’s newly minted TC-65CX850U (flat, LCD, $3500). There were multiple audience evaluation periods using either High Definition or Ultra High Definition content. Televisions were calibrated for both dark and light environments (all attributes, with the exception of Day Mode, were evaluated in darkness).
From left to right: Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, and LG.
According to Expert Votes (see below), LG’s OLED entry out performed the other televisions in Black Quality, Perceived Contrast, and Off Axis Performance. Samsung’s beautiful UN78JS9500 also took high scoring honors in three categories (Color Accuracy, Screen Uniformity, and Day Mode), while Sony’s XBR-75X940C was judged to have the best Motion Clarity. Audience voting painted a slightly different picture with the LG OLED setting the pace in all but two categories (Screen Uniformity and Day Mode).
In my opinion, the LG OLED television was the better performer during most black level torture tests, contrast evaluation, color accuracy tests, and off axis viewing. However, of those attributes, it was the clear-and-cut winner only when considering off axis viewing. The Sony and Samsung televisions were otherwise a very close second and actually outperformed the LG when considering motion resolution (Sony), uniformity (Sony, Samsung), and day mode performance (Samsung). While costing less than half of the competition, Panasonic’s TC-65X850U was a huge disappointment to my eyes. It was never able to match the other televisions in any category and choked on black level torture tests. Panasonic has its work cutout for itself if it wants to remain competitive in a dog-eat-dog television market.
The other surprising revelation was LG’s difficulty with screen uniformity when displaying extremely dark content and very dim shades of grey. Some of this material caused the television to display black blotchiness on the left and right sides of the screen. According to Tim Alessi of LG Electronics, the company doesn’t exactly know why this is occurring, but they are working hard to fix it for future panel production. To be fair, the blotchiness was not visible for the vast majority of content we viewed, but it was undeniably visible at times while viewing real world content. That fact, and that fact alone, kept the LG 65EG9600 from receiving my personal choice as the best television.
LG’s 65EG9600 (right) struggled with screen uniformity and black blotchiness on the screen’s edge when displaying dark material.
If I were picking from the four evaluated televisions, my money would go towards Sony’s XBR-75940C. I felt the Sony was nearly equal to the LG and outperformed Samsung’s entry. It was particularly adept at silky smooth motion clarity and had excellent black levels, contrast, and screen uniformity. Its biggest knock (also suffered by the Samsung and Panasonic) is off axis viewing, but its picture stayed composed within a reasonable seating spread. Sony’s onsite representative (Phil Jones) was quick to point out Sony’s aggressive pricing as compared to LG and Samsung – his point is well taken and is another reason that Sony's entry was my favorite TV of the day.
It was a pleasure spending time at the event this year and talking with Robert Zohn and his guests. To say that Robert is an asset to our enthusiast community would be an understatement. He has a passion for detail and a true zest for all that enthusiasts value. According Robert, next year’s event will likely include reference sets from Vizio and Sharp.
If you'd like to see the televisions from this year's event in an environment where they are properly calibrated and easy to compare, visit Value Electronics at their Scarsdale, NY location.
Image Credits: Home Theater Shack/Todd Anderson, Value Electronics