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Value Electronics' 9th annual Shootout event

35469 Views 164 Replies 31 Participants Last post by  B- one
Our 2013 Flat Panel HDTV Shootout evaluation event will be held in our new store at 35 Popham Rd, Scarsdale, NY as follows:

Day one, 6:00 PM EST, Friday, May 10th and Day two, 6:00 PM EST, Saturday, May 11th 2013.

We'll have up to 70 individuals attending and participating so if you are interested please send me an email with the subject "can I have a seat at VE's 2013 Shootout." The event will also be webcast live in HD and moderated by our staff. Select questions and comments will be passed to our panel of experts for reply.

Our Shootout has proven to be a ‘must attend’ event among true HD enthusiasts and industry leaders, and this year the Shootout has continued to gain in popularity so you can expect to see many of the top industry VIPs participating. With the great advancements of LED and PDP technologies, this will be a great year for flat panel displays.

Many big announcements and surprises are planned so if you are not attending in person be sure to mark your calendar so you can participate online with our HD webcast.


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Now that's cool. The Electronic Touch Pen on the new Panasonics seem like a neat feature - you can do your own telestrating during hockey or other sports. We all know better than the announcers, right? At least we can have fun with it.

Looking forward to the flat panel shootout this year. The VT 50 was spectacular last year, while I think Samsung took a little step back compared to the year before. It will be interesting to see how the new Panny VT60 and Samsung F8500 compare to the VT50. Reports out of CES were stellar. The shootout this year is also important I think to get an idea of the state of the art and the future for LCD development, particularly since Sharp doesn't seem to be going forward with the Elite line (no new model in 2 years?).

Robert and his family are incredibly wonderful hosts for this event, and in addition to being such an important event (because no one else does anything like it), it is so much fun to be able to talk about the technology and current state of the display world with other enthusiasts and some of the top professionals in the business as well.
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Hi Robert,

I just sent you an email to sign up for the shooutout. The surprises are great - like when you unveiled your personal Pioneer Kuro hiding behind the painting to unofficially compare to the Elite and other top TVs. Very James Bond and very awesome.
That really is a heavyweight lineup of plasmas!

All three have gotten great word of mouth and write-ups since CES. Last year's Panny VT50 was such a spectacular TV that it is hard to image these being better but early returns say that is the case. Shaping up to be an outstanding and fascinating shootout!
Okay HTS members I need your advice about an important decision pertaining to our Shootout evaluation event. Here's my dilemma...

I had planned on putting in Sony's HX950, but unfortunately Sony has discontinued that model. So our choices are the 4k UHD X900A or Sony's highest end 1080p full HD W802A.

The dilemma is that the Shootout has only flagship series, but if we put the X900A it will be the only 4k UHD panel in the event and that's kind of unfair to all of the other displays.

My tentative decision is to put the highest-end W802A 1080p on the Shootout wall to compete with all of the other 1080p displays, but to also have the 4k UHD X900A on an adjacent wall just to show it off and do a brief comparison with the same Shootout wall content, but not to include it in the Shootout evaluation.

I can't post on AVS Forum or HDJ, but I will post this on Blu-ray.com and HDF as I would love to have as many a/v enthusiasts' feedback as possible.

Thanks for your help.

I think your proposed solution is a good one Robert. The day will come when the best 1080p TVs will have to face off against the best 4K UHDs to see which is superior, but I don't believe that day is here yet. I think for fairness in the shootout, it should be only 1080p TVs, but it is a nice preview of the future if the X900A is available on a side wall for a comparison, but not competition.

Doesn't Sony have a W900A 1080p TV this year - is that not out yet? It is interesting that Sony is dropping full array backlit TVs from even their highest lines, and going edge-lit all the way. To my eyes, they seem to do edge-lit better than anyone else in recent years, so the W802A should be a real contender in the shootout, at least among the LCDs (yes, plasma bias there but not prejudice - based on the shootout results over the years).
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Isn't this the discussion thread for the shootout?

Getting excited about the shootout. This seems to be a banner year for HDTVs with great reviews of the Panny and Sammy plasmas coming out very recently, including by David MacKenzie who will be at the shootout. David also reviewed the Samsung F8000 LED-LCD and it seems to be a terrific TV also. I will be watching as much as possible tonight, and attending tomorrow.

I can't wait to see what the final mystery TV is - could Robert have gotten one of the OLED panels from LG or Samsung? They have been promising them since last year, and I understand they finally starting selling a few in Korea - maybe Robert is the first in the US to get one????? Or could it be a new announcement of the next Elite model by Sharp? Are they out of that business or are they coming out with a new model two years after they had such fanfare for their first model Elites? Oh wait, I bet it is one of the W900 series LED-LCD from Sony - their top of the line 1080p TV - would be a great comparison to the X900A Ultra HD. Oh, the anticipation. Only a few more hours.
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The event was fantastic as always. Thanks again to Robert, Wendy, their family and everyone else who worked very hard for a very long time to put this together. No one else is doing this, and it really is a service to all us videophile geeks as well as professionals in the industry. Thanks again Robert.

Everyone is excited to see the results, but I think Robert and family deserve a day off after the whole thing. And it was Mother's Day after all.

I was there on Saturday night, and as Bill Schindler mentioned, I think we broke a record for how long the event lasted. I have to say that the length was because of all the fantastic demos/tests, explanations, and discussions - it was a chock full event. In fact I would say this was the most organized and orderly shootout yet - Robert et al are really getting the running of this event down to a science.

By the way, having Dr. Weber there is a real treat, not only because of his position as an originator of plasma, but because he really contributes a lot of information, a lifetime of experience, and an interesting viewpoint to the event.
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Wanted to post some thoughts on the shootout - sorry it has taken me a while but it has been a busy week. I preface my comments by saying they are only my opinions and observations - I don't believe they are scientific fact and neither should you.

I was at Saturday night's shootout and I think I am fairly unbiased in my views - I try to be fair to all the TVs and give them all a fair shake. I have a Pioneer Kuro KRP-600M but don't feel my very existence depends on that TV remaining the reference forever. I will be very happy the day there is a TV that is much better than the Kuro that makes me feel I need to upgrade my main TV. Based on what I saw at the shootout, that day may be coming soon - perhaps as soon as next year. In the last few years, I have recommended and helped friends and relatives buy Panasonic plasmas, Samsung plasmas, LG LCDs, and Samsung LCDs - whatever fits the situation and budget of the person I am trying to help.

First off, I want to thank Robert, his family and the guys who did the calibrations and work to set up the shootout. Great job as always.

Second, congratulations to Samsung and the F8500 plasma on winning the shootout. Samsung clearly put a lot of resources into developing this plasma and it is a fantastic TV. As someone said at the shootout, the light output of this TV is a revolution in plasma development. I couldn't agree more. The increased light output was evident compared to the also excellent Panasonic VT60 and ZT60. Samsung deserves acknowledgement and praise for their work this year. That said, I believe all three plasmas are truly terrific TVs - there is a much bigger gulf from any of the LCDs to the plasmas than between the plasmas. I truly can't imagine anyone not being happy with the F8500, ZT60, or VT60. How close these TVs are was really brought home to me after the official shootout when plasmas were compared to the Kuro 50" using the Kuro experience disk. Yes, the Kuro could achieve slightly better black, but all four of these TVs were so incredibly close on this black level torture test material in a dark environment that without the others next to it, I don't think you could be disappointed in the black level. It was also clear to me that the F8500, VT60 and ZT60 are clearly better than the Kuro in a moderately lit room - the filters on the newer TVs have advanced in the last 5 years. This moderately to brightly lit room difference is larger than the difference between these TVs in a black cave in my opinion.

As for the LCDs, in almost everything, the plasmas were better. Even for those that like lots of light output, the F8500 now does that, so I don't see much reason to buy one of these LCDs unless you just don't like plasma. The differences between the 3 LCDs and 3 plasmas could not have been more evident than it was on the scene from The Dark Knight Rises - very dark scene with lots of blacks in a dark room. Batman and Cat woman's costumes were shiny, black and full of detail on the plasmas. Even straight on with the LCDs, they couldn't match the depth of the plasmas. I feel this is due not just to very black blacks, but sufficient shadow detail - all three plasmas were in another category compared to the LCDs.

I was unpleasantly surprised at the quality of the Sony. I was looking forward to seeing the 4K display that goes for $7000 in 65" size, especially since Sony has designed some very good LCDs in recent years. What a disappointment. This TV simply could not produce a good black level - much worse than other recent Sony TVs. You think for $7000 they could build a full array local dimming TV even with 4K resolution, but I guess not. Motion was not good on this TV either, and even though you expect poor off-access viewing from an LCD panel, especially a non-IPS panel, this TV had the worst off-angle performance of any medium to high end TV I have seen in several years. Literally moving a foot or two to the side would significantly degrade the picture. On the bright side, at the end we put on some 4K material from the special Sony server and on some of the bright images, particularly still images, the resolution was amazing looking. Very impressive clarity and detail. Problem was you could only notice a significant difference from 1080p if you were about 5 feet from the display. By the time you were 8 feet back, you lost this benefit on the 65" display - on an 84" you would be able to be further back and still see the advantage. The other problem was that on dark scenes such as from The Amazing Spider Man, the poor black level hurt the picture more than the extra resolution helped it. My takeaway from this TV is that the regular indicators of making a great TV - black level, contrast ratio, color accuracy, motion resolution, processing, etc. are more important to get right than having 4K (no reason you can't have both but we don't have that yet - maybe Oled will do that). Other takeaway is that other than the resolution, this is a very ordinary panel - not high end by LCD standards at all. If you want a Sony, find an HX950.

The Panasonic WT60 was not good by high end TV standards, particularly in black level, but the off-angle performance of the IPS panel should not be dismissed. If you are getting an LCD, and you sit dead center, get a Samsung or other VA panel for the better blacks. If you have several people watching it, you really need to consider an IPS panel as any advantage of the VA panels disappears quickly at even small off-angle viewing and the IPS starts to look much better.

Sorry for the long post - I get paid by the word usually. Just kidding. Sort of.
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Good, informative post. Thank you.
You're welcome. I was trying to be thorough but not rambly.
NY Pete, two questions:

1 Was the 3D performance assessed during the Shootout? If it was, which of the TVs had the best 3D performance.
2 For you, which was your favourite TV?

For me Plasmas always had better PQ than the LCDs, but I could never understand why they don't make bigger sizes? I think that if costumer is ready to pay for a product, it should be provided. It is obvious that the Companies are loosing money on LCDs, why don't they consider bigger size plasmas?
1. The night I was there 3D performance was not examined. It isn't part of the judging/official part of the shootout, but was mentioned a few times as a possibility to look at after the formal shootout. But I think people wanted to see 4K native content on the Sony more than 3D, and after that it got late and 3D never happened. The expert calibrators in response to a question of which plasma would be best for 3D, very clearly preferred the Samsung F8500 because of its light output ability and Panasonics apparently don't show 1080 lines of resolution in 3D all the time.

2. My favorite TV was the Samsung F8500. If I watched ALL the time in a black room, I might prefer the ZT60/VT60, but the differences there are very small compared to a large difference in daylight which at least some of my viewing is in, so for me the F8500 fits best. As for the VT60 versus ZT60 - they are extremely close and if I was going to buy one I would have to look into it further to make a determination if I can tell any difference watching them. I mean they are nearly identical.
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That is a good observation. You are right that the audience and expert scores are nearly identical on the VT60/ZT60 and more divergent on the F8500. The experts also liked the LCDs much more than the audience in Day Mode watching in moderate light. Both groups had similar relative scores among the plasmas (Samsung significantly higher than the Panasonics), but the audience preferred the three plasmas over the LCDs by a lot even in daylight while the experts actually preferred all three LCDs over the Panasonics and the Sony and Samsung LCDs were tied with the Samsung plasma for best in day mode.

As for personal preference, I think the experts as well as most of the audience are trying to be fair and neutral, however I suppose it's possible unconscious bias plays in - impossible to tell. That's why we have the measured objective numbers from the calibration reports to see how the TVs measured, and then the subjective opinions of the audience and experts. Nothing alone tells the whole story.

I think the fact that the experts liked the LCDs in day mode much more than the audience counters statements by some people that the calibrators only love plasma and are unfairly biased away from LCDs. I think they vote and give their opinions based on what they see, not an allegiance to one particular technology.
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Great pictures Robert. Samsung definitely cares about the bragging rights with the big Value Electronics and King of HDTV on the bank of monitors as you walk into their US headquarters. That's great to see.

Selling millions of TVs (among other things) is what these companies are in business for, but it's a wonderful thing when companies take pride in their products and produce really great products that advance the science and art even if they don't sell as well to the mass market. And its great that in the videophile world you have created an award that recognizes that and rewards companies for their efforts. The Value Electronics King of HDTV has become a prestigious award and it would be great to see them incorporate it into their advertising, etc. It's a win for everyone.
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