OLED Prevails Over Mini-LED LCD in TV Shootout

Value Electronics owner Robert Zohn at the recent TV Shootout. Photos by Mark Jessamy.

Scarsdale, NY-based AV retailer Value Electronics has been rounding up flagship TVs from the top brands and pitting them against one another for two decades running in an effort to isolate the best of the best or, as they would put it, crown the “Kings of TV.”

The 2023 Annual TV Shootout, held on the weekend of September 30-October 1 in New York City, looked at 4K and 8K TVs in a side-by-side comparison of key picture quality attributes. The 4K category included three tried-and-true OLED 4K TVs and three 4K TVs featuring the newer and rapidly advancing LCD-based mini-LED technology — all 65-inch screens. In 8K, two 75-inch mini-LED models from Samsung and Sony went up against a 77-inch OLED from LG.

OLED prevailed in both categories, with Sony’s A95L winning the 4K competition and LG’s Z2 taking top honors in 8K. In both there was a divide with OLED outperforming mini-LED LCD by a distinct margin, especially in 4K.

Let’s take a closer look.

Scoring was broken down into standard dynamic range (SDR) and high dynamic range (HDR) with ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following categories: Grayscale & Uniformity / Shadow Detail/Black Level / Color Accuracy / Native Motion / HD Resolution (SDR) or UHD Resolution/High APL (HDR).

For simplicity’s sake, here’s the final ranking with the cumulative score for each of the 4K contenders, first in the HDR category and then in SDR.


1. Sony XR65A95L OLED (23.36)
2. Samsung QN65S95C OLED (21.03)
3. LG OLED65G3PUA OLED (20.95)
4. Samsung QN65QN95C mini-LED (13.88)
5. Sharp 4TC65FV1U mini-LED (13.33)
6. Hisense 65U8K mini-LED (12.59)

As you can see, with a spread of 2.41, the scoring was reasonably close among the 4K OLED contenders and very close among the mini-LED models where the spread is 1.29. Sony’s A95L was the clear-cut winner, taking top honors in all ratings categories with the Samsung and LG OLED models following close behind. Samsung’s QN95C had the highest tally among the three lower scoring mini-LED but not by much with Sharp and Hisense hot on its heels.


1. Sony XR65A95L OLED (22.59)
2. LG OLED65G3PUA OLED (21.36)
3. Samsung QN65S95C OLED (20.29)
4. Hisense 65U8K mini-LED (14.03)
5. Samsung QN65QN95C mini-LED (13.74)
6. Sharp 4TC65FV1U mini-LED (12.49)

Though the gap between OLED and mini-LED scores was huge in 4K HDR, scoring in each performance category was very tight, with a spread of only 1.07 among the OLED TVs and a spread of 1.54 among mini-LED contenders. The Sony A95L QD-OLED was again the standout, taking the lead in four of five judging categories, the exception being HD Resolution. Samsung’s S95C QD-OLED and LG’s G3 OLED were close behind, with the S95C in a tie with Sony for Shadow Detail/Black Level and the LG G3 taking top honors in HD Resolution.

Moving on to the 8K round of tests, which was limited to three models, here’s the final ranking with cumulative scores, first in HDR and then in SDR.


1. LG OLED77Z2PUA 77-inch OLED (22.84)
2. Sony XR75Z9K 75-inch Mini-LED (19.67)
3. Samsung QN75QN900C 75-inch Mini-LED (18.18)

Scoring in the 8K HDR category was fairly close with a spread of 4.6 but it was not as tight as in the 4K HDR category where the spread was 2.41. LG prevailed in four of the five judging categories, the exception being Native Motion where it was tied with Sony, each netting a score of 4.17 on a scale of 5.


1. LG OLED77Z2PUA 77-inch OLED (23.66)
2. Sony XR75Z9K 75-inch Mini-LED (19.17)
3. Samsung QN75QN900C 75-inch Mini-LED (17.34)

As with 8K HDR, scoring in 8K SDR was fairly close, though higher still with a spread of 6.32 but not near as tight as in the 4K SDR category where the spread was only 1.07. LG won handily in SDR, securing four of the five judging categories, the exception being Native Motion where Sony won by a slim margin (4.5 vs. 4.33 on a scale of 5).

In both the 4K and 8K shootouts, all TVs were professionally calibrated before a panel of experts went to work, reviewing test patterns and rating picture quality in the areas noted above. Two BVM-HX310 Professional Mastering Monitors were present allowing the picture quality of each TV to be compared against a high-quality reference.

The 2023 TV Shootout also featured an out-of-the-box category of judging that did not contribute to scoring in the 4K and 8K tests. Each of the six TVs that faced off in the 4K and 8K tests was put in its best preset picture mode without professional calibration and judged in the following nine categories: Motion Processing / SDR Max Brightness / SDR Color Fidelity / SDR Sports Overall / Panel Uniformity - DSE, Off Angle / HDR Highlight Impact / HDR Highlight Detail / HDR Shadow Detail / HDR Color Fidelity / Streaming, Low Bitrate Artifact Concealment.

Here’s the final ranking with the cumulative score for each contender:


1. Sony XR65A95L OLED (44.96)
2. LG OLED65G3PUA OLED (42.92)
3. Samsung QN65S95C OLED (42.46)
4. Samsung QN65QN95C mini-LED (34.24)
5. Hisense 65U8K mini-LED (28.09)
6. Sharp 4TC65FV1U mini-LED (21.9)

Once again, the gulf between OLED and mini-LED is plain to see but the spread among the top three OLED contenders is only 2.5. Sony swept nine of the 10 judging categories, losing by a slim margin only in the SDR Max Brightness category (4.5 vs. 4.33 on a scale of 5) and tying with Samsung in the SDR Color Fidelity and SDR Sports Overall Categories. As in the 4K HDR testing category, Samsung’s QN95C prevailed among its mini-LED competitors, beating Hisense by 6.15 points and Sharp by a whopping 12.34 points.

The results of the Value Electronics 2023 TV Shootout give OLED the clear edge over mini-LED LCD TVs but it’s worth noting that not all brands were represented in the testing.

Mark Henninger's picture
If it feels a bit like deja vu it's because the emissive TVs always beat the transmissive TVs in this particular type of shootout. That's been consistent year after year and it should come as no surprise because the qualities of an OLED are such that there is a visible advantage to the technology in a competition such as this one.

So if you're looking for a home theater type experience from your TV and you watch with the lights dimmed or turned off then there's no substitute for an OLED. Although the truth is that in a bright room with some windows and perhaps different priorities in terms of content—such as sports over movies—the mini-LED TVs can perform better than the shootout scoring indicates.

One thing about the OLEDS scoring so close to each other is the question of whether the differences between TVs that are just a point apart are really based on the design and engineering or have more to do with sample-to-sample variation and how well the TV was able to be tuned given the limited timing that is usually part of dealing with these events and maybe even the margin of error in the voting itself.

Congratulations to Sony. It shouldn't come as a tremendous surprise that quantum-dot OLED produces the very best picture because as far as display technologies go it is about as pure as it gets. Just straight up RGB pixels and not a lot of other layers on top of that to degrade the image off-axis. It's not quite the pure direct emitting display that micro LEDs are, but it's awfully close.

mround's picture

Picture quality is, of course, of paramount importance. However, the rest of the "TV" is important too. In particular: sound quality (of minor importance, since for TVs of this size, since they will probably be connected to home theater audio of some kind) and ATSC tuner performance (good old sensitivity and selectivity, for those of us who still watch OTA). Older TVs did better for sound and tuner than newer ones, in general, based on what I've seen, though obviously Ye Olde Plasma probably doesn't and will never have ATSC 3.