Will a New UHDTV Finally End My Plasma Love Affair?
Q I own a 720p-resolution Pioneer plasma TV. Every time I use my old plasma—now relegated to my photography studio after being replaced with a Full HD LCD model in the living room—I am blown away by the rich blacks and crisp color. It just looks better than LCD. With the arrival of 4K and HDR (finally, TV tech that can match the color gamut of the computer monitors I use for photography), I’m thinking it may be time for another upgrade. Are there any HDR-compatible UHDTVs that perform well enough to finally end my love affair with my plasma? — Ed Nazarko / via email
A In my opinion, yes. Like plasma, OLED is an emissive display technology: The pixels are self-illuminating. That, and the speed with which those pixels can be shut down, are why OLED TVs are capable of reproducing the same deep, rich blacks that Pioneer’s plasmas are renowned for. (LCD sets, in contrast, use a backlight composed of LED lamps, which inevitably results in some light leakage as the pixels switch states to block light.)
As you note, high dynamic range-compatible UHDTVs can also bring the added benefit of a wide color gamut, which is a feature you can find on professional computer monitors and certain all-in-one computers like the Apple iMac. While not all UHDTVs deliver on the promise of wide color gamut capability, some models like the Top Pick-designated LG OLED65E6P do. Combine that expanded color with HDR’s brighter highlights and the ultra-deep blacks that are a staple of OLED technology, and I think you might have a new love affair.