4K TV Reviews

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 14, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Unsurpassed contrast
Superb color and resolution
Viewable from any angle
Minus
Complicated picture adjustments
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Sony's new XBR-65A9G OLED TV is undoubtedly pricey, but we'd be hard-pressed to name a flat-panel Ultra HD TV that provides better overall performance.

Sony's XBR-A9G, the latest OLED entry in the company's Master Series TV lineup, follows fast on the heels of its previous A9F. While the differences from that model are minor, the A9G's list of upgrades include a different (and arguably improved) stand, a better remote control, and a few performance tweaks. The A9G lineup also includes a 77-inch model, but the 65-inch XBR-65A9G is the featured attraction here.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 26, 2019  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Powerful contrast with inky blacks
Wide viewing angle
HDR format support includes Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG
Minus
Pricey
So-so built-in audio
No HDR10+ support

THE VERDICT
LG's stunning E9 continues OLED's long streak in providing the highest-performance Ultra HDTV display option available.

Set makers may argue otherwise, but improvements to the two dominant TV technologies—OLED and LCD—come gradually. Each year, the new sets that get rolled out incorporate wrinkles that will result (it's hoped!) in a better picture and more advanced features. Following that pattern, LG for 2019 continues to build on its already impressive OLED TV credentials with the OLED65E9PUA.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 19, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Brightness to spare
Good off-center viewing
Superb HDR
Minus
Blooming
No Dolby Vision
Small, non-backlit remote

THE VERDICT
Samsung's new QN65Q80R may not be the company's flagship TV, but it offers an ample helping of that model's features, design, and performance.

It wasn't long ago that a buying a premium UHDTV demanded your first-born in exchange, or at least a sizeable portion of his or her college tuition. At $2,800 (and widely available for less), Samsung's new QN65Q80R "QLED" TV isn't exactly the lowest-priced entry in the growing category of affordable UHDTVs, but it's certainly a welcome one. Samsung also sells 55-, 75-, and 82-inch versions of the Q80R, the latter priced under $5,000.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 31, 2018  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,100

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Exceptional Value
Effective full array local dimming
Brilliant HDR
Minus
Limited off-center viewing angle
So-so sound

THE VERDICT
Three years ago, Vizio’s flagship 65-inch Ultra HD set carried a $6,000 MSRP. Today’s P-Series Quantum, the most advanced and highest-performing model in the company’s lineup, retails for $2,100. That’s a boon for consumers—and a serious throwdown to the competition.

Founded in 2002, Vizio is an American company headquartered in California that aims to offer top-quality TVs at prices appealing to a wide range of consumers. Vizio came close to being bought out by Chinese company LeEco in 2017. But that purchase fell through for a number of reasons and the company remains American-owned. HDTVs and UHDTVs remain its primary focus, but Vizio also markets a competitively-priced lineup of soundbars.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 17, 2018  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive HDR brightness
Excellent black level and shadow detail
Superior off-center viewing angle for LCD
Minus
Some backlight blooming artifacts
Unimpressive built-in sound

THE VERDICT
Sony’s Master Series Z9F LCD makes a strong claim for top-dog status in today’s Ultra HDTV market. It produces superb images, with enhanced off-center viewing so all guests will be happy at your next Super Bowl party.

In mid-2016, Sony launched a new flagship LCD design, the XBR-Z9D. The series incorporated Backlight Master Drive, a local dimming technology that was a big step forward in realizing the peak brightness potential of high dynamic range (HDR). The Z9D series has remained at the top of Sony’s TV lineup for two years—an eternity for UHDTV technology. But it now shares space with the new XBR-Z9F Master Series LCD models, which are available in 65- and 75-inch sizes, along with the company’s new A9F Master Series OLED TVs.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 02, 2018  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent color rendition
Deep, detailed-looking blacks
Full-array backlight with local dimming
Minus
Potentially confusing screen GUI and remote
Unreliable voice command feature
No Dolby Vision

THE VERDICT
Quantum dots in Samsung’s near-top-of-line QLED TV allow it to deliver exceptionally rich color. Add in a full-array backlight with local dimming and the QN65Q8FN amounts to a winning proposition from a picture quality standpoint.

Samsung’s QLED—not to be confused with OLED—UHDTVs are the company’s top-of-the-line models. In case you’re wondering, that Q in QLED stands for quantum dot, a backlight technology that provides a more precise method to generate the red, green, and blue light that creates a video image than the process typically used for LCD displays. How does it happen? In a Samsung QLED TV, a blue LED backlight generates the blue component of the image and also stimulates a layer of nanocrystal dots sized to emit a specific wavelength of light —red and green in this case—when energized.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 26, 2018  |  9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Deep black levels
Extremely wide viewing angle
Supports Dolby Vision and HLG
Minus
Expensive compared to same-size LCD UHDTVs
Lower peak brightness than LCD UHDTVs

THE VERDICT
This new C8 series set exceeds the performance of LG’s previous OLED models, making it the best OLED TV from the company I’ve yet tested. Its price is also significantly lower than last year’s C7, which means more buyers can now bring home an LG OLED instead of dreaming about one.

The picture quality improvements in LG’s 2018 OLED Ultra HDTVs aren’t a dramatic upgrade over the company’s already superb 2017 sets, but they are accompanied by a new Alpha 9 processor, an autocalibration option, and a few new and updated features. LG has gathered all of these capabilities under the “LG ThinQ AI” rubric. While the AI (Artificial Intelligence) claim may be a bit overstated, that’s where the market is going and LG is not alone in it. I wonder if adding a blinding blizzard of do-everything geegaws makes the screen interface too complex for the average user who simply wants to turn on his or her TV and watch a movie.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 19, 2018  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,300

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent shadow detail
Superb color and resolution
Punchy HDR
Minus
Mediocre off-axis performance
Some blooming

THE VERDICT
The new Sony XBR-65X900F is no OLED-killer, but it offers OLED-like benefits at a reasonable price.

OLED ULTRA HDTVS grab most of today’s headlines. And although prices for OLED sets have dropped dramatically over the last year, they still command a high premium. Even flagship LCD sets— Sony’s Z9D line, for example—remain beyond the price reach of many consumers. Sony’s new X900F LCD TVs, which are available in screen sizes all the way up to 85 inches, provide a more reasonable alternative. Choose the 65-inch X900F under review here and you’ll leave the store with a far smaller dent on your credit line than you would when buying an OLED or a flagship LCD.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 04, 2017  |  3 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,599

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Friendly ergonomics
Slick remote control
Attractive price
Minus
Poor HDR peak luminance
Weak black level and contrast

THE VERDICT
Hisense’s premier 65-inch TV offers a respectable visual experience, solid ergonomics, and surprisingly good sound, but it has a few nagging video shortcomings.

Chinese TV maker Hisense has chosen the designation ULED for their 2017 Ultra HDTVs. Like most other modern sets, however (apart from OLED TVs), these are still LCD sets; the LEDs merely provide the necessary backlighting. While Hisense’s larger TVs (the 75H9D Plus and the flagship 70- and 75-inch H10D models) offer full-array local dimming (FALD), the 65-inch 65H9D Plus reviewed here is LED edge-lit. While for some consumers its $1,599 MSRP makes it look a little expensive, its discounted street price with major online retailers (as of late October) puts it well under $1,500 and makes it price-friendly—especially when compared with the flagship TVs I’ve reviewed recently.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 28, 2017  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Extensive streaming options
Strong contrast with full-array local dimming
Accurate out-of-box color
Minus
Average LCD off-axis picture uniformity
HDR highlights a notch below the top TVs
Android TV interface can be confusing

THE VERDICT
The impressive performance delivered by Sony’s midrange UHDTV makes it a compelling choice for budget buyers upgrading to HDR.

Here’s the top Sony TV news for 2017: The company started selling its first big-screen OLED models. With an elegant “One Slate” design and an ability to emit sound from actuators positioned directly behind the glass screen, Sony’s A1E line (November 2017 and soundandvision.com) is destined to give LG’s OLEDs some competition. But when you consider that a 65-inch model costs about $4,000 after discounts, the Sony OLEDs are pricey. Fortunately, there are plenty of other Sony Ultra HDTVs to choose from, including the midrange X900E series, which lists for $2,000 for the 65-inch model and will run you about $1,800 on the street.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 09, 2017  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,100

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Effective peak brightness with HDR sources
Can display extended color
Good overall picture uniformity and upscaling
Minus
Mild artifacts from local-dimming backlight
No off-air tuner
Only one HDMI 2.0a input

THE VERDICT
Vizio’s new M Series set offers substantial performance improvements over last year’s model and does so at an even lower price.

Ultra HDTVs that support the display of programs with high dynamic range, also known as HDR, have quickly become the norm. If you’re out and about shopping for a new set, there’s a good chance that you’ll be taking home one of these TVs. Of course, the benefit to a state-of-the-art feature like HDR becoming standard is that prices for sets that include it will drop. How low? How about $1,100? That’s what Vizio charges for their 65-inch M65-E0 LCD Ultra HDTV.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 13, 2017  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent contrast
Superb color and resolution
Looks good from every angle
Unique panel-based sound system
Minus
No color management system
Some white clipping

THE VERDICT
While it might appear that OLED UHDTVs are popping up everywhere, the most visible supplier to date has been LG. But Sony, by acquiring OLED panels from LG and adding its own electronics, processing, styling, and unique features, has jumped into the fray, landing firmly on both feet with a solid performer.

Sony’s new OLEDs (the 65-incher reviewed here has a 55-inch sibling, and a 77-incher will be available by press time) haven’t yet taken pride of place at the top of Sony’s TV lineup. That honor belongs to the Z9D (Sound & Vision, January 2017 and soundandvision.com), now spruced up with the imminent addition (as I write) of Dolby Vision for 2017. But you might think of the OLEDs as stepping stones to Sony’s future in self-emissive displays—the spectacular, commercially oriented, and wall-sized CLEDIS LED display Sony demonstrated at the 2017 CES comes to mind. But that’s the future. Sony’s OLEDs are now. As of today, Sony’s OLED implementation uses a panel supplied by LG (but with Sony’s own secret processing sauce). At its press-time street price of about $4,000 in the 65-inch version, it was roughly comparable, if not a touch less expensive, than LG’s own like-sized C7P model.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 24, 2017  |  4 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright and punchy HDR
Excellent resolution
Stunning color
Minus
No Dolby Vision
Edge-lit instead of full-array backlight dimming

THE VERDICT
Samsung’s new top-of-the-line QLED flagship brings first-rate brightness, brilliant color, and crisp resolution to the Ultra HD party, but enthusiasts might notice its lack of a full-array, local dimming backlight.

Now that we’re awash in high dynamic range (HDR) material on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Samsung is determined to make the most of it with two new TVs, the 65-inch QN65Q9 reviewed here and the 75-inch QN75Q9 for buyers who prefer a bigger (and, at $10,000, pricier) set. Each has a screen that’s flat, not curved.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 30, 2017  |  6 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
It’s all about the black
Wide viewing angle
Supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Last year’s OLED sets from LG were so impressive that, apart from their peak white capabilities (an ongoing shortcoming relative to LCD designs), it was hard to see a road ahead for improvements. But LG has found that road, and while the upgrades might prove subtle to most viewers, videophiles will welcome them.

LG’s 2017 OLED offerings fall into five model groups, with the OLED65E7P positioned roughly in the middle. At $5,000, it’s hardly a Black Friday special, but it’s significantly cheaper than the near-paper-thin 65-inch flagship OLED65W7P (reviewed in our June issue), which commands $8,000.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 17, 2017  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Jaw-dropping black level and contrast
Wide viewing angle
Thin, thin, thin. And light
Minus
Expensive
Must be wall-mounted

THE VERDICT
We could argue with the mandatory inclusion of an outboard soundbar, the lack of a stand-mount option, and a lower (but still perfectly satisfactory) peak brightness for HDR than the best of the LCD competition provides. But it’s hard to imagine that any other 65-inch Ultra HDTV in 2017 will offer overall superior performance, or a more impressive aesthetic, than the best LCD competition.

Dateline: March 2017. Along with several other bit-drenched members of the audio/video press, we’ve been brought to San Francisco for a day with LG. The events will include a briefing on the company’s Ultra HDTV lineup for 2017, a visit to Dolby headquarters for the latest pitch on Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR), and several hours of hands-on experience with the 65-inch OLED65W7P, the smaller of the two new 2017 OLED models in LG’s flagship Signature series. (A 77-inch version should be available later this year; no price had been announced as we went to press, but if that’s your ticket, bring money.)

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