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HDTV buying help

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Rajio, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    So - looking at landscape now:

    - Samsung LCDs missing key component for me somewhere in their feature set - their LCDs are not as good as Sony's and their OLED is same panel as LG with similar characteristics - until theirquantom dot TVs are reviewed they're not in the running
    - My dealer is VERY DOWN on OLED, warning me away due to his experienece with customers of LG panels to date. I don't know if he is an outlier, but I am skeptical of OLEDs panel longevity at this early juncture in the tech and with only one panel type in the guts of everyone, any OLED I get will be LG panel core. That said, Sony A1E and Panasonic OLEDs will hit this year and may augur in an era where the LG panel inside is managed by the best video processing guys around (Sony and panasonic). So I will await reviews on these but so far am NOT considering OLED. Dealer dude is also saying even the A1E is outmatched by the Sony LCD Z series, so there's that.
    - For sony there is the XBR940 series which looks approximately same value as my trade in credit for the ZT60 - and the LOVELY ZD9 series is just SO appealing, but so expensive. Im just not as keen on swapping a ZT60 for the XBR which I know will have some obvious deficits in comparison to my current panel and doesn't do HDR as nice as the Z series LCD.

    SO i've talked with dude and am just gonna hold tight - up to a year. He's gonna let me know if there's a good deal on a Sony Z series anytime and I can jump then, or maybe later this year there will be attractive new option out from someone closer to my credit value and I can just swap without having to save up a bunch more....

    For now I'm living with it! My credit value stays solid and will not erode even if I wait 10 months. Lets see what this year brings for TVs!
  2. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    LG keeping up the incremental improvements!

    LG OLED55B7V 4K OLED TV Review

    looks like near black is better:

    "We won’t dwell on OLED’s unrivalled black-level rendition which is already well-documented. What LG has improved on its 2017 OLEDs including the 55B7 are a finer [Brightness] control, and cleaner near-black processing thanks to higher bit depth, a new decontouring filter plus dithering algorithm. Watching a variety of low-light scenes such as many in the well-mastered Blu-ray disc of Skyfall, shadow detail took on a cleaner and clearer appearance compared with last year’s models, lending a three-dimensional sense of solidity to the entire presentation.

    To be fair, we saw similar degree of improvement during our stint with the W7 and E7 in San Francisco, and indeed, a quick check in the service menu confirmed that the OLED55B7V utilises the same “M16P” inhouse chipset – LG certainly wasn’t fibbing when it claimed all the firm’s 2017 OLED televisions feature the same SoC (system on chip).

    Reduced ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) is another area where LG’s 2017 OLED TVs outperformed their predecessors, and perhaps even competing models from other TV makers this year. If peak white was calibrated to 150 cd/m2 in SDR (standard dynamic range), ABL wouldn’t kick in at all, and was generally less aggressive throughout the luminance range so bright scenes would look brighter. Since all OLED displays can produce 0 cd/m2 blacks anyway, it’s the top end of the picture that would determine the final perceived contrast, and less ABL would help in this regard.

    Of course, the lower ABL implemented on the LG B7, C7, E7, G7 and W7 won’t be immediately apparent in every content. Films, for example, typically run an APL (Average Picture Level) of below ten percent especially when the top and bottom black letterbox bars are taken into account. Where LG’s 2017 OLEDs will shine versus the 2016 versions are on computer webpages, adverts with white background, ice hockey matches, and bright splash screens such as the title menu of the AVSHD test disc"
  3. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    THis looks great, could be a contender for me to swap out for sometime in q1/q2 2018:

    Panasonic EZ952 & EZ1002 Get UHD Premium & THX 4K Cert

    My calibrator i used, who Vise recommended, is losing his shit over this one:

    If you have a credit, let me advise you to purchase the new upcoming 4K HDR 1000nit Panasonic OLED that comes out this September or so. It is AWESOME. It's so unbelievably reference that Hollywood studios are ordering these things by the dozens for their mastering facilities. That is a HUGE statement. HUGE. I've calibrated the Sony BVM-X300 studio OLED. That piece is $42K and is awesome. This Panasonic OLED is supposed to give that level quality in a bigger TV at a fraction of the price. I can't wait! There will be a dealer in Burlington that will be showcasing it. Fairview HiFi. I believe they are going to have the exclusive rights on it for the first little bit.

    Once you go UHD, there's NEVER EVER EVER going back. Movies on UHD-HDR are ADDICTIVE. I have never had this much fun watching movies - ever! Can you see that I'm excited??
  4. kyfe

    kyfe TRIBE Member

    Fairview Hi-Fi is around the corner from me, any idea when it will be there? If you let me know I'll hike over, take some pics and provide some feedback
  5. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

  6. Just broke my 4K cherry - got a Samsung 7100 series tv, ultra HD player and four movies to start the collection - John Wick, The Fifth Element, Dredd and Deadpool. Couldn't find Logan and kind of pissed that I'm likely going to have to rebuy some of my collection (for a third fucking time) in the new format, like Blade Runner (sept 5th)
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
    Bernnie Federko likes this.
  7. Vise

    Vise TRIBE Member

    Uh oh. I saw the Sony A1E while in London (at Harrods) on a work trip in late June and it is MIND BLOWING. By far the best looking set I saw there amongst many top notch OLED TVs. I would love to wait for the Panny but pricing looks way out there and I can get a screaming deal on the Sony now... plus for my usage based on reviews it might be the one to get given it excels in upscaling. Hmmm... :D
    Bernnie Federko likes this.
  8. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    The sony looks good for sure, just the input lag is so much better on the LG and the Panny so im more inclined to these guys. Also Panasonic has a version where the colour look up table is not integrated and so its pretty much all of the high end panny but missing just some of the colour accuracy advantages.

    If you are taking the plunge think about this one too:

    Panasonic TX-55EZ952B OLED Review

    My dealer is still saying he loves the Sony ZD9 over any of these OLEDs
  9. Vise

    Vise TRIBE Member

    As a long time Panasonic fan I'd be all over their sets but for two things... availability in Canada and price. The EZ1000 looks like the one to have but I can get the 65" Sony A1E today for a price that will leaps and bounds below what even the lower end Panny EZ950 will retail for; it is actually on par with what I paid for my 65ZT60 4+ years ago which I was surprised to see. Input lag is irrelevant for me and I love the design + Android TV integration.

    May be pulling the trigger today... we'll see.
    Bernnie Federko likes this.
  10. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

  11. Vise

    Vise TRIBE Member

    For Sale: Panasonic 65ZT60 plasma in excellent condition. :D

    Got the 65" Sony A1E delivered and setup today, pulled the trigger yesterday afternoon and watching Netflix 4k content less than 24 hours later. As much as I loved the ZT60 the past 4 years this thing is at a whole other level. Unbelievably immersive in 4k and the upscaling of 1080p sources is amazing. Still messing around with Android TV features including Plex for streaming from my NAS but pretty hard to focus on anything other than watching some of the 4K HDR content on Netflix.

    It has only been a few hours or so using some 'calibrated' settings from AVS Forum but right now I am very, very impressed. Anything thinking of making the move to OLED, now is the time.
    kyfe and Bernnie Federko like this.
  12. lobo

    lobo TRIBE Member

    I'm assuming you're watching content with HDR, right? What's the wow factor so far? Was it the same as when we went from SD to HD?
  13. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    HDR on these OLEDs is nice - but nothing touches the ZD9 for the brightness that display can get to.

    Sony didn't even iterate the ZD9 this year, good enough to still be their premier LCD panel for a 2nd sales year.

    That said, these OLEDS get to around ~600 NITs, which is still an appreciable bump over non-HDR content. Will probably pop more - HAS TO - contrast ratio goes up right (numbers nerds may point out if we're dividing by 0 due to OLED's "zero black", there should still be "infinity" ratio - shut up nerds - we will still appreciate the brighter brightness even if the denominator is the same, and likely it's not "perfect 0 black" at a scientific level)

    But I think none of us will have really "experienced" HDR til we see the ZD9, and successor panels that get above 1200+ nits, this is a similar passage to reviews of all TVs with these LG panels and the 600-800 NIT range this year that the panel can achieve:

    Limited Peak Brightness
    This is a limitation that applies to all WRGB OLED TVs (including the Panasonic 55EZ952) so far, none of which could deliver a peak luminance above 800 nits once calibrated to D65 white point on a 10% window (the pattern size specified by the UHD Alliance for Ultra HD Premium accreditation). Post-calibration, we drew 630 nits from our TX-55EZ952B review unit on a 10% windowed pattern, dropping to 125 nits full-field owing to ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) circuitry which is commonly implemented on self-emissive displays such as CRTs, plasmas and OLEDs for better heat and power management.

    As good as Panasonic’s HDR10 tone-mapping was at retaining specular highlights, bright detail on the EZ952B (and the EZ1002B, LG B7/ C7/ E7/ G7/ W7, Loewe bild 7 and Sony A1 too while we’re at it) still looked compressed and muted compared with full-array local dimming (FALD) LED LCDs which can hit 1200+ nits, particularly in 4000-nit-graded 4k Blu-rays that push the MaxCLL (Maximum Content Light Level) boundaries. It’s just physics really… unavoidable when you’re trying to cram data that’s present between 800 nits to 4000 nits within a headroom that tops out at 800 nits (or lower).
    There are actually a few reasons to hold off on OLED and this is one of them The tech is probably facing a lower potential/theoretical max bright point vs LCD just on the tech foundation being more limited in this respect - but I expect we will see 1000+ nit OLED's eventually.

    Vise is right that there has never been a better time to go OLED than now - but there will be brighter days ahead too I think.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  14. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Here is the HDR section of their review of the ZD9:

    Once calibrated to D65 white point, the Sony KD-65ZD9′s peak brightness in HDR mode could be sustained above 1800 cd/m2 indefinitely (measured on UHDA-specified window sizes), peaking around 1870 cd/m2 at the start. This figure represents the highest we have on record at this time of writing, surpassing the peak luminance generated by the previous record holder, Samsung’s KS9500/ KS9800, by a magnitude of nearly 400 nits. Full-field peak brightness reached 745 cd/m2.

    Taking a leaf out of Panasonic’s book (for the DX902/ DX900), HDR mode can be manually forced on through a new [Video options] submenu available on the Sony Z9D/ ZD9. To preserve the highest peak brightness, [X-tended Dynamic Range] should be left at its default value of “High“: peak luminance dropped to 1180 and 890 nits with [XDR] “Medium” and “Low” respectively.

    As mentioned before, the KD65ZD9 carries over most picture settings from SDR to HDR mode within the same preset on the same HDMI input, with the notable exceptions of [Brightness] (which is bumped to “Max“) and [X-tended Dynamic Range] (which defaults to “High“). This situation is different from the step-down Sony XD93 and XD94 series which kick into a separate [HDR video] mode upon detection of the appropriate HDR metadata, thus allowing for separate SDR and HDR settings.

    What this means is that to get the most accurate image, you either have to feed HDR material into one HDMI socket and SDR into another, or calibrate HDR in a separate picture preset from SDR (which requires manual switching every time you change sources from SDR to HDR and vice versa). For a seamless experience without needing to fiddle with the remote, we certainly prefer the Samsungs which allow for independent SDR and HDR settings within the same preset, or the LGs which go into dedicated HDR presets.

    With this mini-rant out of the way, HDR mode on the Sony 65ZD9 actually calibrated very well. Greyscale could be flattened to a neutral D65 across the entire luminance range:


    After adjusting [Gamma] to the correct value, the television tracked PQ (perceptual quantisation) EOTF (electro-optical transfer function) accurately until around 200 nits, after which light output was rendered slightly brighter that what’s stipulated by the ST.2084 standard:


    DCI-P3 coverage reached 95%, and colour tracking within Rec.2020 was reasonably good considering there’s no onboard CMS:


    Having satisfied ourselves that our Sony KD65ZD9BU review unit had been calibrated to its best possible level in HDR mode, we watched our usual selection of 4K Blu-ray movies in a side-by-side comparison first against a 2016 LG OLED, and then against a Samsung Ultra HD Premium LED TV that we had in for review. Before detailing our observations, here’s a short primer.

    What we’re about to write has seldom been explained, but one key reason why HDR video looks so impressive is the depth cues it’s able to provide. In real life, we judge depth and dimensionality through a number of ways, of which one is how light bounces off different surfaces. By supplying the headroom for specular highlights to be expressed in a more defined and accurate manner, HDR allows viewers to instinctively position different objects on screen based on the shape, intensity and directionality of the reflections, delivering a supremely immersive, 3D-esque image with tons of “pop” and depth.

    Now, in theory OLED’s pixel-level illumination should give it an unassailable advantage in portraying specular highlights with the kind of precision even the best FALD LED LCDs with the highest number of zones can only dream of, but LG’s OLED televisions suffer from a few problems. First, peak brightness even on the 2016 flagship G6 couldn’t go beyond 800 nits, reducing the range through which subtle gradation of highlight detail can be faithfully rendered, especially when HDR content is mastered to 1000 or even 4000 nits.

    Worse still, due to suboptimal tone-mapping (this is not entirely LG’s fault, since many Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are purposely encoded to defeat tone-mapping) and colour channel clipping, bright highlights would frequently get blown out on LG OLEDs. If a spot of well-defined reflection on a metallic object gets smeared out to a large shapeless area, it will distort the sense of depth you perceive from said object owing to loss of light directionality.

    As you can already guess, the impact that the Sony KD-65ZD9′s 1800-nit brightness capacity bestowed upon HDR images was profound. Lightning struck with blistering brilliance; flames bristled with intensity; and chrome vehicle grilles glistened beautifully in Mad Max: Fury Road. Even during more mundane indoor scenes in The Martian, reflections off the eyes and shiny objects infused a very precise sense of depth and 3D-ness to the viewing experience.

    We’d like to tip our hats off to Sony’s engineers for keeping haloing/ blooming artefacts fantastically under control (provided you sit mainly on-axis) in the face of such searing brightness. Of course the Z9D’s 600-plus FALD zones helped, but we’ve witnessed the Panasonic DX902 – whose number of dimmable zones wasn’t too far behind at 512 – exhibiting obvious rectangular grid-shaped halos in testing scenes containing bright objects against a dark background.

    Without doubt, the local dimming algorithm on the Sony KD65ZD9 was superior to those implemented on its two chief FALD competitors when it came to HDR presentation. The Panasonic 65DX900′s was over-aggressive at times leading to blotchy darkening; while the Samsung KS9500′s was erratic, sometimes not engaging dimming when it’s called for. Sony’s local dimming system not only produced the inkiest blacks without crushing shadow detail, but also manifested the least blooming/ haloing. HDR output on the Bravia ZD9 also appeared remarkably free of posterisation (unless it’s in the source), something that cannot be said of Samsung’s 2016 KS lineup.

    Back to Z9D vs LG OLED whose limited peak brightness and colour channel clipping also combined to strangle colour volume at the top end of the luminance scale. For example, during the Time Square sequence in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Electro’s bolts of electricity carried a distinct blue hue on the Sony 65ZD9, whereas they were whitening out on the LG OLED. A similar difference was noticed in Mad Max: Fury Road where the Sony would render flames in fiery yellow; the LG OLED, muted orange.

    Please note that the following photo was inserted merely to illustrate the TASM2 scene referenced, and is not representative of the true difference seen in person – OLED’s off-axis blue tint made the captured image look bluer than it actually was.

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (timecode 00:53:29). Left: LG OLED; Right: Sony Z series
    Even though the Sony 65″ ZD9 had been judged to only resolve highlight detail up to 1500 nits in specialised test patterns, we actually saw very little – if any – loss of bright highlights in comparison with a Samsung UHD Premium TV deemed to be capable of resolving 4000 nits. Here are a couple of frameshots (photo exposure intentionally lowered to fully capture highlight detail) from Pan 4K Blu-ray which has been mastered to 4000 nits:

    Pan (timecode 00:19:10). Left: Samsung SUHD TV; Right: Sony 65Z9D
    Pan (timecode 00:19:28)

    from the Conclusion:

    For HDR playback, the Sony Z9D/ ZD9 outperformed other 2016 top-tier FALD LED LCDs in the following ways. The TV featured more balanced local dimming and less haloing/ blooming than Panasonic’s DX900/ DX902; more effective dimming and less posterisation than Samsung’s KS9500/ KS9800; and a punchier picture with greater highlight detail resolution than Sony’s own already impressive XD94… the benefits conferred by higher peak brightness and increased FALD zones did not go unnoticed.

    LG OLEDs still held the upper hand in outright black-level response, SDR “pop” and viewing angles by virtue of being able to switch every pixel – all 8.29 million of them – on and off independently of each other. But the ZD9′s blacks got close enough (especially with the help of bias lighting), and some quarters may prefer its near-black performance, motion smoothness and class-leading upscaling over OLED’s.

    Where the Sony Z series pulled ahead of LG’s OLED TVs was, predictably, in HDR. Here’s the rub: because OLED’s absolute blacks and innate contrast make even SDR content look like HDR anyway, what distinguish true 4K HDR are the specular highlights and wider colour spectrum. And our hearts sank a little every time we spotted missing highlight detail or muted colours in brighter parts of the HDR image put out by the OLED. LG’s Dolby Vision support may overcome these shortcomings, but until the arrival of DV discs and players (none are available to buy on the market at this time of writing), the jury is still out.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  15. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Excellent report.

    I may very well join you in this generation - have this credit burning a hole in my pocket - may jump on the lower-end Panny early in the new year on the same panel generation.

    Just will have to top up my credit a bit and its always easier to do this kind of thing flush from bonus season..;)

    Been stockpiling HDR/4k videos for the day I switch it up! Can't wait for HDR 4K John Wick!
  16. Vise

    Vise TRIBE Member

    Yep, actually I'm surprised at the amount of 4K HDR content on Netflix + Amazon Prime... wow factor is extremely high, everything is so vibrant + rich and the colours pop beyond words. Re-watched an episode of The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime (some challenge in the Caribbean) and it was like watching a completely different show given the deep blues of the water and brilliant orange/red of the sunset etc. While it is likely not the same in terms of seismic jump from SD to HD for me it is kicking major ass + mouth agape territory.

    I'm not much of a physical media guy although I'm considering grabbing a UHD disc player or maybe PS4 Pro to mess around with... but glad to see streaming services are delivering truly outstanding 4H HDR content already and I'm sure more is to come.

    Yeah you should highly consider it. I've had my eye on OLED for a while now but at $10k it did not make sense... when I found out what I could get the A1E for vs MSRP I figured no use in waiting much longer. Although it was a borderline impulse buy (after a night checking reviews vs competitive models) it was easily the best tech upgrade decision I've made in a while. :D

    As for the technical wizardry + eye charts above... I appreciate this stuff as much as the next guy but sometimes you just need to see the thing in person in your viewing space. For me OLED was the only move from plasma given viewing angles + black levels and it is clear Sony has knocked it out of the fucking park applying their processing (same as Z9) to the latest gen LG panel. I had a good chat with my TV guy last week who would have happily sold me an LG C7/E7 for less money... but he said their ongoing quality issues are a real thing and LG is not doing a great job in addressing the issues. He said he has a bunch of pissed off LG OLED clients from the 2016 + 2017 units but word of mouth + first hand experience with the Sony A1E has been off the charts (myself included).

    Unfortunately the Panasonic EZ1000 projects to be well into five figures and availability is end of year best case, it was the logical choice to wait for but numbers don't make sense. The EZ950 looks highly promising as well but lacks support for Dolby Vision which seems like a miss at this price point... mind you DV isn't enabled yet on the A1E but it is coming shortly. We'll have to see, seems like by the time the EZ950 will be readily available at a decent street price we'll be into CES 2018 looking at the next gen units. :)
    praktik likes this.
  17. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Ya if we're talking about the same guy, and we might be, he was shitting all over LG panels last few years enough that I've been hesitant on the whole tech, knowing its still LG guts inside the Sony's and the Pannys. but i guess it goes to show what benefits come from a company with a better QC approach!

    If you have the right processes in place you can weed out the imperfect panels and put it together right, after all.

    All I'm saying is, until we get to see something like the ZD9?

    We probably haven't "really seen HDR"

    Doesn't mean HDR presentation on these OLEDs isn't kinda nice, just that there's a brightness headroom you need to achieve its full impact they can't touch yet.
  18. Vise

    Vise TRIBE Member

    Yeah I'm sure we are talking about the same guy, I may have referred you to him for a plasma a while back. :D

    To your comment that is it exactly, it is apparent that Sony took their time in getting OLED right with this unit vs churning out units to obtain first mover advantage. One thing in particular to call out is the upscaling of cable or 720p/1080p videos, absolutely outstanding. We watched a 1080p rip of Game of Thrones (episode 3) and it looked damn near close to 4K quality, incredibly detailed and super smooth with natural motion. Clearly some magic happening. As much as I've love to watch 4K content 24/7 (which may actually be possible via Netflix + Amazon) we'll still be watching X265 rips and they look fantastic on this set.

    As for HDR, you may be correct in terms of theory but in practice HDR on this set is beyond impressive... well above 'kinda nice' territory. While there may be some additional brightness + HDR improvements on the horizon in next gen sets in my viewing room (basement with full light control) there is no lack of brightness on this set for HDR content. If it was any brighter I'd probably go blind.

    Have you seen any of the 2017 gen OLEDs in person including HDR content? If you haven't you owe it to yourself to track down a unit properly setup in a light controlled environment... basically somewhere other than Best Buy.
  19. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Only in well-lit shitty places, have I ever seen OLED. Looking forward to being able to see it properly.

    And there are other advantages that OLED has which helps offset the HDR deficit, one of which is pretty-great over pre-HDR brightness of 600-800 NITS and of course zero-blacks, which just make everything pop.

    As someone who does a lot of tv-watching from the carpet (foam rolling and stretching and shit), viewing angles are actually pretty important for me too.

    All of which leaves me still very much in the running for a Sony/Panny OLED from this generation!
  20. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

  21. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

  22. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

  23. Vise

    Vise TRIBE Member

    Not surprising, once you see OLED everything else is meh... sure the top end LCDs can go brighter but they miss the incredible black levels, motion, off axis viewing, etc etc etc. I'm happy with those results too, the Panasonic had better win at over 2x the price of my lowly Sony A1E. The LG's are great too but the quality challenges/panel lottery is enough to keep me away.

    I think the best compliment I can give the Sony is that it makes EVERYTHING look amazing... 1080p rips, HD cable, 4K HDR streams, Blu-ray, whatever. The upscaling is absolutely brilliant, watching rips of some old movies (ie. Aliens) is like seeing it for the first time again. Android TV is working very well too, Plex is working perfectly to stream from my NAS and I love the integration into the overall Android menus... for example when a new TV episode hits the Plex server it is highlighted right on the TV home screen with one button launch/play. Might grab an Nvidia Shield to mess around with but really not needed.

    Also added bonus, I sold by 65ZT60 for $2k last night... not bad recouping almost 50% of the new price after 4 years and 15,000 hours on the panel. :D
  24. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member

    OT: Nvidia shield is great.
  25. Vise

    Vise TRIBE Member

    Cool, yeah I've heard the newer model is really strong. What I'm not clear on is how this will work with my receiver (Anthem MRX-710)... not sure if I can pass 4K HDR through the receiver to the TV (seems unlikely) and/or pass audio via HDMI ARC from the Shield to TV and back to AVR. My gut says neither will work but might only be one way to confirm.

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