And This Year’s 2018 Value Electronics TV Shootout Winner is…
There’s little doubt that 2018’s crop of reference 4K televisions represents the very best we’ve ever seen, carrying hi-tech processors that command advancements such as wide 10-bit color (more than a billion colors that lend to ultra-smooth gradations), High Dynamic Range, fine-tuned interpolation and upscaling processes, and – of course – 4x the number of pixels found on traditional HD sets. And while enthusiasts might have an eye on bigger and better tech that promises to find its way to production in the coming years, it seems that 4K HDR televisions have finally hit full stride.
As revealed last week, this year’s TV Shootout contestants were comprised of LG’s OLED65E8PUA (retail $3499), Sony’s Master Series OLED XBR-65A9F ($4,499) and LCD XBR-65Z9F ($3,499), and Samsung’s affordable LCD QN65Q9FN (currently selling for $2,999 as part of a 10-day promotion). Each of these models are available through mainstream distribution channels, meaning you can purchase them from big box stores, online e-retailers, and independent stores alike. Which raises the question, why not include models from secondary brands such as TCL and Vizio? According to Zohn, those brands were excluded because they’re only available for purchase through three large-scale retailers. And because of this kind of limited distribution, the Value Electronics’ event chose to leave evaluation of these sets to standard review outlets.
All four competing TVs were compared in both daytime and nighttime viewing conditions, with a panel of nine expert judges (consisting of David Medina, Gregg Tarr, David Mackenzie, Dave Abrahams, Bill Schindler, Jon Reformato, Rob Sabin, and Steven Cohen) and guest attendees voting on various performance parameters using material sourced from Direct TV (1080i), Blu-ray, 4K UHD Blu-ray, and image generators. And to help with the evaluation, Value Electronics had two Sony BMV-X300RGB OLED studio monitors on hand for Hollywood-grade reference image comparison. While the judges’ total scoring ultimately decided on a winner, all votes were also combined for purposes of discussion.
The winner (expert scoring only) of “Best Home Theater TV” (dark room viewing) was deemed to be Sony’s Master Series OLED XBR-65A9F, scoring 263 points (LG E8 = 262 pts, Sony Z9F = 258 pts, Samsung Q9FN = 185 pts). And the winner of “Best Living Room TV” (high ambient light viewing) was Sony’s OLED A9F with 254 points (E8 = 250 pts, Z9F = 243 pts, Q9FN = 226 pts). The overall winner of “King of TV” was voted to be Sony’s OLED XBR-65A9F with 850 points (LG E8 = 845 pts, Sony Z9F = 832 pts, Samsung Q9FN = 715 pts). It’s worth noting that both OLED models tied for overall HDR performance (noted as High Dynamic Range Reference Mode) with scores of 333 points (the LCD Z9F was a close second with 301 pts).
And with that, Zohn and the event attendees honored Sony with a champagne toast and congratulations as the industry’s holder of the new top TV model. LG, which has won the TV Shootout for three years running, came in a close second, proving that both OLED models are excellent buys.
Scroll down to see complete scoring tallies from the event.