LCD TV REVIEWS

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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 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  |  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.

Al Griffin  |  Dec 27, 2016  |  2 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Inexpensive (with discounting) for a 75-incher
HDR compatible
Accurate and extended color
Minus
Limited contrast
Backlight artifacts
Highlights in HDR programs lack detail

THE VERDICT
Sharp’s heavily discounted 75-inch TV offers accurate color and decent HDR performance, but its best feature is its big screen at an affordable price.

The arrival of a hulking 75-inch Ultra HDTV on your doorstep would be something you’d ideally want to coincide with a worthy media spectacle—the Super Bowl, for instance. In my case, however, the delivery of the Sharp Aquos LC-75N8000U synced up perfectly with the broadcast of the first Presidential debate. Lucky me: I got to witness what perhaps were the two most unpopular candidates in history assail each other’s character at near-life-size.

Rob Sabin  |  Dec 22, 2016  |  0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
HDR10 plus Dolby Vision HDR
Great color
Wide viewing window
Minus
Middling black levels
Backlight artifacts

THE VERDICT
LG’s midpriced 65UH8500 delivers good image quality with a super-wide viewing window, and it’s one of the few sets around that plays both predominant types of HDR content.

A year ago, I tested the LG 65UF9500, an LCD Ultra HDTV that retailed for $2,999, and I criticized it for offering no future-readiness for soon-to-emerge high dynamic range (HDR) content. Since then, Ultra HD Blu-ray has come to market, bringing HDR along with it, and there’s a growing library of HDR movies available for streaming. To LG’s credit, their line of so-called Super UHD LCD TVs for this holiday season, including the midline 65-inch 65UH8500 tested here ($1,700), recognizes both predominant types of HDR—namely, HDR10 (used currently on Ultra HD Blu-rays) and Dolby Vision (still only available via web streams). LG is one of only two TV makers to support both formats on a single chassis (in both their LCD and OLED models), the other being Vizio, which updated their Dolby Vision sets for HDR10 in mid-2016. So how does this wellfeatured, attractively priced set perform? Let’s have a look.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 15, 2016  |  9 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
State-of-the-art local dimming
Class-leading HDR brightness
Above average off-center viewing
Minus
Price

THE VERDICT
With the top manufacturers jostling for a view from the top of the Ultra HD pyramid, Sony has taken an express elevator and is racing fast for the checkered flag. But enough with the mixed metaphors. If this TV isn’t today’s best LCD UHD/HDR set (and perhaps the best of any type), it’s not for lack of trying. Sony has given us their best technology here, and it shows.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2016, Sony demonstrated a prototype of a future LCD TV design incorporating what the company called Backlight Master Drive. We found it dazzling, as did most of the show-goers with whom we spoke. Nevertheless, we all looked at it as a “show car”—something that might appear in a store near you in a couple of years, if ever.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 02, 2016  |  1 comments
2D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $549

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Inexpensive
HDR compatible
Impressive contrast
Minus
Minor backlight artifacts
No extended color-space option
Flimsy stand

THE VERDICT
Hisense’s sensibly priced 50H8C does many things right, but buyers expecting an ultimate HDR experience will want to pass.

There’s been plenty of what tech marketing types call “disruption” in the TV industry over the past decade, with big-name Japanese brands like Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and Toshiba bowing out and Chinese companies like TCL and Hisense stepping in. While TCL has gained recognition as a maker of Roku TVs that span a range of screen sizes, it’s still a bit early in the game for us to get a sense of what Hisense is all about. What’s clear so far is that the company is producing sets with upscale features like 4K Ultra HD resolution and high dynamic range, at disruptively affordable prices. Case in point: the new 50H8C, an HDR-compatible 50-inch UHDTV that sells for a mere $549.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 07, 2016  |  9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent blacks and shadow detail
First-rate resolution
Compelling high dynamic range
Minus
HDR limited to HDR10
No 3D

THE VERDICT
In some important respects, Samsung’s new top-of-the-line TV improves upon the company’s previous flagship, and at a lower price.

When we last reviewed one of Samsung’s so-called SUHD sets, Ultra HD with high dynamic range (HDR) was not yet available on Blu-ray. But the arrival of such discs—together with UHD Bluray players like Samsung’s own UBD-K8500—has changed the game.

The 4K resolution of Ultra HD sets is all well and good, but HDR is the most eye-popping feature of UHD. Not all 4K sets, however, incorporate HDR, and those that do don’t necessarily perform at the same level. HDR still can’t be done well cheaply; at present, the displays that do it best are their respective makers’ premier offerings. The Samsung KS9800 series definitely belongs in that company—and among the three models within that family, the 65-incher we’re discussing here is the smallest.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 03, 2016  |  2 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive edge-lit local dimming
Respectable off-axis viewing
Bright, punchy HDR
Minus
Often redundant menus
Tight remote control layout

THE VERDICT
Full-array local dimming remains the gold standard for LCD Ultra HDTVs, but Sony has now upped the ante with the best edge-lit set we’ve seen.

The last time I reviewed one of Sony’s 4K sets, it had large speaker enclosures attached permanently to the sides of the screen, with a separate “subwoofer” firing out the back. This made for an inconveniently wide design, and with the introduction of Sony’s new 2016 models, those audio “wings” are now history.

Rob Sabin  |  Apr 05, 2016  |  3 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent color
Great screen uniformity
Artifact-free 1080p-to-UHD scaling
Minus
Poor black level and contrast
Meager streaming platform

THE VERDICT
Though it delivers solid entry-level performance, Panasonic’s CX400 faces more fully featured competition at its price.

Panasonic pulled big crowds at its CES booth in January with their CZ950 OLED, a 65-inch Ultra HD television that adds advanced processing to an LG-supplied OLED panel, with quite stunning results. Unfortunately, that set is only sold overseas for now (priced at €10,000 or about $11,000, no less), and it remains unclear when or if Panasonic will release it in the States.

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