TCL US5800 and UP130 series 4K Roku TVs

Review by David Katzmeier
TCL US5800 and UP130 series 4K Roku TVs

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Roku TV delivers the simplest, most comprehensive smart-TV experience on the market. A superb user interface puts its thousands of apps and streaming video on the same plane as regular TV. These TCLs are relatively inexpensive for 4K TVs, and offer more 4K apps than most others.

The Bad 4K resolution doesn't deliver a substantial improvement in image quality, making non-4K Roku TVs a superior value. Competing entry-level TVs from Vizio deliver better image quality for a similar price.

The Bottom Line Even though 4K resolution doesn't improve their image quality, these TCL TVs' Roku-powered apps and low prices heighten their appeal.
7.2 Overall
• Design 8.0
• Features 8.0
• Performance 6.0
• Value 8.0

The original Roku TVs, the non-4K ones, have been among my favorite go-to budget picks for the last few years. The new 4K ones are great too, but not as good of a value as their lower-resolution counterparts.

That's because 4K resolution by itself, as we at CNET have spent years documenting, does almost nothing to improve image quality on its own. There's very little difference in performance between these 4K sets and the cheaper non-4K versions, despite all those extra pixels.

Then again, if you want a 65-inch Roku TV, your only option is to go 4K, and the 65-inch TCL 65US5800 is a great value. But for the 50-, 55- and 43-inch sizes, the standard 1080p Roku TVs are better deals.

The best part about these TVs is that Roku's superb platform is baked right into the TV's operating system, offering the simplest interface and the most apps of any smart TV on the market. Like the Roku 4 streaming box, they have access to more 4K streaming services than any non-Roku device, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, YouTube, Vudu, FandangoNow (formerly M-Go) and more. The TVs aren't compatible with HDR, which unlike 4K actually does improve picture quality, but that's not a surprise at this price.

These sets' main competition, aside from other Roku TVs, comes from the 4K sizes in Vizio's D and E series. The pricing is comparable, but from what I've seen the Vizios deliver better picture quality largely thanks to their local dimming backlights. Of course the main reason to get a Roku TV is for its superior streaming and app experience, and if that's your aim, and you want 4K, these TCLs are just the ticket.

Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 50-inch 50UP130, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the UP130 series. The testing I did also applies to the two sizes in the US5800 series, although I did not perform a hands-on review of that series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality. The only differences between the two series are the remote and styling; see below for details.

TCL US5800 and UP130 series 4K Roku TVs
Model Size Price Remote
55US5800 55 inches $549 Standard TCL 55US5800 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
65US5800 65 inches $999 Standard TCL 65US5800 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
43UP130 43 inches $449 Enhanced TCL 43UP130 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
50UP130 50 inches $549 Enhanced TCL 50UP130 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
55UP130 55 inches $648 Enhanced TCL 55UP130 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)

Simpler TV remote with optional headphone jack, voice search
I've always liked that Roku TVs come with Roku's signature, ultra-simple remote. There's just a few buttons, all easily navigable by feel, and a handful of direct-access channels that always include Netflix and a couple of other popular services. On the TCL UP130 series I reviewed, they were Amazon, HBO Now and Sling TV.

Unless you use the number keys to select channels, you'll likely never miss the buttons Roku's clicker omits. That's because it has the best menu system on the market. It uses plain language and thorough explanations to make using the TV a piece of cake. I especially like that connected devices like cable boxes, game consoles and Blu-ray players are placed at the same level as apps like Netflix, and you can rename their tiles and move them around the home screen.

The main difference between these two series of 4K Roku TVs, aside from styling, is that the 5800 has a standard remote while the P130 gets the "enhanced" remote with voice search, a remote finder, and a headphone jack for private listening. Unlike the standard infrared clicker, the enhanced version uses wi-fi so you don't have to aim it at the TV.

I tested all of these features and they worked as well as on other devices, like the Roku 4 streamer. Voice recognition was very good, lip sync was solid on the headphone jack, and the ping sound emitted by the remote was plenty loud from between my couch cushions. I did find myself fumbling behind the TV to activate the remote finder -- a prominent, dedicated button would have been nice -- but otherwise no complaints. You can also use the Roku app on your phone activate the remote finder.

The Roku you know and love, built into a 4K TV
A 4K Roku TV is largely the same as a regular Roku TV, and that's a good thing. There still isn't a whole lot of 4K TV shows and movies available, and to watch 4K streams you'll need a relatively fast Internet connection. In many case you'll also need to pay for the privilege; only Netflix's highest tier, for example, offers 4K streams.
Roku's interface does makes 4K easier to find than other systems. Its list of apps has a "4K UHD Content Available" section that only shows apps that can access 4K video. There's also a dedicated "4K Spotlight" channel that surfaces individual TV shows and movies from many of those apps, with the notable exception of Netflix.

As of this writing these TVs don't include the PlayStation Vue app found on Roku boxes. Roku says that app is coming in the next few weeks to Roku TVs. Otherwise every app found on Roku boxes and sticks is here. The selection runs circles around dedicated smart TV systems from Samsung and LG, and handily beats its next-closest competitor, Android TV (found on Sony sets). I also much prefer it to Vizio's SmartCast system since you don't need a phone to use it.

Roku TVs also get Roku's best-in-class search, which allows you to search from multiple services simultaneously (and via voice from the remote, if you have a UP130 series). It presents results from 30 different services, more than any other platform. Click on a result, a movie or TV show title for example, and you'll see pricing across all of the services Roku searches. The best part is that if you get the show "for free" as part of a subscription, it will be listed there too. One catch is that it doesn't search HBO Now, Showtime, or Showtime Anytime (it does search HBO Go, however), so if the movie is available there, Roku's search won't find it.

Roku is also the best at presenting TV shows and movies across the different services. The My Feed feature allows you to tag shows, films and even actors and receive notifications for when they're available to stream, and it shows the most popular TV shows and movies across all of the services Roku searches, updated four times a day. It's a great way to find new things to watch, although I do wish there were a "Show only stuff I can watch for free" option.

The menus and apps loaded quickly on the TCL TV, which behaved every bit as speedily as the Roku Streaming Stick. For more on Roku in general, check out that review.

TCL US5800 and UP130 series 4K Roku TV Features and connectivity

Ket TV Features
Display technology: LED LCD
LED backlight: Full array
Resolution: 4K
HDR compatible: No
Screen shape: Flat
Smart TV: Roku TV
Remote: Enhanced
3D capable: No

Aside from 4K resolution the list of options is short. The TV lacks the HDR compatibility, local dimming, video processing options and high refresh rates found on higher-end sets (these are all 60Hz displays).

One feature missing from previous Roku TVs, but available on this one, is expert picture settings. They aren't found on Roku's normal menu -- which is just as simplistic and option-free as on other Roku TVs -- but instead within the Roku app. There you can choose gamma presets, noise reduction and even adjust a color management system and 11-point white balance.

Since you probably won't connect a Roku box or other streamer, the TV's four inputs are plenty. They can handle sources up to 4K resolution at 30Hz, and are equipped with HDCP version 2.2, so they'll work with most external 4K sources available today and the immediate future. Unlike Vizio's D series none of the inputs accept sources at 4K/60Hz.
Unlike previous Roku TVs, this one also includes an Ethernet port.
• 4x HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2, up to 4K/30Hz
• 1x USB port
• Ethernet (LAN) port
• Optical digital audio output
• 2x stereo audio output (1 minijack, 1 RCA)
• RF (antenna) input

TCL US5800 and UP130 series 4K Roku TV Picture quality

The biggest question you might have is whether these 4K Roku TVs actually provide better picture quality than 1080p Roku TVs. The short answer is no.

I reviewed the TCL 50UP130 and the Insignia NS-¬50DR710NA17, two 50-inch 4K Roku TVs, together as part of the same comparison lineup. Image quality, as I saw with last year's non-4K Roku TVs, was good but not great, and as I've seen with so many reviews in the past, there's no real benefit to having 4K resolution, whether via streaming or Blu-ray. Unless you plan to use these TVs as large computer monitors, you won't see much, if any benefit compared to 1080p models, even on the larger screen sizes.

Dim lighting: Compared against the Vizios, the TCL and Insignia had a difficult time reproducing the same convincing depth of black. In Samsara, for example, the screen behind the titles, the shadows around the erupting volcano and the recesses of the carvings all appeared relatively light. Compared against the Samsung and LG in this test, however, the Rokus weren't significantly worse, the the Roku's detail in shadows was fine.

Bright lighting: With the lights turned up the Roku sets fared well, and their matte screens worked to help remove glare and reflections. Their brightest picture settings weren't quite as bright as the Vizios, and significantly darker than the Samsung and LG, but still plenty bright for most rooms.

Color accuracy: The Roku sets both measured quite well, and delivered colors that competed strongly against the other sets while watching Samsara. From the skin tones of the tattooed father to the faces of the female prisoner, the Roku TVs looked just as accurate as the others. Natural colors, like grass the the angry red of the volcano, also looked correct. The Rokus did show a bluer tinge to black areas than the others, however, and their lighter black levels made some colors appear slightly less saturated. But overall I had few complaints.

Video processing: As I expected from 60Hz TVs the Roku sets delivered minimal motion resolution, so sensitive viewers might notice a bit more blurring than on other TVs, but I found it difficult to see any loss of detail with normal program material. They delivered 1080p/24 cadence well, and both were solid combatants of input lag (see the Geek Box below for more)--although the Insignia was slightly better at 28ms, compared to 45ms for the TCL.

I also kept an eye out for upconversion issues, where the TV converts HD signals to 4K, and I didn't notice any issues compared to the other 4K sets, or the 1080p Vizio. Detail was very similar between all of the sets. In other words, don't expect an improvement in sharpness with normal HD video.

Uniformity: Both Roku TVs were a bit worse than the others in this category, with more brightness variations visible across the screen in test patterns. With most content the variations weren't visible, however, and when I watched a bit of hockey--with fast camera movement and a mostly-white screen that can expose such variations--the Roku sets didn't look any worse than the others. They also lacked any of the egregious bright spots and "flashlights" that can plague other LCDs.
4K video: Don't expect much, if any, improvement when you feed this TV 4K.

I watched the "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" 4K Blu-ray disc on the Roku TVs and compared it to the standard 1080p disc version on the other TVs. Differences were impossible to discern. Fine details looked identical, and all of the other picture characteristics were basically the same too. The main difference was in color, where the 4K image appeared a bit less saturated and punchy than the 1080p version--an issue I attribute to the process of HDR to SDR conversion.

Of course, most viewers will experience 4K not via expensive discs and players, but via comparatively cheap streaming video. Same story there. I alternated between 4K streams from the Roku sets and 1080p provided by a Roku 3 player, and again it was extremely difficult to see any difference with Marco Polo on Netflix and Man in the High Castle on Amazon.

The Roku TVs were also able to pass the full resolution of 4K from YouTube, and played through a suite of 4K test patterns from Florian Friedrich with no issues. That suite includes a great pattern that allows a viewer to see how close to the TV your eyes need to be to the screen to get the full benefit of 4K resolution. With my 20/20 eyesight on the 50-inch sets it was 30 inches, or 2.5 feet, with a 55-inch TV it was 38 inches, and with a 65-inch TV it was 50 inches. That's much closer than most viewers are comfortable sitting, which explains why 4K itself doesn't provide any picture quality benefit.

There's also a mode labeled "enhanced" that's said to be optimized for 4K sources, but don't confuse it with the specialized modes found on HDR-capable 4K sets like "HDMI Enhanced" on Sony TVs or "HDMI UHD Color" on Samsungs. On the 4K Roku TVs it's just another picture preset, and a bad one to boot, adding edge enhancement via the sharpness control, a cool/blue color temperature, and maximum backlight setting. It's much closer to a Vivid mode than anything else, and seems designed to punch up 4K content so it looks different (but I certainly wouldn't say "better") compared to standard high-def. If you're interested in preserving a good picture, stick with the Movie preset instead.

Geek Box

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.125 Poor
Peak white luminance (100%) 96 Average
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 1.92 Poor
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 1.807 Good
Dark gray error (20%) 2.002 Good
Bright gray error (70%) 1.856 Good
Avg. color error 2.202 Good
Red error 3.502 Average
Green error 0.97 Good
Blue error 4.9 Average
Cyan error 0.989 Good
Magenta error 1.547 Good
Yellow error 1.305 Good
Avg. color checker error 2.1 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 300 Poor
Motion resolution 300 Poor
Input lag (Game mode) 45.47 Average

TCL UP130 series CNET review calibration report by David Katzmaier on Scribd

TCL 55US5800 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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TCL 65US5800 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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TCL 43UP130 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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TCL 50UP130 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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TCL 55UP130 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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LG 55EG9100 OLED: The TV to beat at 55 inches

Review by David Katzmaier, CNET
LG 55EG9100 tv
he Good. The LG 55EG9100 OLED TV's picture is better than any LCD or plasma TV. It's equally adept in bright and dark rooms, showed accurate color, and looks better from off-angle than any LED LCD. Its 1080p resolution is plenty for a 55-inch screen. The TV looks striking in person, with organic curves and an insane 0.25-inch depth on most of its body.

The Bad. Albeit the most-affordable OLED TV yet, the 55EG9100 is still very expensive for a 55-inch TV. Unlike most high-end TVs it doesn't support HDR sources, and some LED LCDs can get brighter. Its 3D picture quality isn't great, and uniformity problems can appear in the darkest scenes.

The Bottom Line. No TV delivers the same level of picture quality for the price of the LG 55EG9100.
8.3 Overall
• Design 10.0
• Features 7.0
• Performance 10.0
• Value 7.0

LG 55EG9100 OLED Review

As the least-expensive OLED TV on the market, the LG 55EG9100 gives you all of the awesome picture quality advantages of that technology for a price that's a bit less than astronomical. It's a stretch to call it a "bargain" at $2,000 for 55 inches, but unlike LG's other OLED TVs, it's somewhere close the realm that many people can afford.

In the UK this TV is known as the 55EG910V and sells for £1,799, while in Australia it's the 55EG910T and sells for AU$3,999. Aside from differences in Smart TV app support, the TVs are basically identical to the US version I reviewed here.

Now, to answer your questions. The fact that it's "only" 1080p and not 4K resolution shouldn't be a deal breaker for most people. Neither should its inability to handle HDR sources. It will still outperform any LED-based LCD TV we've seen overall, including the highest-end models with 4K and HDR. Then again, if you insist on your next TV having those next-generation features -- a perfectly reasonable stance, especially on a TV this expensive -- the 55EG9100 isn't for you.

Nobody but LG manufactures OLED TVs, and LG doesn't make this TV in any other size. If you want a larger screen OLED TV you'll need to pay more than twice as much money for the 65-inch versions, and there are no consumer OLED TVs smaller than 55 inches. Likewise, if you want a flat rather than curved OLED TV, you'll have to pay about 50 percent more for the 55EF9500.
And no, we don't know for sure whether OLED is as reliable as LED LCD in the long term, but we have no reason to believe it's not. The same fundamental technology has been used for years in cell phone screens with no issues. LG claims a robust 30,000 hour lifespan, and in our experience reviewing OLED TVs over the last year, we haven't seen any evidence they're particularly susceptible to burn-in.

If you just want a tried-and-true TV that will just get the job done, there are plenty of excellent LED LCDs to choose from, and most cost a lot less. But if you want the images you watch every day to look their very best, while paying the very least possible, the 55EG9100 is your boy.

So-thin style
OLED display tech allows TVs to get remarkably thin: the top third or so of the EG9100 measures less than a quarter-inch deep, thinner than a pencil. Add in the sleek silver accents, the skinny black border around the picture, and "OLED" printed on the stand, and you'll have a green light to talk up your new TV to visitors.

Unfortunately, internal electronics, connections and enough substance to survive shipping fatten the bottom third to about an inch-and-a-half deep. That extra thickness, plus the curved screen, means the EG9100 won't hang as flush to the wall as you might like. You'll also need to buy a special bracket, model OTW150 ($150 list), to wall-mount the TV. It won't work with standard VESA wall mounts, which are typically much less expensive.

For those who choose to use the stand instead of wall-mounting, the EG9100's pedestal is nice and sturdy but without the elegance its predecessor.

The new remote is a lot better than last year's though. The medium-sized wand offers nicely differentiated button groups, a convenient scroll wheel, voice control and of course LG's trademark Nintendo Wii-mote like motion control, where you wave the remote around and the pointer responds on-screen. My only complaint is lack of backlighting.

Yes to OLED and curved, no to 4K and HDR

We've written plenty about OLED TV in the past, so here's the short version. Just about every TV on the market today -- from Samsung's SUHD to Sony's Triluminous to Hisense's ULED -- uses an LED backlight that shines through a liquid-crystal display layer (aka "LED LCD"). OLED is the only major exception. Its organic (hence the "O") LEDs emit light themselves, creating the picture directly.

That basic difference leads to many of OLED's picture quality advantages over LED LCD, including perfect black levels and superior off-angle viewing. Meanwhile a few high-end LED LCD TVs can get brighter than any OLED, but OLED is still very bright.

As LG's base-model OLED TV, the 55EG9100 doesn't have the 4K resolution of more-expensive models. 4K is rare today however, and in our experience content that is available in 4K, such as Netflix and Amazon original programming, doesn't look much better than the 1080p version--especially at 55 inches.

HDR, or high dynamic range content, is even rarer for now, but unlike 4K, HDR content might provide a significant picture quality improvement on a TV like this (I say "might" because I just haven't tested enough HDR TVs and content to say for sure). Then again, SDR still looks spectacular on this TV.

If you really want HDR, your choices are to pay more for a higher-end OLED, wait until LG comes out with an HDR-compatible entry-level OLED at some point (no guarantees that it will), or get an LED LCD.

Another potential sticking point is the curve. It doesn't have much impact on picture quality, but the aesthetics might bother you, especially if you're putting it on the wall.

LG 55EG9100 OLED TV Key Features

Display technology OLED
LED backlight N/A
Resolution 1080p
HDR-compatible No
Screen shape Curved
Screen finish Glossy
Smart TV Web OS 2.0
Remote Motion
3D technology Passive
3D glasses included 2 pairs

If you care: Smart TV, 3D, settings and connections
On just about every TV, especially expensive ones, we recommend using an external streaming device like a Roku instead of relying on the Smarts inside your TV for your Netflix fix. If you follow that advice, feel free to skip this section.

Still with me? The 55EG9100 runs on LG's Web OS 2.0 Smart TV system, which is quite a bit faster and more responsive than version 1.0. It's very good overall, and I prefer Web OS to Samsung's 2015 system, but I like Roku TV best of all.

Hitting the Home button on LG's remote brings up a band of diagonally aligned "cards," overlaying the lower third of whatever program or app you're watching at the moment. You can customize and reorder the cards to quickly reach favorite apps or inputs. The system has many major apps but a few go missing, including HBO Go/Now, Showtime and PBS/PBS Kids. Android TV, Samsung and Roku all offer a wider selection. There's also a (weak) web browser and (decent) voice search. Check out my EF9500 review if you want more details on Web OS.
Unlike at least one 2016 OLED series (the B6), the 55EG9100 has 3D capability, with two pairs of included passive glasses. It shows the same issues we've seen on other 1080p resolution TVs with passive 3D, namely jagged edges and some visible line structure, but at least it's available.
Picture settings are extensive. Highlights include eight picture presets, a custom dejudder control to dial in (or dial out) the soap opera effect, and a full color management system and multipoint grayscale control for calibrators.

The back panel has ample ports, namely three HDMI, three USB, an Ethernet port, an antenna output, optical digital audio and an analog AV input that supports component or composite video via an included breakout cable.

LG 55EG9100 OLED Picture quality: All the joy of OLED

The short story on the 55EG9100's picture? Spectacular. It beats out any non-OLED TV we've tested, including high-end models like the Samsung JS9500, by virtue of incredible contrast with no major issues (such as blooming or off-angle fade) that plague even the best LED LCDs. No, it's not perfect, and more-expensive OLEDs deliver an even better picture, but there's nothing close to this level of picture quality for this price.

Click the picture settings image on the previous page to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.
Black level: The 55EG9100 delivered the absolute black that OLED is known for, and no other kind of TV can match. Watching the "Exodus: Gods and Kings" Blu-ray, it first became evident in the opening titles. The white words were stark and clear against the black backdrop with the OLED TVs, while the LCDs showed that characteristic brighter, grayish black. In my lineup it was lightest (worst) on the Samsung JS8500, followed by the Vizio, then the JS9500 (the best of the LCDs).

In the film numerous shots that included dark sections that illustrated OLED's superiority. When Moses visits Ramses in the snake pit scene (Chapter 5), the letterbox bars, depths of shadow and other black and near-black areas looked inky and true, compared to the more or less grayish cast of the LCDs. To their slight detriment, however, the two 1080p OLEDs did fall a bit short of the others (including the EF9500) in rendering all of the available shadow detail in this and other dark scenes. They obscured a few of the darkest details, like some hieroglyphs or folds in curtains.
HDR comparisons: In an attempt to see how much you'd miss by skipping HDR on a TV like the EG9100, I compared it to the JS9500 and the JS8500, both capable of HDR. The two Samsungs played the HDR version of Exodus (via the M-Go app from an attached hard drive) while the OLED displayed the SDR Blu-ray.

On the JS9500 most images looked better than on the OLED. The bright highlights from the glinting gold of Ramses during the initial battle, the sky and the sun itself all overwhelmed the OLED in comparison, which looked relatively flat and drab (even though I had maxed out its light output for this test). The exceptions came in dark scenes like the snake pit. The Samsung's black levels were even worse because HDR calls for a maxed-out backlight, and overall contrast and pop was solidly in favor of the OLED.

Meanwhile HDR on the JS8500, which in its 55-inch size comes pretty close to the 55EG9100 in price, didn't look significantly better in bright scenes than the OLED. Its HDR-ified highlights were barely brighter than LG in most scenes, leading to near-parity between the two sets. In dark scenes the JS8500 looked even worse and more washed-out than the JS9500, lending an even larger advantage to the OLED.

My takeaway? Unless you're comparing it to one of the very top-of-the-line LED LCDs, like the JS9500, the EG9100's lack of HDR isn't a big disadvantage (and if you are, the fairer comparison would be to an HDR-capable OLED like the EF9500; see that review for just such comparison).

Maybe future comparisons to new HDR-capable TVs coming in 2016 will change that conclusion, as could the release of more HDR-ified content on 4K Blu-ray, but either way the comparison is illuminating. Just because a TV is HDR-capable (or just because it's OLED) doesn't necessarily mean it's better than another TV that isn't.

Color accuracy: According to my eyes and to objective measurements, the EG9100 is very accurate. It nailed most aspects of color in the Geek Box (see below), and watching Exodus and other even more colorful material, like the "Samsara" Blu-ray, alongside the other expensive TVs in my lineup, I had no complaints.

Video processing: As expected the EG9100 delivered correct 1080p/24 film cadence, and just like previous OLED sets I found the default Off position for TruMotion introduced a bit too much judder. Happily the Custom setting behaved well, with fine increments of smoothing, and I settled on a setting of De-Judder: 1 for film-based sources.
Motion resolution was also lower than the Samsung sets, topping off at 600 lines. That's because the 55EG9100, like all current OLED sets, uses sample and hold technology. All of the TruMotion settings showed 600 lines, with the exception of Off (which hit 300) and User with "de-blurring" set to a lower number.

The LG's input lag was on the lower (better) end of Average territory at 46.1ms in Game mode. Engaging the Expert preset caused lag to skyrocket to more than 100ms, however.
Uniformity: Aside from black level, the biggest advantage OLED has over LED LCD is an excellent off-angle image. When seen from positions other than the sweet spot right in the middle of the couch, every LED LCD will lose fidelity, becoming discolored and washing out. Blooming artifacts, prevalent in better LCDs with local dimming, also become more obvious from off-angle. With an OLED like the 55EG9100, on the other hand, the image remains vibrant and pristine from just about any angle.

Although superior to any LCD overall, the uniformity of the EG9100 falls short of that of higher-end LED LCDs in one noticeable way. In a few very near-dark scenes the edges of the image darken precipitously, obscuring detail. I saw it during the assault on Hogwarts from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" as well as in a sequence from "I Am Legend" where Neville goes after a group of zombies. I saw a similar artifact on the EF9500 OLED, albeit not as severe. It's definitely a problem, albeit a very rare one.

LG's engineers have told me they're trying to work on a fix for the 2016 sets, and attributed the problem to something to do with low-level voltage regulation. Since it's a hardware issue, however, any fix likely won't make it to earlier models like the 55EG9100.

Beyond that issue, uniformity across the screen was excellent on the EG9100. It didn't show any of the uneven clouding in dark areas that I saw on the LCDs (particularly at high backlight settings, like the kind required by HDR), and of course it was free of blooming artifacts.

Bright lighting: The first thing proponents of LED LCD will tell you about OLED is that it's not as bright. And that's true. The 55EG9100's maximum light output (102.9 fL per our test) falls a bit short of competing LCDs like the JS8500 (121 fL), and that difference only grows larger in scenes with a lot of white. LCDs maintain similar brightness regardless of how much of the screen is occupied by bright areas, while OLEDs get dimmer the more of the screen is bright.

Watching both in a well-lit room, however, I never got the sense that the OLED was too dim. It did a superb job of reducing reflections, and the image had plenty of pop under the lights. The only reason I'd see to go with LCD over OLED is in an extremely bright room--think walls full of windows opposite the screen--where a blindingly bright set like the expensive JS9500 would be ideal. The difference in light output between the EG9100 and mid-to-high-end LED LCDs like the JS8500 or the Vizio M-series isn't major.

3D: Watching 3D on the 55EG9100 can be frustrating. On one hand I appreciated the clarity and lack of crosstalk I've come to expect from passive 3D, and it was great just slipping the lightweight glasses on my face without having to power them up.

The downside is the visible line structure and jagged edges I've come to expect from passive 3D on a 1080p TV. It was there pretty much everywhere I looked, and worse than I remember from LED LCDs (perhaps because of OLED's superior contrast). The issue persisted until I got about 11 feet back from the screen. If course, 4K OLED sets like the EF9500 don't have this problem, and as a result produce some of the best 3D images I've ever seen. I can't say the same for the 55EG9100.

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Bundle Includes LG 55EG9100 - 55-Inch Full HD 1080p Curved OLED 3D TV Performance TV/LCD Screen Cleaning Kit Microfiber Cleaning Cloth HDMI to HDMI Cable 6' x 2 6 Outlet Wall Tap Surge Protector with Dual 2...


  • LG 55EG9100 - 55-Inch Full HD 1080p Curved OLED 3D TV
  • Performance TV/LCD Screen Cleaning Kit
  • Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
  • HDMI to HDMI Cable 6' x 2
  • 6 Outlet Wall Tap Surge Protector with Dual 2.1A USB Ports


Big screen TVs for the big game 2016

by David Katzmaier
Samsung UN65HU8550
Looking for an excuse to finally buy that big-screen TV you've been coveting? The big football game is the perfect justification. Here are our top picks and advice for TV shopping in early 2016.

The big game is nearly upon us, and with it an onslaught of TV sales that bring some of the lowest prices of the year.

Unfortunately there are more than just two teams playing this game. The TV market is overwhelming, packed with contenders for your dollar. It's not easy to pick a winner without some help. That's where we come in.

Here are our top three choices for your new big screen TVs for the big game, in ascending order of price. And if you don't like the first choice, check out the bonus pick.

VIZIO E65-C3 65-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV">Vizio E series (65-inch for $950): Very good performance and the best all-around value make the E series our go-to choice when money is tight. It comes in sizes up to 70 inches.

Bonus pick: The smartest Smart TV is also an incredible value, and TCL's Roku TV makes a great secondary set if its 55-inch maximum size is still too small for your main TV.

VIZIO M65-C1 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV">Vizio M series (65-inch for $1,500): With excellent picture quality and even better value, the M series is available in sizes up to 80 inches. It's our top-rated TV of the year when you take price into consideration. And yes, it's 4K.

Bonus pick: Don't want a Vizio? Check out the Samsung UNJU7100 series, available in sizes up to 85 inches.

LG EF9500 series (65-inch for $6,000): Money no object? Go OLED. LG's flat EF9500 delivers the best picture quality we've ever tested. It comes in a 55-inch or 65-inch size. And if you're considering the smaller version, the cheaper 55EG9100 is a great alternative.

Bonus pick: Don't want OLED? 65 inches too small for ya? Samsung makes the best LCD TV we've tested so far, the UNJS9500, and it comes in sizes up to 88 inches.

Extra points: When, where and warranties
All of the models above are from 2015, and the 2016 TVs are going to be available soon. So should you buy now or wait for the new ones?

Unless you're shopping for the very highest-end TVs, there's no reason to wait for a 2016 model. Among mainstream-priced TVs the biggest improvement in 2016 is the addition of HDR compatibility, but we don't consider that a big deal since HDR content is so rare (and with mainstream TVs, it probably won't provide much, if any, better image quality).

High-end shoppers have a tougher choice. In the case of the best TVs, extras like wider color gamut, brighter pictures and improved HDR (including Dolby Vision on the 2016 OLED TVs) might be worth the wait. Then again, you'll be paying top dollar if you buy in spring rather than waiting until the 2016 holiday season, when prices will fall again. It's also worth noting that all but the most expensive of LG's 2016 4K OLED sets won't ship until midyear.

You may also be wondering whether to buy it in a store or online. Both have their benefits. Online outlets like Amazon usually have the best prices. You may want to visit a store to benefit from looking at the TV in person first, before you actually buy. No matter where you get your set, it's usually not worth buying an extended warranty.

Sharp LC-55UB30U Review

By Will Greenwald
Sharp LC-55UB30U

Sharp LC-55UB30U Review

• Pros
Accurate, vivid colors. Very good black levels and contrast for a 4K LED HDTV. Inexpensive.
• Cons
Awkward, flimsy-feeling remote. Connected features lag just slightly behind the competition.

• Bottom Line
Sharp's UB30 series of 4K HDTVs may be lacking in design, but they more than make up for it in performance and affordability.

The most important aspect of an HDTV is its picture. All of the flashy menus and features and design elements don't mean anything if the panel itself can't perform. Conversely, a good picture can make up for flaws in other areas. Sharp's UB30 series of ultra high-definition (UHD, or 4K) LED-backlit LCD HDTVs feature a fiddly remote control and an interface that feels a half-step behind competitors, but it still earns our Editors' Choice for picture quality with strong contrast and accurate colors. The 55-inch LC-55UB30U we tested retails for $999.99, so it's priced competitively with mid-range 1080p HDTVs, and it's more affordable than comparable big-name 4K HDTVs.

Sharp LC-55UB30U Design

For a 4K HDTV, the 55UB30 looks fairly plain. The screen is surrounded on the top and sides by a half-inch matte black plastic bezel, that thickens to three-quarters of an inch for the bottom edge. A metallic, trapezoidal protrusion on the bottom of the lower bezel holds the Sharp logo, an infrared remote sensor, and a power light. The HDTV sits on two black plastic, V-shaped feet that hold it up steadily.

All four HDMI ports (including one MHL-compatible port) and two USB 3.0 ports sit on the back of the screen, facing left for easy access. A cable/antenna connector, component video input, optical and stereo RCA audio outputs, and Ethernet port face downward. A row of buttons for Power, Input, Menu, Volume Up/Down, and Channel Up/Down sit on the left edge of the screen, just in front of the HDMI ports.

The included remote is a small glossy black plastic rectangle that feels a bit cheap. The flat buttons, particularly the direction pad, are slightly wiggly, and it's very difficult to identify them without looking. The direction pad can be easily found under your thumb, but it's a perfect circle in the same smooth plastic as the rest of the symmetrical remote, and flanked by rectangular buttons. I found myself pointing the remote at the HDTV and not getting a response because I failed to notice from the flat, similar-feeling buttons that I was holding it backward.
Sharp LC-55UB30U

Sharp LC-55UB30U SmartCentral 3.0

Sharp is making the transition, at least in part, to the Android TV platform. That's not the case for the UB30 series, though. The 55UB30 instead uses the latest version of Sharp's SmartCentral connected features hub. It's functional and includes a live television guide, streaming content suggestions, and plenty of online services and apps. However, it feels a bit sluggish, especially with the HDTV's uncomfortable remote, and the interface still lags slightly behind the connected HDTV features of companies like Samsung, LG, and Panasonic in terms of aesthetics and cohesive design. It works well enough to be useful, but it isn't particularly impressive in how it looks and feels.

Sharp LC-55UB30U Performance

We test HDTVs with a Klein K-10A colorimeter, a DVDO AVLab 4K test pattern generator, and SpectraCal's CalMAN 5 software. After basic darkroom calibration, the 55UB30 showed a peak brightness of 271.15cd/m2 and a black level of 0.07cd/m2. The black level is a bit high for most 1080p LED HDTVs, but we've found that 4K LED HDTVs have an issue with deep blacks, and the resulting 3,874:1 contrast ratio is very respectable. It doesn't get quite as bright as the Samsung UN65HU8550AFXZA (334.63cd/m2), but it can get darker for a slightly better contrast ratio than the Samsung's 3,718:1. The 65-inch model of the series, the Sharp LC-65UB30U, uses a local dimming feature in its LED backlight system that the smaller models, including the 55UB30 we tested, lack. Because of this, we will have to test the 65UB30 separately.

The 55UB30's picture is excellent. Streaming 4K content on Netflix looks crisp and detailed, with accurate colors and dark shadows. In testing, the yellows and reds of Walter White's lab in Breaking Bad were distinct and vivid, while Bryan Cranston's skin tone and dark blue outfit were on-target and not tinted in any noticeable way.

The dark alleys of Daredevil had plenty of detail on the 55UB30, while the blacks don't get quite as inky as high-end 1080p screens, the shadowy fight scenes were very well-balanced without appearing washed-out.

The majority of your content is still likely to be 1080p or lower resolution, and the 55UB30 upconverts it to 4K capably. It displayed The Big Lebowski on Blu-ray with as much detail as was on the disc, and didn't try to pull more detail out of the older film footage, which can result in artifacts from processing the film grain on some 4K HDTVs. With the noise reduction feature enabled the picture appeared just slightly blotchy, but disabling this feature is recommended regardless. Generally, upconversion noise is preferable to the paint-smear look overzealous noise reduction can produce.

Input lag is the time it takes for a display to update after receiving a signal, and this is where the 55UB30 is weakest. Under our calibrated settings, the TV showed a very high lag of 176.4 milliseconds, which will likely make any fast-paced video game feel slightly off and unresponsive. The Game setting drops that lag down to 79.1 milliseconds, which is still not particularly good compared with 1080p HDTVs that display lags of 20 to 50 milliseconds, or the 4K Hisense 50H7's Game Mode lag of 51.2 milliseconds (though the 50H7 is a slightly smaller 50-inch HDTV).


You could get a less expensive 4K HDTV in the Hisense 55H7, but you'll be making a significant trade-off in picture quality. Even the Samsung HU8550 series, our Editors' Choice 4K line from last year, doesn't offer as good performance as the UB30.

Sharp's UB30 series succeeds where it most counts: picture quality. It offers solid contrast and dark blacks for a 4K LED HDTV, with excellent color accuracy and range. It doesn't have the most eye-catching style and its remote is a bit awkward to use, but these flaws are forgivable thanks to the line's very good performance and reasonable price. At $1,000 for a 55-inch HDTV, this could be your ticket to jumping into 4K, especially if you already rely on a separate media streamer, game system, Blu-ray player, or computer for accessing most of your content.

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Sharp LC-55UB30U 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model) Sharp LC-55UB30U 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)

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With four times the pixel resolution of Full HD, the AQUOS 4K Ultra HD UB30 series is packed with stunning features - like Revelation Upscaler and AquoMotion - to give you an exciting TV experience, no matter what you’re watching...


  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz (Native); AquoMotion 120 (Effective)
  • Backlight: LED (Full Array)
  • Smart Functionality: Yes - SmartCentral
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 49.09" x 28.43" x 2.83", TV with stand: 49.09" x 29.81" x 12.83"
  • Inputs: 2 USB, 4 HDMI, Component, Composite, Ethernet, Digital Optical Audio Out, Audio out, RF In
  • Accessories Included: Remote w/ batteries


Samsung UNJU7100 Series Review

Samsung UNJU7100 series
CNET Reviews the Samsung UNJU7100 series. Read their finding below.

The Good
The Samsung UNJU7100 series is the company's least-expensive TV with true local dimming, leading to very good picture quality with relatively deep black levels. Its color is accurate and video processing is among the best on the market. Unlike most Samsung 4K TVs it has a flat rather than curved screen. The redesigned Smart TV system and remote are simpler than ever to use, its cutting-edge connectivity and other features can be upgraded in the future, and its design is strikingly beautiful.

The Bad
It's still relatively expensive, and its overall picture quality falls short of some less expensive TVs.

The Bottom Line
The Samsung UNJU7100 delivers the same high level of picture quality as some more expensive models, and beats most competitors for style and features.
7.5 Overall
• Design 9.0
• Features 9.0
• Performance 7.0
• Value 7.0

Samsung sells more 4K, aka UHD (Ultra High Definition), TVs than anyone, and has more different 4K models in its 2015 lineup than ever before. The choices can be bewildering, perhaps intentionally so, but once I got a look at the company's full lineup I penciled in this TV right here, the JU7100, as closest to that elusive sweet spot between price and picture quality. After reviewing it, I'm changing pencil to pen (er, words on your screen).

The JU7100 is still expensive, but not totally outrageous. It lacks the curved form of even more expensive Samsungs, and it also fails to qualify for the company's high-end SUHD moniker, newfangled nanocrystals and all. It doesn't support the kind of next-generation content those SUHD sets do, but given how long it's taking normal 4K content to get going, I think it'll be a few years at least before such support is worth the extra money it requires.

I compared the JU7100 directly to Samsung's JS8500 SUHD, and the picture quality of the two TVs with today's content, including 4K, is extremely similar despite the big price difference. Both put out impressive image quality, although neither could match the performance of Vizio's even-cheaper M series.
Sizes in Series
• Samsung UN40JU7100 Samsung UN40JU7100 40-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)

• Samsung UN50JU7100 Samsung UN50JU7100 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)

• Samsung UN55JU7100 Samsung UN55JU7100 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV

• Samsung UN60JU7100 Samsung UN60JU7100 60-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)

• Samsung UN65JU7100 Samsung UN65JU7100 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV (2015 Model)

• Samsung UN75JU7100 Samsung UN75JU7100 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV (2015 Model)

• Samsung UN85JU7100 Samsung UN85JU7100 85-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)

So maybe you're thinking: "Hey, Katzmaier, I know you like those Vizios, but I just don't want a Vizio. What 4K TV should I buy instead?"

For you, hypothetical dude who won't buy a Vizio yet doesn't want to spring for something even more expensive (ahem: SUHD) I currently recommend the Samsung UNJU7100 series. It balances a not-too-crazy price with commendable picture quality, beautiful design, oodles of features and a healthy dose of future-readiness, for what I'm guessing will be Samsung's best 4K TV value of 2015.

Samsung UNJU7100 Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 65-inch UN65JU7100, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

Samsung UNJU7100 Series Design
You have to hand it to Samsung for continuing to innovate its TV designs within the narrow space afforded by today's thin frames and sleek stands. The JU71000 is a great example, with a pleasingly dark metallic bezel that angles forward from the screen like a sharp-edged picture frame. I actually like the look a bit better than the JS8500 SUHD set, but of course it's all a matter of taste.

Interestingly the two Samsungs come with identical-looking stands: metal-faced, low-slung pedestals that make the TVs appear to float above the tabletops. I vastly prefer them to the splayed-leg jobbies Vizio foists upon its 2015 TVs.

The JU7100 has a direct LED backlight, not an edge-lit one, making it somewhat thicker than most recent-vintage Samsungs, including the JS8500. That's a minor disadvantage in my book, not least because nobody watches TV from the side. If you're keeping track, the Sony XBR-65X850C is slightly thicker and the 65-inch Vizio M a tad thinner than the 65-inch UNJU7100.

Last year I called Samsung's remote the best TV clicker I'd ever used. The stripped-down wand found on the 2015 models simply isn't as good, and I actually prefer LG's clicker this year. Yes, Samsung's remote does offer that sweet, sweet motion control -- where you can whip a pointer around the screen just like a Nintendo Wiimote -- and it still has Samsung's awesome twist, where simply laying your finger on the capacitive button summons the pointer and a menu.

Again there are two different ways to move around: motion control with the pointer, and clicking from one item to the next with a traditional four-way cursor. But the new control separates them too much, placing the cursor control below the pointer, and the presence of two separate "OK" buttons complicates matters. I often had to glance at the remote, and ended up using motion control less, defaulting most often to the traditional cursor. It didn't help that the JU71000 remote, unlike that of the JS8500, has no backlit keys.

Samsung also removed too many of the dedicated buttons, including voice search, rewind/fast-forward and, the "keypad" button. Yes the new remote is aggressively lean and small, its motion control precise and slick, but I miss the old one.

The new menu system, however, is a big improvement. Just laying your finger on the touch-sensitive pointer button is enough to summon a basic menu. Icons appear on the top, bottom and left of the screen for "Menu/123," "Smart Hub" and volume, respectively, allowing you to dive into overlays for each while the main video continues playing.
Samsung UNJU7100
The "Menu/123" overlay is the heart of the system, and it's very well-designed. It summons a number pad and full transport (play/pause/stop/record) controls for device and app control, and the top strip serves as a gateway to pretty much every major function, from settings menus to input switching to picture mode. Best of all you can rearrange the tiles along the top in any order -- including to the end of the strip, which only becomes visible when you scroll to the right. You can also move the number pad to either side. Yes, I often prefer dedicated keys for these functions, but this onscreen system is the best substitute for them I've seen.

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Samsung UN50JU7100 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
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Samsung UN40JU6500 Review

Samsung UN40JU6500by Steve Kindig

40" 4K Ultra High Definition TV

You shouldn't have to shell out for a mega-sized screen to get top-notch picture quality. Samsung's 40" UN40JU6500 is compact enough for a bedroom or den, and it offers the super-crisp picture details that have made 4K TVs the hot ticket recently. And it's not just that the screen has millions more pixels to work with. This set's advanced video processing ensures that the color and contrast are outstanding, too.

Samsung gives you the most 4K viewing options
Right now, the best option for watching 4K content is web streaming. The UN40JU6500 includes “HEVC” decoding, so it can display the streamed 4K movies and TV series available from Netflix® and Amazon Instant Video with no additional gear needed. All of the set's HDMI inputs support HDCP 2.2 copy protection, which means you'll be able to enjoy 4K sources like Ultra HD Blu-ray movies when they arrive in late 2015.

Another way to watch 4K material is with Samsung's UHD Video Pack (sold separately). Only a little bigger than a smartphone, this 1-terabyte hard drive comes pre-loaded with several full-length movies and nature documentaries, all in spectacular full 4K resolution. Simply connect it to the TV using the supplied USB cable and start enjoying the best picture you've ever seen.
While true 4K content will continue to be scarce for a while, that won't keep you from enjoying a remarkable picture. Samsung made 4K upconversion a top priority as they developed the video processing circuitry for the UN40JU6500. Their UHD Upscaling automatically upconverts any signal to match the screen's 4K resolution. All of your current video sources — Blu-ray player, cable or satellite TV box, game console — will look better than ever.

A Smart TV that's smarter than most
Samsung's redesigned Smart Hub offers easy navigation and quick access from a single screen.

This TV's brain is a Quad-Core processor that lets you browse the web without having to interrupt what you're watching. Besides surfing the web you can do things like multitask or use one app while downloading another. Whether your connection is wired or wireless, you can do a quick web search while you watch movies and TV shows, and enjoy TV while you chat with friends and family online. Samsung's on-board selection of streaming video and music apps is second to none.

The AllShare™ Play feature lets you wirelessly access and stream content from any compatible device. If you own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone or Tab, you can share movies, photos, and music via the UN40JU6500. Your Wi-Fi® network lets you do things like "toss" photos from your phone or tablet to the screen with the swipe of a finger. Or push streaming video like Netflix movies from device to screen.

Sending content from your phone to your TV is cool, and going TV-to-phone can be even cooler. Just download Samsung's Smart View app and use the TV View feature to mirror whatever's on the UN40JU6500's screen on your Galaxy phone or Tab. You can leave the room anytime without leaving your entertainment behind.
Use the Sanus MountFinder™ to see a list of wall-mounts that work with your specific TV.
Shop our selection of HDMI cables.

Samsung UN40JU6500Product Highlights:

• 40" screen (measured diagonally)
• glossy screen, black Plate T-Shape stand
• Ultra High Definition TV with 4K screen resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels)
• HEVC for watching streamed 4K content from sources like Netflix® and Amazon Instant Video (requires Internet speed of at least 20Mbps)
• DIRECTV 4K Ready — DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy 4K service and full DVR features without an additional receiver (available soon)
• LED edge backlight with UHD Dimming for impressive contrast and black levels
• Motion Rate 120 blur reduction (60Hz refresh rate plus backlight scanning)
• UHD Upscaling upconverts high-definition and standard-definition video content
• PlayStation™Now PS3™ game streaming (subscription and controller not included; details here)
• Internet-ready Smart TV with built-in web browser
• fast built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi® to link to a wireless network
• Quad-Core processor for seamless web browsing and app multitasking
• AllShare™ video and music streaming from a DLNA-compatible Windows® PC
• MHL-compatible HDMI input for viewing photos/videos from a compatible smartphone on the TV's screen
• 2-way screen mirroring — send content wirelessly from device-to-TV or TV-to-device with compatible smartphones and tablets
• tuner receives over-the-air HDTV broadcasts (antenna required)
• QAM cable TV tuner (subscription required to receive cable channels — contact your local service provider for details)
• built-in down-firing speakers (10 watts x 2)
• illuminated remote control
• free downloadable apps for iOS® and Android™ let you use a compatible smartphone or tablet as a remote control
• meets ENERGY STAR® requirements

Samsung UN40JU6500 Connections and Dimensions:

• 5 A/V inputs, including:
o 4 HDMI 2.0 (all inputs are HDCP 2.2 compatible for connecting to 4K video sources)
o 1 component video (selectable component/composite)
• RF input for antenna/cable signals
• optical digital audio output (can pass Dolby® Digital/DTS multichannel or 2-channel audio from connected sources)
• stereo minijack output for connecting a sound bar or home stereo system
• Ethernet port for a wired connection to a home network
• 3 USB inputs: a dedicated input for Samsung's UHD media player, plus two more for connecting a camera or thumb drive
• detachable stand (stand "footprint" is 26-5/16"W x 9-9/16"D)
• wall-mountable (bracket not included)
• 36-1/8"W x 21-1/8"H x 2-9/16"D (23"H x 9-9/16"D on stand)
• weight: 20.7 lbs. with stand; 17 lbs. without stand
• warranty: 1 year parts & labor — in-home service or pick-up for service
• Our 60-day money-back guarantee
4K Ultra High Definition — watch it, play it, stream it
Movie theaters have switched to 4K projectors in recent years, and now you can enjoy amazing 4K picture quality at home. Ultra HD TVs with 4K resolution offer four times the detail of 1080p HDTVs. Some major TV makers offer media players so you can download and watch true 4K content for the best possible picture. Netflix® is already streaming some of their content in 4K, and other services plan to offer 4K video later this year.

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By Ryan Waniata — April 13, sovaldi sale 2015
vizio reference series
Reference series showing off the effects of its many local dimming zones

In February, buy we got an advanced look at Vizio’s endeavor to bust the pricing barrier for 4K UHD TVs with the company’s uber-affordable M-series, starting as low as $600. Today, after confirming previously-leaked pricing for the M-Series, Vizio introduced a highly-anticipated new member of the family that sits on the polar opposite side of the pricing scale: Meet the Vizio Reference series.

While Vizio has elbowed into the big leagues by proffering extremely affordable TVs with solid performance, this new Reference series indicates the company has turned its gaze to the precarious world of top-tier display technology. To that end, the new Reference TVs, which are available in 65-inch and 120-inch models only, are loaded with an arsenal of cutting-edge technologies.

Like many of Vizio’s LED TVs, the Reference Series offers full-array backlighting with local dimming which allows for better lighting control, and, therefore, much better contrast between the light and dark images on screen. But the Reference series pushes the boundaries much further, moving from an average of around 32 zones to an incredible 384 zones of controlled lighting — and, in theory, the more zones, the better the contrast and screen uniformity. If implemented properly, these could be some of the best-performing LED-based TVs of the year.

In addition, the new TVs attempt to tangle with top-tier models from the likes of Samsung and LG with a wider display of the standard color gamut, called Ultra-Color Spectrum, as well as employing one of the most anticipated new technologies in the genre, High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR is designed to offer even more realistic 4K UHD imagery by blasting extremely bright images against darker backgrounds, providing a picture more inline with what we see in the natural world. And Vizio is also the first major brand to leverage Dolby’s highly-anticipated Dolby Vision for the job.

“We are proud for Dolby Vision to be introduced to consumers through the VIZIO Reference Series, providing a dramatically different visual experience that engages the senses and further draws viewers into the picture,” said Giles Baker, SVP, Broadcast Business Group, Dolby Laboratories.

Of course, the higher color gamut and HDR technologies that today’s state-of-the-art 4K UHD TVs can render won’t matter much without the proper content to showcase the new performance capabilities. To give the Reference Series an edge, Vizio has also partnered with Dolby and Warner for “unparalleled” access to 4K UHD Dolby Vision titles available through VUDU’s on-demand video service. Just how much content will be available remains to be seen, however.

Other features for the new Reference series include Vizio’s top upscaling software for stepping up HD programming, dubbed the Spatial Scaling Engine, “future-ready” HDMI ports, likely referencing the new HDMI 2.0a spec needed to input HDR content, High Velocity Mode designed to render content at up to 120 frames per second for lightning-fast gaming, and Vizio’s Internet Apps Plus smart platform.

In addition, the 65-inch model comes with a 5.1 Vizio sound bar system built into the base, with an included 10-inch wireless subwoofer and surround speakers. Vizio hasn’t yet announced pricing for the 120-inch version, but the 65-inch model is expected to cost $4,000. Release dates for the new Reference series have yet to be announced.
We’re not sure Vizio’s ambitious new models can deliver on all promises, but on paper, the Reference series is an enticing new addition to the next age of high-end displays. We’ll be looking to get our hands on one as soon as they’re available, so stay tuned.

VIZIO M50-C1 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
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VIZIO M43-C1 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
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VIZIO M70-C3 70-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
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VIZIO M65-C1 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
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VIZIO M75-C1 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
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VIZIO M80-C3 80-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
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VIZIO M552i-B2 55-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV
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Vizio M series TVs offer 4K for Less

vizio m series tv

Sarah Tew/CNET

Introducing the all-new VIZIO M-Series Ultra HD Full-Array LED Smart TV. With over 8.3 million pixels in every image, cialis sale four times the resolution of 1080p

The race to the lowest pricing of 4K TV is well underway, here and as usual Vizio is leading the pack.

The value-focused TV maker was the first mainstream brand to break the $1000 barrier with last year’s P series, ailment and for 2015 it’s bringing the cost of 4K resolution down even further. The new 2015 M series includes nine total sizes, ranging from the 43-inch set for $600 up to the 80-incher for $4000.
Full HD, M-Series Ultra HD displays produce breathtaking detail and clarity. Full-Array LED backlighting and up to 32 Active LED Zones deliver superior light uniformity with an extremely high contrast, and deep, pure black levels.

Active Pixel Tuning enables pixel-level brightness adjustments for increased picture accuracy and contrast. And with up to Clear Action 360, sports and action fans will appreciate the powerful image processing of the M-Series with a blazing 120Hz effective refresh rate enhanced with backlight scanning for sharper detail in fast action scenes.

In addition, the beautifully designed M-Series is optimized to deliver all of your favorite entertainment in stunning 4k Ultra HD right out of the box. Thanks to HEVC decoding and ultra-fast 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi (up to 3x faster¹), you’ll get Ultra HD streaming from popular apps like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and UltraFlix².

Its powerful Spatial Scaling Engine beautifully transforms your favorite 360p and 1080p HD sports, movies, and TV shows into near Ultra HD. And support for the latest HDMI standards enables Ultra HD playback from next generation cable and satellite receivers, Blu-ray players and game consoles. It all adds up to a beautifully simple experience where the picture is everything and nothing is more captivating!

¹ Source: IEEE standard 802.11 specifications. Maximum throughput rate of 802.11ac (1300 Mbps) is approximately three times faster than that of 802.11n (450 Mbps). Actual rate will vary, and will be subject to router model, site environment, range, Internet bandwidth and other factors.
²High-speed/Broadband Internet service and access equipment are required and not provided by VIZIO.

Aside from resolution, the 2015 M series seems almost identical to the 2014 M series TVs I liked so much last year. One big reason it performed so well in our reviews was thanks to its direct, local dimming backlight, which allows different areas of the screen to be brightened and darkened independently.

The 2015 version offers the same backlight technology with 32 dimmable zones in every size, aside from the 43-inch model which has 28 zones. Those zone counts are fewer than the 64 found on the P series (which remains on sale) but more than the E series models, which range from 5 to 16 zones depending on size. More zones general amounts to finer control of dimming.

Every size in the new M series uses the same full-array direct backlight technology, a contrast (get it?) to last year when the 80-inch model was edge-lit. Direct backlights often demonstrate improved uniformity compared with the edge-lit variety.

The LCD panel technology is also largely the same, aside from the 49-inch size which uses an IPS (in-plane switching) panel as opposed to the VA panel used by the other sizes. In my experience, for example with the P series, IPS panels exhibit worse contrast and overall picture quality due to their lighter black levels.

The 60-inch and larger M series TVs have a “240Hz effective refresh rate” spec, while the smaller models all have a “120Hz effective refresh rate” spec. Since there are no native 240Hz 4K TVs, Vizio has confirmed that those “effective”s indicate that the smaller sets have 60Hz panels while the larger ones have 120Hz panels, and backlight scanning is somehow responsible for the doubled Hz numbers. It’s the same kind of fake refresh rate trickery Vizio and LG have been employing for years. All sizes allow smoothing MEMC processing, otherwise known as the Soap Opera Effect.

Just like the P series from 2014, the M series will have five HDMI ports that can accept 4K sources, but only one will be HDMI 2.0 compatible and able to accept 4K sources at 60 frames per second. Meanwhile three of the five will offer HDCP 2.2 copy protection. The M series can stream 4K from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, like all major-name 4K sets, and also has an app for UltraFlix.

Like its predecessor, the 2015 M series offers a dual-sided remote with the usual array of keys on one side and a full QWERTY keyboard on the other.

Its Smart TV suite is pretty much the same as well.

The styling between the 2014 and 2015 M series sets is very similar, aside from the stands. Vizio says the new, two-legged stand is more stable than its pedestal predecessor, improving tip resistance especially to downward pressure along the edge.
Here’s the full lineup:

Vizo M series (2015)
Model Size Release date Price
M80-C3 80-inch Later in 2015 $3,999 VIZIO M80-C3 80-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV

M70-C3 70-inch Spring $2,199 VIZIO M70-C3 70-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV
M65-C1 65-inch Spring $1,699 VIZIO M65-C1 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV
M60-C3 60-inch Now $1,499 VIZIO M60-C3 60-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV
M55-C2 55-inch Now $999 VIZIO M55-C2 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV
M50-C1 50-inch April-May $799 VIZIO M50-C1 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV
M49-C1 49-inch April-May $769 VIZIO M49-C1 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV
M43-C1 43-inch Now $599 VIZIO M43-C1 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV

Vizio E series (2015) Review

By: David Katzmaier

vizio e series

THE GOOD The Vizio E series TVs with local dimming deliver very good picture quality for an affordable price. The image evinces deep black levels with little blooming, accurate color and great bright-room performance, and it provides for plenty of adjustments. The Smart TV component has plenty of apps and a simple interface, and the TV's exterior is discreet and minimalist.
THE BAD Dimmer highlights than some more expensive TVs; archaic software upgrade system; significant variation between models; poor sound quality; cheap-feeling remote.
THE BOTTOM LINE If you're looking to maximize your TV dollar and don't care about 4K, it's tough to go wrong with the Vizio E series.
8.1 Overall
• Design 7.0
• Features 6.0
• Performance 7.0
• Value 10.0

Today the main question facing TV buyers is: should I spend more to get 4K? The answer is the same as it was late last year: only if you're worried about future-proofing and you're OK not getting the most bang for your buck.

TVs with 4K resolution are falling fast in price, but they're still significantly more expensive than good old 1080p TVs. Unfortunately TV makers often reserve their best picture-enhancing features, such as local dimming, for the 4K models. Local dimming is my favorite extra for LCD TVs because it improves all-important contrast by making dark areas in the picture darker. Vizio is still the only TV maker that sells TVs with local dimming for cheap, and the E series is the least-expensive of the bunch.

Vizio's E series is a tremendous value, and its picture quality, style and features are robust enough to please just about everybody. This TV doesn't have 4K resolution and the future-proofy feeling that goes along with it, but its price is so low, you'll probably be able to afford a larger size with the savings over a 4K model. The 50-inch M series, for example, currently costs as much as a 60-inch E series ($800), while the difference between a 4K M and a 1080p E at 65- and 70-inches is $700. In our book, assuming good picture quality, screen size is the best use of your TV dollar.

Whether it's the right TV for you depends largely on how much you prioritize value. If the idea of buying a new 1080p TV right when 4K content is beginning to appear makes you hesitate, or you want to sit close to a very large screen, then maybe E isn't for you. But if your main concern is getting as much TV as possible for as little money, the Vizio E series is probably the best TV of the year.

The best part about using the links below to buy a new Vizio E Series is that you are guaranteed to get the lowest price available.
Sizes in Series

VIZIO E40-C2 40-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
VIZIO E43-C2 43-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
VIZIO E48-C2 48-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
VIZIO E50-C1 50-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
VIZIO E55-C2 55-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
VIZIO 60" Class (60.00"Diag.) Full-Array LED Smart TV
VIZIO E65-C3 65-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
VIZIO E65-C3 65-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV
VIZIO E70-C3 70-Inch 1080p Smart LED HDTV

Vizio E Series information: The Vizio E series encompasses more variation than is usual in a TV series, making it more difficult to apply our hands-on observations throughout the lineup. Different sizes have different features and even panel types, many of which potentially impact picture quality. For that reason we performed hands-on reviews of three different models in the series: the 40-inch E40-C2, the 55-inch E55-C2 and the 65-inch E65-C3.

According to Vizio our observations about the 40-inch size should also apply to the 43-inch and 48-inch models; our observations about the 55-inch size should also apply to the 50-inch, the 60-inch and 65-inch E65x-C3 (a Walmart exclusive); and our observations about the 65-inch E65-C3 (the mainstream version) should also apply to the 70-inch model. The smaller 24-, 28-, and 32-inch sets lack local dimming, so they're not included in this review.

vizio e series
Vizio e Series Design
Minimalist to the extreme, the all-black E series is characterized by a pleasingly thin frame around the picture, a matte-black accent strip along the bottom and the trademark right-justified Vizio logo, flush against the bottom rather than dangling like a misplaced browser tab as it did last year. Seen from the side these sets are thicker than many LCD TVs, but still slim enough to wall-mount and still look good.

New for this year Vizio has implemented a two-footed stand design, with feet splayed out under either side, as opposed to a pedestal-style support in the middle. It certainly feels sturdier than last year's, where we complained about wobble, and Vizio even had to recall a couple hundred thousand models. The downside is that you can't set the TV atop furniture that's narrower than the screen itself. It would be nice if Vizio provided an option to install the feet in the center of the TV too, like Sony did, but no dice.

The Vizio E series remote is slightly better than last year and very similar to the M and P series clickers in layout, albeit sans QWERTY and all-black instead of silver-accented. Despite the convenient direct-access keys for Netflix, Amazon and I Heart Radio, it's still not very good. There's no illumination, little key differentiation, and the arrangement of buttons around the cursor always tripped me up. Worst is the main cursor control, which now has a cheap, loose feel and hollow sound.
vizio e series

I like Vizio's menu system. It's clean and easy to navigate, and I appreciate the helpful on-screen touches, including descriptions of various menu items and access to the full user manual.
Key Features
Display technology LCD (VA and IPS) LED backlight Full-array with local dimming
Screen shape Flat Resolution 1080p
Screen finish Matte Refresh rate 120Hz or 60Hz
Smart TV VIA Plus Remote Standard
3D technology No 3D glasses included N/A

Vizio E Series Features
Vizio's lone non-4K series for 2015 so far, the main feature of the E is full-array local dimming, which allows the LED backlight to dim or brighten different areas (known as zones) of the screen. It's the same augmentation found on more-expensive Vizios like the M-series and P-series, as well as crazy-expensive sets like the Samsung JS9500 and Sony XBR-75X940C. Those models have even more LEDs behind the screen and so can achieve superior light output and contrast -- and should provide better picture quality -- but the concept is the same.

Vizio is still the only TV maker to divulge the number of dimming zones on its so-equipped TVs. It varies according to size between 5 and 16 zones. The M series has 32 dimmable zones, and the P series 64. More zones generally equates to more precise control of dimming, and again, superior picture quality.

Like most LCD TVs these days, the LEDs that comprise the backlight are located behind the screen on the E series, rather than along the edge. In our experience those so-called edge-lit LED TVs, while certainly thinner, generally exhibit worse screen uniformity -- among other issues, they tend to be brighter along the edges of the picture.

The Vizio E series' specifications for "effective" refresh rate and Clear Motion Rate also vary for different sizes, and both numbers are basically fake. Like in past years, Vizio's "effective" number is double that of the true panel refresh rate. In other words, only the E65-C3 and the E70-C3 have true 120Hz panels, while the rest use 60Hz panels. Higher Hz numbers generally equate to improved motion resolution (less blurring). Also, only the 120Hz sets offer optional smoothing, otherwise known as the Soap Opera Effect. See our video processing section below for details.

Here's a table summarizing the main specification differences between the various sizes in the E series:

According to Vizio, the E65X-C2 is exclusive to Walmart. The E65-C3 is sold everywhere else aside from Walmart. The E40x-C2, meanwhile, is exclusive to Target, while the E40-C2 is sold everywhere else. I wasn't given a reason for the existence of two different 55-inch sizes. The only differences between the two 40-inch models and the two 55-inch models is slightly different bezel widths; they otherwise have the same features and picture quality, according to Vizio. The company's rep also said that the number after the C doesn't signify anything important.

VA or IPS: As you may have noticed in the chart above, Vizio is also mixing in two different types of LCD panels. Most of the E series, including all three we tested for this review, use VA (Vertical Alignment) panels, which in our experience deliver superior black level performance and overall picture quality compared to IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels.

In the 43-inch and 55-inch sizes, the TVs will start shipping with VA panels and then move to IPS panel technology later in the year. The reason for this unusual step, according to Vizio? "Since our volume in E-Series is so large, panel suppliers cannot keep up with the demand for certain sizes."

Vizio's rep added that it's difficult to say exactly when the IPS panels will cut in, but you can tell from the serial numbers. "If the 4th digit of the serial number is a J or 7, that unit uses an IPS panel. For example, LWZJSEARxxxxxxx or LTM7SHARxxxxxxx. All other serial numbers for 2015 E-Series will be units using VA panels."

In short, IPS panels will only be used in the 43- and 55-inch sizes, and the only way to tell one from another is via the serial number. Given past experience, I recommend avoiding buying a Vizio E series equipped with an IPS panel. See the P series review, where I performed hands-on reviews of both panel types, for details.
vizio e series
Smart TV: Pretty much identical to last year, the 2015 Vizio Internet Apps (VIA) Plus smart TV suite doesn't try to do too much--no fancy Tizen, WebOS or Android-powered voice commands, universal search or Web browsers here. That's fine with me, because I think the best Smart TV experience is provided by an external device like a Roku anyway.

If you decide to use Vizio for your apps instead of a streaming box or stick, you'll be greeted by a simple line of seven icons along the bottom when you hit the remote's central "V" key. Scrolling to the right brings up more, or you can hit "V" again for a full-screen interface. There you'll find all of the available apps neatly categorized, along with the ability to add, remove and reorder apps within the band.

Vizio's content selection is very good. HBO Go isn't available, and there are no major sports apps like MLB TV, NHL GameCenter, or NBA League Pass, but most of the other heavy-hitters for video are here, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu and Plex. Audio support is also solid, with iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Pandora and Spotify.

It's worth noting here that Vizio still uses the same involuntary software update system, and it's a drag. You can't simply check for updates manually -- you have to wait for them to be rolled out, and there's no way to opt out of receiving them (aside from disconnecting the TV from the network). I prefer the system used by most other TV makers, where you can manually check and opt out of automatic updates if you want.
vizio e series
Picture settings: The E series offers plenty of ways to tweak the image. There are six picture modes, all of which can be adjusted, and you can create and rename additional modes as needed. You can also lock modes to prevent accidental erasure.

Advanced tweaks include five gamma presets, a full color-management system and both a 2- and 11-point grayscale control. The "smoothing"-equipped sets get sliders for Reduce Judder and Reduce Motion Blur, while all sizes get a Clear Action option that engages backlight scanning. There's also an option Game Low Latency that reduces input lag.

Connectivity: As the chart above indicates, various Es get anywhere between two and four HDMI inputs. Most have three, which is plenty for a TV in this price range. All sizes have otherwise identical connectivity, including a single component/composite input for legacy analog-only gear, a USB port for photos, video and music from thumbdrives, and an optical digital and stereo analog outputs. Unlike most TV makers, Vizio actually allows surround sound to pass via its optical jack.

Picture quality
The E series has very good picture quality, and handily beat a more-expensive TV in our comparison, the Samsung UN55H6350. Its secret is deep black levels and very good overall contrast, with few of the blooming artifacts that plague some local dimming implementations. One tradeoff for the fewer number of dimming zones is a sacrifice in the brightness of highlights, but for the price its picture is still in a league of its own.

Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TVs picture controls worked during calibration.

Black level: All three of the 2015 E series sets delivered very impressive contrast performance, anchored by deep black levels. Each bested the three non-Vizio sets in the lineup, none of which have true local dimming, at achieving an inky black in the darkest parts of the shadowfest "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For."

The advantage was most evident in areas with large swaths of black screen, for example the opening title sequence, but also apparent in many instances of program material, for example the very early shot where Marv falls amid shards of shattered glass. In this case, the 55-inch and 40-inch E sets evinced the deepest black in the room, followed by the 65-inchers (P and E). That said, the sets with more dimming zones, namely the 65-inchers and the M series, handily beat the smaller sets in terms of the brightness of their highlights. I liked the P series' image best of all for contrast, but the Es were very close, and the 55-incher looked particularly impressive.

Blooming is an artifact on local dimming TVs where bright areas of the screen bleed over into darker ones. It was visible in some scenes on the E series, but it didn't detract from the image enough to make me prefer the non-dimming sets. The 65-incher seemed to show more blooming than the others, probably because it tried to show brighter highlights but has fewer zones than the P or the M.

Shadow detail can often be a problem on improperly implemented dimming systems, but it was solid on the E series. None of the sets crushed detail after proper adjustment; the folds in Marv's leather jacket and the shadows on his craggy face, for example, were preserved nicely.

The 65-inch set did show slightly lighter shadows than the others, and more variation from scene to scene, which seems to indicate its local dimming could use some refinement. Among the three E series sets it was my least favorite overall in this category, but its contrast and black levels were still very good.

Color accuracy: According to the charts, the E series sets were all superb in this category, delivering scores in the major grayscale and gamut accuracy that were well below the nominal threshold of human perception (delta errors less than 3) after calibration. Even prior to calibration they were still excellent in their Calibrated Dark picture settings.

I swapped in "The Tree of Life," and Chapter 5: Innocence looked great, from the depth of the green grass to the blue of the sky and Mr. O'Brien's shirt to the goldfish's orange scales. Skin tones were on the money too, including the baby's and the toddler's delicate faces.

All of the comparison TVs looked good enough in these scenes, although the TCL and the Sharp lagged behind the others. That said the Samsung showed no major advantage over the Vizios, and the E series more than kept up with the M and the P in this arena.

Video processing: Aside from the E65-C3 and the E70-C3, all of the E series sets lack the option to engage smoothing, aka the Soap Opera Effect, so they're fairly simple in terms of video processing. The 40-inch and 55-inch sizes I tested both delivered proper 1080p/24 cadence with film-based sources, and motion resolution (blur reduction) typical of their 60Hz panels: 300 lines, unless I turned on Clear Action, which upped that number to 900 in the case of the 40-incher, and an impressive 1,200 for the 55-inch set. Unfortunately CA also introduced significant flicker in addition to hampering light output, so I left it turned off.

The E65-C3 was a different beast, as you might expect from a TV with a 120Hz panel. Its menu offers slider settings for Reduce Blur and Reduce Judder. Confusingly, Reduce Blur has very little visible effect on blurring compared to the other settings, so I basically left it at the default (5).

Setting Reduce Judder to zero eliminated smoothing and preserved the proper 1080p/24 cadence of film. Going higher progressively introduced more smoothing, and I appreciated that the steps were gradual, allowing a user to dial in just a touch if the judder becomes bothersome, or if he or she wants to reduce blur (maximize motion resolution).

To reduce burring as much as possible, you'll need to implement a Judder setting of 1 or higher -- in other words, you'll have to introduce some smoothing -- and turn on Clear Action. With those settings, the set delivered a respectable 800 lines according to our test, but with Clear Action turned off it barely hit 400, and when we turned both Clear Action and Judder to zero that number dropped to 300. Unlike the others, CA on the 65-inch set didn't flicker as badly, but I left it off anyway because it still cut light output quite a bit.

In sum, the 65-inch E series forces the same tradeoff as usual between reducing blur and preserving proper film cadence. I prefer to preserve the look of film and I rarely notice blurring, so for 24-frame content (typically movies and scripted TV shows) I'd keep Clear Action off, Reduce Judder to zero and leave Reduce Motion Blur (which had minimal effect in any setting) at its default of 5.
The E series' Game Low Latency setting had no effect with the 40- and 55-inch sets -- it seems to be basically a placebo -- but it doesn't matter they turned in lag scores of 46ms (the happy end of Average) and 30 (very good) respectively. On the 65-incher, it reduced input lag from a horrendous 130ms to a merely bad 74ms. Suffice to say that serious gamers should stick with the 60Hz Es.
Uniformity: As I'd expect from a direct-lit LCD, the E series was very good in this category, with no major blotchiness or uneven lighting on the screens of any of the three review samples I tested. The Sharp and the Samsung, if you're keeping track, were a good deal worse, but the others were similarly uniform.

With test patterns including bright and mid-bright (gray) full fields, some backlight structure and vignetting (where the edges of the screen are darker than the middle) was visible, but again it was minor for LCD TVs and didn't show up in program material. The vignetting was more visible on th 55- and 65-inch sets, while the 40-incher did show a very slightly brighter bottom area.

From off-angle they were typical of VA panels, evincing some color shift and worse black level fidelity as I moved to either side. None of the other sets had a big advantage or disadvantage in this category. Bright lighting: The matte screens of the E series are ideal for brightly lit rooms, minimizing reflections and doing a very good job preserving black levels. None of the sets in my lineup this time use a glossy screen, and they're all more or less great in this category.

Sound quality: The E series' sound was much more in line with their price: dirt cheap. The E55 sounded "best" but it was still hollow and muddy-sounding. The 40-incher has an annoying scratchiness and the 65-incher distorted at volume, and none could compete with the sound of the P series or the Samsung. They'll be fine for light duty or watching the news, but if you want any aural impact at all you should mate the E with a decent sound bar or speaker system.

By Caleb Denison
Each year for the past 10 years, here a group of highly-regarded TV reviewers, top ISF-certified calibrators, enthusiastic videophiles, and an interested public have converged at Value Electronics in Scarsdale, NY to pit the industry’s best TVs against each other and pick a winner. That’s not exactly what happened this time around. Robert Zohn, Founder and President at Value Electronics, moved the event up on the calendar and out of his store to coincide with CE Week in Manhattan. Held in a private room at the Altman Building, the event was considerably larger, with higher attendance and, therefore, a bigger pool of voters. The verdict? LG’s EG9600 4K UHD OLED took the crown, hands down.

The LG OLED had some tough competition this year, namely the Samsung JS9500 SUHD TV, and Sony’s X940C. In fact, Zohn told Digital Trends that it was effectively a tie for second place. “All of the TVs performed exceptionally as these are the flagship models from LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony,” said Zohn. “LG’s 65EG9600 OLED won in 5 of the 7 categories. Samsung and Sony scored so very close it would be only fair to say they tie for 2nd place.”

Apparently, while some folks didn’t like the curved screen on the Samsung, for example, others were opposed to the Sony’s large side-mounted speakers. In the end, however, all agreed both LCD-based televisions were outstanding — just not outstanding enough to take the trophy.

What put the OLED over the top this year was the same thing that cinched the top prize for last year’s LG 55-inch 1080p OLED: perfect blacks. The OLED is unique in its ability to pull off this trick while still offering outstanding brightness, resulting in tremendous contrast — an aspect most experts agree is the most critical factor in picture quality.

Experts noted a few flaws with the LG OLED, and wound up honing in on one issue in particular: slightly dimmed edges on the far left and right sides of the panel. In fact, some reviewers dug in deep to expose the issue and make it clearly visible to onlookers. One presenter used a notoriously difficult scene from a Harry Potter film to make the dimmed edges more apparent.

But the general audience’s vote wasn’t swayed. If the slightly dimmed edges were visible to them during casual viewing at all, it wasn’t enough to influence their decision. The LG EG9600 OLED took lead honors, with its excellent off-axis performance, vibrant color, and excellent webOS 2.0 user interface all helping to dazzle onlookers. And the pros agreed: “I was happy to see the pro voting results closely matched the general attendees,” Zohn said.

Of course, the shootout does little to take price into consideration, so the notion of value doesn’t play a role. If it did, it’s possible that voters might have been swayed a different direction. Presently, the 65-inch version of LG’s EG9600 OLED goes for $9,000. A comparably sized Samsung JS9500 SUHD comes in at nearly half that figure ($5,000), and the Sony X940C, which is only available in a 75-inch version, runs $8,000.

You can get yours today at the guaranteed lowest price available.

LG Electronics 55EC9300 55-Inch 1080p 3D Curved OLED TV (2015 Model)

LG Electronics 55EG9600 55-inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Curved Smart OLED TV (2015 Model)

LG Electronics 65EC9700 65-inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Curved Smart OLED TV (2015 Model)

LG Electronics 65EG9600 65-inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Curved Smart OLED TV (2015 Model)

Things to Consideration When Buying a TV

By Oliver Amnuayphol
Not long ago, cialis choosing a flat-panel HDTV was much easier: Figure out the right size for your room, store decide between LCD and plasma, choose between 720p and 1080p, and you’re off and running.
My, how times have changed. Nowadays, picture quality has significantly improved across all types of displays, but with all of their recent technological advancements, there’s more to consider than ever before: Stick with 2D, or go 3D? What about active vs. passive 3D? How about LED TVs? What is a Smart TV? And what’s with all this Ultra HD and OLED stuff anyway? With this HDTV buyer’s guide, we’ll cover all of these considerations so that you’ll know what to look for in your next display.

Looking to get the most TV for your money? Check out our guide to the Best TVs, or check out our TV Reviews to get more details on a specific model.

To 3D or not to 3D, that is the question
For the majority of buyers, good old-fashioned 2D TV still makes up most, if not all, of their viewing for now and the foreseeable future. So if 3D viewing isn’t yet a priority, start your search by looking at more entry-level models. Many of them serve up 2D images that exceed what you could get at much higher prices just a few years ago.

But even if you aren’t sold on 3D, chances are good that you’ll be looking at a 3D-capable TV anyway. Many of 3D’s video processing technologies also result in excellent 2D reproduction, meaning that 3D capability adds little price premium to mid- and top-tier TVs.
Whether you’re ready to invest a small fortune in 3D Pixar Blu-rays or have just begrudgingly accepted that your next TV will support 3D, the next question is whether you’ll want passive or active 3D.

Passive 3D
Available on some LCD TVs, passive 3D is very similar to what you would experience in a movie theater: Two images are displayed simultaneously on the screen, while polarized glasses filter the correct image to each eye, producing a 3D effect. This approach produces a brighter overall picture and better odd-angle viewing than active 3D. However, since two images must share the same screen resolution, each eye effectively sees half the available total resolution. On the plus side, passive glasses tend to cost very little compared to active glasses. You might pay $10 to $30 on average for passive glasses, while active shades can easily cost up to $150 — an important consideration if you need to purchase additional glasses for other viewers. If you’re looking to get into 3D on an entry-level budget, consider passive 3D displays.

Active 3D
Active 3D glasses use battery-powered LCD lenses to block each eye in sync with a TV that alternates showing right- and left-eye images, creating a 3D effect. Since each eye sees a full-resolution 1080p frame, active 3D has inherently higher resolution than passive 3D. Note that plasma displays can only use active 3D due to their picture technology. That shouldn’t deter you if 3D picture quality is what you’re after, since many critics agree that active 3D on a plasma TV produces the most realistic overall effect, with greater image depth, less ghosting and lower motion blur.
For a deeper look at the differences between active and passive, check out our full guide to active versus passive 3D technology.

Plasma vs. LCD
Though both technologies have evolved to eliminate many of their caveats, differences between plasma and LCD technologies do still exist. How you will use your TV can help determine which type will best fit your needs.

When will you be watching?
If you plan on watching your set mostly during the day or in a well-lit room, consider an LCD display. LCD TVs can create brighter images than plasmas, which helps to offset any excessive room or ambient lighting in brighter than optimum conditions.

If, however you’ll be watching TV mostly at night or in a darkened room, plasmas may be your best choice: Since plasma pixels can be almost completely turned off during dark scenes or portions of the image, they are capable of deeper black levels compared to LCD TVs. Overall, plasma TVs produce greater picture depth, more realistically textured images, and richer colors. Plasma sets also have a wider viewing angle than LCD TVs, so if off-center viewing will be important, a plasma TV may be just what the home theater doctor ordered.

What will you be watching?
If you’re mostly watching films, or looking for the most cinematic picture possible, chances are good you’ll gravitate towards plasma displays: The consensus among A/V enthusiasts is that plasmas have a noticeable edge over LCDs in terms of overall picture quality and are capable of delivering a more film-like experience. Plasmas use an emissive display technology (i.e. self-lighting pixels) and color phosphors, which means there’s no motion lag or lighting inconsistencies, unlike their LCD counterparts. The results are smoother, more accurate motion; deeper, more consistent black levels; and better picture detail.

Unfortunately for enthusiasts, the future of plasma display technology looks uncertain. As of this writing, there’s much back-and-forth as to whether Panasonic, one of the last remaining plasma producers, will continue with plasma displays in the long term (see our original story, and subsequent update, here and here). If you had your heart set on plasma, now may be your last and only chance to get your mitts on one.

If on the other hand you’ll be watching lots of standard TV programming, viewing static images, or doing some heavy gaming, LCDs may be the way to go: Since they use transmissive technology (a separate light source to shine through the pixels — hence the “backlighting” for LCD TVs) instead of phosphors, there’s no potential for image retention or screen burn-in. If your TV will be on for most of the day or you’re concerned with energy efficiency, LCD displays generally consume less power than plasmas, possibly resulting in a lower power bill. Lastly, LCD sets are available in smaller sizes — down to 19 inches or so — while plasmas only come in sizes 42 inches and larger, so if you’re looking for a small set for that second room or kitchen area, LCD TVs will be your only choice.

What about LED TVs?
Thus far we’ve talked exclusively about traditional LCD and plasma TVs, but there’s also a third category to consider: the LED TV. Despite some reports to the contrary, an LED TV is a type of LCD TV, not a separate technology: The difference lies in the backlighting method. Typical LCD screens light their images with a fluorescent backlight placed behind the pixels; red, blue and green color filters are then used to create the colors you see on the screen. LED TVs, on the other hand, use LEDs as the light source, allowing for better control over lighting and dimming of the image. Consequently, LED displays use the least energy of any flat-panel technology out there, due to their inherently lower power consumption. LED TVs can be configured in two ways: full-array backlit or edge-lit.

Full array backlit
In a full-array LED TV, many clusters of LEDs are arrayed across the back of the screen to light the image; this allows for full-array sets that can also feature local-dimming, whereby individual or small groups of LEDs can be separately dimmed or even completely shut off in dark areas of the picture. This results in more accurate contrast and brightness, deeper black levels, and richer color saturation over standard, fluorescently-lit LCD sets; many folks also think Full-Array LED sets can rival plasma displays in terms of overall picture quality. Unfortunately, displays with these technologies are still at the upper end of the price range, but if you’re looking for the best LCD-type displays available, Full-Array LED TVs with local-dimming will look noticeably superior.

In an edge-lit LED TV, the LEDs are arranged around the edges of display. The light they produce then gets evenly spread across the screen with a light guide. Since the LEDs aren’t directly behind the screen, these TVs can be amazingly thin, making edge-lit LED TVs the thinnest on the market. Of course, there’s a catch: Edge-lit displays can be prone to minor brightness “hot-spotting,” which results in some non-uniform light intensity on really bright images, or patchy, un-even blacks on dark movies scenes. Still, these drawbacks are minor, and in practical use they’re seldom noticeable. Since many buyers are drawn to the ultra-slim form factor of edge-lit designs anyway, most are willing to trade a little picture quality for more pleasing aesthetics.

The smart TV: Streaming apps and connectivity features
A smart TV is one that can be connected to the Internet to access content like streaming video, music, and entertainment apps, like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu and Pandora. More and more of today’s flat panels include built-in Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity to make this a reality. These TVs are perfect if you plan on watching a lot of streaming content without tethering yourself to your computer. Many of them also include peripheral inputs (like a USB or DVI input) and memory card slots so you can use your TV as your computer monitor, or view images straight from your camera or phone. With streaming content availability and home Internet access on the rise, you can be sure that there will be plenty more smart TV features in the years to come.

Ultra HD TVs
If you’re reading this because you’re doing your homework before making a purchase (gold star for you!), there’s an emerging category of televisions coming down the pike that you should be aware of—Ultra HD TVs, aka 4K TVs. The 4K number stands for the lines of resolution these TVs are capable of (either 4,196 x 2,160 or 3,840 x 2,160), which results in a max resolution that’s about four times greater than the current HD standard at 1,080 x 1,920 lines. This increased resolution should result in noticeably improved picture quality for very large screen sizes, where image pixelization becomes more discernable at current HD resolutions. Note the increase in resolution does nothing to fix the motion lag typical of LCD TVs, and so far, all Ultra HD displays that have been announced as imminent are of the LCD variety.

Keep in mind however that the possibility of watching real 4K-quality images in your home is also purely theoretical at this point: Although many commercial theaters have been displaying native 4K images for some time now, as of this writing, there isn’t any domestically-available Ultra HD source material to speak of. What’s more, the jury is still out on whether 4K resolution results in any noticeable improvements for today’s typical screen sizes of about 55 or 65 inches. If you’re not in the market for anything bigger than standard, Ultra HD may be an irrelevant consideration.
There is however one current TV feature that would undoubtedly benefit from Ultra HD’s increased resolution, and that’s passive 3D processing. Since passive 3D displays cut the total resolution to each eye in half, using Ultra HD technology here should result in noticeably superior images over what’s currently available. This may be an important consideration if you’ll be interested in 3D technology at the lower end of the price spectrum sometime in the not-so-near future.

In simplified terms, OLEDs operate by putting electricity directly into “organic” materials (hence the “O” in OLED) such as carbon that emit the red, green or blue colors required to form a TV’s colored image. Since these pixel-sized materials are directly lit, they radiate light across their entire surface area, which results in pictures that are much brighter, richer, deeper, and better color-saturated than any existing TV technology available today.

Moreover, OLED TVs can be made much thinner than current production televisions due to their directly-lit design. LG, for example, recently demoed a super-light, super energy-efficient OLED display that was about as thick as a pencil. There’s even talk of making OLED screens that are paper-thin someday or even wall-paintable. All of which means that, by all accounts, OLED display technology promises to have the best of everything: awesome picture quality, inconspicuous form factor, and low energy consumption compared to today’s best and brightest TVs.
Of course, you’ve probably been about OLED displays for some time now and are probably wondering, “What’s the hold-up?” The answer is more or less twofold: manufacturing consistencies and longevity. For a more detailed discussion, see our opinion on the current state of OLED—and Ultra HD—here. Only time will tell whether OLED becomes a viable reality, but we’re certainly crossing our fingers for it—it’s the most stunning picture we’ve seen yet.

Cheat sheet
If you’ve read this far, you are now armed with all the knowledge you need to find the perfect flat-panel TV. Now get out there and shop! Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most important points:
• If you’re looking for 3D on a budget, look towards passive 3D in LCD TVs; for the best 3D experience possible, look at active 3D in plasmas.
• Plasmas tend to look best for darkened, theater-like rooms; LCD displays perform better in bright rooms.
• Many enthusiasts still prefer plasmas for overall picture quality and the most film-like experience.
• When it comes to energy efficiency, LCD TVs (and particularly LED-lit LCD TVs) typically outperform plasmas.
• LCD screens don’t experience “burn in,” making them preferable for gaming, showing static images or connecting to a PC.
• Full-array backlit LED TVs use local dimming to achieve better contrast levels, but usually come in at the top of the price range.
• Edge-lit LED TVs have thinnest form factor possible, but don’t look quite as good as full-array models.
• Plasma displays don’t get any smaller than 42 inches, LCD TVs are available in almost any size.


The Good The LG 55EC9300 OLED TV's picture betters that of any LCD or plasma TV, with perfect black levels and exceedingly bright whites. It's equally adept in bright and dark rooms, showed accurate color, and looks better from off-angle than any LED LCD. Its 1080p resolution is plenty for a 55-inch screen. The TV looks striking in person, with organic curves and an insane 0.25-inch depth on most of its body.

The Bad Albeit the most-affordable OLED TV yet, the 55EC9300 is still very expensive for a 55-inch TV. Its video processing and color accuracy don't measure up to that of the best TVs, and the curved screen introduces some artifacts.

The Bottom Line The LG 55EC9300 lives up to the promise of OLED with the best picture quality of any TV we've ever reviewed.
Videophiles who mourn the loss of plasma, take heart: OLED is better, and thanks to LG it's finally getting cheaper.

The LG 55EC9300 is the cheapest OLED TV yet--the 11-inch Sony XEL-1 from 2008 doesn't count--but $3K for 55 inches is still really expensive. (In Australia it's AU$3999 and the model is the EC930T.) On the other hand, considering that its 2013 predecessor launched for five times as much, it's great progress in a year, and just a few hundred more than some other flagship 55-inchers. And if you're curious, the 4K versions start at 10 grand, and anyway that resolution would be a waste at this screen size.

Even before you turn it on, no other TV looks like an OLED. Weighing just over 30 pounds, the panel is thinner than even the slimmest LED LCD, and the curved screen sits easily atop the equally graceful stand. Even the slimmest plasma looks chunky next to this airy OLED TV.

And about that picture quality. Last year I called the Panasonic ZT60 plasma TV "the best-performing TV we've ever reviewed." That's no longer the case, because the LG 55EC9300 is better. It reproduces darker blacks and brighter whites, for sumptuous images (and I don't say this lightly) you have to see to believe. LG bobbled the color accuracy and video processing somewhat, and yes, I wish it was flat, but none of those problems spoil OLED's supremacy. As long as I wasn't seated too far away, I'd rather watch an LG 55EC9300 than any plasma, any day of the week.

Of course the ZT60 is gone, never to be replaced, and the best current plasma TV is also not long for this world. The next picture quality battle will be fought between LED LCD and OLED. For this review I compared two of the best new 4K-resolution LED LCD TVs to LG's OLED, and the outcome was never in question. The LG 55EC9300 is easily the best-performing TV you can buy today, and I'd be surprised if any future LCD surpassed it.

People like me gush about the picture quality of OLED TVs, but their futuristic razor-thin design will appeal to many TV shoppers even more strongly. This is easily the best-looking TV I've seen this year, and one of the best designs I've ever reviewed.

Unlike the chunky Samsung KN55S9C, the LG 55EC9300 takes full advantage of OLED's ability to shrink the depth of the panel to a fraction of an inch. Most of the LG TV measures an incredible quarter-inch thick.

Spoiling the pencil-thin profile is the need for stuff like speakers, a power supply, and, you know, enough body to house the HDMI ports and other connections. All of that lives in a central section that bulges the rear out to a thickness of about an inch and a half.

Like every other OLED TV save one, and like many newfangled LCD TVs, the LG 55EC9300 is curved. In person the curve appears slightly less drastic than that of the Samsung UNHU9000 but it's still obvious, especially when seen from off-angle.

LG complemented the curve with a graceful, organically curved stand in matte silver that really adds to the TV's gorgeous looks. It provides the requisite floating quality yet still gives the lightweight TV plenty of stability. It doesn't swivel. You can also remove the stand to wall-mount the TV using a special hanger, model OSW100, and a VESA standard wall-mount.

The remote is a smaller version of the motion clicker I liked so much on sets like the LA8600 from 2013. The new wand is even more compact and button-averse, and unfortunately now lacks backlighting, but I still like it a lot. It fits comfortably in the hand and places all keys, including the brilliant scroll wheel, within easy thumb access. The organic shape still naturally upright on a coffee table, and the clicker doesn't need to be pointed at the TV to function.

The motion-control aspect, where you wave the wand to move a cursor around the screen much like a Nintendo Wii game controller, simply works. It makes for substantially quicker navigation than a standard remote, especially when dealing with lots of items on-screen at once. Control was pleasingly precise after I chose the "slow" pointer speed, and I loved the scroll wheel for whizzing through long menus.
I'm still annoyed that the "select/OK" action, the most commonly used function on any remote, is a down-press on the scroll wheel. The click is too stiff, and worse, I often scrolled accidentally when trying to simply click. Another annoyance is that the cursor seemed to disappear too frequently, necessitating a button-press or vigorous shake to bring back up. These issues, as well as the LG's reliance on menus instead of buttons for functions like Play and Fast-Forward, and are the main reasons I like Samsung's 2014 remote better.

I was initially very impressed by the design of LG's Web OS system, but after living with it and using it for a few days on the EC9300, I discovered some flaws. LG's deep settings menus are tailored for the motion aspect with bigger icons and numerous layers, but they're awkward at times, particularly during calibration. Those settings menus often take a while to load as well, although the actual Smart TV menus seemed responsive enough.

LG 55EC9300 Key Features

Display technology: OLED LED backlight: N/A
Screen shape: Curved Resolution: 1080p
Smart TV: Yes Remote: Motion
Cable box control: Yes IR blaster: Built-in
3D technology: Passive 3D glasses included: 4 pair
Screen finish: Glossy Refresh rate: 240Hz
DLNA-compliant: Photo/Music/Video USB media: Photo/Music/Video
Screen mirroring: Yes Control via app Yes

Other: Optional Skype camera (AN-VC500, $60), Dual-Play 3D glasses (AV-F400DP, $22 for 2 pair)

As a display technology OLED is much closer to plasma than to LED LCD. Where the latter relies on a backlight shining through an LCD panel to create the picture, with OLED and plasma each individual sub-pixel is responsible for creating illumination. That's why OLED and plasma are known as "emissive" and LED LCD as "transmissive" displays.

There's also more than one type of OLED display. Traditional emissive TVs like Samsung's KN55S9C OLED and most plasmas use three subpixels, one each for RGB (red, green, and blue), to create each actual pixel. LG's WRGB OLED TV system, on the other hand, uses OLED material of all three colors sandwiched together, in combination with four filters (clear [or white], red, green, and blue) for each pixel. The additional white subpixel in the LG design is said to add brightness, helping power efficiency. Check out "What is OLED TV?" for more.

For picture quality buffs, OLED is the ultimate display technology, but it's not perfect. In addition to unresolved questions of brightness reduction over time, OLED is more subject to burn-in than LED LCD. The manual reads: "If a fixed image displays on the TV for a long period of time, it will...become a permanent disfigurement on the screen. This...burn-in is not covered by the warranty." It advises owners to avoid displaying 4:3 aspect ratio images and other fixed images for longer than an hour at a time.

Of course, LG's plasma and even its LCD manuals say pretty much the exact same thing, with "long period" defined as "2 or more hours for LCD, 1 or more hour for plasma." In my testing I noticed that the OLED behaved much like a plasma in this regard, retaining certain bright static images, such as test patterns, at about the same rate plasma, but I didn't actually "test" burn-in further than that.

The LG 55EC9300 TV has a curved screen, of which we're not big fans. If you want a flat-screen OLED TV, your only current option is LG's 55-inch "Gallery" model, called the 55EA8800 in the US, which can be found for $5,000. You read that right: the flat OLED costs $2,000 more than the curved one -- the opposite of the pricing situation with curved LCD TVs.

The LG 55EC9300 TV has "only" 1080p resolution, not 4K. LG wants 10 grand for its cheapest 4K OLED, however, and since at 55 inches the benefits of 4K are scant to nonexistent, I'm not complaining.
LG's passive 3D technology makes an appearance on the 55EC9300, complete with two pairs of white glasses and two pairs of clip-ons, designed for glasses-wearing folk like me. If you purchase special glasses (about $22 for two pairs) you can take advantage of the Dual-Play feature that allows you to play split-screen games on the entire screen.

Smart TV: The 55EC9300 enjoys LG's Web OS suite, which offers a refreshingly simple design and all the capabilities you'd expect from a high-end smart system. That said, it could still use some refinement, and while I prefer it overall to Samsung's more crowded 2014 smart TV offering, my favorite is still Roku TV for its dead-simple layout, easy customization, and profusion of apps.

LG Electronics 55EC9300 - Get it now and SAVE $800

LG's interface immediately impressed me with its thoughtful, colorful layout. Hitting the Home button on the remote brings up a band of diagonally aligned, pastel "cards," lying atop but not obscuring whatever program or app you're watching at the moment. That program stays full-screen as opposed to shrinking to an inset window in favor of of icons, menus, and/or ads.

Notably, Vizio and Sharp have been taking the same approach for years with their simpler overlay bands, and in 2014 Samsung's smart interface is also less intrusive than before, with a similar band of app icons as its initial offering. But LG's interface is prettier than any of those, and the icon band seems more natural and organic.

You can customize and reorder the band to populate it with your favorite apps, and like Roku TV, WebOS aims to treats everything equally. So Netflix and Pandora get cards, of course, but HDMI 1 and 2 do as well, along with the Web browser and local media available from USB or DLNA (WebOS also supports Plex). If you set up cable box control, the name of the input changes to that of your cable system.

Many smart TV systems require multiple "pages" to show all of the content, but WebOS takes a novel approach. Click to the left of the main band, which LG envisions as "The Past," and a history of the last few apps and other functions used appears. Conversely, the right of the band is "The Future"(above) where reside the additional apps and functions you can launch and/or add to the main band in the middle.

Another click to the "LG Store" takes you to the fire hose; the many many other smaller apps as well as, confusingly, on-demand and live TV offerings too. That's where the design starts to fall apart. The store is a hodgepodge, grouping together TV shows and movies from cable and streaming services, along with apps, in a confusing muddle of thumbnails seemingly designed to overwhelm. Once you delve in, many items are decently categorized, but the paginated system is much more opaque than Samsung or Roku.

The system has most of major apps covered, with the exception of HBO Go and Showtime Anytime, and in general Samsung and especially Roku offer a wider selection.

The Web browser is also not as polished as Samsung's, but it beats the pathetic offerings found on other smart platforms, and the motion remote greatly eases navigation and typing with the onscreen keyboard easier. Still, you'll want to use your phone, tablet, or PC browser first.

Voice search is accurate enough and does hit your TV listings, but without DVR integration those results are useless. Search also seems to default to opening the browser too often, and wasn't accurate enough to be something I'd want to use regularly. It hits Netflix and Vudu but not Amazon or Hulu Plus, and depending on the term, can surface a crazy-long list of results seemingly unfiltered for relevance, with thumbnails crowded into a tiny side window.

You can also control a cable box with the system. I didn't test that feature this time around, but I was told it's similar to last year; see the LA8600 review if you're curious.
The system felt quick and responsive most of the time, with few delays in bringing up content and other screens, although again it wasn't quite as nimble as Roku.

LG 55EC9300 TV Picture settings: LG doesn't stint in this area, with plenty of presets and lots of tweaks for calibrators, particularly in the Expert 1 and Expert 2 settings banks. The main determinant of light output is an OLED LIGHT setting, similar to a backlight control on an LCD TV. The set also offers a few dejudder/smoothing presets and a custom mode that allows you to dial in as much or as little blur and/or soap opera effect as you desire. Two-point and 20-point grayscale, a full color management system, and selectable gamma round out the calibrators' toolbox.

Connectivity:LG 55EC9300 TV The back panel houses a quartet of HDMI (one ARC, another with MHL), three USB ports, a composite and a component AV input, and an Ethernet port. That's standard in every way for a TV at this level, and I have no complaints.
As with other LG TVs we've tested, the 55EC9300 is incapable of passing full 5.1 audio from HDMI out via its optical digital jack; it dumbs Dolby Digital down to PCM stereo.

You can get yours today at the guaranteed lowest price available.

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