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.
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