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File: high-end televisions compared – what is the best TV?

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Your decision is certain. This year you buy one of the best televisions on the market. Top image quality is of course at the top of your list. And you go for 55 or 65 inch, that much is certain. Which TV deserves that place in your living room?

What do we mean by 'high-end'?

A high-end television of 55 or 65 inch, with superior image quality, spacious HDR support and good ease of use. The price is less important, but of course we remain attentive to a good buy. In terms of design, you can expect really beautiful and beautifully finished models in this category, but that of course remains something very personal. We also expect an excellent smart TV experience, with apps that let us enjoy high-quality content. Voting assistants are on the rise, but we know that support for the Netherlands remains a pain for the time being.

4K or 8K

Those who really want to shop high-end can now opt for an 8K model. But the offer in that segment is still very small and considerably more expensive. Moreover, the usefulness of 8K in the living room is fairly limited. Yes, it can take away the last scraps of artificial impression of a digital image, but that requires 8K content. That offer is currently non-existent. You should also not expect 8K video in the near future. Even for 4K we are not quite there yet. Those who want to enjoy 4K in Belgium and in the Netherlands depend on streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray. The channel offer in 4K is very small. Given the required bandwidth of 8K, that will certainly be quite some years in the future.

HDMI 2.1 or not?

There is a lot to be done around the introduction of HDMI 2.1 . But only LG offers fully equipped HDMI 2.1 connections on its devices this year. Is that a real handicap for other manufacturers? We elaborate on this in a background piece in FWD 74, but this is the short summary. HDMI 2.1 essentially offers four new things: a higher bandwidth and three new features (ALLM, VRR and eARC ). That higher bandwidth is required for 8K resolutions and for High Frame Rate (HFR) content. But for now HFR content is only available through gaming consoles and the chance that we will also see HFR content on television or via streaming within this and five years is not very high.

ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) are two features that are specifically intended for gaming. With ALLM, the television automatically switches to Game image mode when you start gaming on the connected game console. VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) ensures that you have a smooth gaming experience, without cracks in the image or stuttering images. This is important because, unlike a Blu-ray player or other image source, a game console does not provide a constant frame rate. Of course, the game console must also support both features!

eARC often seems the most useful. Extended ARC (Audio Return Channel) offers a higher bandwidth so that now Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio can flow to your audio solution along this route. But that utility is limited. The lossless audio codecs are only used on Blu-ray and if you do use an external audio solution, you better connect the player directly to it. Streaming apps will only use Dolby Digital Plus for a very long time and that is possible via the existing ARC connection. eARC is certainly not a must and certainly not if you do not use external audio.

Dolby Atmos

In the specifications we read Dolby Atmos more often. But what does that mean in concrete terms? Dolby Atmos is a new object-oriented sound format that also sounds high-altitude sound. That promises, but in practice a lot of conditions have to be met before you really enjoy Dolby Atmos. To begin with, you must of course use Atmos content. This can come via streaming (Netflix) or discs. Next, you must be able to play television or pass that content on to an external audio setup. But even on televisions that support Atmos, the result is often limited. That is not surprising, the speaker arrangement of a TV, even a high-end model such as this one, is not really sufficient to create a real Atmos experience. If you really want the best audio solution then you have to choose a soundbar or AV receiver, which in turn should also be equipped for Atmos. Then you often have to activate a setting on the television in the sound menu so that Atmos is transmitted. So be well informed if you find this important.

High Dynamic Range

HDR is now a fixed part of the specifications of most televisions. In addition to HDR10 and HLG, which are universally supported, there are two standards for dynamic metadata: Dolby Vision and HDR10 + . It still remains to be seen whether one of the two will prevail, or whether both standards will gain a place in the market. In that respect, support for both standards is a nice plus. And this year, for the first time, manufacturers are supplying this.

Nothing has changed in terms of peak brightness and color range. OLED delivers the best contrast and decent brightness. LCD delivers the best brightness and good contrast. In terms of color range, they are almost equivalent, although for the brightest colors an LCD model does have a small advantage.

What is the best high-end TV of the moment?

In this file we discuss five high-end end televisions of the larger brands, looking in particular at the image performance. In some cases, models can be found higher up in the line-up, but they have the same panel with (mostly) the same image performance. Below you will find the conclusions from each of the reviews, with a link to the full review.

LG OLED65C9PLA

With the OLED65C9PLA, LG puts down a very nice and good reference against which other OLED models will compete this year. . To really complete the picture we would have liked to see HDR10 + in the list of HDR formats. That is immediately the most important comment we have. ThinQ AI still only partially works in Dutch, we hope to see this resolved this year. It is difficult to ignore the price, especially given the steep fall in prices of last year's models.

The stylish C9 series has more than just the looks. The image quality is excellent in both SDR and HDR. The particularly good calibration guarantees impressive images. The second-generation Alpha9 processor builds well on last year's performance, and delivers a number of small but handsome improvements: AI brightness enhances HDR display in a lot of ambient light, 'smooth gradations' efficiently removes most color bands, and dynamic tone mapping delivers clearer images . Basic performance is unchanged from last year, so LCD TVs continue to claim the brightness crown, but OLED remains the champion for contrast and black display. WebOS also got some small but well-chosen improvements, and it strengthens its place with the best smart TV systems.

Also read the full LG C9 series review .

Cons

  • None HDR10 +
  • ThinQ AI not yet fully usable in Dutch

Advantages

  • Image processing
  • Color rendering
  • Contrast, black value
  • Excellent HDR images
  • HDMI 2.1 with spacious feature set
  • Excellent sound , including Atmos

Homecinema Magazine
Rating
9.5 10 Eric Beeckmans product

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Source: kieskeurig.nl [19659056] View

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Panasonic TX-55GZW954 (NL) / TX-55GZ950 (BE)

It is difficult to find a real downside on this Panasonic GZW954 / GZ950 series. Now that we think about it, we would also like eARC and VRR on the HDMI connections. But as we already told earlier those features are only important for gamers or for very specific audio setups. Yes, the sound can be slightly better, but at normal volumes it performs well.

Pluses, this TV has it in abundance. Panasonic sets a clear reference with the TX-55GZW954 / TX-55GZ950. This is perfect color reproduction, this is almost perfect black detail. The device scores excellent on image processing, even in our most difficult test scenes. The peak brightness of the OLED screen is one of the best in the range. The device offers all HDR formats and is also practically perfectly calibrated in HDR. A fantastic result for the film fan, but also a beautiful screen for every television viewer, and even for gamers thanks to the very low input lag. The nice Smart Home 4.0 smart TV interface, double TV tuner and double CA slot are great extras. The price tag also gets our approval, in short a top TV!

Also read the full Panasonic GZW954 series review .

Advantages

  • Reference color reproduction in HDR and SDR
  • Top contrast and black detail
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10 +
  • Excellent image processing

Homecinema Magazine
Review
10.0 10 Eric Beeckmans product

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Source: kieskeurig.nl

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Source: kieskeurig.nl

Philips 55OLED804

The Philips 55OLED804 is a great successor to the topper from 2018. The Android chipset got a small upgrade, and is now a bit smoother, but was still a bit more powerful. This is, after all, a premium TV. In the same respect, we would have liked a slightly more premium feeling with the remote. But last year's major flaw has been eliminated: Philips now supports all major HDR formats, including HDR10 + and Dolby Vision.

The new P5 image processing chip, together with the OLED panel, delivers mesmerizing images. Philips achieves the highest brightness and delivers excellent black detail. In addition, impressive accurate color reproduction is added, as does Sony and Panasonic. With Perfect Natural Reality, the Philips has an important asset that gives all your content a handsome HDR tint. Excellent sound quality, the latest Android TV version and Ambilight make this a fully equipped TV. The price is also very competitive. Highly recommended, without reservation.

Also read the full Philips OLED804 series review .

Cons

  • Improved Android chipset, but a bit too weak for top model
  • Remote feels a bit cheap

Advantages

  • Third generation P5 image processing
  • Perfect Natural Reality
  • Color rendering
  • Contrast, black value and shadow detail
  • Ambilight

Homecinema Magazine
Rating
9.5 10 Eric Beeckmans product

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Source: kieskeurig.nl

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Source: kieskeurig.nl [19659113] View

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Source: kieskeurig.nl

Sony KD-55AG9

On paper there are hardly any differences between the 2018 AF9 and the 2019 AG9. The most important change is a slightly less powerful audio solution. Acoustic Surface Audio + continues to sound very good, and the difference is probably not very big, but we think it is a remarkable decision. The TV can still serve as a center speaker if you use an AV receiver. On the plus side, the KD-55AG9 got the new 2019 user interface and remote control, which is a nice improvement. Whether or not you like the new design is a personal decision, but it is slightly less unique than the reclining design of the AF9.

And what about image? The differences with the AF9 are also very small there. The Sony hides a minimum of black detail in SDR footage and sometimes some white detail in HDR footage. The latter in particular is strange, since neither the XG95 nor the AF9 did this. But apart from that, the results are excellent. You get very sharp detail, natural but intense colors and a good calibration, straight out of the box, both in SDR and HDR. But at the end we still have to consider whether the KD-55AG9 is worth its price compared to other models in the market such as the LG C9, or compared to its predecessor, the AF9.

Read also the [19659123] full Sony AG9 series review .

Cons

  • Hides some white detail in HDR
  • Hides some black detail in SDR
  • Audio solution is less powerful than on its predecessor
  • Price [19659040] Advantages
    • Image processing
    • Perfect OLED contrast and sufficient black detail
    • Very good sharpness of motion
    • Improved user experience (Android8 and remote)
    • Acoustic Surface Audio +

Homecinema Magazine
Review [19659048] 8.5
10 Eric Beeckmans product

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Source: kieskeurig.nl

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Samsung QE65Q90R

Samsung bl is working on its QLED technology and you notice that. The new Ultra Wide Viewing Angle is the revelation of the year. An LCD with a viewing angle that can almost stand next to OLED. The special film does have a cost: the HDR color range is slightly reduced, although you will not notice it in practice. We especially regret the lack of Dolby Vision and Atmos on this set (Atmos can be passed on to an Atmos soundbar) and Samsung continues to make the image unnecessarily clear in HDR. We also note that Samsung is marketing the QE65Q90R considerably cheaper: the Q90FN started at 4,299 last year, the Q90R now starts at 3,699. That is of course expensive, but you also get the best LCD TV at home.

The new processor delivers improved dimming of the backlight, and with its 480 zones the Samsung offers excellent contrast, with beautiful black detail. The color reproduction is excellent and image processing in general is particularly good. This Samsung leaves a very good HDR impression and also gamers are spoiled extensively. The many lifestyle features such as the One Connect box, Invisible cable, Ambient Mode and an extensive Smart Hub are all real added value.

Also read the complete Samsung Q90R series review .

Cons 19659038] None Dolby Vision / Atmos
  • Less large HDR color range than last year
  • Still too clearly calibrated in HDR
  • Advantages

    • Excellent local dimming (Contrast and black value)
    • Unprecedented viewing angle for an LCD
    • Invisible Connection and One Connect box
    • Color rendering
    • Good sharpness of motion
    • Very clear HDR display

    Homecinema Magazine
    Rating
    9.5 10 Eric Beeckmans [19659051] product

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    Source: kieskeurig.nl [19659183] Conclusion – what is the best high-end TV?

    Who is going to shop for a high-end TV may do so knowing that there are no bad purchases. All these models deliver excellent image quality, with beautiful colors, excellent contrast and very good calibration. Yes, there are differences here and there, but we can ensure that you have a fantastic viewing experience with any of the devices in this file.

    Which device you choose best depends on your needs. In this file we saw, for example, four OLED models and one LCD. The Samsung thus occupies a fairly unique place. Do people watch a lot of TV during the day at home or is there always a lot of light in the room? Then the Samsung is an excellent choice. But a lot of light is not the only asset that this device has. With the new Ultra Viewing Angle technology, Samsung takes away one of the last weaknesses of LCD: the viewing angle. It is almost as good on this television as it is on the OLED competitors. In addition, you also get a lot of lifestyle and gaming features, of which we consider the One Connect Box the most important.

    An OLED model, however, is still the choice par excellence of the absolute film lover. Dim the lights in the room and the absolute black gives the images an extra dimension. With the OLED models, the performance is very close to each other, but since our focus is on image quality, it is impossible to look beyond the reference performance of the Panasonic. It delivers the very best calibration, purest colors and excellent image processing and is the first OLED model to display all black details without errors. The fact that he supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 + only makes him more attractive.

    With that knowledge in mind, we award two 'Best Tested' prizes: the Samsung QE65Q90R and the Panasonic TX-55GZW954.

    For the 'Best Buy' 'we look at the official prices. Keep in mind, however, that cashbacks and other promotions can have a significant impact, making our choice a snapshot. Looking around well before you press the buy button remains the message! Samsung, Sony and LG are more expensive than the competitors. The Philips and the Panasonic compete neck and neck for the first place. Making a choice between these devices comes down to personal preference. The Panasonic is the best choice if you opt for the very best image quality, the Philips offers slightly better sound, Ambilight and, with Perfect Natural Reality, something extra that you can enjoy in all your HDR-style images. That is why we give the “Best Buy” to the Philips 55OLED804.

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