2017 TV Shootout: LG, Pana & Sony OLED vs Samsung QLED + ZD9

Vincent Teoh

British independent AV retailer Crampton & Moore will be holding its annual TV showdown event in collaboration with HDTVTest on Sunday the 13th of August in Greater London. The five televisions that will be showcased in this public side-by-side comparison are:

Note: We are also trying to secure a Sony professional broadcast monitor to be used at the event for reference purposes.

Update 3 August 2017: We have decided to use the Panasonic EZ1002 in the shootout instead of the step-down EZ952 to avoid a situation where if another TV won, there would be lingering doubt whether the EZ1002 flagship would have performed better than the EZ952.

All five TVs are 65-inchers to ensure the same screen size for a fair comparison. Although all are HDR-capable, only the LG B7 will feature Dolby Vision (DV) support… we don’t expect the Sony A1 (also marketed as the Bravia A1E in the USA) and ZD9 (US model Z9D) to receive the necessary firmware update to support DV until after the shootout event.

The inclusion of ZD9 (thus making it two Sony Bravias at the event) may raise some eyebrows, though there’s a valid explanation. Despite being a 2016 model (and missing out on last year’s shootout event due to its late launch), the Bravia ZD9 is carried through as the Japanese brand’s flagship LED LCD television for 2017 alongside the A1 OLED.

To ensure fair play, all five TVs will be retail sets which will be given adequate time to run in. Prior to the public comparison event, the TVs will all be calibrated to the common standards used within the film and broadcast industry using industry-standard calibration solution CalMAN with expert help directly from the sofware’s parent company SpectraCal/ Portrait Displays, as far as permitted by the in-TV controls for both SDR (standard dynamic range) and HDR (high dynamic range). A professional 4K distribution amplifier with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliance will be used to send identical video outputs to all the televisions, showing the following real-world material (subject to change within the alloted time) in addition to select test patterns:

  • Pristine SDR content (1080p Blu-ray);
  • Compressed SDR content (recorded terrestrial broadcast);
  • 4K HDR Blu-rays (dark, average-APL and bright scenes; 1000-nit & 4000-nit titles; Dolby Vision vs HDR10);
  • Fast-action sports such as football (recorded terrestrial broadcast); and
  • 1080p and 4K HDR games from PS4 Pro.

Attendees will then be asked to rank the TVs (allowing for ties) from best to worst in the following categories (subject to change within allotted time):

  • Contrast performance;
  • Colour accuracy;
  • Motion;
  • Video processing;
  • Uniformity;
  • HDR;
  • Bright-room performance; and
  • Gaming.

Acknowledging no single TV performs best for all types of usage, different awards will be handed out (based on attendees’ votes in the relevant categories) for:

  • Best Home Theatre TV (for watching movies in a darkened room);
  • Best Living Room TV (for watching mixed/ sports content in a non-light-controlled room);
  • Best Gaming TV; and
  • Best HDR TV.

And the TV which receives the highest score across all categories will be crowned the “Best TV of 2017”.

The UK 2017 TV shootout event will take place on Sunday August 13th from 10.30am to 3.30pm BST (British Summer Time) at Harefield Academy, Uxbridge, UB9 6ET, United Kingdom.