Marvel’s Daredevil is a new series from Netflix that premiers April 10 with 13 episodes that take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Daredevil’s domain is the night; the cinematography involves a lot of action in gritty urban environments, offering a perfect opportunity for OLED to strut its stuff.
In The Garage—a raw event space owned by clothing designer Kenneth Cole—LG put together a preview of Daredevil as well as a demonstration of OLED’s capacity to reproduce pure black. Here’s a quick interview with Tim Alessi—LG Electronics Director of New Product Development—in which he describes the purpose of the event:
One of the most accessible sources of UHD/4K content is Netflix. You’ll find the company’s app in many modern AV devices, including TVs—usually accompanied by a dedicated button on a remote control. The version of the app included with many UHDTVs offers 2160p streaming.
Recent experiences with Netflix UHD/4K have convinced me that it at least matches Blu-ray quality, and in static scenes, beats it thanks to the extra resolution. Additionally, I have not seen the banding in shadow regions of 2160p streams—an artifact that is prevalent in the company’s 1080p streams.
Prior to a panel discussion, I roamed around the space, where the highlight was an OLED-versus-LED exhibit. A comparison between three TVs offered interesting fodder for debate. The setup featured a 55EC9300 1080p OLED flanked by a pair of unidentified curved LCDs. All three screens showed clips from Skyfall.
Overall, the picture quality of the 55EC9300 was far ahead of what the LCDs achieved in terms of contrast and black levels. Off-axis viewing exacerbated the poor performance of the LCDs, to the point where the comparison was almost comical. Check out this brief video that shows the difference:
Oddly, LG brought some of its own LCDs to the event and even touted their image quality. But it’s clear that OLED has the deepest blacks of any currently available consumer-display technology.
Part of the event was a panel discussion featuring Matt Lloyd, Director of Photography of Marvel’s Daredevil, and Scott Mirer, VP of Device Partner Ecosystem at Netflix.
In this clip, Tim Alessi elaborates on the benefits of OLED as a prelude to the panel discussion:
The panel offered useful insight into the future of content when it comes to production and delivery. Netflix is a disruptive force in content distribution, and Scott Mirer was not shy about touting streaming as the future of content delivery. He specifically noted that the company was not concerned about a next-generation Blu-ray format slowing its momentum.
The discussion also touched on HDR. The panel’s moderator—celebrity tech writer Shelly Palmer—introduced it as “the 3-letter fictitious concept that’s in the planning stages right now…” Check out the discussion that followed:
The panel lasted for half an hour, and midway through the presentation, the audience watched an extended clip from the second episode of Daredevil. If you subscribe to Netflix, you can watch the sequence by starting playback at the 45-minute mark and letting it run to the end.
I made a point of memorizing what I saw on screen in terms of the hues and shadows. I watched the same content at home on my calibrated reference plasma (Samsung PN64F8500) and found it looked very compelling in 1080p. That said (and with the qualifier that I had to rely on memory), the OLED presentation looked sharper than 1080p Netflix did on my plasma; overall, the 2160p stream looked as good (or better) than what I’ve come to expect from Blu-ray. However, as I’ve seen many times before, the OLED rendered colors in the cyan region closer to green.
Emissive OLEDs clearly beat transmissive LCDs when it comes to reproducing deep blacks. LG’s demonstration showed that streaming UHD/4K content on an OLED provides a very high-quality viewing experience—without the need for physical media. More than anything else, LG’s Dare to See OLED event successfully demonstrated the viability of OLED combined with UHD/4K streaming as a videophile-quality replacement for Blu-ray and plasma.