I own a 70 Elite, so I came to Sunday's shootout with some obvious bias. But I think I was able to keep an open mind and listened carefully to all of the presentations, Q&A and discussions that took place. I took lots of notes, some were even readable later. Here's some of my random thoughts:
1. The Samsung PN59D8000 had the best color to me (nice to know my untrained eyes saw some of the same things as D-Nice). The VT30 looked good until D-Nice showed some scenes where everyone had a suntan. The Elite's color looked undersaturated and off axis viewing was very washed out (I was sitting next to the door so I was really off axis). Fortunately I don't have off axis issues in my room. I do notice the color saturation issues at home in THX and ISF day/night...and hope to address that soon with guidance from VE.
2. The black level and contrast ratio comparisons, both in a dark room and with the lights on, were remarkable even to my untrained eyes. The Elite did really well, better than all the plasma's and was as black as the Samsung and Sony LCDs, and they were turned OFF. From my notes the Elite contrast was 15,194 to 1. The next closest was 6,000ish to 1 (the VT30). The worst was 600-ish (LG). Elite Black level was .0004 (as noted previously). The others were higher (I can't read my notes, I wrote as fast as Kevin spoke and that's a bad combo for reading later).
3. The presentation showing no blooming on the Elite (vs the other LCDs) was very revealing. I felt bad for the Sony that had the bad luck to be right next to the Elite.
4. The Cyan issue with the Elite was noticeable once I was told what to look for. I've never noticed it at home in every day viewing over the last 30 days or so. Kudos to Ken for picking it up early; same to the calibrators for confirming it and speaking openly about it on both shootout days and in forum posts, and for the manufacturer for their commitment to address it...well, maybe I'll wait to give them kudos until after they fix it.
5. The Motion resolution and judder tests were also revealing. The D8000 almost made me puke from motion sickness...then the Samsung rep had them correct a setting and it was fine. Glad he was there, it would have been hard to continue viewing it with my sushi all over the front. The Elite looked very sharp and judder free with 120 low. The VT30 was also very good. I changed my settings to 120 low as soon as I got home.
6. Kevin and D-Nice were asked what factors were most important in evaluating a TV. Both seemed to give equal weight to contrast ratio and color accuracy. On that basis they couldn't call the Elite "best" due to the cyan issue. D-Nice did say publicly that if Elite fixes the cyan, it would be his top rated set. Given how well the Elite did with contrast, it's hard to argue with that logic.
7. In my voting I had the Elite tops in black level and contrast ratio, the D8000 tops in color accuracy, the VT30, D8000 and Elite more or less tied for 3rd in motion resolution and general content video quality. Based on my math, the Elite did very well but didn't win...nor did it "kill" anyone's Kuro. Robert's "reveal" of his Kuro behind the painting was fun. It is beautiful for sure.
8. To my eye, contrast tops color accuracy. But on the basis of all of the above I'm not sure I would rate the Elite above the 2 plasmas overall and frankly I was surprised that the Elite won the shootout.
9. That said, if you have a lot of ambient light in your room (like me), I think the Elite is an appropriate solution to consider. It does great in a bright room. I just can't see either the D8000 or VT30 doing as well in terms of color or reflections in my sunroom. But I'll never know for sure now
For now I want to get the cyan issue fixed, explore the saturation issues further, and then figure out if my 70 will need to be re-calibrated (and who will be responsible for that cost).
And finally, many thanks to Robert, Wendy, their kids and staff at VE for a great event. And to all the calibration professionals (D-Nice, Kevin, Ed) and manufacturer's reps in attendance who made the 4 hours a very worthy investment in my time.
Regards to all,