Value Electronics 2016 TV Shootout at CE Week

It’s almost time for the much-anticipated Value Electronics 2016 TV Shootout at CE Week in Manhattan. This is the 12th annual iteration of the event, and it promises to be a thriller since the final voting and scoring will include content showcasing the latest video technologies: 4K/UHD resolution, HDR (high dynamic range) and WCG (wide color gamut).

The shootout will be conducted in multiple sessions on Thursday June 23, with a pair of condensed preview shootouts held on the evening of June 22 (for press and for getgeeked NY tech enthusiasts). The two full-length sessions on Thursday are open to invited guests with start times of 9 am and 1 pm. I plan to attend both the press preview and the 1 pm event on Thursday.

There are four confirmed TVs in the shootout. LG’s 65” G6 OLED promises to put up a fight and defend the crown won its predecessor at last year’s shootout and earn the title “King of TV.” Meanwhile Sony’s 75” X940D FALD LCD and Samsung’s 78″ KS9800 FALD LCDs will compete against LG’s OLED and have a chance at outshining it thanks to their higher peak brightness when showing HDR content. Vizio’s 65″ Reference (RS65-B2) FALD LCD will be in the shootout, this is now confirmed!

This year’s event will include several esteemed presenters. ISF founder and president Joel Silver will preside over the affair, and he will personally confirm the calibrations of the participating TVs. Noted reviewer and calibrator David Mackenzie will return in his role as the hands-on calibrator for the event. Lee Neikirk from Reviewed.com and Caleb Denision of Digital Trends will be giving presentations during the Thursday shootouts. Additionally, Jeff Murray and Matt Murray of AV Pro Store will be presenters.

For the actual shootout and the voting, the press release promises that “Contrast ratio, peak brightness, black level, color accuracy, color saturation, motion resolution, lag input time, and energy efficiency will be measured, compared, and discussed.” It goes on to note “All tested panels will be concurrently fed a signal through a professional HDMI distribution amp from 4K Blu-ray players, a 4K media server, 4K streaming apps, USB, as well as the latest 4K signal generator for test patterns.” Sounds fun, right? That’s how you know you are a true AV geek.

If you can’t make it in person, the shootout will stream live and purportedly some segments of that stream will be in 4K (bandwidth-permitting).

This year’s Value Electronics TV Shootout promises to be an interesting gathering of industry experts and avid AV enthusiasts that will offer a good look at the latest in consumer flat-panel technology featuring calibrated displays and in a controlled environment.

2016 Shootout FAQ

Why only three (perhaps four) contenders? The number of mainstream TV manufacturers (other than those based in China) has been steadily declining, and these are the only players left standing. Furthermore, the shootout only includes production units, not pre-production or engineering samples.

Why are the screen sizes not all similar? The Sony X940D is available only at 75″, while the Samsung KS9800 is available in 65″ and 78″ sizes. LG has a 77″ OLED in the works, but it is not available yet. Vizio’s Reference (if included) only comes in 65″ and 120″ sizes so if it appears it’s going to the 65-incher. What is certain is the event will feature the largest size screens currently available of the top model TVs from LG, Sony, and Samsung.

Why not include step-down models that are more affordable? The shootout is intended to determine the best-performing flat-panel TV available today, which means limiting the contenders to the (available) flagship model from each manufacturer.

How are these TVs being calibrated? They will be calibrated to the BT.709 standard for HD video with BT.1886 gamma. Peak luminance will be set at 35 fL (120 nits). There is a possibility a newly-released HDR workflow from CalMAN will allow for rudimentary grayscale calibration of the HDR modes as well.

Will the TVs be calibrated for HDR content? Currently there are many issues to take into consideration when it comes to HDR calibration. First and foremost is the lack of dedicated HDR calibration controls, and any effort to calibrate HDR will result in miscalibrated BT.709. Furthermore, when HDR mode is active the available controls are quite limited. Another issue is that the content itself is being mastered to different peak brightness levels.

How will HDR capability be tested? Peak luminance and black level will be measured as will the color gamut. Various HDR titles will be used for side-by-side comparisons as well as some specialized HDR patterns.

For more info on CE Week, check out the website.