4K Is Here
4K resolution has slowly been integrated into our daily lives ever since it became available to the masses in 2016. 4K content has come a long way from being solely available as physical Blu-ray discs, though it does take some digging to find their streaming counterparts. 4K resolution is currently available on the original Ultra HD Blu-ray discs as it was originally, as well as services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, and YouTube. So having a tv for home theater dedicated to 4K viewing is not only feasible, but as the prevalence of the format rises, it’s just practical. It’s also relatively future proof given just how far off and expensive 8K is right now.
Let’s take a look at a few 4K TVs you might want to consider for your home theater setup.
The Samsung Q90 QLED
What Hi-Fi’s verdict on the Samsung Q90 is laid bare upon posing their closing question – could this be the best TV of 2019? The site goes on to praise the Q90’s ability to go toe-to-toe with an OLED TV, saying the Q90 “goes almost as black as an OLED and has OLED-like viewing angles, while retaining its own advantage of greater brightness.” Trusted Reviews echoes What Hi-Fi’s review, saying the Samsung Q90 “represents a huge leap for LCD technology. The way it combines an effective viewing angles with imperious new black levels is unprecedented.” If you’re looking for one more accolade, look no further than Tech Radar, who says the TV’s picture “surpass any OLED when it comes to HDR, with images that are often breathtaking in their detail and dynamic range.”
The Samsung Q90 upscales non-4K source material with its Quantum Processor 4K that will be beautifully displayed via the TV’s precision-controlled Direct Full Array 16X LED display and Quantum HDR 16X capabilities. The Samsung Q90 further makes your viewing experience a fantastic one with its Intelligent Mode, which picture brightness and sound to match the conditions of your room.
The Samsung Q90 handles HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma and HDR10+, and employs four HDMI inputs, one ethernet port, one RF in, one digital audio out, and three USB ports. The Samsung Q90 is available from 65” to 82”.
The Sony X950G is noted by 4K.com to perform “exceptionally well in most of the major metrics of high TV performance quality,” which they define as motion handling, HDR delivery (especially for HDR color), display brightness and the TV’s capacity for rendering deep black levels and high contrast. Forbes notes the X950G “has a wide color gamut and can deliver HDR content full of vivid colors and bright highlights, sure to please most HDR movie fans” and RTINGS says the TV can effectively “display deep blacks in a dark room thanks to the high native contrast ratio and full array local dimming support.”
The Sony X950G features the Picture Processor X1 Ultimate to effectively boost brightness, detail, and color for an enjoyable viewing experience that accurately portrays source material. The 75″ and 85″ versions of the Sony X950G feature the X-Wide Angle, which allows wider viewing angles that stay true to the X950’s colorful TRILUMINOS Display featured across the TV’s line from 55” to 85”.
The Sony X950G’s Netflix Calibrated Mode allows viewers to enjoy Netflix shows at the same quality as on a studio evaluation master. For films, the Sony X950G is IMAX Enhanced and supports both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The Sony X950G handles HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma and Dolby Vision and employs four HDMI inputs, one digital audio input, one analog audio out, three USB ports and one composite video input.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a negative review of the LG C9. Reviewed.com says the LG C9 “excels in almost every measurable way—from its spectacular picture to its extra-wide viewing angles,” going on later to add praise to its “mind-bending black levels” and admirable color production. Tech Radar points out that LG has gotten so good at the OLED TV game that they’re basically competing against themselves. Still, the site called the LG C9 “a clear evolution in the development of OLED, and it not only delivers amazing pictures and sound, but is also the smartest 4K TV on the market.” What Hi-Fi shares that opinion, saying that despite being close to the edge of what can be achieved with OLED technology, “each year LG squeezes more performance out of its panels, producing a picture that defies expectations.”
The LG C9 features the α9 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor, which includes a four-step noise reduction to bring images and color to life. This noise reduction also works in tandem with the processor’s AI capabilities, upscaling non-4K source material to as close as possible to true 4K resolution. With these technologies, as well as LG’s Dynamic Tone Mapping, the TV lives up to what Forbes describes as pictures that “look consistently gorgeous, and sometimes flat-out jaw-dropping.”
LG C9 handles HDR10 and Dolby Vision, is Dolby Atmos-enabled and employs four HDMI inputs, one ethernet port, one RF in, one digital audio out, one composite in, and three USB ports. The LG C9 is available from 55” to 77”.
Our Pick: LG C8
Google the LG C8 series and you’ll notice an onslaught of perfect scores with a few stragglers that are near perfect. Scott Wilkinson was one of these perfect scores, and in his review simply dubs the LG C8 “one of the best TVs I’ve ever reviewed.” Wilkinson further lauds LG C8 series’ deep blacks, details in the shadows, uniformity, and off-axis performance, offering “colors and detail are second to none, and the video processing is top-notch.”
As a backup to that opinion, Digital Trends describes the LG C8’s picture as perfect with “bursting colors accented by dazzling HDR highlights and 4K resolution,” while Techradar adds the TV is “capable of vibrant and gorgeous colors, not to mention an astounding level of detail with native 4K content.”
The LG C8 employs LG’s exclusive α9 Intelligent Processor, which helps display lifelike picture with rich colors, sharpness and depth. The LG C8 supports Dolby Vision™ HDR, HDR10 and HLG, and uses LG’s proprietary advanced tone-mapping technology to make sure every scene is optimized.
The LG C8 offers four HDMI ports, three USB v 2.0 ports, a composite in, an RF In, a digital audio out and an ethernet port. As is increasingly common, the TV also offers Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth playback.
AVS Forum user Jimmy From Texas, sums up the Sony X900F in one sentence – “The picture is pretty damn amazing, and the colors are incredible.” The Sony X900F processes with great attention to detail via its 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme, which also upscales input to as close to true 4K HDR quality as possible. Combined with the X-tended Dynamic Range PRO and X-Motion Clarity, dark colors stay dark and bright colors light up. Alongside the Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology, the Sony X900F makes your movies come to life.
Home Theater Review mentions the X900F’s picture quality is where it “shines brightest, even if that picture isn’t the brightest among its peers,” adding that the TV’s display ought to make any potential buyer seriously consider it. CNET agrees with those sentiments, saying the TV showcases “deep black levels, accurate color, solid video processing and very good high dynamic range performance.”
The Sony X900F handles a variety of formats including HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma and Dolby Vision. The X900F allows for screen mirroring and video & TV sideview and contains four HDMI inputs, one digital audio input, two USB ports and one composite video input. The Sony X900F is available from 49″ to 85″.
The Samsung Q8 series handles 4K material with an even-keeled sharpness and clarity, no matter what the depth of the images might be. According to a review by TechRadar, this can be attributed to the series’ “unusually powerful video processing.” The processor to which TechRadar refers to is the Samsung Q Engine, which is designed to best output 4K and HDR picture. The Samsung Q8 is Ultra HD Premium certified to bring viewers an accurate 4K experience, as well as true HDR, HDR 10+ and 4K Ultra HD performances.
AVS Forum user Damar1979 mentions in the Samsung Q8FN QLED TV owner’s thread that the TV is the closest they’ve ever seen an LCD LED TV get to OLED level contrast, adding praise to the TV’s viewing angle and vibrancy of colors. In an in-store test, AVS Forum user sawyer1370 said the Samsung Q8 “seemed almost 3D like with the clarity,” later concluding that if they “watched a lot of movies, I think I would opt for the clarity and contrast of the Q8.”
The Samsung Q8FN QLED TV is available from 55″ to 82″. The TV features a Full Array Backlight control, anti-glare screen, and Quantum Dots coloring for a great viewing experience in a wide range of room lightings. The Samsung Q8FN QLED TV features four HDMI ports, two USB ports, an ethernet port, one RF in, and a digital audio out.
If you’re looking for a great high-end option, the Sony Master Series A9F will sate your appetite. The TV ranges from $3,500 to $4,500 and is available in both 55″ and 65″ options. For that price tag, What Hi-Fi says the TV is “a stunning television in so many ways, including by being one of the best-sounding TVs we’ve tested,” Tom’s Guide lauds it as the “best Sony TV we’ve seen and one of the best TVs on the market period,” and Home Theater Review says it “may just be the best [OLED TV] there currently is.”
The Sony Master Series A9F features the Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, which provides noticeably fantastic picture quality with deep black and natural color, accented by its own Pixel Contrast Booster for vibrantly enhanced color contrast in high luminance. As a bit more explanation from Sony, “the Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate detects hundreds of different objects on-screen and intelligently enhances brightness, detail and color so everything you watch is clear, bright and incredibly realistic.”
The Sony Master Series A9F is IMAX Enhanced, which IMAX defines as “stringent performance standards established by IMAX, DTS and Hollywood’s leading colorists in order to create a consistent and higher bar for image and sound performance on premium devices.” The A9F is also equipped to handle HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma, and Dolby Vision formats. Speaking of display options, the A9F boasts a Netflix Calibrated Mode, which allows the TV to reproduce picture quality akin to a studio evaluation master.
Main image from shutterstock.com
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