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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Note: because the viewing evaluation was fairly brief, this evaluation will focus mainly on technical performance.

The 65EC9700 differs significantly from all three 55” LG OLED models I’ve worked with.

LG’s 20 point white balance control has been giving calibrators fits, and it’s easy to see why: any contrast setting that did not shave off whiter than white at exactly 100% would displace the controls, making the 85% control adjust around 92%, for example, with progressive mistracking from dark to bright. In addition, LG’s undefeatable dimming when the display sensed a same sized image for too long made real time adjustments highly suspect. On the 65EC9700, I was surprised to see some important differences in how the mistracking behaved in comparison to the 55” models. Initially, using the ISF Expert 1 mode and starting with the standard color gamut selection, I was surprised and disappointed to see that after 2 point white balance adjustment, the 20 point mistracked independently with each color. That meant that red might not mistrack at all, green could mistrack by a maximum of 8%, and blue could mistrack by 15%. It was still possible to get good looking graphs, especially if the readings were taken at 10% increments; but the results had significant jogs in gamma and grayscale tracking that manifested themselves in contouring and banding. Even my tried and true method of pass by pass adjustment, which works so well with the 55” models, failed to get acceptable results.

Surprisingly, switching the color gamut selection to wide eliminated the independent mistracking and made the 20 point behave exactly like that of the 55” models; which, though tough to get used to, can give superb visual and measured results using the right methodology. After making this change, I was able to make significant improvements in the 65EC9700’s gamma and grayscale tracking, while maintaining a smooth, contour free image. I therefore used the wide selection for the remainder of the calibration.

The problem is that making this switch does oversaturate the red and green primaries, pushing their full purity error readings up to around 5 dE. Thankfully, error levels at lower saturation points were significantly lower and more than acceptable. While some viewers will prefer this slight oversaturation, it remains a visible departure from accuracy.

Examining the same screen cap that had shown horrible blotchiness with CMS adjustments as documented in my 55EC9300 review, swinging the 65EC9700’s CMS controls to their extremes no longer produced any significant problems. However, it was still not possible to rein in the oversaturation of full purity greens and reds. Thankfully, medium and lower saturation points could be calibrated fairly well with the CMS controls. Because of LG’s history of CMS problems, I did significantly limit adjustments made to the 65EC9700’s CMS.

With 10% full gray fields, the last 3-4” near each side were noticeably darker than the rest of the screen. The problem diminished or disappeared with brighter fields, though there was then an odd vertical strip about an inch wide just right of center. Neither problem brought attention to itself with the varied DirecTV content and reference screencaps I viewed on the 65EC9700, though some applications will make them more apparent.

As with the 55”, the 65EC9700 measured virtually the same with any size or style (APL or standard) window up to 25%. Light output with Day mode was calibrated to 74 fL with windows, and that decreased to 47 fL with 50% windows and 24 fL with full fields. There was no significant color shift even with full fields, red bumping up only an imperceptible amount with full fields.

I was almost able to achieve my goal of perfect blacks at video level 16 and reproduction of levels 17 and up, though not quite. I was either to get reproduction of 17 with a very, very slight illumination of 16 only visible up close in a dark room, or I was able to get total darkness at 16 but reproduction only from level 18 on up. This is not critical at all and could be due more to sample to sample variation than the 65EC9700 itself.

After calibration, the image looked excellent, though slightly more grainy than the 55”, which I always felt had one of the smoothest, most grain free images I had ever seen. The 65EC9700’s graininess appeared to be in line with many other high end displays.
 

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I think you are the only person I trust on this website when it comes to a technical review on these. I'm even starting to believe you'd be the only person I trust to calibrate one with the way you demonstrate your methodology and decision making when it comes to tradeoffs to be in the best interest of the end users.

Thanks for the writeup!

Does this mean that Cleveland Plasma has stock of the EC9700 now?
 

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I'm checking with Chris, but this unit was bought by one of my customers who was very lucky to find it.


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No need to check! I was just curious if you were doing one of you CP calibrations on it since I know you mentioned earlier that you were offering to do it for one of his first customers.

Its nice to have evidence that the CMS does not behave the same as the EC9300 and that from here on out with these models it would be a bad assumption to think that one model is the same as another in that regard. I would guess the webOS2 (2015) models would deviate some from the webos1 (2014) EC9700 even.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Though I did not view familiar reference material on it, I checked familiar screencaps and watched maybe 30 minutes of various DirecTV channels. It did not appear to have excessive grain. In comparison with the exceptionally smooth 55" OLED it looked grainier, but really this looked proper and in line with other reference sets.

The black crush thing was extremely, extremely minor. I chose to calibrate with true blacks and reproduction from 18 on up, which means it crushed the bottom 0.4% or so of video. If I had chosen to go the other way, I believe the blacks still would have been much darker than even the Pioneer 500M Kuro because I had to get up within a foot of the screen and cup my hands around my eyes to see the illumination even in that fairly dark room.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi! Great writeup.
How many hours had the set before calibration.

I believe the owner said it had a couple hundred.


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Chad: I hope you review a Samsung JS9500 soon. Especially hope you can find a way to measure black level as it would appear in low light scenes. The Brits such as HDTVTest found they could only measure ANSI which was mediocre due to the blacklight being turned off on those test patterns.
 

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Though I did not view familiar reference material on it, I checked familiar screencaps and watched maybe 30 minutes of various DirecTV channels. It did not appear to have excessive grain. In comparison with the exceptionally smooth 55" OLED it looked grainier, but really this looked proper and in line with other reference sets.

Yeah, it was probably the source material, and the 55" looked smoother because of the non-defeatable DNR.


Looking forward to your review of the flat panel models. I consider your reviews to be the most definitive because of how thorough you are.
 

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^ I bet that's correct. What's ironic is that many ranted & raved about the DNR and now that it's gone, some will be unhappy.

Can't win. ;)
 

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I do wish one of the Japanese companies like Panasonic would make a deal with LG and buy their panels, as I think their overall engineering and processing would be a considerable step up from LG's apparent subpar implementation. It may happen, as I've got to believe that LG is savvy enough to recognize that they alone cannot carry the OLED tech into mass adoption, and having one of the Japanese giants get on board would be huge.
 

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The problem is they don't have enough panels to meet their own demand, so it will be quite some time before they can sell these panels to other manufacturers.

As to how much better a Panasonic or Sony version would be, who knows? I've seen many duds from all of these companies, so I'm not so sure.
 

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^ I bet that's correct. What's ironic is that many ranted & raved about the DNR and now that it's gone, some will be unhappy.

Can't win. ;)
I presume the option to engage the DNR still remains, though?

Would be interesting to see what difference it might make if enabled on the 77" OLED at Value Elctronics.

Desk
 
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