2014 is a year of seismic shifts in the TV industry. It is the year that both Samsung and Panasonic stopped making plasma, and it is the year of the curved screen. It is the year of unexpectedly robust UHD/4K TV sales, and the year that the list price of a major-brand 84-inch UHDTV dropped below $10,000. It’s fitting, therefore, that this is also the year that Value Electronics will hold its tenth annual flat-panel shootout.
The 105-inch UN105S9W 21:9 LED-FALD LCD costs $120,000 and (might) make an appearance at this year’s shootout.
Although Value Electronics is an independent electronics retailer, its founder—Robert Zohn—expends considerable effort to make sure it is a fair competition. The goal is to bring properly calibrated TVs together for comparison under controlled conditions and to have an audience full of AV enthusiasts vote on what they see.
This year’s shootout consists of two all-day events scheduled for August 16 and 17. The event takes place in the Value Electronics showroom, located in Scarsdale, NY. If you are interested in attending, you should contact Robert Zohn and request an application.
Here is the (almost) final list of the TVs that are scheduled to be included in the shootout:
LG 79UB9800 or 84UB9800 LED-edgelit LCD
Samsung UN78HU9000 LED-edgelit LCD
Samsung UN85S9 16:9 or UN105S9W 21:9 LED-FALD LCD
Sony XBR-85X950B LED-FALD LCD
LG 55EC9300 OLED
Samsung PN64F8500 plasma
Samsung KN55S9C OLED
Vizio M652i-B2 1080p LED-FALD LCD
The somewhat Samsung-centric lineup of TVs is not the only star of the show.The event will include presentations from video guru Joe Kane and Dr. Larry Weber, the plasma-TV pioneer. A panel of notable video experts consisting of Kevin Miller, DeWayne Davis, and David Mackenzie calibrate the TVs and otherwise run the show. In addition, a senior engineer or executive from each manufacturer will give a presentation about their company’s TVs.
Samsung’s PN64F8500 plasma won last year’s shootout.
I attended last year’s event, and I can attest to the value of comparing calibrated TVs under controlled lighting. I wound up buying the TV that won last year’s popular vote—the Samsung PN64F8500. This year, the F8500 makes a return appearance as the only plasma in the lineup, but goes up against an all-new slate of challengers. From full-array backlit LCD to OLED, the latest TVs represent a significant challenge to plasma displays, which have won the majority of previous Value Electronics shootouts. Among the TVs currently on the list, which one do you think will win the popular and expert vote?