The New 4K TV Season: Introduction

If you’re ready to upgrade to a premium 4K TV, this year’s range is the best and ‘cheapest’ yet.

Okay, so $8K for a 65-inch 4K OLED or QLED flagship may not be everyone’s idea of a great buy but they’ve never been more competitively priced while offering unprecedented features and picture quality.

And with the upsurge in 4K streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube, and the release of more 4K-UHD Blu-rays, there’s now much more compelling content to watch in the higher native resolution (although they all upscale 1080p brilliantly).

LG and Samsung have started to roll out their top new models to stores, Sony’s should follow next month and Panasonic’s are due in June and July.

They are the four major players in this market and choosing which of their TVs is best will be as challenging as coming up with the cash to buy one.

Continuing to face off with rival technologies are LG (OLED) and Samsung (QLED).

LG Display supplies OLED panels to not only LG Electronics but also Sony and Panasonic whereas Samsung — and Chinese rival TCL — is betting on QLED as the winning technology for the high-end LCD market. (For more on the key differences between the two, see these primers from C|NetWired and What Hi-Fi).

But it’s not just duelling PQ specs that will determine which TV you buy. Each has unique Smart TV platforms with strengths and weaknesses, artificial intelligence is another consideration, remote control functionality and ease-of-use vary, and then there’s styling for those who want their TVs to look as cutting-edge as they perform.

I haven’t had a chance to appraise any of this year’s crop but was lucky enough to have hands-on experience with most of last year’s premium models.

Of these, LG’s C7 OLED TV was the best all-round TV for value and features, Samsung’s Q8C took top prize for offering the most complete home entertainment solution, Sony’s A1 OLED stood out for its innovative design and superior audio, and Panasonic’s EZ1000U OLED TV had the edge in picture quality.

Based on early international reviews, the new models offer more than mere incremental improvements, with LG’s OLED range boasting beefier processing, Sony’s A8F a slimmer, more elegant form factor without compromising its superb Acoustic Surface speakers, and Samsung returning to Full Array Local Dimming after last year’s range was entirely (and unfortunately) edge-lit.

Over the next few days, I will preview what distinguishes each of the new ranges. Stay tuned.

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6 Responses to “The New 4K TV Season: Introduction”

  1. I will buy one when I win Lotto/ Powerball 🙂

  2. Sky TV is the worst thing to watch on a 65 inch 4K TV. Are they the only ones in the dark ages?

  3. Lightbox had the chance to differentiate with the newly launched Lightbox Movies. No 4K offering. Only the traditional SD and HD.

  4. Couldn’t agree more, Mike. Have asked Lightbox if it has a 4K timetable and still waiting for a reply.

  5. Should ask Sky that question, too. I bet they will never do it

  6. Both Sky and Lightbox are behind consumer electronics trends. A change of CEO at Sky hopefully will make it more responsive to the fact that it’s hard to buy a TV bigger than 40 inches that isn’t 4K!

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