If you follow the home theater category, the Value Electronics TV Shootout is one of the best events of the year and something that those of us who care deeply about image quality really look forward to because it’s run by some of the most talented calibrators in the industry.
Many of us have invested a lot of money over the past decade on ISF courses and calibration measurement equipment to create the most accurate reviews possible because nobody should purchase a television or projector based on a demonstration at Best Buy. If the lighting conditions inside that store are an accurate representation of your living room or den at home — you have issues.
One of the most common questions asked about TVs is “which one has the best picture”. For the past 16 years, high-end Electronics Retailer, Value Electronics has tried to answer that question with its Annual TV Shootout.
What The TV Shootout Is, and Isn’t
The TV Shootout is conducted for one purpose, to determine which of a select group of the highest-end TVs available for consumers has the best picture quality. As TV technology has evolved, so have some of the measurement criteria. Some of the categories for 2021 included:
- Dynamic Range (SDR and HDR)
- Color Accuracy/Skin Tones
- Motion Resolution
- Black Level/Shadow Detail
The TV Winning Categories:
- King of 4K TV: Sony XR-A90J Master Series OLED TV has been crowned the winner for 2021
- Priced from $2,798 at Amazon (55-inch)
- King of 8K TV: LG ZX Signature Series 8K OLED TV has been crowned the winner for 2021
- Priced from $19,996 at Amazon (77-inch)
Also, for 2021, in addition to TVs, there was a second shootout for UST (Ultra Short Throw Projectors).
- The first-year King of UST winner is the Hisense L9G Laser TV.
Keep in mind that the TV Shootout only evaluates picture quality. Things such as what Streaming OS and Apps the TV has, Bezel/Stand Design, Operating Menu Navigation, Remote Control interaction, number of connections, and Sound Quality are not evaluated, but the Judges may make comments about them in passing.
Before the TV Shootout is conducted, everything must be set up properly to produce accurate results.
- Specific TVs are chosen that are considered the top of their class.
- Screen sizes are identical as much as possible. There may be some slight variation as not all the TVs selected may be available in exactly the same screen size.
- The TVs are placed side-by-side as close as possible to each other.
- Room lighting conditions are determined.
- All TVs are run for a specific break-in period before the test sessions begin.
- All TVs are professionally calibrated using the same tools and procedures.
- Specific sources are selected. This is expected to include UHD Blu-ray Disc, Streaming, and Media Server content.
- Specific content is selected and shown across all TVs from the same source.
How the Testing Is Done
The attendees (judges) are provided the criteria to evaluate the TVs and based on instructions provided by the host of the event or specific portion of the event, they watch the TVs with the provided content from both their selected seating positions as well as moving around the room and taking a closer look at each TV.
Once all the judges complete their evaluation they rank they fill out the evaluation forms (ballots) which are then tallied by the Host and/or support staff.
The TVs Selected for the 2021 Shootout
For 2021, the TVs chosen to compete were:
- LG G1 Gallery Series OLED TV
- Samsung QN90A Quantum Dot LCD/MiniLED TV
- Sony XR-A90J Master Series OLED TV: Winner!
- Hisense 75U9DG Dual Cell LCD/LED TV
- LG ZX Signature Series 8K OLED TV: Winner!
- Samsung QN900A Quantum Dot 8K LCD/MiniLED TV
- Sony XR-Z9J Master Series 8K LCD/LED TV
For the additional UST (Ultra Short Throw) Projector Shoot-Out, the brands and models included:
Who Is Hosting the Shootout?
Robert Zohn is the creator of the Value Electronics TV shootout.
Value Electronics, in partnership with Dealerscope, are the facilitators of the 2021 TV Shootout. The onsite hosts (Masters of Ceremonies) are Industry Calibration and Testing Expert, Stacey Spears, for the 4K/8K TV portion, and Rob Sabin, Editor in Chief of Projector Central, for the UST Projector Portion.
How You Can Watch!
Although only selected press and industry experts can attend in person, and this year COVID limits the number even further, anyone can watch the entire event replays from start to finish on YouTube: 4K/8K TV Shootout, UST Projector Shootout.
The TV Portion of the event was held on Sunday, September 12, 2021, and the UST Projector portion was held on Monday, September 13, 2021.
For a complete listing of the equipment and calibration tools used, participating judges, and a more detailed schedule breakdown, check out the report from TechHive.