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Value Electronics HDTV Shootout: Which TV is Best?

Value Electronics will crown the "King of HDTV" during its eighth annual HDTV shootout. ISF technicians will test LEDs and plasmas from Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Sony, and Sharp Elite for contrast ratio, peak brightness, black level, color accuracy/saturation, motion resolution and energy efficiency.


Plasma TV pioneer Bill Schindler presenting LED local dimming vs. plasma at the 2011 Value Electronics HDTV Shootout

Is there a better way to determine the best HDTV than to actually test them side by side, out in the open?

That's exactly what Value Electronics, an independent flat panel retailer in Westchester County, N.Y., will be doing for the eighth year in a row on May 19-20, 2012 with its Flat Panel Shootout.

The company has contracted with a charter member of the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and other well-respected video engineers. Together they will evaluate the newest flagship HDTVs from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, and the new Sharp Elite. The models being evaluated are 55- to 65-inch high-end LEDs and plasmas.

The event will feature a shootout evaluation using Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ (SMPTE) standards, the only accredited calibration standards set by the consumer electronics industry. The event will be streamed live in HD on Value Electronics' YouTube page.

The winner of the 2011 HDTV shootout was the Sharp Elite, an LED-based LCD TV with a full-array local dimming backlight that sells for around $5500.

Here are some of the highlights of the event:

Kevin Miller of ISFTV and TweakTV and respected UK TV reviewer David Mackenzie will join Value Electronics' team of experts to calibrate the eight flat panels and provide their findings and other key background information in individual presentations. National trainers and product specialists from the manufacturers have been invited to present product features as well.

imageHere is the scorecard from the 2011 shootout, which was won by Sharp Elite. (Click image to enlarge)
Contrast ratio, peak brightness, black level, color accuracy, color saturation, motion resolution and energy efficiency will be measured, compared, and discussed. The 3D performance of each set will be evaluated as well. The audience will vote on each of the four picture quality attributes, with the winning panel crowned “King of HDTV.”

All tested panels will be concurrently fed through a professional HDMI distribution amp from the same Blu-ray player using the exact same HDMI cables for all panels. Furthermore, the A/C power will be a dedicated 20 amp circuit run through a power conditioner.

“In addition to the tested panels, several manufacturers are expected to display and provide information about advanced products that will launch in the future, with image and audio that provides a true reference quality for the audiophile and videophile,” says Robert Zohn, founder and president of Value Electronics.

Shootout findings will be available within one week of the events for members of the press who contact Value Electronics.

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Article Topics

News · Displays · TVs · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

6 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by John Dorsey  on  04/27  at  04:59 PM

Referring to 2011 shootout - I disagree that the Sharp elite is the winner. If you look at the statistical difference between the scores in the various performance parameters, especially, as example, noting the low score for the sharp in color accuracy, it appears to me that overall the Panasonic VT30 has the better balance of desirable performance attributes. Try circling all the scores that are within about one numerical whole digit of each other above and below the mean and see whcih TV lines up even disregarding price differences.

Posted by Robert Zohn  on  04/27  at  07:12 PM

Hi John,  Thanks for your comments.  Sorry you disagree, but the facts say differently. The VT30 did perform very well but there could be only one winner. 

First, the score card is set up in order of the most important picture quality attributes, and as you can see the Elite TV clearly wins in black level and contrast ratio.  And of course that lead to it winning the overall picture quality.

Second, if you just add up each column the math also supports the Elite TV as the winner.  The amount of winning categories, the aggregate total favors the Elite and the amount of categories with the best performance also goes to the Elite TV.

The human eye corrects for color accuracy, but you can easily see the advantage of the best contrast ratio. 

Please attend our 2012 Flat Panel Shootout Evaluation so you can participate and experience in person all of the latest flagship offerings from the major display manufacturers.


Posted by anthropos60  on  04/28  at  06:06 AM

I think the reason why they gave Sharp a better score is because the eye is extremely more sensitive to black/grey than color.

Posted by Scooter  on  04/28  at  12:25 PM

I would argue that Sharp dominated this test EXCEPT for color accuracy. I would say plasma is dead based on this test.

Posted by mediaPerson  on  04/28  at  04:07 PM

Do they evaluate the off axis viewing in these tests? How does the Panasonic compare to the Elite in off center viewing?

Posted by Robert Zohn  on  04/28  at  04:20 PM

anthropos60, I agree with your statement.  Humans can see the differences in contrast ratio far more easily than color accuracy.  In fact, our eye/brain correct for color errors.

The only reason we were able to see the very slight color decoding error on the Elite was because all of the displays were lined up butt-to-butt.  Move the Elite to a room by itself and no one can see any color accuracy error. 

Scooter, not sure about that.  This year’s PDP from Panasonic, Samsung and LG all look great.  This year was the biggest advancement in PDP overall picture quality.  Brighter, blacker, more accurate colors and better color saturation.

The 2012 plasmas now perform better in high ambient light and will always have the advantage in low ambient light.  Plasmas will always deliver far superior off axis view and motion resolution.

For me most importantly plasmas have what I call “image depth” which is lacking in LCD panels and plasmas are more color saturated.


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