Tim Baxter, President of Samsung America accepting the HD GURU Best In Show Award from our presenter Tiffany for its 2013 85S9 UHDTV
The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show was the best in years for advances in display technology. UHDTV, with four times the resolution of HDTV, grew from a one-vendor offering to every major (and not so major) TV maker. Large screen OLEDs, delayed by production problems in 2012, finally began shipments overseas. US delivery is set to begin in a few weeks, with second-generation model displayed and offered soon by LG.
Plasma display technology leapt forward with Samsung and Panasonic showing new flagship HDTVs with 2.5 times the maximum brightness of the 2012 models, nearing the intensity of LED LCDs and for the first time ever, competing head-on under intense show floor and soon retail store environments.
Plus there were a bunch of new fangled remotes and improved user interfaces.
Our newest HD Guru team member, Greg Fischer joined Geoff Morrison and me, scrutinizing the latest HDTVs and UHDTVs to make our Top Picks.
On to the winners:
Toshiba AIS CEO Mark Simons accepting the HD GURU CES 2013 Best UHDTV Award from our presenter Tiffany
Best UHD TV: Toshiba 65L9300
Toshiba’s unveiled its 2013 65-inch at the 2013 CES. While every other manufacturer’s models are first generation UHD, Toshiba’s 65L9300 is a their second generation of the ultra-high resolution format. Toshiba shipped the first UHD TVs in Japan in mid-2012.
Toshiba boasts a superior image from UHD, HD, and standard definition sources, thanks to its advanced G2 CEVO signal processor using Quad and Dual core chips. Toshiba’s engine coupled with its own advanced processing algorithms permits the 9300 to push HD and SD content to near UHD resolution.
This edge-lit LED LCD includes a group of picture enhancement features:
ClearScan 240Hz refresh rate
CQ Engine for control of Edge Enhancer, Dynamic Gamma, Color Master and Expert Mode;Calibration Capability, and UltraClear Dynamic Noise Reduction
Color and Depth Adaptive Resolution+ helps create images with enhanced image resolution, lifelike color saturation and enhanced picture depth.
The 9300 also incorporates Toshiba’s advanced Cloud TV functionality. This cloud based system includes: web browser with a keyboard, upgradeable services and apps, MediaShare for content access from other DLNA devices, MediaGuide program guide with search and suggestions; Streaming news: Miracast to push content from a Smart Phone, laptop or tablet to the TV and a slew of movie and music services along with a wide variety of apps.
The clean modern styling is highlighted by the use of gunmetal trim with a matching frame stand.
The 65-inch 65L9300 ships this summer.
HD GURU 2013 CES Top Pick Award for Best 3D TV -LG’s 65-inch UHDTV
Best 3D TV: LG 65-inch UHDTV
Late last year, LG rolled out the first UHDTV (3840×2160 resolution): the 84-inch 84LM9600. For 2013 LG will ship a 65-inch version with all the features found in the 84-incher including:
LED LCD Edge-lit with dimming
Passive 3D with Full HD resolution
Smart TV with Brower and Apps and Wi-Fi
240 Hz Refresh
New Styling with thin bezel
We tested the 84-inch version before the CES show and were blown away by its outstanding signal processing that enhanced standard and high definition source material upconverted to UHD resolution.
We were equally impressed by the high quality, passive 3D with no crosstalk and very bright images. LG has improved its FPR passive 3D technology with its UHD screens, to the point where it has overcome all our previous objections and now sets the industry standard for 3D reproduction in greater-than-Full HD (3840 x1080 resolution per eye).
LG’s 55EA8800 HD Guru Best OLED TV CES 2013
Best OLED TV: LG 55EA8800 55-inch HDTV
Others TV makers were just showing prototypes of their OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). LG announced at CES they had begun shipping their first generation OLED in Korea and will start US shipments this March (55EM9700 $12K). LG used CES to debut its second-generation model (55EA8800), set to ship later this year. The images looked amazing with completely inky blacks contrasting with very saturated, bright rich colors.
The wafer thin LG 55EA8800 updates over the 9700 by repositioning all its circuitry from a rear mounted backpack to the new “flamingo” stand. LG adds its latest Magic Remote control with enhanced speech recognition, new user interface. The 8800 supports NFC (near field communication) permitting the transfer of photos and other files from NFC compatible phones and tablets to the OLED TV.
LG continues with its WRGB (white, red, green, blue) filter over its “white” diode RGB sandwich, but were mum as far as technical changes within the panel as compared to its first generation model.
Panasonic VP of Merchandising HE Products Henry Hauser accepting the Best HDTV Award from HD GURU presenter Tiffany with Panasonic’s Jun Kim and Kiichiro Hayamizu
Best HDTV: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 65-inch HDTV
Panasonic’s 2013 flagship plasma model, the TC-P65ZT60, was one of the most exciting new HDTVs the show. While OLED is a fantastic technology, it will be years before we’ll see 65-inch products at prices remotely close to plasma. However, Panasonic’s 2013 ZT60 has viewing angle and deep blacks at a pixel level that no LED LCD can match and is the closest in picture quality to OLED technology.
For 2013 Panasonic made great improvements in panel performance with its new Studio Master Panel, eliminating the air gap between the front glass and plasma panel, new 3000 focused field drive, a new phosphor and a new front louver filter. The result is a far brighter picture than any previous plasma coupled with the deepest black levels ever. At the press conference, journalists around me wondered if the panel was a plasma or LED LCD, because of its intense brightness.
The ZT60 is long on new features including screen interface personalized for each user and the ability to transfer videos and photos from an Android or iOS device with a swipe of the finger. An optional touch pen permits drawing or writing captions on photos “on screen” and the ability to send your personalized photos back to your compatible phone or tablet.
The ZT60 touch pad remote control incorporates speech recognition for smart searching for your favorite programs and content. Unique to the Panasonic ZT and VT series plasmas is a text to speech function allowing web text content to become spoken words.
Cosmetically the ZT60 uses Panasonic’s glass and metal design concept for a very clean, contemporary look.
The ZT will also be available in the 60-inch screen size. Both are expected to ship in late Q2 of this year
CES 2013 HD GURU Best In Show winner Samsung 85S9 85-inch UHDTV
Best In Show: Samsung 85S9 85-inch UHDTV
The 85S9 represents many technical firsts for TV industry leader Samsung. It’s the largest size screen they’ve ever offered.
The S9 uses a UHDTV 3840×2160 resolution LED LCD backlit with local dimming, housed in a frame containing a 120-watt 2.2 speaker system.
Feature wise the S9 affords everything under the Samsung menu: Smart TV with browser and apps; 3D, quad core processor; advanced speech recognition with S-recommendation search; built-in camera and microphones; Smart Hub five panel user interface; touch pad remote control; gesture control; AllShare (for viewing your Galaxy phone or tablet content on this giant screen) and Samsung’s own UHD upconversion for optimization of all standard and high definition sources.
All this technology comes wrapped in a unique and innovative design which Samsung calls Timeless Gallery. The screen can be raised and lowered within the frame which doubles as as floor stand or the entire thing can be wall mounted.
The price and availability was not revealed at press time.
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