In an exclusive Dealerscope interview, Stop the FOMO, a popular YouTube channel dedicated to providing comprehensive reviews and up-to-date news on TVs, home entertainment, and personal technology, aimed at helping viewers make informed decisions in these product categories, provided vital insights for 2023 TV buyers. He discussed the importance of brighter OLED TVs and contrast ratios, clarifies peak brightness misconceptions, and highlighted the importance of black levels. FOMO also touched on color accuracy and the challenges of 8K resolution in content production and distribution, offering essential guidance for informed TV purchases in 2023.
What Are the Key Trends and Innovations in the TV Industry That Consumers Should Be Aware of in 2023?
Brighter OLED TVs from LG, Samsung and Sony. LG’s MLA technology allows its G3 OLED to be brighter than miniLED LCD TVs, you heard me right! This is an amazing accomplishment considering the number one complaint about OLED in the past is the lack of brightness for sports watching in a bright room – this is no longer an issue. Right behind it is the Samsung S95C and Sony A95L, both utilizing the second generation QD-OLED panel which offers a bit more brightness this year. All 3 are now easily bright enough in any lighting condition – the only shortcoming is that none of these improvements are offered in the 83″ size! For those who need both brightness and size, you are still shopping models with MiniLED technology.
What Is the Significance of Contrast Ratio in TV Displays, and How Does It Impact the Viewing Experience?
Contrast ratio is the key to image clarity and sharpness. I believe that before we even look at 8K resolution, we have to make sure the contrast ratio is near infinite like what you’ll see on OLED TVs. In other words, the highest available contrast ratio is more visible and impactful than going to 8K when it comes to visually appreciable improvements from normal viewing distances. The ideal 8K TV is an OLED 8K TV.
Peak Brightness Is a Critical Factor in TV Performance. How Do Different Products Achieve High Peak Brightness, and What Benefits Does It Offer to Consumers?
Peak brightness is so misunderstood because you also need to understand the content’s brightness requirements too. If your TV is capable of 2000 nits peak brightness but you’re watching Netflix, Hulu or YouTube, it’s unlikely you’ll ever exceed 1000 nits. As a matter of fact, among reviewers we often joke that there are less than a handful of HDR movies that exceed 1000 nits. However, outside of movies, there is an argument to be made for higher peak brightness for playing HDR games which may be mastered above 2000 nits. I believe that among LCD TVs, with or without miniLED technology, above a certain price point say $1000, these TVs deliver all the peak brightness you need for HDR movie watching – and among OLED TVs in 2023, it would be the LG G3, Samsung S95C (and S90C at 77″) and the Sony A95L delivering the same level of HDR impact for movie watching accuracy. Any brighter would be viewer preference, pushing brightness beyond what the creator intended.
Black Level Is Often Associated with Deep, Rich Blacks in TV Displays. How Do TVs Achieve Impressive Black Levels, and Why Is It Important for Picture Quality?
This is closely associated with contrast ratio – the ability to display high dynamic range (aka HDR) requires the panel to be able to display perfect blackness while at the same time specular highlights of up to 1000 nits. For LCD TVs this is achieved with more dimming zones and better software control – some TVs lack the software sophistication to display both perfect blacks and bright highlights without artifacts like blooming so make up the difference with more dimming zones (Hisense U8K and QM8 come to mind) while other TV models like the Sony X90K have the best in class software but use less dimming zones to accomplish the same feat. While OLED TVs by its nature of being self-emissive are capable of this without having to rely on software at all.
Could You Elaborate on the Concept of Color Accuracy and Its Importance in TV Displays?
Color accuracy can be looked at in two ways: (1) at its most technical level, it means that the the creator saw colors in a specific way on their reference display and what you see on your TV matches exactly to the colors seen by the creator on their reference display. This requires that both your TV and the creator’s reference display are calibrated to match each other – this is why true color accuracy at its most technical requires a calibrator who knows the industry standard to ensure your TV matches that same standard so you can see what the creator expects, (2) but there’s also a less technical and more subjective understanding of color accuracy which is that the TV looks “natural” – human skin tones are what you expect to see while common sights like the sky, sun and grass are in colors that are familiar. When a TV has inaccurate colors, you immediately notice that lips are maybe a bit too red or grass a touch too neon green – even without calibration tools, inaccurate colors can be subjectively jarring. So where pathway #1 is what technical professionals require, most consumers are absolutely fine with #2.
Resolution Is a Fundamental Aspect of TV Technology. What Are the Current Standards, and Are There Any Upcoming Developments in This Area?
There’s such a thing as “too much of a good thing”! Obviously, if 4K is amazing then 8K must be twice as amazing! But as I alluded to earlier, resolution is a function of both contrast and pixel density. Our eyes are far more sensitive to lighting differences (contrast) than it is to the finest pixel differences even when you are seated 7 feet away from a 65″ TV. With this in mind, we also must take into account that resolution is a full stack approach from the content to the display. For movies and content watching, we are currently limited in both form and function to 4K resolution with only gamers on high end PCs able to display fully 8K content. The 4K content limit is because movie production companies are not interested in the investment and cost of fully upgrading their entire process to 8K delivery and the distribution model (whether disc or streaming) is not capable of handling the storage and bandwidth requirements. The easy part is making 8K TVs, the hard part is 8K content production and distribution. I do not know of any media upgrades in the roadmap to handle 8K distribution on disc, but newer compression standards 8K streaming (whether AV1, VVC or something else) are ready when the content arrives which may be much farther off than people expect due to cost.