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Friday
Oct272017

Podcast #815: Battle of the Big TVs

Braden is packing up all his earthly belongings and moving them, along with his family, to a new home. One of the items that isn’t leaving, however, is the 100” projection screen in the family room. It’s staying with the house. And there’s nowhere to put it in the new house anyway. Instead, the family will be watching TV and movies on a more traditional television set. Just which one is still up in the air.

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Battle of the Big TVs

Braden is packing up all his earthly belongings and moving them, along with his family, to a new home. One of the items that isn’t leaving, however, is the 100” projection screen in the family room. It’s staying with the house. And there’s nowhere to put it in the new house anyway. Instead, the family will be watching TV and movies on a more traditional television set. Just which one is still up in the air.

We talked about an 86” LG television a few podcasts back (Episode 806), even jokingly called it Ara’s next upgrade. As it turns out, it may actually be Braden’s next upgrade instead. That set, the LG 86SJ9570 86-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV, served as the starting point for an epic spec sheet showdown that has yet to declare a winner. Other sets that are also in the running, in addition to the LG, are the Samsung UN85JU7100 85-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV and the Sony XBR85X850D 85-Inch 4K HDR Ultra HD Smart TV.

Admittedly, it hurts dropping from a 100” screen to an 85” or 86” screen, but there are some very distinct advantages to the TV over the projector that will ease the transition. First of all, we should say that it is a bit ridiculous to complain about an 85” TV at all, we totally get that. We’re sorry. But it is 15% less screen space, 15% less of a good thing. But the TV is 4K, and the projector is not. The TV is significantly brighter and for rooms that have difficulty controlling ambient light, will be much easier to enjoy during the day. So all in all, a win even accounting for the loss in screen size.

 

LG 86SJ9570 86-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Coming in at 86 inches, the LG is the largest set on the list. Of course the difference between an 86 inch TV and and 85 inch one is practically imperceptible, so that alone isn’t enough to move the needle. The LG currently carries a price tag of $6996 at Amazon. Not bad for a 4K screen that size. It has a 4 star rating from 6 reviewers at Amazon, but only a 3 star rating from 2 reviewers at LG’s own product page. Not great, but not terrible.

Features

  • Smart functionality gives you access to your favorite apps and content using webOS 3.5
  • Pairs 4K Ultra HD picture clarity with the contrast, color, and detail of High Dynamic Range (HDR) for the most lifelike picture
  • Active HDR with Dolby Vision + HDR10 + HLG
  • Full-array LED backlighting and local dimming produces excellent picture quality
  • 120Hz refresh rate allows fast moving action scenes to be seen with virtually no motion blur (240Hz effective rate)
  • Inputs: 4 HDMI (HDCP 2.2), 3 USB, 1 RF, 1 Composite, 1 Ethernet, 1 Optical, 1 RS232C (Mini Jack)
  • 802.11ac Wifi

 

Samsung UN85JU7100 85-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

It wouldn’t be a TV shootout without at least one Samsung on the list. This set is a bit smaller at 85 inches, but it isn’t the size that matters, it how Samsung uses that size to delight us that we really care about. A bit less expensive, this TV is going for $5278 at Amazon. That’s a savings of around $1700. You can stream a lot of movies for $1700. It has a 4 star rating from 21 reviewers at Amazon, and a 4.5 star rating from 215 reviewers at Samsung’s product page. That’s a very solid showing.

This TV has been on store shelves since 2015, so while the price is attractive, some of the features are lacking.

Features

  • 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution offers exceptional detail and true-to-life image quality.
  • Advanced Samsung Smart TV Offers Easy Access to Content
  • Equipped with Samsung Precision Black technology, the Samsung JU7100 Smart TV delivers exceptional contrast depth.
  • Ultra Clear Pro viewing panel absorbs ambient light and softens reflections to deliver a clear, frustration-free viewing experience.
  • With the Samsung Peak Illuminator feature, you'll experience brighter whites, sharper details, and more vibrant colors.
  • The JU7100 Smart TV also features Samsung contrast-enhancing technology, which optimizes contrast across multiple zones of the picture to produce a richer, more dramatic sense of depth.
  • UHD Dimming for Greater Picture Clarity
  • View Everything in Higher Definition with UHD Upscaling
  • Equipped with a quad-core processor, the JU7100 Smart TV lets you switch between apps with ease.
  • 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, 1 component-in, and 1 composite-in. It also features
  • Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi and supports Samsung Anynet+.

 

Sony XBR85X850D 85-Inch 4K HDR Ultra HD Smart TV

Like the Samsung, the Sony on our list is an 85 inch set. Even less expensive, this option is going for $4998 and even includes a 2 year Netflix subscription, effectively knocking a couple hundred additional dollars off of the already low price. It has a 4 star rating from a whopping 481 reviewers at Amazon and a 4 star rating from 186 reviewers at Sony’s site. The set has been around since 2016. Not quite as old as the Samsung, but not as new as the LG either.

Features

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) will change the way you look at TV. Combined with 4K Ultra HD resolution, HDR video content delivers exceptional detail, color and contrast, with a far wider range of brightness than other video formats.
  • The 4K Processor X1 ensures everything you watch - movies, sports, and streaming video – looks the best it possibly can.
  • From movies and TV shows to thousands of apps, Sony’s Android TV brings you everything in an instant.
  • Voice search on Android TV provides you with the power of Google search, allowing you to find content across different services without the hassle of time-consuming text entry.
  • Inputs: 4 HDMI (HDCP 2.2/HDMI 2.0a), 3 USB, 1 Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi Certified 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

 

Conclusion

We can drop the Samsung from the list right away due to the lack of HDR. There’s no reason to buy a TV now that doesn’t support HDR, and when the Sony is less expensive and does support it, that makes the decision to drop the Samsung pretty easy. Then we’re down to the LG and the Sony. The Sony is a little older, so it doesn’t pack the features the LG has, but it is also $2000 cheaper. That might be a little detail we have to somehow forget to mention to the finance committee should we opt for the more expensive set.

It’s hard to argue with the features in the LG TV. It supports all the HDR formats. The Sony has HDR support, but doesn’t state which formats, so we assume it only handles the original HDR10 specification. That’s great, but the LG is better with support for Dolby Vision and HLG as well. Both are smart TVs, one with webOS and one with Android TV. Both have Ethernet jacks and support 802.11ac. Other than the HDR advantage with the LG, and the advantage of being a year more recent, the two are nearly identical spec for spec.

We’ve gone about as far as we can go on specs and Amazon reviews alone. The next step is to find a store, or a couple stores, where we can go look at them for ourselves. We’ll download some test content to a USB drive and see what our eyes tell us about each one. Sure, having the TV will be great. But the hunt is pretty fun too.

 

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Would rule out the Samsung 82" MU8000 from Samsung. Especially with the cost savings versus your other options. It currently sells for $3800 (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1320407-REG/samsung_un82mu8000fxza_mu8000_82_4k_hdr.html?sts=pi) at BH Photo. While I'm sure this is something for going down to 82" from 100" but with the major difference in price from your other choices, over $3200 over the LG, shouldn't be ruled out.

October 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Goldman

As of 29-Oct, the LG site is showing a price drop to $5999.99. The LG has links to their authorized distributor like B&H Photo, ABT, Fraud's Electronics all at the $5999 price. Not sure on the shipping expenses and you will save on sales tax at some of those site, it that is a concern.

Braden, I am in awe of you with getting a new house, moving all your stuff and boy; plus, you have your priorities correct in getting a new HDTV. The boys can sleep on the floor while the important things are worked out.

Cheers, John in Austin

October 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn L.

The Samsung UN82MU8000 has a whopping $1.700 Discout on Crutchfield (https://www.crutchfield.com/p_30582M8000/Samsung-UN82MU8000.html) !
4K and HDR

November 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSergio Da Silva

Good news Braden!

COSTCO will be having an LG 86-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV on sale from November 17-27, 2017 while supplies last. I don't know the model number but the price is $4999.99!!!

There is a limit of 3 and the item number is 9869570. It will be available in store and at Costco.com.

Best of luck on "the hunt"!

November 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt B.

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