Value Electronics Robert Zohn has grown his annual TV Shootout into an international event that is highly anticipated every year as the most unbiased review of the worlds top televisions. In this, the 12th year, the shootout was held in conjunction with the New York City CE Week activities and drew over 100 invited TV experts, reviewers, and calibrators from around the globe. The moderator this year was none other than Joel Silver, the founder and president of The Imaging Science Foundation. Mr. Silver added commentary and advice to the attendees on the critical points of TV evaluation, with a focus on the very new and incredible high dynamic range (HDR), and wide color gamut (WCG) featured in these flagship TVs.
Evaluation categories included:
Moving resolution (sharpness)
Overall day (high ambient light)
Overall night (low ambient light)
Unique Challenges in 2016
The challenge going into the event for organizer Robert Zohn was, and likely is every year – how to keep it fair and unbiased. Robert, a retailer and AV integrator doing business in Scarsdale New York, keeps it fair by not taking any samples for free (he buys every television in the shootout), checks for altered sets – golden/reference samples hand-picked for the competition (all TVs are off the shelf and purchased via open market channels the same way a consumer would buy any one of these TVs). What was particularly challenging this year was dealing with distributing the same signal to each TV in HD, UHD and UHD with HDR so that the experts could make unbiased decisions. Plus verifying that the signals distributed to each TV were in the proper format, timing, bit depth, color space, and proper HDR signal (Dolby Vision or HDR-10) and verification of the actual signal bandwidth in GBP/Sec. for each signal sent to the TVs.
Panasonic provided 5 of their new UHD players (not available in the US yet) for review of UHD movie content in UHD SDR and HDR, Murideo provided reference test signal generators to produce test patterns required for several of the categories being evaluated and for a source to calibrate/touch up the displays during the event. Additionally, the Murideo generators and analyzers were used to turn on HDR and to validate and review Dolby Vision and HDR-10 capabilities.
Distributing HDR in UHD above the 10.2 GBP/Sec Threshold
Robert reached out to several major connectivity manufacturers to provide a matrix/distribution system for the shootout and was told it was not possible and would not be possible until the 2017 shootout. This worried Robert, and as an alternative he was prepared to place a Murideo generator and a Panasonic UHD player on each display directly – this would have worked, but would have required significantly more manpower and uncoordinated comparisons, and reviews to the TVs under test. To make it fair and unbiased, the same exact content in the same exact frame is needed for side-by-side comparison.
Enter AVProConnect and Metra Home Theater
At the recommendation of Joel Silver (ISF Founder) Robert reached out to little known startup AVProConnect, who had been working with Joel on developing an 18 GBP/Sec solution for his own high-end clientele, and for distributing high value HDR content at his popular ISF Seminars. The new UHD/HDR 18 GBP/Sec matrix had never before been used in public, so to be honest there was not a lot of confidence that this could be pulled off. Robert had several backup plans in place that ultimately were not needed. The AVProConnect SUHD 8×8 matrix distributed high value UHD/HDR content from multiple sources and went into and out of HDR flawlessly in both Dolby Vision and HDR-10. With it’s built in up/down scalers and EDID management functions on each output port it, was even easy to send signals to yeasterdays reference HDTV (Roberts own Pioneer Kuro, which by the way is now for sale :)) that was used as a reference to show just how incredibly awesome HDR and WCG impact the customer experience.
(From Left to right: Joel Silver, Brent McCall, Matt Murray, Robert Zohn, Jeff Murray, and Jay Catral.)
AVProConnect of course wanted to be sure that the HDMI cables would also be able to support the full 18 GBP/Sec of the Matrix so they in turn suggested the Metra Home Theater Groups Velox series of Active HDMI cable and the GA1 Gigabit Accelerator for the longest Passive cable runs. AVProConnect had seen and tested these cables at both CES and ISE, so there was a high level of confidence that they were up to the challenge. The event went off without a hitch and a winner was crowned at the end of day 2. Here are the results and I must say I agree and will hopefully be putting one of these in my living room soon!
More info on this event is below:
Original Press Release:
TVs in the competition:
Sony XBR-75X940D – LCD w/Local Area Dimming
Samsung UN78KS9800 – LCD w/Local Area Dimming
LG OLED65G6P OLED – OLED
Vizio 65″ R series – LCD w/Local Area Dimming
18 GBP/Sec Cables provided by Metra
Signals & Switching:
18 GBP/Sec Switching, Reference Signal Generator and Analyzer by Murideo
Minolta CS-2000, Klein K-10, CalMAN
And the winner is (article in Digital Trends):
Tom Devine | AVProStore | [email protected] | 605-782-2471