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4K TVs may not be better than older TVs

by MM03246 / January 19, 2018 8:21 AM PST

Bought a Sony Bravia 65X900E 4K TV for $1500 a month ago from a local TV place here in Marin County, CA. I was hoping to get better picture quality than my 5 year old 60" Samsung. The picture quality of sports, especially Warriors basketball, is worse than before. Though I watched Blade Runner 2040 thru Comcast On Demand and the picture was probably a bit better than on my old TV. Overall, this new TV is disappointing.

Part of the problem is that Comcast does not yet offer 4K format. But since the TV has more pixels than before, sometimes the picture quality is very good, like during commercials. But the new 4KTV cannot keep up with the action during a basketball game so you get more blurriness than before.

I researched 4KTVs quite a bit before buying (including CNET) and did not see much on this.

Another part of the problem is that sites like CNET offer reviews on very specific TV types; it can be hard to get a review for the exact kind of TV you want to buy. This is probably purposeful. The TV companies come out with so many slightly different TV types to make it difficult to compare oranges to oranges.

After many tries I finally got a new 4K cable box from Comcast. It has not helped the picture quality.

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About that keep up.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 19, 2018 8:42 AM PST

I usually turn of any motion processing/smoothing to let the TV show what is coming in on the video feed.

About "exact kind" do you mean exact model? There are plenty of articles and discussions that UHD 4K is well, not that big a step up. The charts at http://carltonbale.com/1080p-does-matter/ show why you might not see a big difference.

When many sales folk demo you notice they take the client to just a foot or two from the screen to show off the extra pixels. But as the article and chart shows, in normal use it's rarely seen.

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Unrealistic expectations
by Pepe7 / January 19, 2018 11:47 AM PST

Unfortunately, you didn't do enough research going in to your upgrade.

The issue with motion handling Bob referenced is *widely* discussed. It's one drawback of even some of the higher priced HDTVs. Even turning off any sort of model/brand specific motion handling/enhancing feature doesn't necessarily mean the hockey game will look so nice. Again, YMMV.

Keep in mind that 4K does not necessarily imply a "better looking" image than 1080p. Sometimes but not always. The notion of 'garbage in, garbage out' still may apply. Understand, what Comcast throws at us (I have them too) will vary wildly. Upscaled, highly compressed SD feeds can look downright awful on a 1080p rig, let alone a 4K HDTV(!)

I would like to clarify your comment at the end regarding obtaining a '4K box' from Comcast. That is to imply it would be the solution as such to get your HDTV to look better(?). Unfortunately, no. First of all, these newer versions of the X1 box commonly issues are not available in all areas yet. There are a few bugs too. And if they are, that still does not 'decouple' the varying quality of the content they provide us from their sources (networks, etc.).

Bottom line is we have to wait a little longer to get some of these issues sorted out.

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Regarding Blurriness
by gaucherre / January 20, 2018 12:40 PM PST

You mentioned your 5 year-old Samsung TV. Was it by any chance a plasma TV (rather than LCD/LED)? If so, it may explain the added blurriness on the new TV. Plasma TVs don't blur the picture. Sometimes sports programs sent out via Comcast may be blurry or blocky, but that's not your TV's fault. Anyway, some newer TVs may develop blurriness on fast sports action when they are "upscaling" a 720 or 1080 program up to 4K resolution. Maybe there's a control on your TV to turn off upscaling so you watch the game in its original quality of 720 or 1080.

When looking at new TVs one Saturday in a store I noticed that a football game looked pretty amazing on a whole bunch of 4K TVs. I asked the salesman to switch through a few other channels and found a PAC-12 game broadcast in 720. Now things were different. On four of the seven screens i could see a reasonably good picture with no blur, but two screens had some blurring on fast action. One other screen was so bad on fast action as to be unwatchable! Maybe I'm just spoiled because we have an old Pioneer plasma set at home?

Anyway, the point is that a 4K TV has to do a lot of upscaling of lower res material, and there is obviously a lot of variation in how well they handle it!

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Never evaluate with the store video feed
by Pepe7 / January 20, 2018 3:15 PM PST
In reply to: Regarding Blurriness

It’s rarely if ever remotely close to the quality at your home.

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Observation Isn't Evaluation
by gaucherre / January 22, 2018 12:25 PM PST

Reporting what one observes is simply that - an observation.

The inherent shortcomings of a TV signal being distributed among over half a dozen displays all at once in a brightly lit store will be obvious to many. In this case my observation that some TVs displayed a reasonably good "upscaled" 720 TV broadcast while other sets failed to do so does suggest that there are differences in the effectiveness of upscaling among those particular sets in that particular environment. At any random, unnamed store you visit the TV signal itself may be weak or include excessive RFI, EMI, or AC powerline interference, and that could even be (heaven forbid) selectively applied to favor one set over another. Nevertheless, the original point still remains which is that some TVs upscale lower resolution content better than other TVs. And, maybe, an anecdotal observation will encourage others to consider upscaling as worth evaluating before making a final decision on an expensive purchase.

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Expextations from LG OLED55EG9100 HDTV to LGOLED65C7P 4K
by lvpatrick / January 20, 2018 11:17 PM PST

Media source DirecTV HR44 (non 4k), Sony 4K & Blu-Ray DVDs and Network Broadcasting

With the lack of true 4K media, except 4K DVD's, our primary purpose in moving from what has been rated the best 1080p TV (LG OLED55EG9100 HDTV) to the 2017 highly rated LG OLED65C7P 4K is for two purposes. The increase in size from 55 to 65 and primarily the upscaling ability of the LG OLED65C7P. The new LG 65" is high in price and I am wondering if we are spending money for a minimum return.

Are my reasons for buying this 4K foolhardy/premature?

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It really depends
by Pepe7 / January 21, 2018 1:52 PM PST

If budget permits, it may be a worthwhile upgrade. I am happy waiting until there’s more 4K content (that I actually want to watch) in the marketplace before upgrading to OLED. Keep in mind upscaling is handled well by less expensive HDTVs too. Black levels and viewing angle, among other features, stood out for me when I got a chance to view the C7.

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Several possibilities
by Flatworm / January 22, 2018 6:22 AM PST

You say that 4K TVs are not better than older TVs. Well, they may not be, but they be. And your specific Sony model certainly is, although it has some shortcomings, notably substandard brightness and a fairly narrow optimum viewing angle compared to other LED/LCD HDR TVs.

Like nearly all LCD HDTVs made in the past decade, old and new, it has a native screen refresh rate of 120 HZ, but employs something called "Motion Enhancement Technology" that provides what Sony calls a "Motionflow" rate of 960 Hz. This feature can be configured in your settings menu in various ways from full off to full "simulated" 960 HZ using some sort of extrapolation algorithm. This can cause artifacts with various types of content. You would need to experiment with these settings to see what works best for you.

There is still nothing for fast motion that matches Plasma sets, which, although they had a native refresh rate only 60 HZ, they had a sub-field refresh rate of 600 HZ which was capable of following nearly any motion. But plasma sets, discontinued for the consumer market in 2014, have been consigned to that same place where now dwell audio cartridges and video LaserDisks.

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