Deanna Dewberry, Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports' electronics engineers check out OLED and Ultra-HD TVs. Very impressive. But if you don't want to plunk down the big bucks for the latest and greatest, we recommend LED and plasma sets for far less.
When you’re shopping for a television, the choices can seem overwhelming. It’s no longer just LCD and plasma you have to consider. Consumer Reports’ TV experts say it’s only going to get more confusing. They have tested the latest TV technologies, OLED and Ultra-HD, and say these first sets, though very pricey, have a lot to offer.
Ultra-HD is a higher-resolution LCD set. That means you can get huge screens, like the 84-inch model Consumer Reports’ testers checked out. You also get a beautiful picture with lots of detail. But Ultra-HD sets start at $4,000 for a decent one, and there’s another drawback. The problem with Ultra-HD is that it needs a lot of ultra-high-definition content. So you have a TV with a high resolution and not a lot of content to feed it.
OLED is another impressive new technology. The black levels on the OLED set Consumer Reports tested are the best testers have ever seen, it’s good for watching movies with lots of dark scenes. The brightness levels are also great, giving the picture lots of contrast. But prices are still high. OLED sets start at about $9,000.
Consumer Reports says just like with most TV technologies, over the course of four or five years it will become a more mainstream product. Meanwhile, plasma TVs continue to improve. When Consumer Reports’ testers looked at the OLED TVs, one thing that was really striking is how good some of the plasmas looked compared with that OLED, at much lower prices.
For example, Consumer Reports recommends the 55-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P55ST60. You’ll get excellent picture quality for about $1,400. If your TV is in a room that gets a lot of light, an LCD television might be the best choice. Consumer Reports recommends the 55-inch LG 55GA7900. You’ll get an excellent picture, very good sound, and a wide viewing angle for $1,500.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.