Which TV will have the best picture quality in 2023? There is a lot of talk about the headline flagship sets from the consumer electronics arms of the OLED panel manufacturers, LG and Samsung, with Sony’s A95K QD-OLED successor yet to be announced, but the truth of the matter may just have been staring us in the face all along.
Let’s summarise what some of the biggest TV YouTubers and Audio-visual websites have to say before reaching a conclusion.
- Samsung S90C / S95C has potential for greater colour brightness and luminance if pushed
- LG G3 META Micro Lens Array improves brightness but not necessarily colour brightness because of the white subpixel however he found colours to be brighter perceptually
- Panasonic MZ2000 processing and picture quality made it one of the best at CES 2023
- MLA just focuses existing light better rather than increases light energy so doesn’t increase burn in risk
- MLA peaks at 2100 nits so a ‘150% increase’ (2.5x original or 1.5x original?)
- QD-OLED2 colour brightness is measurably purer since no white subpixel but perceptually MLA may appear little different
- LG Brightness Booster Max light control architecture (MLA) and light boosting algorithms increase brightness by up to 70% but just on 55, 65, 77 inch models (not 83)
- Samsung puts Micro LED top of its range with, OLED bottom and Neo QLED in the middle.
- S90/95C in 55, 65, 77 inch sizes
- MLA is brighter across all window sizes from 1% to full screen white giving more depth and punch and brighter colours
- Panasonic MZ2000 1500 nits (cd/m2) peak light output on a 10% window
- Graph shows 50% brightness boost over previous year’s LZ2000 at 10% window size but reducing to just 20% brightness boost at 100% window size.
- Though brighter MZ2000 clears image retention quicker than LZ2000
- Some scenes look identical in brightness on old LZ2000 and new MZ2000
- With ambient light blacks look less black and more pink on the new MZ2000
- MLA design uses 27 billion lenses to redirect out of the screen light previously reflected inwards
- Brightness is 50% greater than last year’s model
- MLA increases colour volume
- “True to the film maker’s vision” slogan – even though film makers take into account typical end user equipment
- 30% brighter over 2022 QD-OLED due to higher intensity light and less internal absorption
- Blacks will be truer than the greys of QD-OLED v1 due to optimisation of the top layers of the panel
- LG MLA and Samsung QD-OLED2 are the main technologies impacting top end picture quality for 2023.
- TCL Micro LED promises the best picture quality but is 5 years plus away
- Panasonic MZ2000 with MLA is vote for best of show with a visible difference against last year’s model
- Wireless HDMI is on the LG Signature OLED M model
- G3 Micro Lens Array (MLA) will achieve the best full screen brightness
- S95C QD-OLED has a brighter blue OLED material and a new anti reflective layer will reflect less light and so achieve truer blacks in a brighter room than its predecessor (OLED v1 also used by Sony A95K)
- LG G2 issues were full screen brightness, uniformity (magenta tint) and colour accuracy
- Samsung S95B issues were lifted blacks under ambient light, low bit rate content processing and bent panels
- The competition will be about high APL brightness and lower luminance colour accuracy
- Marketing materials don’t specify the brightness window sizes
- Panel may be capable of 2000 nits but the implementation in the models may be less
- Forbes states QD-OLED v2 is 1500 nits at 10% and a 30% improvement over the previous year.
- QD-OLED issues remain: colour fringing with coloured lines in bright scenes and near black smearing.
- LG G3 1500 nits on 10% window and 2000 on 3%
- Both Sony A95K (QD OLED with heat sync) and Samsung S95B (without heat sync) holds sustained brightness better though does not get so bright as LG G2.
- Panel consistency and lack of pink tinting are the main advantages of QD-OLED over OLED.
- Samsung updates in 2022, presumably to keep the panel safe, meant the S95B no longer offered its original brightness by the end of the year
- QD-OLED2 is trying to be brighter than MLA (2100 v 2000 nits)
- LG Evo G2 panel had a pink tint uniformity issue and Samsung QD-OLED S95B panel had a software update trust issue
- At CES 2023 the Samsung booth demonstrated QD-OLED v2 as being perceptibly brighter with even more saturated colours than 2022 QD-OLED.
RTINGS.com provides measurements for several popular TVs and top of the line LEDs measure and are perceived as much brighter and more impressive with bright full screen scenes than top of the line OLED TVs, whether WRGB OLED or QD-OLED.
For 10% peak and 100% sustained brightness respectively, RTINGS.com gives
- OLEDs: LG G2 (evo) 450, 190; Sony A95K (QD-OLED) 410, 148; LG G1 (2021) 406, 161
- Mini LEDs: Samsung QN95B 1,934, 569; Sony X95K 1223, 633;
- Full Array Local Dimming: Sony X95H (2020) 1085, 625
So to summarise, the latest 2023 OLEDs are 30% to 50% brighter than last year for sub 10% white windows but for full screen white are perhaps just 20% brighter so for viewing in a daytime room or bright high APL scenes with, for example, sunshine, snow or sports both of the new OLED technologies, QD-OLED v2 and MLA (META), remain much less impactful than LED designs.
Micro LED achieves the holy grail of professional reference mastering monitor black and bright performance like the 31 inch Sony BVM-HX310 but is too expensive a technology for mass market consumer sets for now and several years to come, with lower energy consumption being one of the technical challenges needing to be overcome.