The big "How do I choose an HDTV?" thread.

The HDR on my ~$2k LG is absolutely mindblowing. Cycling it on and off is incredibly noticeable in games, blu-rays, and streamed content that supports HDR.

The HDR on my ~$400 monitor, while not quite as impressive (lower peak nits) is still way better looking than SDR.

To me HDR is far more impressive than resolution. 1080p HDR >>> 4K SDR.

One thing I think TV manufacturers have been really bad at with HDR is being honest that HDR is meant to be watched in a light controlled room, aka pretty much totally dark.

TVs DO come with picture settings that alter HDR to be bright enough in a lit room, but it kinda defeats the purpose. It was never meant to make the whole image brighter--it was meant to create a wider range between the darkest and brightest colors. This matters because it means it's optimized to work best when calibrated to an average scene brightness of 100 nits, which isn't very bright. It would only shoot up during moments that are actually meant to be bright, like a sun-drenched day at the beach, or to do specular highlights like on a bright light in a dark room.

As a result, the image does look pretty dim in a room with ambient light. My TV has a daytime setting for HDR, which helps in daylight for the most part, and you also get Wide Color Gamut with HDR, so it still looks better than SDR overall.

Good HDR is legit -- my LG C9, for example, looks spectacular when fed appropriately encoded content (ie, from Netflix, Amazon, Disney +, etc, or games from my Xbox or PC).

Bad HDR looks terrible, and I expect might be quite common. My LG 34GK950f ultrawide monitor, which is otherwise a spectacular monitor with great image quality in SDR, theoretically supports HDR, but looks universally terrible no matter how I calibrate things, and I can easily side by side it with the C9 to see the difference. This absolutely breaks my heart, though, since I basically have to choose between ultrawide resolutions and HDR for games, which sucks (ultrawide usually wins for various reasons, but I then look jealously over my shoulder at the bright, vibrant colors and deep inky blacks that my wife is enjoying watching TV while I'm playing on the monitor).

(Worth noting that SDR content elsewhere in Windows looks terrible on either display when Windows is set to HDR mode.)

At what price point do TVs start doing HDR well?

Whatever the price of the LG B/C OLED series is, probably.

Might be done cheaper/better by other manufacturers now, but I certainly didn't find that to be the case when buying this TV last year, and I've not seen anything nearly as good since then.

TLDR: My kingdom for a 34" Ultrawide monitor with HDR support as good as my TV.

zeroKFE wrote:

TLDR: My kingdom for a 34" Ultrawide monitor with HDR support as good as my TV.

I feel like this is more a problem with Windows HDR implementation than the panel itself. Windows itself looks like absolute rubbish when HDR is enabled, as you said. Some games work well, for me Assetto Corsa Competizione, for example, looks great in HDR. Racing at midnight through the Ardennes looks incredible. But a lot of other games look terrible. If I plug a console that supports HDR into that monitor, it looks fine. Not as good as an OLED tv, of course, since the monitor isn't OLED. But good.

zeroKFE wrote:

Good HDR is legit -- my LG C9, for example, looks spectacular when fed appropriately encoded content (ie, from Netflix, Amazon, Disney +, etc, or games from my Xbox or PC).

Bad HDR looks terrible, and I expect might be quite common. My LG 34GK950f ultrawide monitor, which is otherwise a spectacular monitor with great image quality in SDR, theoretically supports HDR, but looks universally terrible no matter how I calibrate things, and I can easily side by side it with the C9 to see the difference. This absolutely breaks my heart, though, since I basically have to choose between ultrawide resolutions and HDR for games, which sucks (ultrawide usually wins for various reasons, but I then look jealously over my shoulder at the bright, vibrant colors and deep inky blacks that my wife is enjoying watching TV while I'm playing on the monitor).

(Worth noting that SDR content elsewhere in Windows looks terrible on either display when Windows is set to HDR mode.)

Does that mean that it's possible that XBox VOD streaming HDR is just bad since they theoretically use the same underlying libraries?

zeroKFE wrote:
At what price point do TVs start doing HDR well?

Whatever the price of the LG B/C OLED series is, probably.

Might be done cheaper/better by other manufacturers now, but I certainly didn't find that to be the case when buying this TV last year, and I've not seen anything nearly as good since then.

So before I try to sell my wife on buying a new TV should I just consider turning HDR off?

Chairman_Mao wrote:

One thing I think TV manufacturers have been really bad at with HDR is being honest that HDR is meant to be watched in a light controlled room, aka pretty much totally dark.

We watch ours in a dark room and still it doesn't look great.

I know it's not just me. I've been searching for a solution and a quick search through Google and most of the posts out there are like this.

sony x900F: HDR is a mess - how is this not talked about more ...
Are you happy with HDR on X900F? : bravia - Reddit
Sony X900F - HDR Woes : bravia - Reddit

It's also possible that HDR just isn't for me. At least not on this TV. And that I need to configure my setup to run 4K SD for a while until I get a new TV.

I just got the Samsung Q80, and it's a pretty big difference over the 1080p plasma it replaced. I wasn't expecting this significant of an improvement.
I've watched some of the Star Wars content on Disney+ and the lighting on the HDR content is pretty fantastic. Things like blinky lights on flight suits really pop out, and lighting in general looks really impressive.

That’s one of the TVs I am considering if I feel like I have to bail on the Sony.

Yeah sounds like Sony messed something up in their HDR implementation. Too bad. I'm pretty happy with HDR on my $600 TCL, but have found since switching to a fairly basic 1080p projector I'll take screen size over HDR almost any day of the week. Also taught me that I care about screen uniformity much more than I thought I did.

edit: DS do you see any difference between HDR performance on content that uses Dolby Vision vs. HDR10? I've found DV tends to look darker than HDR10 on my screen. The best test is to load up YouTube and play any video on the 4K HDR channel. If those videos look bad, then there's def something wrong with the TV.

Aside, I did come across this old comment in one of the Reddit threads you mentioned, that might be worth trying, if you haven't already.

DSGamer wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

You are gonna love HDR.

Funny. I came here to this thread today to ask the following question.

Is HDR just bogus technology? Does any TV manufacturer get it right at the lower price points?

As I said earlier, we've had a 4K HDTV for a couple of years now (Sony Bravia X900F) that we mostly watch content on 1080P SDR. Recently I started trying out watching actual 4K content and I found I really liked it. HDR, however, has almost universally been really dim and really flat. I'm wondering if that's just my TV or the state of that kind of content on TVs.

At what price point do TVs start doing HDR well?

According to RTINGS your TV has good HDR support. Better than mine and I’m really happy with HDR on mine.

Sony X900F review:
https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/so...

Have you double checked your settings? Here are RTINGS recommended settings:
https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/so...

One thing I noticed in the review is that apparently the YouTube app required a firmware update to support HDR.

On my Samsung almost all the built in apps support HDR however some video streaming apps on my Xbox don’t support HDR at all or don’t support HDR10+ when the TV app does. I normally try to watch using the TV apps for that reason. Especially YouTube.

pandasuit wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

You are gonna love HDR.

Funny. I came here to this thread today to ask the following question.

Is HDR just bogus technology? Does any TV manufacturer get it right at the lower price points?

As I said earlier, we've had a 4K HDTV for a couple of years now (Sony Bravia X900F) that we mostly watch content on 1080P SDR. Recently I started trying out watching actual 4K content and I found I really liked it. HDR, however, has almost universally been really dim and really flat. I'm wondering if that's just my TV or the state of that kind of content on TVs.

At what price point do TVs start doing HDR well?

According to RTINGS your TV has good HDR support. Better than mine and I’m really happy with HDR on mine.

Sony X900F review:
https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/so...

Have you double checked your settings? Here are RTINGS recommended settings:
https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/so...

One thing I noticed in the review is that apparently the YouTube app required a firmware update to support HDR.

On my Samsung almost all the built in apps support HDR however some video streaming apps on my Xbox don’t support HDR at all or don’t support HDR10+ when the TV app does. I normally try to watch using the TV apps for that reason. Especially YouTube.

Yeah but there are quite a few user comments in that rtings review about poor hdr performance, so it def is a thing. I'm curious if it's specific to Dolby vision content.

On my TV the built in apps frequently default to DolbyVision and that looks even worse on this TV.

So is this a bad TV model or is HDR just not your thing? In pre-COVID days i’d suggest you go to your local Best Buy (or whatever equivalent) and feast your eyes on a top end LG OLED just to have a point of comparison.

As a Samsung QLED user I know not these Dolby Vision troubles you speak of. We don’t even get the option.

I’ve been meaning to find some content that lets me test out HDR10+ but almost nothing on streaming services I have support it and AFAICT Xbox games don’t.

Okay, nevermind, this TV might (might) be great.

My problem is that when I bought this TV I primarily intended to use it for HD SDR content. I had no real interest in 4K. We Hooked up our HD Apple TV and we were completely content with it until I got my Series S and got a taste of HDR and 4K and wanted to start watching content that way, without any real idea of how to tune the TV.

As I mentioned earlier, Dolby Vision looked so bad I assumed it wasn’t redeemable, so even with the Series S connected I just disabled Dolby Vision entirely since it lets you do that.

I think how it fell together tonight is that I purchased the 4K Apple TV and that device has a mode where it lets content run in its native format. So you basically default to SDR, but then content can run in Dolby Vision or HDR if available. I think XBox does the same thing, but I feel like it was also trying to jam some content into HDR, whereas the Apple TV setup that way won’t. Basically I was having trouble finding settings that suited all possible things that could happen on that device.

Anyway, I took a run at finally trying to get Dolby Vision working on this TV and man is it impressive so far. I tuned it while watching Our Planet on Netflix and wow I’ve never seen anything like that on a TV of mine. I found good settings and I think I can make peace with most stuff in DV.

I may have to turn it off for the stray show not mastered well for DV (Mandalorian), but I think this might work.

Get Planet Earth 2 on 4k blu-ray if you want to have your mind completely annihilated.

r013nt0 wrote:

Get Planet Earth 2 on 4k blu-ray if you want to have your mind completely annihilated.

I'd add Seven Worlds, One Planet as the latest and greatest thing from BBC to show off 4k HDR. It's like they picked the most colorful animals they could find. Seeing the iridescence in individual hairs in the fur? Yowza. They're working on Planet Earth III, but it's not scheduled to be done until 2022.

r013nt0 wrote:

Get Planet Earth 2 on 4k blu-ray if you want to have your mind completely annihilated.

Noted. That’s probably not in my future for a while, because I would need to get a player. We’ll see, though. I’m interested in having my brain annihilated.

There are also different HDR implementations (Dolby Vision, used by Netflix, and HDR10, used by Amazon).
I definitely prefer Dolby Vision on my LG C8.

I'll be the first to admit to not being able to tell the difference between Dolby Vision or HDR10.. they both basically seem to accomplish the same thing... perhaps as TV tech continue to advance the gap will widen between the two.

TheGameguru wrote:

I'll be the first to admit to not being able to tell the difference between Dolby Vision or HDR10.. they both basically seem to accomplish the same thing... perhaps as TV tech continue to advance the gap will widen between the two.

I think DV supports things like 4000nits brightness and 12-bit color, which no display can do...

Chairman_Mao wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

I'll be the first to admit to not being able to tell the difference between Dolby Vision or HDR10.. they both basically seem to accomplish the same thing... perhaps as TV tech continue to advance the gap will widen between the two.

I think DV supports things like 4000nits brightness and 12-bit color, which no display can do...

On my TV, once tuned properly, I thought DV looked better. Maybe if I applied similar tuning to HDR10 it would be the same, though.

Another thing to consider is that HDR is the new big thing, so just like 3D a while back, there are a lot of movies that have a completely rushed, fake version of it. Vincent of HDTVTest has actually done multiple videos showing that a lot of HDR content is SDR with a fake layer that dims the whole picture with bad contrasting to make the brights stand out more, and the picture actually looks nicer if your TV can force HDR off.

As usual, studios are ruining the perception of cool technology so they can put a sticker on the box.

Based on some comparison videos online, it looks like Dolby Vision is a benefit because it basically forces every TV to follow the tone mapping of the source material rather than doing it's own automated thing.

Arrgh! Made the dumbest rookie mistake.

I checked and double checked and triple checked to make sure the new entertainment unit I was buying was long enough to support the new TV. Then it arrived and I built the whole damn thing. Then and only then did I think to measure in the other direction only to discover that this TV I have coming has legs that are 1" wider than this new unit, and those legs are slanted so they can't just hang off the edge. So now I bought one of those 3rd party stands that can hold a 75" TV.

To make it more annoying, I went with a subpar choice for the entertainment unit as pickings for ones that can fit large TV's are slim and (a) I wanted one high enough since many assume you will be mounting the TV and are pretty low and (b) I didn't want to spend a lot of money because I just spent a ton on a new TV and a new soundbar kit right before Christmas. Now I had to buy a separate stand that can adjust the height of the mounted TV quite a bit and also raises my expenses so all those units I preferred but rejected would have been wiser choices now.

I know this isn't really about choosing TV's but the loathe thread is full of people complaining about serious illnesses and layoffs so I didn't want to put my ultimate first world problem in there.

Ugh that sucks!

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

You are gonna love HDR.

Boy did you turn out to be right about that.

First thing we watched (other than a bunch of 4K and HDR Youtube clips to ensure my setup was working and to play with the settings) was an episode of Frasier in glorious 480p LOL. But after dinner we watched the remastered version of the animated Aladdin on Disney+ and even my girlfriend who usually glazes over about me excited about tech stuff said "Holy sh*t the colours pop so much" as we were watching it.

I also feel like a big FOMO fool because I just kept reading about how some people found the X900H to be too dim, switching it for the TCL 6 Series or spending the extra money for the X950H, and wondering if I made the wrong choice. It's now 3 days later actually using the TV in my living room and the brightness is now at the halfway point so my eyes don't hurt. Those people must have crazy bright rooms.

LG announced a 42” OLED for 2021. PC users are going to be really happy.

TheGameguru wrote:

LG announced a 42” OLED for 2021. PC users are going to be really happy.

Any serious reasons to hold out for that vs the current 48"? I think my desk is wide enough that I'll be sitting at about 4 feet from it.

It'll probably be a little cheaper, will have DisplayPort connections, will have USB connections, and the firmware may be better-tuned for desktop use.

These monitors use a four-pixel format, so they can apparently display red lines with solid yellow or green with 4:4:4 (proper) PC output. This is a closeup sample, from the rtings.com article:

(spoilered because it's large):

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://www.rtings.com/images/reviews/monitor/lg/48-cx-oled/48-cx-oled-red-line-pixel-large.jpg)

The monitors might not do that.

You might want to measure, four feet is pretty far away compared to a typical desk setup.

LeapingGnome wrote:

You might want to measure, four feet is pretty far away compared to a typical desk setup.

I did. 3 foot wide desk will be mounted away from the wall 2.5 inches with brackets to keep it from moving. I'd like to mount the 48" LG to the wall to keep things clean. Sitting at the desk adds about a .5 to 1 foot of viewing distance I figure.