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55 Inch OLED 4K HDR TV vs. 65 Inch LCD HDR 4K TV: Which to Buy

by on February 20, 2017
 

Stephan Jukic – February 19, 2017

As we’ve said time and time again here at 4K.com, we absolutely prefer OLED displays. They may be expensive (and not quite so much anymore by the way) but metric for metric, they are the 4K TVs that still offer the best general display performance of all ultra HD TV models today.

Even major problem of low peak display brightness in OLED which plagued the first ever UHD models of 2014 has basically been solved, with the OLEDs of 2016 and even more so 2017 delivering nits better than virtually any 4K LCD TV from 2016 or before.

That said, LCD TVs come with their own distinct benefits. For one thing they’re usually much cheaper at equivalent size ranges (55 or 65 inch OLED vs. 55 or 65 inch LCD) and secondly, many of the newest HDR LCD 4K TVs still beat even the newest OLED models in terms of maximum display brightness.

Thus, in terms of choosing between an OLED TV and an LCD TV in the same size range, if you’re tight on your budget, the answer is probably LCD: the LCD will deliver enough quality to be the better choice if its lower price is factored in. If you can afford either an OLED or an LCD TV without concern for pricing, then OLED is always better in the same size range based on today’s technology.

The 2017 W-Series OLED TVs

The 2017 W-Series OLED TVs

The Choices

However, what if you’re confronted with a choice between a smaller OLED TV in the 55 inch range and a 65 inch LCD HDR model that costs the same but also delivers some superb premium specs. Currently this is the case when the two are compared. For the price of a 55 inch HDR 2016 OLED TV, you can pretty easily buy a 2016 65 inch SUHD TV like the $2,100 KS9000 from Samsung, or a Sony model of comparable quality and full high dynamic range, like the wonderful Sony X930D 65 inch model, which sells for the same price. The extra size given by these TVs is a superb motivator for going for them.

Sony_X930D_4K_HDR-600x450

Sony’s X930D 65 inch model

However, what if you really do want OLED quality despite a lower budget and have found yourself a particularly fantastic model like the 55 inch 2016 B6 HDR OLED 4K television from LG, or are gunning for one of LG’s 2017 B7 or C7 OLED 55 inch models with even more peak brightness? Then things become tricky. The 2016 B6 55 inch edition currently sells on Amazon.com for slightly less than $2000 (taxes and shipping not included) and the 2017 B7 and C7 models are expected to retail for around $2500, which is actually surprisingly reasonable and probably close to the retail prices we can expect for the 65 inch X930E 2017 HDR TV from Sony and the 2017 Samsung QLED Q7 65 inch model premium HDR LCD TV. In other words, whether we talk of  55 inch 2016 or 2017 OLED TVs vs. their 65 inch LCD counterparts, the comparisons on price remain similar.

Samsung 2016 SUHD HDR TV

Samsung 2016 SUHD HDR TV

Thus we come down to the main question here. Which to choose between a smaller OLED and a bigger LCD model?

What we suggest for our budget conscious readers:

Obviously, the following advice applies only if you can’t simply afford a 65 inch OLED TV at a price of over $4,000.

This being the case, choose based on viewing distance. Absolutely go for OLED quality first if your TV screen will be no more than about 10 feet away from your face. Only go for a 65 inch HDR 4K LCD television if your entertainment space layout means that the TV will be more than 10 feet away from where you’d normally sit.

Without a doubt, as we’d said above, in overall performance, the OLED model will deliver superior display performance across the board. OLED panels are thinner, they deliver perfect single-pixel local dimming that utterly blows LCD display away and while their peak brightness is weaker than that of LCD for both 2016 and 2017 TVs –The 2016 B6 managed 740 nits while the 2016 Samsung KS9000 managed 1430 nits and for their 2017 B7 and Q8 counterparts, we’re expecting maybe 950 nits vs. 1900+ nits of peak brightness—but this peak brightness weakness is offset by the sheer totality of OLED TV’s black levels, and their ability to deliver local dimming or specific brightness right down to a single pixel among 8.3 million of them on a 4K screen. LCD TVs of no type can come close to matching this performance.

In other words, if you want maximum quality, go for the 55 inch OLED TV. And especially if you have a smaller home entertainment space. At a distance of 10 feet or less, this model will offer you more than enough display size to make the extra quality that OLED offers worth the smaller size.

The fantastic LG OLED B6 2016 TV

The fantastic LG OLED B6 2016 TV

If however your living room is quite big and you’ll have the TV more than 10 feet away from you, then we’d suggest a 65 inch LCD TV model. Those deep inky blacks of OLED won’t be there and neither will the stunningly realistic colors and contrast details but the 2016 and 2017 HDR LCD TVs are still stunning performers and at larger distances beyond 10 feet, they offer much more immersion and more than enough display performance.

Story by 4k.com

5 comments
 
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  • Mike
    February 20, 2017 at 6:16 am

    You should mention that LG OLED has a much slower response rate than Samsung LCD. For gaming choose LCD.

    Reply

  • Tom Wilson
    February 20, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Are all the majors making OLEDs, and how soon will competition make 65″ OLED TV prices more affordable — like $2k?

    Reply

  • Karthikeyan
    February 21, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Hi am karthikeyan India need small help

    Reply

  • Jack
    March 9, 2017 at 10:01 am

    10 feet to watch 4K content on 65 or 55 inch TV??? And you dare to say this on 4k.com?

    Get out of the 80s CRT age grandpa, just google ‘4k tv watch distance’ you complete moron!

    I dont care if this comment gets moded down, this article needs to be deleted and the author fired/never paid again!!!

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      March 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Aside from the utter rudeness of your comment, have you any actual practical suggestion to make here? TV viewing distances are a bit subjective but viewing a 55 inch or a 65 inch TV from 10 feet is generally quite comfortable. I watch my own 55 inch model from about 9 feet away and with no problems. Averages across the web vary for that matter but others have suggested between 7 and 10 feet for 65 inch models as well. Once again, this will depend a bit on viewer preferences (and possibly eyesight). So please, before crying “moron” specify a bit if you’re going to get so deeply offended by a suggestion for TV viewing distance. We appreciate constructive reader feedback tremendously and always welcome it.

      Reply

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