In this installment of You Asked: Is 3D TV making a comeback? Bigger mini-LED vs. smaller OLED, Sony A80L vs. LG C3, and is there a way to make the Sony A95L even brighter?
Bigger Mini-LED TV vs. Smaller OLED, Sony A80L vs. LG C3 | You Asked Ep. 23
Will VR revive 3D TV?
Scott Tindale writes: Now that both Disney and Apple will be adding 3D movies onto their platform for use with VR headsets — and in Disney’s case, they are planning to re-encode these to 4K — are we going to see a revival and an advancement in 3D technology back in future TV sets?
Scott, I imagine you and a lot of other folks would love for me to be wrong about this, but I’m going to have to say no, I don’t think so. I do think that VR headsets are the solution to all our woes with 3D TVs. I know I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again now: passive and active 3D glasses were the pits. Sometimes, the 3D effect looked cool, but so many tradeoffs were involved. Darkened images, resolution cut in half, folks would lose or break their 3D glasses, and they were stupidly expensive to replace. 3D TV didn’t fail because manufacturers were lazy — it failed because most people didn’t like it.
I am looking on with interest at whether 3D VR for the Apple Vision Pro or other headsets catches on. And it would be interesting to see if it makes a younger generation hungry for more. But I don’t think the 3D implementation for VR would seamlessly port over to TV. All this is to say that I think 3D TV isn’t an instant side benefit to 3D VR, even with Apple and Disney involved. But maybe it will revive interest, and 3D TV will come back years down the road. Frankly, though, I’m personally more interested in glasses-free 3D displays. Those are getting really impressive.
Pretty big and really great vs. really big and pretty great
Houston writes: I am trying to decide between a QM8 85-inch and a S89C 77-inch. We are moving and will be replacing an LG C7 55-inch. The viewing distance will be 12 to 13 feet. I love the contrast of my OLED, but I really regret not getting a larger size. I am concerned that I will miss having OLED if I get the QM8, and I worry that the S89C will be too small. Do you have a recommendation for trying to decide between a larger mini-LED TV vs. a smaller OLED?
I love the premise of a bigger mini-LED versus a smaller OLED conundrum. I was originally trying to think of the Final Answer. You know, one answer to rule them all, but then I remembered there is no such thing when buying a TV is such a personal deal. And your question is a perfect example of that.
You’re currently rocking a 55-inch OLED. The size increase from a 55-inch to a 77-inch is substantial. If you were to get that 77-inch TV in your new home, I think your reaction would be like, “Dang, that’s a nice TV. I wish I’d stepped up in size a long time ago.”
Suppose you put an 85-inch TV in your space. I think your initial reaction would be more along the lines of, “Holy cow, this thing is huge!” And you may wonder if you’ve gone overboard. I don’t know — maybe not. Maybe you’ve checked out both sizes and are quite comfortable with how they’ll look in your home. I still find that most folks are surprised once the TV is actually in the home.
While you may be shocked by the size of the 85-inch at first, you will get used to it very quickly. At least, no one I know has ever regretted buying a big TV so much that they returned it. I myself have looked up at the wall and remarked, “Well, that’s just preposterous,” but I mean, we also loved it.
I’m not helping you at all here, am I? I think 77 is pretty nice, especially at a 12- to 13-foot viewing distance. I don’t think you’ll spend a ton of time regretting not getting an 85-inch because you are going to have so much more amazing picture quality. That Samsung S89C will be a notable upgrade in picture quality to begin with, and you’ll have a lot more of it.
I think the 85-inch TCL QM8 is an awesome TV, especially for folks who have never had OLED. I can’t guess how attached to the OLED look you are right now. Since I can’t crawl into your head, I don’t know how this decision will impact you psychologically. But I will say that you’re basically deciding between a really big slate of pretty great picture quality versus a big slate of fantastic picture quality.
When budget is a concern, the decision will always come down to how much you value size versus picture quality.
Is QDEL the future of display tech?
Nicolas from France writes: Since I saw your video about the QDEL display made by Sharp, I looked it up on the internet to see this technology, and I think it could be the future of displays. Do you think QDEL/NanoLED display is the future for TVs (and everything else)? Could it replace mini-LED, OLED, and the crazy expensive MicroLED (which I thought was the future and couldn’t wait for it)?
So, I think QDEL (Quantum Dot Electroluminescent) is one possible future for TVs. I don’t think that TV — or display technology in general — needs to or ever will be distilled down to just one kind of technology. And that’s because there is no such thing as a perfect display, and I don’t see one coming soon. Every display technology type has some deficiency or tradeoff. Right?
I do think self-emitting pixels are the future, though, and I think stepping away from organic materials is the future as well. So, if I had to make a prediction, I’d say micro-LED and QDEL will take over the ultra-premium display space. We’ll have micro-LED for all the folks who love searingly bright TVs and are less concerned about color accuracy and color purity, and then we’ll have QDEL displays for folks who value color accuracy and color purity over a display that can illuminate your entire home. A display for purists, and a display for enthusiasts who aren’t purists. And then some older display tech that will still be awesome, but cost a whole lot less because these new displays are taking up the whole premium tier.
That’s what I think the future of TVs looks like for now. We’ll see how it shapes up, which is half the fun.
Sony A80L vs. LG C3
Tyler James writes: I am extremely torn between the Sony A80L and the LG C3. I know the A80L is the dimmest of the big three, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s too dim for my liking, especially after looking at it in-store for hours, although I don’t know how the store calibrated it. The C3 looks brighter and it seems like I’m more into a brighter image, but I’m worried that the upscaling will make streaming movies and live sports not look as good. Has LG really made that much progress in their upscaling, or would upscaling using an Nvidia Shield Pro 2019 bring it close enough to the A80L that the superior brightness would put it on top?
I’m going to call an audible here and say get the LG C3. Its processing is very good, and its upscaling, specifically, is quite impressive. I know we love to gush over Sony’s processing and upscaling because it is pretty magical, but it’s a thin margin that separates the A80L and C3 in terms of upscaling, and it sounds like you really want the brightness punch of the C3, so get it.
And don’t bother adding a Shield Pro unless you want it for reasons other than upscaling. The LG C3’s processor is superior to what’s in the Shield Pro.
Getting brightness plus color accuracy
William writes: I recently bought a Sony A95L and have been using Professional Mode. Yes, it is more accurate in colors but noticeably dim compared to other modes. If you go to a brighter picture setting, the picture gets more pop, and that 3D effect that makes you feel like people are on the other side of the TV, at the expense of color accuracy. By putting it in professional mode, you get the most accurate picture, but you lose a lot of that 3D pop. Can you please explain why we can’t have a bright picture setting that is also color-accurate?
You can have that 3D pop with the most accurate colors, whether it’s on the Sony A95L or any other premium TV. The professional mode on the Sony, the Filmmaker mode on another TV, or even the Cinema Mode on another is just a starting point. They are going to dim the TV down as if you’re watching in a pitch-black room because they are all trying to duplicate the creator’s intent, and the creator was in a pitch-black room when the content was mastered and color-graded.
The solution is to put the TV in professional mode, then go into the picture settings and make some adjustments. Juice up the backlight or brightness. Instead of “gradation preferred” on the Sony, try setting the peak brightness option to high. You’re not going to wreck the D65 white point of the colors much when you do this. You’re just increasing the backlight intensity and the way the processor handles what will be bright and what will not.
Now, if some of the “pop” you’re referring to is tied to the whites having more blue in them, as is the case in the standard mode, vivid mode, etc. Well, there’s no getting around the issue that the heavy blue in the whites contributes to less accurate colors. But I don’t think that’s your issue. I suspect that you are choosing Professional mode and just stopping there. You need to dig in further and adjust brightness, backlight intensity, and HDR settings that will get you the brightness and pop you want. And you need to do this for both SDR and HDR. So, watch some SDR content, get it where you like it, then watch some HDR content and make some adjustments. And from then on, you should be good to go.
Maria Malik is your guide to the immersive world of Virtual Reality (VR). With a passion for VR technology, she explores the latest VR headsets, applications, and experiences, providing readers with in-depth reviews, industry insights, and a glimpse into the future of virtual experiences.