The 4K TV Shootout with an Agatha Christie Ending

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Who has the best 4K TV & Does the Sharp Quattron Pro Full HD Technology Really Stack Up?

Who has the best 4K TV, is 4K “seriously” better than Full HD and who delivers the best value for money large TV over 60-inches? These were the burning questions we wanted to get answers to as the debate over 4K vs Full HD raged. 
Also niggling us was Sharp’s constant claims that their new Quattron Pro was as good as 4K and cheaper than most large screen 4K TV’s. 
To conduct this test, three 65-inch TV’s from LG, Samsung and Sony were purchased from a retail store and a Sharp 70-inch was supplied by the vendor for the simple reason that their product is only now hitting retail stores. 
The Sharp TV came straight out of stock in a warehouse with the box containing the TV not being opened since being packed by the manufacturer. 
What unfolded after several hours of testing was an ending as good as the last chapter of an Agatha Christie novel. 
To conduct this shootout we hired leading photographer Ian Barnes, we then gave him the all new Panasonic G4 Lumix 4K digital SLR camera that’s been getting rave reviews. 
The week prior to the shootout we got Barnes to shoot a portfolio of 4K images around Sydney. 
We also lined up several 4K movies including clips from the latest James Bond movie as well a natural history clip. 
The four TV’s we tested were the following: 
– Sony: 4K Ultra HD 65-inch KD-65X9000B: JB HI FI Price $5696 
– Sharp: 70-inch Full HD Quattron Pro LC-70LE960X, JB Hi FI. $4299 
– Samsung: 4K Ultra HD 65-inch UA65HU8500W, JB HI FI Price $4296 
– LG: 4K Ultra HD65 inch 65UB980T, JB HI FI Price $4496 
This is also the order the images are presented in as you’ll see below – we show the original image, the same image on four TVs in the same order (Sony on the left, Sharp second, Samsung third and LG on the right), and then the individual close-ups of each image.  
Pricing was based on JB Hi Fi go to market retail pricing at the time of testing – only the Sony TV has since fallen in price to just under $5000, still higher than all the other TVs in this test. 
The reason that we included the Sharp TV in this review of 4K TV’s was that after an initial look at the Sharp TV we were left with a lot of nagging questions. 
Sharp executives claimed that the Quattron Pro technology found in their 4K TV’s was “as good as 4K”. 
We were highly sceptical as we had already seen the performance of the LG Ultra HD TV and we seriously doubted whether it could come close to delivering similar quality to what we had seen across several 4K models over 60 inches. 
In setting up this comparison shootout we established some basic parameters. 
All of the TV’s were set to default settings. 
All automatic display booster engines were turned off. 
All of the TV’s were fed content from the same source via HDMI 2.0 cables connected to a top end HDMI splitter. 
In addition to 4K photos and videos, we also used a single prop, which consisted of a bright coloured bowl that was packed with several different varieties of bright coloured fruit. 
This was done so that we could compare the natural colour of the source image with what was appearing on the TV screens. 
Another advantage was that the images and videos with the exception of the movie clips were shot by a professional photographer, he also knew which image on each of the TV screens was the closest to what he had shot using a 4K camera. 
We also shot the TV’s using Panasonic’s G4 Lumix 4K camera, which delivered an interesting result. 
Images of the 4K TV’s appeared normal when shot using this camera however on the Sharp TV a moire pattern appeared on the still images due to the refresh rate of the 4K TV’s Vs the Full HD TV when close-up images were taken. 
With the naked eye this was not visible nor did it impair the way that we viewed the quality that was appearing on the actual TV screens, with the moire effect eliminated from the photographs being taken by standing a little further back from the Sharp TV screen. 
1. Our first test consisted of a shot of a man in a cafe. 
The original image was shot by Barnes in a Sydney cafe using the 4K Panasonic camera, it was of a man sitting next to a wall. 
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Original image of Man in cafe shot on Panasonic 4K camera.

The first thing that we noticed was that none of the 4K TV’s along with the Sharp Full HD TV was able to match the correct colour of the original image. 

Only the Sharp Full HD TV with Quattron Pro and the LG 4K TV were able to deliver an image to screen that was close to the original in terms of contrast and definition. 
The defining test was the stitching and buttons around the collar of the person photographed on the Sony and Samsung TVs. On these two screens, the blue sweater went to black with all detail disappearing. 
On both the Sharp and LG TVs, this definition and the detail was clear to see. 
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Click to enlarge – Man in Cafe on all four TVs. Photos taken by Ian Barnes

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Man in Cafe on the Sony 4K TV.

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Man in Cafe – Sharp Quattron HD TV.

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Man in cafe – Samsung 4K TV.

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Man in cafe – LG 4K TV.
2. Our second test second test involved a dusk shot of a building, shot from the water, with a jetty to the right of the shot. With all TVs, the colour saturation and contrast failed to match the original image. 
On the Sony 4K TV, the jetty to the right of the image went to black with little, if any, detail being revealed. The overall display appeared to have a red, black tinge. This created an environment that was clouded. Detail failed to show through. 
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Original image from Panasonic 4K camera – photos taken by Ian Barnes

In contrast, the Sharp image to screen was extremely sharp, with extensive detail of the ramp and the buildings clearly visible. The dark haze appearing on the Sony TV was not apparent on the Sharp TV. 

The Samsung TV had clearer definition than the Sony but not as good as the Sharp or LG TVs. 
The sharpest of the 4K TVs was the LG TV. The jetty was clearly visible, detail in the buildings was clearly visible, however the image was not as clear as the Sharp TV which appeared to be brighter, which is most probably due to the use of the Quattron Pro technology (see separate story on Quattron Pro). 







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The image on all four TVs

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Dusk shot on Sony 4K TV.

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Sharp Quattron Pro TV.

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Samsung 4K TV.

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LG’s 4K TV. 



3. Our third test involved a series of shots were taken at Balmoral Beach in Sydney. 
It included a shot from a beach showing a jetty, background hills with trees, buildings and a right hand overhanging tree. 
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Original image of Balmoral Beach taken on Panasonic 4K camera.

With the Sony TV, the tree and the background bushes went extremely dark with detail visibly lacking. 

On the Sharp TV both the background, the tree and the forward images were extremely sharp. What was clear was the buildings set among the trees, these were clearly defined. 
While the Samsung 4K TV was superior to the Sony, background detail disappeared to black with the right hand tree appearing more black than green. 
With the LG TV, the detail was sharp but not as sharp as the Sharp TV. This was visibly noticeable with the tree that appeared green and similar to the original image. 
The TV that replicated the colour of the beach most accurately was the Sharp TV. With both the Sony and Samsung TVs the beach appeared distinctly redder. 
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Balmoral Beach on all four TVs.

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Sony 4K TV.

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Sharp Quattron Pro TV.

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Samsung 4K TV.

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LG 4K TV.

4. Our fourth big test was set up in the studio with a fruit bowl. 
We mounted a colourful Chinese bowl, filled it with fruit and shot both still and 4K video of the static display. 
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Fruit bowl taken on Panasonic 4K camera – Photo taken by Ian Barnes. 

This allowed us to check the source image Vs the display appearing on screen. 

When comparing the Sony 4K TV image of the fruit, it was visibly noticeable that the Sony display was overcooking the image with reds flaring and heating up. This is not the first time that we’ve seen this problem with a Sony TV. 
It appears that they are artificially using their display engines to enhance bright colours on their screen. 
The bowl, strawberries, red apple and the oranges were all saturated. Even the black cloth melded into the side of the bowl, eliminating detail. 
The Sharp TV was a significant improvement over the Sony TV. However, the use of the extra yellow colour in the Quattron Pro spectrum did produce some interesting results. 
Firstly, the yellow of the lemons and the bananas appeared to flare brighter than the original images. However, the colours were far more accurate and the image significantly sharper than the Sony image. 
However, the definition of the fruit was not as clear as the LG TV. 
In this test, the Samsung TV replicated the fruit colours closer than most other TVs tested. However, some of the detail in the bowl was overcooked with reds appearing brighter than in the original shot. 
The outright winner in this test was the LG TV, followed by the Sharp TV. 
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The fruit bowl on all four TVs – photos taken by Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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Sony 4K TV

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Sharp Quattron Pro TV

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Samsung 4K TV

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LG 4K TV

Evaluating video 
The next tests involved both 4K and Full HD movies running across all four TVs. Before we conducted this test, we reset the TVs from Standard to Cinema mode so that each TV could run in the recommended mode for a Blu-ray movie and upscaled movies. 
The first thing we noticed was that all of the TVs delivered a similar image and surprisingly, the Sharp Full HD Quattron Pro, which was not 4K, delivered a definition and image to screen that was close to, and in some cases better when it came to definition than the 4K TVs. 
This surprised us. Sharp, in supplying the TV for this, had told us that it was their belief that their new Sharp Quattron Pro TV actually stacked up against a 4K TV and that their upscaling engine was capable of delivering 4K quality. 
This was noticeable when we reversed the process and we ran a Full HD movie, which we’ll discuss shortly. 
5. Our fifth test involved the James Bond Skyfall movie trailer in 4K resolution, where all of the televisions delivered an extremely sharp image. 
Various action shots were realistic and the colour consistent with the exception of the Sony TV that delivered a hot red image to the screen. 
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James Bond Skyfall 4K movie trailer – paused scene on all four TVs – photo taken by Ian Barnes. 

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Sony 4K TV.

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Sharp Quattron Pro TV

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Samsung 4K TV

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LG 4K TV

One scene shows Bond at a firing range, with ear protectors on, gun raised to shoot with Bond’s piercing blue eyes and face taking up most of the screen. 
Sony’s image was too red again, even though the TV was set to its Cinema mode setting. Sharp’s image was brightest and most natural looking, with Bond’s blue eyes stunningly deep blue and no green tinge as seen on the 4K TVs. 
Bond’s skin colour looked most natural on the Sharp, with the LG 4K TV again the best of the 4K sets, with the Samsung a little darker than the LG. 
6. Another 4K test video involved bees interacting with nature in a natural history clip. 
When comparing the images, the Sony produced a slightly redder and slightly darker image, less noticeable than in other shots but still there. 
 
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Nature shot of bees – 4K movie clip – photo by Ian Barnes

Detail was apparent in the hair on the bees and the bees’ wings in the Sony image, but this detail was sharper and clearer on the other TVs. 

The 4K TVs all produced an image with a slightly green tinge, while the Sharp TV had a more natural looking blue tinge, seemingly taking advantage of the green and yellow luminance peaks of Quattron Pro technology, against the primarily green luminance peak of 4K RBG screen technology. 
The Sharp TV’s delivery of detail in the bee hair and wings was clearly apparent, as well as a tiny bit of extra detail in the black face of the closest bee, showing just how good Sharp’s display engine is at delivering 4K content. 
The Samsung TV delivered a very slightly darker image than the LG but otherwise looked very similar, with the LG TV the winner between the 4K TVs, and the Sharp TV delivering a more natural looking and slightly brighter image with no detail missing. 
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Sony 4K TV

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Sharp Quattron Pro TV

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Samsung 4K TV

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