Judging from CES 2011, Samsung and LG will be releasing two of the most exciting televisions in 2011 — the feature-packed Samsung Series 8 and the innovative LG LW6500. We suspect that both of these TVs will rate highly in this year's list of top televisions, so we've put together a quick comparison of the TV's features and specifications.
Both the Samsung Series 8 and the LG LW6500 are LED TVs with clean, minimalist designs. Samsung's panel looks to be a little thinner, and the overall design is more impressive with an incredibly thin bezel. The same four-pronged stand returns, while the LG LED TV's chassis is heavy on glass and stylish dark tinting.
Both TVs come with funky remote controls. The Samsung Series 8 has an evolved version of the touchscreen colour remote that shipped with the $10000 Samsung Series 9 LED TV, with a 3in screen that can act as a secondary TV or multimedia centre. LG's taken an entirely different approach — the LW6500 LED TV has a 'magic remote' that's similar to the controller of a Nintendo Wii, letting TV viewers point and click to select on-screen options. Both are gimmicky and might be less useful than a normal candybar remote.
Both these TVs offer 3D playback, but they handle it differently. While Samsung's new active shutter 3D glasses have Bluetooth built in, allowing viewers to look away from the screen without the glasses losing synchronisation, the LG TV uses passive 3D — the kind you see on a cinema screen — and as a result there's no flickering and no batteries to recharge. Passive glasses are much cheaper at only a few dollars each, making replacing a broken pair much less painful.
Both LED TVs have a wide range of Internet-connected features like 'app' libraries, YouTube access, Skype compatibility (when used with an optional webcam) and Internet-based video on demand. LG has had access to BigPond Movies since early 2010, but Samsung's screens will almost certainly include this feature in 2011. LG's LW6500 requires an optional Wi-Fi adapter to connect to a wireless network, but the Samsung Series 8 will have this feature integrated.
Both TVs should be extremely competent when it comes to displaying moving pictures. They're both 200Hz sets with incredibly fast refresh rates, and going on past performance both will have excellent colour performance and display quality. While Samsung hasn't disclosed a contrast ratio for the Series 8, the LG LW6500 is rated at 10,000,000:1 — a gargantuan number that's largely academic, but hopefully representative of an ability to display deep and detailed black levels alongside eye-searingly bright whites.
Convenience features like auto 3D setup and power management should be enabled by standard on both LED TVs. We're seeing these appear on more televisions, and their inclusion means less setup hassle and lower overall running costs for consumers.
When they're released onto the market, both the LG LW6500 and Samsung Series 8 should be impressive performers. Similar feature sets and, almost certainly, competitive pricing means the main differentiator — active versus passive 3D playback and performance — might be the deciding factor in determining which is the better LED TV.