The big picture: choosing a 65-inch Ultra HD television

By Adam Turner, September 7 2018
The big picture: choosing a 65-inch Ultra HD television

As Australia prepares for its first summer of Ultra HD cricket, it’s time to upgrade your lounge room so you can catch all the action in 4K.

Foxtel begins broadcasting the cricket in Ultra HD in November – looking four-times sharper than today's HD cricket broadcasts – and similar coverage for rugby league and Aussie rules football won't be far behind.

Of course even if you're not a sports fan there's plenty of other great Ultra HD content on the likes of Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime, not to mention the new Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

Whether you’re in the market for your first Ultra HD screen, or simply looking to upgrade to make the most of new features like High Dynamic Range, these top-shelf 65-inch televisions are the pick of the bunch when it comes to delivering amazing home entertainment in your lounge room.

LG Signature Wallpaper W8 series

Price: $9,999 (model OLED65W8PTA)
Best for: Movie night

This impossibly thin OLED television clings to the wall like a fridge magnet, putting a giant screen in your lounge without dominating the room. 

Building on OLED's exquisite picture quality LG adds support for both standard HDR10 and Dolby Vision – the latter being an advanced format which optimises the picture for every scene, to reveal more details in the brightest highlights and deepest shadows.

The result is an incredibly life-like picture, especially when you kill the lights for movie night..

This screen is so thin there's no room for built-in speakers, instead the television comes with a soundbar to hang on the wall – with upwards firing speakers to support the impressive new Dolby Atmos surround sound format. The soundbar supplies video and power to the screen via a flat ribbon cable, to ensure an unsightly mess of cables doesn't spoil your view.

When it comes to smart features, LG's WebOS lets you wave the magic wand remote at the television or simply talk to LG's AI ThinQ smart assistant and ask it to do your bidding. Australian support for the talkative Google Assistant is coming.

Sony A9F Master Series OLED

Price: $7,000 (model KD65A9F)
Best for: Blockbuster sound, Android apps

On sale in Australia from October, Sony's top shelf OLED lacks slender elegance but makes up for it in amazing sound quality, without a speaker in sight.

Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology turns the entire screen into three great speakers for left, right and centre channels. Combined with dual built-in subwoofers, they deliver impress sound.

While this television doesn't look as thin and elegant hanging on the wall as LG's top-shelf wallpaper OLED, the Sony packs an amazing punch without the need to mount a soundbar below the screen.

When it comes to picture quality this Sony stands toe-to-toe with LG's flagship OLED thanks to support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, the latter of which is already used by Netflix and is coming to the next generation of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

The icing on the cake is Android TV, letting you run a wide range of great smart TV apps or else stream video directly from your smartphone or tablet. Like LG's WebOS, Android TV is also set to bring the talkative Google Assistant to life in Australian lounge rooms.

Panasonic 4K PRO OLED

Price: $6,599 (model 65FZ1000U)
Best for: Cinema buffs

With THX certification, Panasonic's OLED aims to win over videophiles with picture quality that is "true to the film maker's vision".

Panasonic's strengths is vibrant yet natural colours, aiming for colour accuracy and realism above all else. This means that blockbuster action movies can occasionally look a tad underdone, but skin tones look fantastic and nature documentaries like Planet Earth II in Ultra HD offer an amazing lifelike window into the world.

This television supports the standard HDR10 format, but instead of adding Dolby Vision HDR you've got the rival dynamic HDR10+ format which also optimises the picture for every scene in a movie. Developed by Samsung, HDR10+ is supported by Amazon Prime Video but it remains to be seen whether it catches on.

When it comes to sound quality, the Panasonic features a wedged-shaped "sound blade" soundbar built into the base which includes twin subwoofers. While it's no slouch, it struggles to match the output of the LG and Sony, plus you miss out on Dolby Atmos audio.

As for smart TV features, you've got Netflix and Amazon Prime but you miss out on Australia's Stan as well as some of the local catch up services.

Samsung Series 9 Q9

Price: $6,299 (model QA65Q9FNAWXXY)
Best for: Watching in a brightly lit room

Boasting an incredibly bright picture that sings in the sunshine, Samsung's flagship television is a great fit for busy living areas.

This Samsung Ultra HD televisions is the odd one out here because it relies on a QLED display – Samsung's name for its top shelf quantum dot LED-backlit LCD screens – rather than OLED.

OLED screens lack a backlight, instead they start with a black screen and light up the pixels to create colours. This lets OLED create perfect blacks and amazing contrast.

Meanwhile, Samsung's QLED starts with a bright backlight and shines it through the pixels to create colours, letting the screen shine brighter. OLED's strength shines through after dark, but QLED's brighter screen and vivid colours makes it easier to see during the day with sunlight streaming in the windows.

Thankfully Samsung's top-of-the-line QLEDs shine the backlight from direct behind the screen, known as Direct Full Array, rather than in from the sides like the cheaper models such as the Q7. This helps the Q9 stack up well against OLED when it comes to contrast.

Like the Panasonic, this television supports the standard HDR10 format but forgoes Dolby Vision HDR in favour of Samsung's dynamic HDR10+ format which Samsung calls Q HDR.

To cut down on clutter, the One Connect Box supplies video and power to the screen via single cable. However, with only standard speakers on offer, you should consider adding a sound bar to get the best audio.

Adam Turner

Adam Turner is a seasoned Australian technology journalist and a frequent traveller to the world's biggest tech expos – so you'll pry his noise-cancelling headphones from his cold, dead hands.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

02 Mar 2018

Total posts 10

Anyone who is looking at more bang for their book should check out Hisense offerings, they just launched series 9 so series 8/7 are heavily discounted.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jul 2017

Total posts 13

Hopefully the latest Hisense offerings have more power/processing speed. My brother bought a 65 inch one a couple of years ago and you had to wait quite a while for a response to any buttons pressed on the remote. After using his, I was happy I'd paid extra for LG's version.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

LOL and here I am with my older 75inch 4K Sony (no HDR) that only cost me $5k

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

This article is only showing the top of the line from each brand.

Eg. The LG 65C8 which is super thin at the top but has the electronics and speakers in its lower third is under $5k

Unfortunately the falling A$ is putting upward pressure on electronics

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