By Don Lindich
Week 12, 2023
Q. I have seen your articles about excellent TVs for the money and the law of diminishing returns, but I am someone who wants the best and does not mind paying for it. What would you recommend for a price-no-object TV over 75 inches in size?
-G.F., Milwaukee, WI
A. I recently had the opportunity to spend a lot of one-on-one time with the new Samsung 77-inch S95C OLED and I can comfortably say it is the best flat-panel TV I have ever seen. At $4,499 it is a bargain given what it offers to the owner.
Long-time readers know that I have always said that the very best audio speakers sound good with all kinds of music, as opposed to being pigeonholed as “good speakers for rock” or “good speakers for classical music.” Like the truly great speakers that excel no matter what you play through them, the S95C looks great no matter the program material. I experienced this via the Samsung TV Plus feature, which provides over 145 channels of free streaming TV to choose from. (If you have a Samsung Smart TV and are not using this feature, you are missing out. You can access the channel guide in the Home menu.) Shout Factory offers lots of interesting content including many cult classic TV shows and movies, offered both on discs and through their streaming channel. The mid-1970s British sci-fi show “Space: 1999” was on Shout Factory and I tuned in to see how the TV handled older content from before the days of HDTV. The Shout Factory transfer from film to video was very well done, and I can still remember how wonderful it looked on the S95C. There were natural flesh tones, a smooth image that still yielded tremendous detail, incredible blacks and a deep, wide range of colors, all rendered perfectly. (The TV’s color accuracy is validated by industry color expert Pantone.) As would be expected, recently produced program material was a delight. This is a TV that makes you want to sit and stare at it.
When reviewing OLED TVs in the past I would often encounter a sudden, slight drop in brightness levels when watching certain scenes. I have also seen motion processing that lends an artificial, CGI look to to the image and especially to human motion. With the S95C these issues were completely absent, allowing for complete immersion in the viewing experience without distraction.
Unlike the ubiquitous LCD-LED TVs that fill the marketplace, OLED has a risk of image retention (burn-in.) This is most likely to occur if you watch the same channel all the time or at extremely bright image modes and settings. If you set the S95C to Movie mode not only will you be rewarded with a near-perfect, accurate picture that requires little tweaking to obtain, the lower intensity level is panel-friendly and greatly reduces the risk of burn-in. If you do not have a component surround sound system you should consider a Samsung soundbar a must-have to accompany this TV. Using the Q-Symphony feature the TV speakers integrate with the soundbar seamlessly. I have seen demonstrations of the TVs and soundbars working together and it is very immersive and impressive.
In the past I have hesitated considering OLED for myself given the burn-in risk, however small. With the Samsung S95C I have found an OLED TV I would own without hesitation, and it may well be my next TV when I finally retire the Sony Qualia 006 residing in my gameroom. The S95C is available in the 77-inch size for $4,499, a 65-inch for $3,299 and a 55-inch for $2,499. samsung.com