NEC V801 Review: Benchmarking A Massive 80-Inch Monitor

Results: Brightness And Contrast

Uncalibrated

Before calibrating any panel, we measure zero and 100 percent signals at both ends of the brightness control range. This shows us how contrast is affected at the extremes of a monitor's luminance capability. We do not increase the contrast control past the clipping point. While doing this would increase a monitor’s light output, the brightest signal levels would not be visible, resulting in crushed highlight detail. Our numbers show the maximum light level possible with no clipping of the signal.

Our comparison group for this review is the last five displays reviewed here at Tom’s Hardware, plus a Pioneer PRO-111FD plasma HDTV. Pioneer no longer manufactures this screen, but it still represents the pinnacle of flat panel performance. All data is collected in the Pioneer’s ISF Day mode, which is a special picture preset accessed by software through the set’s RS-232 port.

Another note before we talk about the results: thanks to the V801’s separate backlight and brightness controls, we are able to control light output solely with the backlight slider. We're leaving brightness and contrast unchanged for all of the benchmarks.

As a presentation product, the V801 needs to be as bright as possible, and it certainly delivers. While its output seems searing to us in our darkened testing space, it easily competes in a large room with skylights and other bright sources, such as what you'd see in a mall or building lobby. The Pioneer TV is actually quite bright...for a plasma, that is. Even the dimmest LCD monitors are brighter than most plasmas.

Here is where things get interesting.

The PRO-111FD is the ninth and final generation of Pioneer’s Elite line of HDTVs. Its black levels are pretty much unmatched by any display of any type, even today. While the V801 delivers a superb result and handily beats even the Samsung S27B970D for maximum black level, it isn’t anywhere near the reference-level plasma. However, for such a bright display, the V801 turns in incredible performance.

Here’s the final contrast result.

While we’re impressed with any contrast ratio over 1000:1, the V801 and PRO-111FD take that metric to an entirely different level. Even at the brightest setting, the images on these screens truly look 3D. We firmly believe that dynamic range is the most important factor in image quality. For a more thorough explanation of that concept, please read Display Calibration 201: The Science Behind Tuning Your Monitor.

We had to do things a little differently for the minimum luminance tests. On the V801, we left the brightness control alone and turned down the backlight control instead. Reducing brightness below a setting of 51 crushes shadow detail, but lowering the backlight slider does not. To turn down light output on the Pioneer, we set its contrast control to zero.

The Pioneer still presents a usable image, but NEC doesn't. We also took measurements at an output level of 53.3502 cd/m2 to get more realistic black level and contrast numbers.

Here are the black level measurements.

At the minimum brightness setting, NEC beats the Pioneer by a scant .0009 cd/m2. When the white level is raised to 53.3502 cd/m2, the black level is a still-excellent .013 cd/m2.

We’ll wrap up this section with the minimum contrast comparison.

NEC's panel achieves an impressive contrast result. Of course, the Pioneer is in another universe altogether. Even more impressive: when we measure the V801’s contrast at 53.3502 cd/m2, it climbs higher to 4091:1.

After Calibration

Since we consider 200 cd/m2 to be an ideal point for peak output, we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light (like an office), this brightness level provides a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. It's also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking, which we'll look at on the next page.

As you saw in the max white test, the PRO-111FD can’t quite reach 200 cd/m2, so we took a second set of calibrated luminance measurements from the V801 at 171.3207 cd/m2. This is a more palatable light level for watching an HDTV in a darkened room.

We start with the calibrated black level. This can sometimes rise a bit from the monitor’s default state. We consider the tradeoff in contrast well worth the gain in color accuracy.

The V801 is our new calibrated black level champ among LCDs. Pioneer's television is renowned for its black levels. How does this translate to reality? When the PRO-111FD is displaying a zero-percent signal, you can’t tell it’s turned on. The NEC’s black level of .0475 cd/m2 is incredibly low, but still visible to the eye.

Here are the final calibrated contrast numbers.

The V801 has almost three times the contrast ratio of the next best performing LCD in our tests, ViewSonic's VX2770Smh. The image depth on this screen is really something to see, and that’s why it makes such a good HDTV.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

ANSI is another important indicator of contrast. We measure a checkerboard pattern of sixteen zero and 100 percent squares, which is somewhat more real-world than on/off measurements because it tests a display’s ability to simultaneously maintain both low black and full white levels, and factors in screen uniformity. The average of the eight full-white measurements is divided by the average of the eight full-black measurements to arrive at the ANSI result.

Why is the Pioneer’s ANSI number so much lower than its on/off one? Because of the power supply limitations inherent in this display type. It takes a lot of current to drive a large plasma panel, so less juice is available when the overall picture brightness increases. You might measure a 100 percent window pattern at 170 cd/m2. But measure a 100 percent full field pattern and the result will be more like 46 cd/m2, a brightness drop of over 75 percent. LCDs do not have this issue, so the V801’s ANSI value is only slightly lower than its on/off number.

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33 comments
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    Top Comments
  • Someone Somewhere
    Yeah, 1920x1080... those pixels are 0.92mm square. That's pretty easy to see with the naked eye; far bigger than a full stop.

    27.5ppi... *shudders*.

    EDIT:
    Quote:
    the V801’s size is better expressed in feet: 227.6 (69.37 square meters for the rest of the world)


    Ummm... 70 square meters is pretty big. That's about half of the average house. I think you'll find it's ~1.76 m² or 19 ft².
    14
  • Other Comments
  • patrick47018
    Why would you want an 80" monitor that is only 1080P?
    8
  • Someone Somewhere
    Yeah, 1920x1080... those pixels are 0.92mm square. That's pretty easy to see with the naked eye; far bigger than a full stop.

    27.5ppi... *shudders*.

    EDIT:
    Quote:
    the V801’s size is better expressed in feet: 227.6 (69.37 square meters for the rest of the world)


    Ummm... 70 square meters is pretty big. That's about half of the average house. I think you'll find it's ~1.76 m² or 19 ft².
    14
  • patrick47018
    On the other had I wouldn't mind having that Pioneer "God" TV
    0
  • huilun02
    Way to make a home cinema system with an average computer.
    -1
  • 16bit
    I wouldn't get such a big monitor/hdtv unless it has a higher than 1080p resolution.
    6
  • tanjo
    Thank you for buying this excessively massive monitor to save the environment.
    -7
  • cangelini
    @Someone: Thanks--missed the calculation error during my edit. Should be fixed now.
    2
  • virtualban
    For that size I clicked the article in hopes that maybe it was some 8K monitor. Stopped reading after 1080p
    6
  • icemunk
    A wee bit pricey. I'll stick to my six 40" monitors
    0
  • baddad
    I've had a Mits 82" DLP since 2011 I paid $1900.00, that is the heart of my media center, so $9400 for just a monitor is a bit much.
    1
  • baddad
    I've had a Mits 82" DLP since 2011 I paid $1900.00, that is the heart of my media center, so $9400 for just a monitor is a bit much.
    -2
  • siliconvideo
    Be careful with current 4k screens, all of them for 2 reasons.

    1) There is no 4K content available from anywhere. The movie studios are pushing to requiring HDCP 2.2 compliant 4k screens before they will release content and all current 4k are not HDCP 2.2 compliant, only HDCP 1.4.

    2) Current HDMI specifications only allow for 4k@30 transport which is sufficient for movies, however the native glass in these devices generally do 4k@60 which means the screens are doing some format conversion. True 4k@60 requires HDMI 2.0 which has only just been released and no chips support yet. So these screens are generally not good for video games either
    9
  • siliconvideo
    Be careful with current 4k screens, all of them for 2 reasons.

    1) There is no 4K content available from anywhere. The movie studios are pushing to requiring HDCP 2.2 compliant 4k screens before they will release content and all current 4k are not HDCP 2.2 compliant, only HDCP 1.4.

    2) Current HDMI specifications only allow for 4k@30 transport which is sufficient for movies, however the native glass in these devices generally do 4k@60 which means the screens are doing some format conversion. True 4k@60 requires HDMI 2.0 which has only just been released and no chips support yet. So these screens are generally not good for video games either
    -3
  • chumly
    Show me the idiot that spends $10k on a 1080p 80" panel. I bet you can see every single pixel with your naked eye from 6 feet.. What a stupid stupid stupid idea.
    4
  • photonboy
    LG has a 4K HDTV for $7000 that is 65". Not quite as big but a much better choice. You can also move CLOSER anyway. Of course content is still an issue.
    3
  • bystander
    I'm not sure any of you read the first paragraph:
    Quote:
    This 80-inch LED/LCD screen is a commercial-grade model that can be used for just about anything requiring a large display. You would most likely see the V801 in an airport, for example, functioning as a dynamic message board or showing news feeds, for example. Obviously nobody's going to set this beast up on their desktop.


    This is obviously not meant for personal use. This is not meant to be viewed from up close.
    3
  • tential
    I love everyone commenting on "You can see EVERY pixel OMG OMG OMG!" yet you've never owned a large display probably.
    I've seen 80 inch TVs in person and these fears are just pathetically sad. I own a 70 inch HDTV as my primary "monitor" and I never go "I NEED 4k!!!!!!"
    Why would I even NEED 4K at the moment? HDMI doesn't support it yet, and there is ZERO 4K content. If for gaming, the gaming rig necessary to power such a thing is WAY too expensive, and new cards will scale better with resolution than past cards.

    People need to stop commenting (mainly people like chumly), when you've never used such a product before.

    My biggest knock is price. If I can get an HDTV for 1/10 the price on some of these black friday/christmas sales, it really makes no sense to get this. I can get that 70-80 inch HDTV for 700-1000 dollars, then pocket the 6k-7k extra and wait for the 4K versions to come out later. Maybe they'll even have OLED 4K by then.
    But that being said, this monitor did compete and beat MOST displays in MANY specs. It's a GREAT monitor. But I just think that if I'm going to invest 8k into a tech, it shouldn't be at the end of its lifestyle. I hope they put this type of effort/quality where it competes/beats many HDTVs out on the market onto their 4K model when it is ready.

    A monitor this big needs to be reviewed also as an "HDTV" where Movies/TV is watched on it and since that was omitted, I think this is pretty much not too useful to most people who would want a display this big.

    I feel like a lot of people commenting didn't read though, and simply posted.
    1
  • patrick47018
    1323272 said:
    I love everyone commenting on "You can see EVERY pixel OMG OMG OMG!" yet you've never owned a large display probably. I've seen 80 inch TVs in person and these fears are just pathetically sad. I own a 70 inch HDTV as my primary "monitor" and I never go "I NEED 4k!!!!!!" Why would I even NEED 4K at the moment? HDMI doesn't support it yet, and there is ZERO 4K content. If for gaming, the gaming rig necessary to power such a thing is WAY too expensive, and new cards will scale better with resolution than past cards. People need to stop commenting (mainly people like chumly), when you've never used such a product before. My biggest knock is price. If I can get an HDTV for 1/10 the price on some of these black friday/christmas sales, it really makes no sense to get this. I can get that 70-80 inch HDTV for 700-1000 dollars, then pocket the 6k-7k extra and wait for the 4K versions to come out later. Maybe they'll even have OLED 4K by then. But that being said, this monitor did compete and beat MOST displays in MANY specs. It's a GREAT monitor. But I just think that if I'm going to invest 8k into a tech, it shouldn't be at the end of its lifestyle. I hope they put this type of effort/quality where it competes/beats many HDTVs out on the market onto their 4K model when it is ready. A monitor this big needs to be reviewed also as an "HDTV" where Movies/TV is watched on it and since that was omitted, I think this is pretty much not too useful to most people who would want a display this big. I feel like a lot of people commenting didn't read though, and simply posted.


    We haven't owned 1080P TV's that large for the negative reasons we are talking about, my grandpa owns a 65" and it looks fine if you sit way back but anywhere near it very blurred and distorted due to lack of pixel density
    1
  • vmem
    "You would most likely see the V801 in an airport, for example, functioning as a dynamic message board or showing news feeds"

    if my airport is buying $10,000 monitors to show me which gate to go to... I'd rather have a discount on my air fare pls...

    if someone thinks they need a $10,000 monitor to show TEXT on a black background... well, I odn't know what to say
    3
  • vmem
    1323272 said:
    I love everyone commenting on "You can see EVERY pixel OMG OMG OMG!" yet you've never owned a large display probably. I've seen 80 inch TVs in person and these fears are just pathetically sad. I own a 70 inch HDTV as my primary "monitor" and I never go "I NEED 4k!!!!!!" Why would I even NEED 4K at the moment? HDMI doesn't support it yet, and there is ZERO 4K content. If for gaming, the gaming rig necessary to power such a thing is WAY too expensive, and new cards will scale better with resolution than past cards. People need to stop commenting (mainly people like chumly), when you've never used such a product before. My biggest knock is price. If I can get an HDTV for 1/10 the price on some of these black friday/christmas sales, it really makes no sense to get this. I can get that 70-80 inch HDTV for 700-1000 dollars, then pocket the 6k-7k extra and wait for the 4K versions to come out later. Maybe they'll even have OLED 4K by then. But that being said, this monitor did compete and beat MOST displays in MANY specs. It's a GREAT monitor. But I just think that if I'm going to invest 8k into a tech, it shouldn't be at the end of its lifestyle. I hope they put this type of effort/quality where it competes/beats many HDTVs out on the market onto their 4K model when it is ready. A monitor this big needs to be reviewed also as an "HDTV" where Movies/TV is watched on it and since that was omitted, I think this is pretty much not too useful to most people who would want a display this big. I feel like a lot of people commenting didn't read though, and simply posted.


    I love how you go into the cost benefit analysis of the whole 4K vs 1080p and the practicality of it... while ignoring the fact that this thing costs $9,400... that's nearly 10 friggin grand. it's sturdy and built to last... now I'd expect there to be 4K content 5 years down the road from now...
    0