The craftsmanship is low-quality, the software design feels sloppy, and the picture quality is rather poor, but for such a low price it's all pretty forgivable.
If you're willing to spend more, you can find TVs that outperform this Sanyo by miles, such as the 65-inch Samsung H6350, which is about $1,500 online. It's unlikely you'll find anything else below $1,000, however, so if big savings are your bread and butter, this Sanyo is worth checking out.
Dim the lights.
The DP65E34 isn't a TV you want to feature as the centerpiece of a room. Black bezels and a simple stand put all the emphasis on the gargantuan panel, making this the kind of TV you'll probably forget about until you're watching it. The panel is slim enough that wall-mounting is likely the best option both functionally and aesthetically.
Utility elements like on-set controls and video connections are tucked away on the TV's rear casing. There's a decent selection here: three HDMI inputs, a component/composite combo, analog and digital audio out, VGA (PC) in, and a coaxial jack for cable or antenna connection. Accessories include only a very basic infrared remote control, but that's all most buyers will need.
As for extra features and software content, there's not much. While many TVs connect to the internet or have built-in apps, this Sanyo skirts those frills to save you money. The software includes basic adjustments for video and audio, and after initial setup you probably won't spend much time fiddling with settings. At-home calibrators will find a glaring lack of white balance or color tuner controls, unfortunately.
We measure every TV both during its "as found" state out-of-the-box and after an informed calibration in our lab. The results are useful in two ways: First, they give us the best idea of how far the TV's default performance is from the international standards. Secondly, these results show consumers what the TV is fully capable of with an informed calibration.
In the case of the DP65E34, I can only suggest that you don't bother trying to calibrate it. The menu simply lacks the necessary controls, such as a Color Management System or white balance options. We calibrate for dark-room viewing, attempting a maximum luminance of 40 fL and a gamma correction of 2.4. Other than lowering the Backlight control and making a small adjustment to the TV's 0 IRE (black level) control, there was nothing I could do to correct its overly luminous colors or imbalanced sub-pixel emphasis.
A display's contrast ratio is determined by dividing its reference white (100 IRE) by its minimum luminance (0 IRE). A high degree of separation in the amount of light produced makes for a better, more realistic picture. This is one area where the DP65E34 performs quite well.
I measured a reference white of 233.50 cd/m2 in the Mild picture mode, alongside a minimum luminance of 0.05 cd/m2 , which is quite good for an edge-lit LED. This gives the DP65E34 a contrast ratio of 4670:1, which is a solid result, especially in this price range.
Great contrast is this TV's only redeeming quality.
For the price, no one expects this huge Sanyo to outperform the top-tier TVs on the market—and it doesn't. I measured satisfying black levels and very bright highlights, but they lose a bit of their appeal because the TV tends to gloss over valuable shadow detail. The DP65E34 is best featured in a room with at least some ambient lighting, as it produces overly bright shadow tones and puts too much emphasis on brighter picture elements.
One of the biggest drawbacks I found was a narrow viewing angle. Consumers simply won't be able to watch from a wide array of positions, as the picture degrades quickly when you aren't front-and-center. This is something that interested shoppers should consider if they're buying for family movie night or plan to wall-mount the TV in a wide room.
In terms of color production, this Sanyo flies by the seat of its pants. Neutral shades like gray and white are tinted with a bit of blue, while colors like red and green are excessively luminous even in the Mild picture mode. The result is a color palette that's fine for cartoons or news broadcasts, but obscures much of the detail that make movies so enjoyable, especially in a dimmer environment.
Overall, don't expect a mind-blowing picture. You can probably enjoy most casual forms of viewing, but big cinematic titles or sweeping, narrative-driven video games will lose a lot of their valuable immersive qualities.
Our viewing angle test measures how far you can watch a screen in degrees away from head-on (direct) viewing before terminal picture degradation. For a TV this big, you want a wide viewing angle. I measured a total viewing angle of 32°, or ±16° from center, which isn't very generous. If more than a couple of people want to watch this TV together, they'll have to cram in close.
Less money, mo' problems
This Sanyo's pricing scheme would be unheard of one or two years ago. Securing a 65-inch, edge-lit LED TV for under $1,000 is a serious steal, but there are intense picture quality tradeoffs to be considered.
Stingy viewing angles, excessive luminance, and skewed colors mean any content that relies on a subtle presentation looks far from acceptable. On the other hand, Monday night football and Saturday morning cartoons are palatable, and you may forget about the missing details when you're basking in the glow of the massive screen.
If you want something better, pony up another $500 and check out either Samsung's 65-inch H6350 or Vizio's 65-inch M Series.
Because TV's use tri-stimulous digital color via light waves, producing the colors used on the content creation side (dictated in a document called Rec. 709) is very important. Televisions use primary color engines (red, green, and blue) to produce millions of secondary and tertiary colors, as well as neutral shades like gray and white. When those primary colors are wrong, it results in a butterfly affect that mars the integrity of almost every other color.
Compared to what it's supposed to be doing, this Sanyo has major issues. Neutral shades and the secondaries cyan and magenta are overtly blue, and a lack of controls means this production error can't be corrected during calibration. This TV also uses excessive luminous in order to achieve the proper saturation of the other primary colors, red and green, which disrupts the preservation of low-light colors in more complex content.
For TVs, the "grayscale" refers to the range of neutral shades from black to white. Because TV's use additive color to create grayscale elements, the primary colors (red, green, and blue) must be emphasized in even balance in order to create the right "color" of white/gray. When the primaries are emphasized poorly, visible error disrupts the neutrality of grayscale elements. This visible error is measured in a collective called DeltaE.
Both before and after calibration, this Sanyo's grayscale measured with a DeltaE of about 20, which is much too high, and means the elements of visible color pollute would-be colorless shades.
Looking more closely at the TV's emphasis of primary colors, the problem is very clear. Like many modern flatpanels, this Sanyo over-emphasizes blue at the major expense of red and green, resulting in a blue tint in grayscale elements and blue-skewed secondary colors.
Gamma or gamma correction refers to how quickly a TV adds luminance as it travels from black to white. Gamma is a holdover from the analog tube TV days, and gamma correction in a digital display helps maximize the visibility of luminance steps for our analog eyes. Typically, gamma is expressed in numbers like 2.2 or 2.4, where larger numbers mean a more subtle gamma curve that preserves more detail in shadowy areas.
The DP65E34 tested with a gamma curve of 1.86 prior to calibration, with heavily glossed-over shadow details and missing highlights just below reference white. Lacking a gamma control, it was impossible to correct the TV's gamma curve during the calibration process. I can only advise that consumers don't watch this TV in a completely black room, lest valuable shadow details are rendered almost impossible to see.
Meet the tester
Editor, Home Theater@Koanshark
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
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