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The best viewing experience demands the best 4K Ultra HD TVs. Televisions with 4K ultra high definition resolution have become the new standard for home theaters and media. If you're looking to buy your first 4K UHD television or just want to upgrade, we've gathered a list of our top picks. We have choices from brands like Samsung, LG, and TCL at different price points and with extra features. So no matter your budget or needs, we can help you find the right TV for your home and family.
While resolution is definitely important, there are other factors to consider as well. Modern 4K HDTVs come equipped with Bluetooth and automation hub connectivity. Some even come equipped with streaming services like Chromecast or Roku built-in, allowing you to cut down on the amount of clutter in your media center.
If you're wondering exactly what 4K is and what it can do for your viewing experience, make sure to check out our overview and perspective of Ultra HD.
Pricey at larger sizes
No AirPlay2 or Chromecast support
The TU8000 series is the newest model line from Samsung, and boasts some impressive features. This model has an updated crystal display that produces crisp, clean 4K UHD resolution; and with HDR support, you'll get enhanced contrast and sharpness for an even better picture. The upgraded Crystal Processor gives you faster picture rendering and better upscaling of non-UHD content so you always have a great viewing experience.
Like with all newer Samsung televisions, this model has Bixby voice controls built-in for hands-free commands; it also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. With the new Tizen operating system, you get support for thousands of streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Spotify. If you're a console gamer, this TV has an automatic game mode that optimizes the refresh rate and picture settings for smooth action and virtually lag-free gameplay. The bezel-free QLED screen comes in sizes ranging from 43 to 85 inches, so you'll be able to find one that perfectly fits your space.
You might need to use your smartphone to activate or change some of the advanced settings or enable new Alexa skills. On the other hand, you typically only need to use your smartphone for Alexa functions if you are away from home, out of vocal range of your home-based Alexa-enabled device, provided you have set the Alexa app with the Amazon Mobile Shopping or Alexa Reverb apps. - Robert Silva, Product Expert
Updated Tizen smart TV platform
Dual LED backlighting
Updated 4K processor
The Q60T smart TV is the latest model from Samsung. It features an updated Tizen platform for enhanced browsing and searching. It's built around a new 4K UHD lite processor for faster picture rendering and more powerful HDR support. The LED panel has both warm and cool colored LEDs so you have more control over the color tone and can experience your favorite shows and movies the way they were meant to be seen.
With Bixby, Google Assistant, and Alexa voice controls built in, it's easy to choose the right hands-free assistant for your smart home network. With the new multiview feature, you can mirror your smartphone or tablet screen side-by-side with live TV or streaming content. This is perfect for checking stock market info, sports stats, or your fantasy football standings while still enjoying your favorite content. This TV has Bluetooth connectivity, three HDMI inputs, two USB ports, RF, and composite video so you can connect all your media devices, game consoles, and audio equipment without any extra switchers or boxes.
Fire TV platform built in
Plenty of inputs
No Google Assistant support
No Bluetooth connectivity
No screen mirroring support
The Insignia 50-Inch Fire TV has a price point that sits comfortably under $300, so it will fit all but the tightest of budgets. This model is built on the Amazon Fire TV platform to give you access to hundreds of thousands of shows, movies, and songs with pre-loaded apps like Prime Video, HBO, YouTube, and Disney+. The TV packs 8million pixels into its direct-backlit LED display to produce tons of detail in 4K UHD, and HDR support gives you better sharpness and contrast.
The remote has a built-in microphone for using Alexa voice controls to search for movies and shows, control your TV, or switch apps. The dual speakers use DTS TruSurround technology to produce rich, room-filling sound for a more immersive listening experience. The TV has three HDMI inputs (including one with ARC for connecting soundbars), a USB port, composite video, and an RF input for cable, satellite, or over-air antennas.
Since there is a wide range from white to black, details not normally visible in both the bright and dark areas of a standard TV image are more easily seen on HDR-enabled TVs, which provides a more satisfying viewing experience. - Robert Silva, Product Expert
Nvidia G Sync
No Chromecast support
Danger of burn-in
When it comes to picture quality, OLED screens are the best-of-the-best, and the LG C9 series is the best OLED model you can buy. The display uses special technology to produce over one billion colors as well as deep blacks and bright whites to give you the best picture possible. This model is built with LG's second generation a9 processor and powered by the ThinQ AI programming that integrates both Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free voice controls. The processor has a quad-step noise reduction process when upscaling non-4K UHD media to give you a clean, clear picture no matter what you're watching.
The dual 20 watt speakers use Dolby Atmos technology to produce virtual surround sound for a more cinematic listening experience. If you're a serious gamer, this TV also boasts Nvidia G Sync technology for smoother motion, better contrast, and lower input lag to give you that extra edge you need to win. With AirPlay2 support, you can share videos and images from your iOS or macOS devices for more streaming options. With both Bluetooth and HDMI ARC connectivity, you can set up the ultimate home theater audio system quickly and easily.
Plenty of connectivity options
HDR10 and HLG support
For shoppers who are willing to spend more to get an excellent TV, but are turned off by the danger of burn-in damage of OLED screens, LG's Nano 8 series is a great alternative. This TV still offers great upscaling with the second generation a7 processor powered by ThinQ AI with a quad-step noise reduction process. The display uses LG's Nano Cell technology which uses extremely small particles to produce over one billion colors as well as superior contrast. With Dolby Vision HDR10 and HLG support, that contrast is enhanced even further for better sharpness and detailing. Like its OLED cousin, this TV integrates both Alexa and Google Assistant to give you hands-free voice controls right out of the box.
The 40 watt speaker system utilizes Dolby Atmos technology to create room-filling virtual surround sound. With AirPlay2 support, you can mirror your iPhone or iPad screen to share videos and pictures you have saved to your mobile devices. Also like its cousin the C9, the Nano 8 has a low latency gaming mode that gives you a 14.5ms input time for near real-time reactions. If you want to set up the perfect home theater audio system, this TV is WISA speaker compatible so you can connect wireless subwoofers, sound bars, and satellite speakers for a custom setup.
Roku TV built in
No screen mirroring
TCL has established itself as a reliable brand with televisions that can rival models offered by the likes of Sony, Samsung, and LG. The new 6 Series continues to impress with its use of QLED panels to produce over one billion colors, HDR support, and Dolby Atmos compatibility. Like all TCL models, the 6 Series features the Roku TV streaming platform built in to give you access to over 500,000 shows and movies with apps like Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+. The simplified hub menu lets you choose your favorite apps, cable or satellite box, over-air antenna, or game console from one convenient place rather than cycling through confusing input lists. The display uses contrast control zones that provide enhanced contrast for deeper blacks and brighter whites to give you greater detailing. The bezel-free screen gives you an edge-to-edge picture for a more immersive viewing experience.
With Alexa and Google Assistant support, you can connect your smart speakers to the TV for hands-free controls. You can also use the Roku TV app to turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote. With parental controls, you can set up restrictions to make sure little ones aren't watching movies and shows that are inappropriate. You can also set up closed captioning for the hard of hearing or those who prefer subtitles as well as on-screen languages in English, French, Spanish, and German so everyone can enjoy family movie night.
The LG C9 series uses an OLED display to produce a truly superior picture with enhanced detailing and color. If you're a film buff, you can't do much better than an OLED screen to see your favorite films as they were meant to be viewed. If you're looking for a great 4K UHD television, but don't want to spend a fortune, the Insigina Fire TV is an excellent choice. With a price point that comfortably accommodates most budgets, you get a bevy of streaming apps pre-loaded onto the TV so you can enjoy your favorite shows and movies right out of the box.
We haven't been able to try any of our top picks for 4K UHD TVs yet, but once we do we'll be testing them to their limits with physical media, streaming, and console gaming. Besides to quality of the user experience, they'll also be looking at the specifications of particular models, checking for compatibility, color accuracy, and potential input lag.
Taylor Clemons has been reviewing and writing about consumer electronics for over three years. She has also worked in e-commerce product management, so she has the knowledge of what makes a solid TV for home entertainment.
Robert Silva has been reporting on consumer electronics since 1998. He has experience with consumer electronics and home theater product sales with major retailers like Fry's Electronics and Best Buy.
For the ultimate TV viewing experience, you want a TV that can deliver the best picture quality possible, and these days that’s a 4K Ultra HD, or UHD, set. With most streaming services now offering 4K UHD quality and all of the latest hit movies available in 4K UHD, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge.
Keep in mind as well that 4K UHD is about way more than just raw resolution too. You’ll also get far better and richer colours along with brighter whites and deeper blacks thanks to features like Dolby Vision and HDR10, and although not everything you watch will be encoded to take advantage of these features, almost all of the movies available in digital format are, and it’s only a matter of time before these become the standard for all video content across the board.
Of course, there are still a lot of other things to consider when buying a 4K UHD TV, especially if you’re looking to invest in a good one for the future, so you’ll definitely want to think about how you’ll be using it and how you may want to expand it going forward.
Bigger is better, right? Well, not necessarily, as the law of diminishing returns applies even when it comes even to 4K UHD TVs, so it’s important to buy the right screen size for your space, and that doesn’t mean just looking at what fits on the wall of your living room or family room, but also how far away you’ll be sitting and how many people will be watching with you.
With 4K UHD TVs, there’s a golden ratio of distance to screen size that ranges between 1x–1.5x. In practical terms, this means that in order to buy the right size TV for your viewing space, you’ll first need to figure out how far away from it you’re going to sit, and then work it out from there.
For example, a 65-inch 4K UHD screen can be comfortably viewed from a distance of between 65 inches (1x) and around 100 inches (1.5x), making it a good size if you’ll be sitting 5–8 feet away from your TV. On the other hand, if you have a small apartment and you’ll be sitting closer, then you’ll want to go with a smaller screen in order to avoid seeing too much detail.
So the simple rule to figure this out is to measure the distance between your eyeballs and where you plan to put the screen, in inches, and then get a TV that’s no larger than that size, and no less than around 65% (1.5x) of it.
If you want the best quality 4K picture you’re going to want to make sure your TV has the screen technology to back it up. While HDR means you can get amazingly deep blacks and rich colours, you won’t see these unless your screen offers that kind of contrast ratio and colour reproduction.
The best screen technology you can get right now is OLED, which stands for organic LED, and has superseded the plasma TVs that home theatre enthusiasts swore by a few years ago. OLED screens are still pricey, but they offer even deeper blacks than plasma did, and have insanely high contrast ratios that blow traditional LED screens out of the water. If you have the money to spend and want the best picture quality possible for watching the latest feature films, there’s no question that you should go for OLED, and as an added bonus, because it’s based on completely different technology, OLED screens are also some of the thinnest and lightest available, making for some very sleek and cool looking TVs.
On the other hand, there’s also another technology that’s arrived in the past couple of years known as QLED. By contrast to OLED (no pun intend), which is an entirely new and different technology, QLED is simply an evolution of the LED technology developed by Samsung, where the “Q” stands for Quantum dots.
This means that QLED offers most of the same advantages and disadvantages of traditional LED screens, although it provides better colour reproduction with a wider gamut and higher brightness levels. However, you don’t get the same deep blacks, since unlike OLED, where a black section of the screen is actually completely switched off, QLED still relies on LCD pixels, which can only be dimmed, so you’ll always have that slightly washed-out grey look when viewing in a dark room. Still, QLED can produce better colours than OLED, especially at higher brightness levels, making it more suitable for use in brighter rooms.
Let’s face it, if you’re aiming for a 4K UHD TV, it’s because you want the best quality picture, which means you probably also want the best quality sound you can get.
There are a few larger TVs—65 inches and beyond—that provide arguably decent “simulated” surround sound, but don’t be fooled by marketing speak. If you’re looking for a true home theatre sound experience, you’re going to need to add external speakers, and possibly even an audio receiver.
This means that you’ll want to make sure that your 4K UHD TV has the necessary audio outputs to pull this off. As a bare minimum, you’ll want a digital optical audio output, although an HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) can be even better if you’re looking to hook up an A/V receiver, since you’ll need one less cable to handle this.
This is going to be especially true if you’re planning on using the built-in smart TV streaming features on your set, since in this case all of the audio will be handled by the TV itself. On the other hand, if you have a set-top box like a Roku or an Apple TV, or even a cable box or Blu-ray player, then you can just channel your audio through a home theatre receiver, effectively cutting the TV out of the loop entirely.
Regardless, unless you’re only planning on watching fairly basic content, we’d suggest not relying on the built-in speakers in your TV. Budget for a better sound system, and make sure you buy a TV that can handle it. Your ears will thank you.
If you’re buying a 4K UHD TV, chances are that it’s a smart TV. Whether or not you need these features will depend on what you plan to do with your TV, and what other devices you already have in your home theatre arsenal, but if you’re planning on using streaming services, or integrating with voice assistants or home automation systems, its important to at least consider what each manufacture offers.
Out of the gate, you’re going to have a hard time finding a smart TV these days that doesn’t support the mainstream services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but many of the leading brands now go well beyond that into offering either the full slate of Roku features, built right into your TV, or directly supporting a myriad of other streaming services such as Disney+ and Apple TV+ through third-party “apps” for each TV’s own smart platform.
There’s also more to smart TVs than just streaming services, however, and higher-end sets can also integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit to offer tighter integration into your home automation system and even support for voice commands. Just keep in mind, however, that not all TVs include the actual voice assistant—in many cases features like “Amazon Alexa integration” simply mean that you can control them with voice commands that are issued to an Amazon Echo speaker, in the same way a light bulb or thermostat works.
If you plan to use any streaming services on your smart TV at all, you’re going to need to connect it to the internet, and with most smart TVs, this is going to be done over Wi-Fi. This means that you’ll need a wireless router that’s up to the task in addition to an internet plan that can handle 4K UHD streaming.
In practical terms, your ISP and your router should be able to offer consistent speeds of at least 25mbps or you won’t get the kind of 4K quality from services like Netflix that your TV is actually capable of. You’ll also need to watch out for data caps, since 4K UHD streaming can easily burn through more than 10GB of data per hour.
Also keep in mind that you’ll need to make sure that your Wi-FI router can deliver a strong enough and fast enough signal to your TV, so if you have a larger home and your TV isn’t close enough to your router, that might require you to invest in a longer-range router or mesh Wi-Fi system to get better coverage. Some TVs also offer Ethernet jacks to let you hardwire in, but this is usually more trouble than it’s worth unless your router is already in the same room, in which case you should get solid Wi-Fi performance anyway.
If you’re looking for a 4K UHD TV for the ultimate home theatre system, you’ll probably want to stick to one of the major brands, as they make some of the very best TVs in the larger screen sizes, and from there it’s going to come down to your preferred screen technology; if QLED is your thing, then that’s Samsung’s territory, while LG makes some of the best OLED screens out there if you’re willing to pay the premium.
Don’t be afraid to go off-brand if you’re on a budget, however, as there are some great options from companies like TCL and Insignia, which may not be household names, but still offer solid TVs in the smaller sub-55-inch sizes with a wealth of advanced smart TV and connectivity features.