The 9 Best TVs of 2021

There's never been a better time to buy a new TV

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The Rundown
The all-new processor uses deep-learning neural networks to analyze media scene-by-scene for upscaling non-4K content
The 65-Inch C1 series is one of the newest OLED models from LG, and it is packed to the brim with updated and new features.
The 43-inch screen gives you great 4K resolution, and with HDR support, you'll get impressive detailing.
The all-new processor uses a neural network for better upscaling of non-8K content.
The back of the TV has built-in channels and clips for easy cable management to keep your setup looking neat and organized.
This TV features support for AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate technology to synch your TV and console.
Best for Streaming:
Samsung 50" Q60T at Amazon
The Samsung Q60T is an excellent, mid-range option for anyone who has finally cut the cord with their cable or satellite provider.
Best Large Screen:
Sony X950H 85-Inch TV at Amazon
The 85-inch screen uses Sony's Triluminos display technology to produce great 4K resolution and over 1 billion colors
Best for Small Spaces:
TCL 32S327 at Amazon
You can connect the TV to your Amazon Echo Show or Google Home smart speaker for hands-free voice controls.

If you're in the market for a home theater upgrade, it can be hard to know which is the best TV. Big brands like LG, Sony, and Samsung offer high-end models that are packed with awesome features like integrated virtual assistants, variable refresh rate support, and automatic game modes. Smaller brands like TCL and Hisense offer more budget-friendly options with core features like preloaded streaming apps, 4K resolution, and plenty of HDMI inputs for your game consoles and playback devices. If you're an audiophile or movie buff, you'll want to invest in a new TV that offers Bluetooth connectivity for setting up wireless home audio equipment for more immersive sound. Console gamers should not only look at VRR support, but also input response times and screen size in order to get a TV that delivers an optimal gaming experience without overwhelming your space. 

Many new smart TVs are able to screen mirror your smartphone or tablet; this means you can share content from your mobile devices for more ways to view photos, listen to music, or watch videos with family and friends. If you've cut the cord with your cable or satellite provider and moved exclusively to streaming, you'll want to invest in a TV that offers an extensive suite of preloaded apps like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+ while also allowing you to download others like Spotify to round out your entertainment options. For customers that rely on virtual assistants like Alexa, a TV with native voice controls is a must for hands-free media browsing and operation as well as integration into your smart home network. Check out our top picks below for the best TVs available from brands like LG, TCL, and Samsung to see which is right for your home.

Best Overall: Samsung QN55QN85AAFXZA 55-Inch Neo QLED 4K TV

What We Like
  • Excellent picture and sound

  • Updated processor

  • Object tracking sound

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Lengthy delivery times

The QN85A series from Samsung was unveiled at CES 2021 and quickly proved why you should keep an eye on it for when you want to upgrade your home theater. It uses an updated QLED panel with mini-LED bulbs and individual contrast zones to create colors and detailing that rival what you can see in OLED models. The all-new processor uses deep-learning neural networks to analyze media scene-by-scene for more accurate upscaling of non-4K content and an optimal viewing experience time after time. The integrated speakers use object tracking sound technology to create virtual, 3D surround sound without the hassle of setting up extra equipment and to give you a more immersive cinematic experience. The ultra-sleek, modern design will add a touch of sophisticated style to almost any decor, and the virtually invisible bezel gives you an edge-to-edge picture for better viewing angles. The updated Multi-View feature now allows you to watch up to four video feeds at once, and if you have Samsung mobile devices, you can use Tap View to instantly share your screen to the TV.

Size: 55 inches | Panel Type: QLED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: HDR10+ | Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Best OLED: LG OLED65C1PUB 65-Inch OLED TV

What We Like
  • Updated processor

  • Excellent picture and sound

  • VRR support

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Heavy

The 65-Inch C1 series is one of the newest OLED models from LG, and it is packed to the brim with updated and new features. It's built around a 4th generation a9 processor which uses AI and deep learning algorithms to analyze movies and shows scene-by-scene for optimal contrast, detailing and color for both native 4K and upscaled content. It also supports Dolby Vision IQ HDR and Dolby Atmos technologies for enhanced picture quality and virtual surround sound for a more cinematic experience. And with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, you can set up wireless home audio equipment for a custom theater setup. 

The C1 boasts built-in voice controls via Alexa or Google Assistant as well as variable refresh rate support for Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, making it an ideal choice for anyone who managed to get a hold of the new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X consoles. It also has a new Magic Tap feature that lets you touch your smartphone or tablet to your TV for instant screen mirroring of photos and videos for more ways to share media with friends and family. This TV still has some customer favorite features like preloaded apps, the sports alert feature, and plenty of HDMI inputs to connect all of your favorite playback devices and game consoles.

Size: 65 inches | Panel Type: OLED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG | Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Best Budget: TCL 43S425 43-Inch 4K UHD Roku TV

What We Like
  • Under $250

  • 4K

  • Voice controls

What We Don't Like
  • No Bluetooth

For anyone looking to buy their first 4K television or upgrade their home theater while sticking to a modest budget, the TCL 43S425 is an excellent option, one of the best TVs available at this price point. It retails for under $250, so it will fit all but the tightest of electronics budgets. It runs on the Roku platform, giving you instant access to thousands of apps, shows, movies, and songs without the need for an external streaming device. The Roku hub menu is streamlined and simplified to let you quickly and easily access game consoles, apps, cable and satellite boxes, and even over-air antennas without having to memorize HDMI input locations or navigate confusing menus. 

The Roku app can turn your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote for easier searching and browsing; you can also connect the TV to an external smart speaker like the Google Home or Amazon Echo for expanded voice controls. The 43-inch screen gives you great 4K resolution, and with HDR support, you'll get impressive detailing and contrast to make images look even more lifelike. This TCL model has three HDMI inputs and a USB port as well as RF and composite connections so you can easily set up a custom home theater.

Size: 43 inches | Panel Type: LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: HDR10 | Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Best 8K: Samsung QN65QN900AFXZA 65-Inch 8K Neo QLED TV

What We Like
  • Excellent picture

  • OneConnect compatible

  • Object tracking sound

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • No native 8K content available

Televisions capable of native 8K resolution have started to become more affordable, though they still may be out of reach for many customers. The Samsung QN900A uses the same Neo QLED panel as its 4K cousins, but employs more controlled contrast zones for enhanced detailing and deeper blacks to create more true-to-life images. The all-new processor uses a neural network for better upscaling of non-8K content as well as object tracking sound for an immersive listening and cinematic experience without needing to connect extra speakers or sound bars. The voice-enabled remote works with Samsung's Bixby, Alexa, or Google Assistant for hands-free controls, and Bluetooth connectivity lets you set up wireless home audio equipment or share your mobile device screens. The TV has plenty of HDMI inputs, including HDMI ARC ports, for connecting all of your favorite playback devices, audio equipment, and game consoles for the ultimate home theater setup. It's also compatible with Smasung's OneConnect box which allows you to have a single cable connect all of your devices to the TV for an ultra-clean looking home theater.

Size: 65 inches | Panel Type: QLED | Resolution: 8K | HDR: Quantum HDR 64X | Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Best 55-Inch: Samsung UN55TU8000FXZA 55-Inch Crystal UHD TV

What We Like
  • Integrated cable management

  • Automatic game mode

  • Preloaded apps

What We Don't Like
  • No built-in Chromecast

  • Only 2 HDMI ports

Televisions with 55-inch screens are some of the best TVs for living rooms and home theaters, and the Samsung TU8000 is one of the top 55-inch options available. It features an all-new Crystal UHD display and Crystal 4K processor to give you crisp, clean 4K resolution and a great color range at almost any viewing angle. It uses the new Tizen operating system to give you access to preloaded apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube for streaming right out of the box. The voice-enabled remote has Bixby and Alexa built-in and is compatible with Google Assistant so you can choose your favorite hands-free control system. 

The back of the TV has built-in channels and clips for easy cable management to keep your setup looking neat and organized. The screen features an extremely narrow bezel to give you an edge-to-edge picture for a more immersive viewing experience. Integrated Bluetooth connectivity lets you wirelessly set up sound bars, speakers, and subwoofers for a custom audio configuration. Gamers will enjoy the dedicated game mode that automatically detects when you start up your console and instantly adjusts the refresh rate and picture settings for low latency gaming. With the ambient mode, you can turn your TU8000 into a piece of art or home decor when not in use.

Size: 55 inches | Panel Type: LCD | Resolution: 4K | HDR: HDR10 | Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Best for Gaming: Samsung QN85Q70TAFXZA 85-Inch 4K Smart TV

What We Like
  • AMD FreeSync support

  • Adaptive pic/sound

  • 120Hz refresh rate

What We Don't Like
  • No Nvidia G-Sync support

  • Pricey

If you've managed to get your hands on the new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, you'll want to also pick up the Samsung Q70T to complete your gaming space upgrade. This TV features support for AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate technology to synch your TV and console to prevent annoying screen tearing and stuttering; and with a native refresh rate of 120Hz, motion blur is virtually nonexistent. The QLED screen uses dual LED panels to create warm and cool colors simultaneously for a wider color range and better contrast. The updated processor uses artificial intelligence to produce stunning 4K resolution and upscale 1080p content so even older games look amazing. The Q70T has built-in eco sensors to monitor your room's ambient light and sound and automatically adjust screen brightness and volume to suit almost any environment. And with the multi-view feature, you can cast your smartphone or tablet screen onto your TV while gaming to pull up walkthrough videos when you're stuck on a boss or check out news and premier trailers without needing to switch inputs.

Size: 85 inches | Panel Type: QLED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: Quantum HDR | Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Best for Streaming: Samsung 50" Q60T QLED 4K UHD Smart TV with Alexa

What We Like
  • Updated operating system

  • Free live TV

  • Plenty of inputs

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey at larger sizes

  • Limited Bluetooth connectivity

The Samsung Q60T is an excellent, mid-range option for anyone who has finally cut the cord with their cable or satellite provider and moved exclusively to streaming. The all-new Tizen operating system gives you access to built-in voice controls via Bixby or Alexa, and the simplified home menu keeps all your favorite apps in one place for easy access. The TV features a suite of popular, preloaded apps like Netflix and Hulu as well as free, live TV channels via SamsungTV Plus, powered by PlutoTV; you get access to dozens of live news, sports, and entertainment channels to round out your streaming options. The QLED screen produces excellent 4K resolution, and like it's top-tier cousins, uses dual LED panels to produce a wider color range for more true-to-life images. The Q60T has plenty of inputs for game consoles, Blu-Ray players, and even home audio equipment via Bluetooth or HDMI ARC for the ultimate home theater setup.

Size: 50 inches | Panel Type: QLED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: Quantum HDR | Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Best Large Screen: Sony X950H 85-Inch 4K UHD TV

What We Like
  • Variable refresh rate support

  • Apple HomeKit support

  • Great picture quality

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you have a finished basement or large living room you're thinking of turning into a home theater, you'll need a large screen TV to transform the space, and the Sony X950H delivers everything you need to entertain friends and family. The 85-inch screen uses Sony's Triluminos display technology to produce great 4K resolution and over 1 billion colors for picture quality that rivals their OLED models. With HDMI 2.1 inputs, you get support for varial refresh rate technologies like AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing and stuttering while using your game consoles or Blu-Ray players. It uses the AndroidTV operating system, giving you Google Assistant voice controls built-in and a suite of preloaded apps like Spotify and Disney+ so you can start streaming right out of the box. It also supports Apple HomeKit so you can use Siri for controlling your new TV and connected devices or search for new shows and movies to watch.

Size: 85 inches | Panel Type: LED Resolution: 4K HDR: Dolby Vision and HDR10 Refresh Rate: 120Hz

Best for Small Spaces: TCL 32S327 32-Inch 1080p Smart TV

What We Like
  • Wall mountable

  • Smart speaker support

  • Good picture quality

What We Don't Like
  • Not 4K

  • No Bluetooth

If your living room is on the small side, or you're looking for a TV for your dorm room, the TCL 32S327 is an excellent option. The 32-inch screen is small enough to set up on a dresser, mantle or shelf if floor space is at a premium, or you can wall-mount it with a VESA compatible bracket. The Roku platform lets you download over 500,000 apps like Hulu, YouTube, or Twitch and keeps them all in one convenient place for easy access. You can connect the TV to your Amazon Echo Show or Google Home smart speaker for hands-free voice controls, or you can download the Roku app to your smartphone or tablet to turn your mobile devices into voice-enabled remotes. While this TV isn't capable of 4K, it still produces excellent 1080p full HD resolution so everything from movies on Prime Video to local news broadcasts look their best.

Size: 32 inches | Panel Type: LED | Resolution: 1080p | HDR: No | Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Final Verdict

The Samsung QN85 is the best TV on the market. It uses updated QLED technology to deliver excellent picture quality and object tracking sound for virtual 3D surround sound audio. The LG C1 is the best OLED TV you can buy, with its updated, 4th generation, a9 processor and support for Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos technologies for a truly cinematic experience at home.

What to Look for in a TV

Resolution

A display's resolution is one of the most important factors in determining picture quality. It indicates the total number of pixels a television or monitor is capable of displaying at once, and the density of pixels is incredibly important for determining how sharp or clear an image looks. An FHD/1080p display, for instance, boasts a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, for a total of 2,073,600, while a 4K set can, appropriately, display four times as many.

HDR

A TV with High Dynamic Range has access to a great range of not only colors but contrast as well, meaning it can potentially display more color-accurate images as well as deeper blacks and brighter highlights, to create a more vivid and realistic picture. Most mid-tier TVs support HDR, but it's worth double checking, especially with less expensive sets.

Refresh Rate

Refresh rate determines the number of frames a device is capable of displaying per second. Generally, the more frames, the smoother and more fluid motion and action looks on screen. This is largely a consideration for gamers, but anyone can benefit from a higher frame rate when viewing motion-intensive content like sports or action films.

So whether you're looking to invest in the best of the best when it comes to TVs, or need a cheaper option for your dorm room, check out our top picks below to see which is right for you.

FAQs

What size TV should I buy?
That all depends on the size of your room. Not only can a TV that is too large overwhelm your space, it may actually cause motion sickness as well. Conversely, if your TV is too small, it will make your living room feel like a cave and cause everyone to crowd around to see. 

To find the ideal TV size for your space, pick a spot to wall mount your new TV or place a dedicated stand, then measure the distance from there to your seating and divide that number in half. A distance of 10 feet (120 inches) means a 60-inch TV will be the best option for you. You can go a bit smaller or larger depending on the brand, features, and budget, but you'll want to stick pretty close to your ideal number.

Can I download apps to this TV?
As long as your new TV is capable of connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable, you can download apps to your TV. However, you might not have to. Many newer televisions come with suites of preloaded, popular apps like Netflix so you can start streaming your favorite shows and movies right away.

What's the difference between 4K and 1080p?
Short Answer: Pixels.

Long Answer: A screen's resolution refers to how many pixels it can have. A TV with 4K resolution has twice the pixels as one with 1080p HD. Having more pixels means you can have better detailing and color ranges, and even better contrast when the pixels are individually lit like in OLED screens or TVs with contrast zones. If you want to read more, you can check out our article that explains 4K resolution in-depth.

About Our Trusted Experts

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.

The Ultimate TV Buying Guide

Shopping for the best TV for your bedroom, home theater, apartment, or dorm room can be a bit daunting with how many brands and features are available to choose from. Along with major manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Sony, there are models available from TCL, Hisense, and Insignia; each of these brands brings something different to the table in terms of smart features, picture and audio quality, and design. Televisions with smart features have become the absolute gold standard for home entertainment as more and more people choose to stream movies and shows and cut the cord with cable and satellite providers. Many televisions available have preloaded apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ so you can watch thousands of shows and movies right out of the box. Others simply allow you to download your favorite apps right to the TV to curate your own entertainment. 

Most manufacturers also feature hands-free voice controls in their televisions, either with voice-enabled remote controls or compatibility with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home; Roku-based TVs use dedicated apps to turn your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote. Other features available include 4K displays, HDR support, and virtual surround sound to create a more immersive, cinematic viewing experience in your own home. We're going to break down some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new TV to help you decide what is right for you. 

TCL 50-inch 50FS3850 Roku TV
TCL 50-inch 50FS3850 Roku TV. Image provided by TCL USA

Screen Resolution

TVs with integrated 4K resolution have become more mainstream, and cheaper, in recent years as the demand for high-quality content has continued to rise. Televisions that use 4K resolution give you four times the resolution of full 1080p HD models, creating more colors, enhanced contrast, and better detailing. Streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video have started offering a wide variety of content in 4K in order to take full advantage of the technology. If you still prefer to get your entertainment from cable, satellite, and over-air broadcast sources, you can still buy 1080p HD televisions. They tend to be much cheaper than their 4K counterparts because of the older technology, but since broadcast media hasn't quite caught up with the UHD trend, you don't have to worry about your new TV being obsolete in a few months or years. These models are great for anyone working with a limited budget or aren't keen on making the switch to 4K quite yet. As if this wasn't enough, some manufacturers have taken the leap into the future of home entertainment and started to offer 8K televisions. 

Models with 8K resolution give you four times that of 4K and 16 times that of 1080p HD. As impressive as that sounds, the visual difference between 8K and 4K isn't nearly as dramatic as that between 4K and 1080p. Refresh rates play a huge part in making your UHD picture look truly stunning; 4K televisions routinely use 60Hz refresh rates, or cycling the picture 60 times per second, to produce smooth motion and great detailing. For an 8K television to look its best, the television would need a built-in refresh rate of 120Hz (120 times per second) to eliminate motion blur and muddy details. There is also an extreme lack of 8K content outside of Japan, and even there, you need a special, dedicated satellite and costly equipment to get 8K channels. Televisions with 8K resolution are also extraordinarily expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars and placing them well out of reach of average consumers. While it's tempting to splurge on an 8K TV to future-proof your home theater, the lack of viable content and rapidly shifting technology makes a 4K model much more attractive as a choice.

Sony XBR-X900C Series 4K Ultra HD TV
Sony XBR-X900C Series 4K Ultra HD TV. Image provided by Sony Electronics

Brands

When shopping for a new TV, one of the first things to consider is which brand you'd like. There are dozens of television manufacturers out there, each with different size classes, price points, and smart features available. Brands like TCL and Hisense deliver smart features and excellent picture quality with affordable options; perfect for anyone working with a limited budget. They use streaming platforms like Roku or the AndroidTV operating system to give you access to thousands of apps as well as limited voice controls and connectivity options.

Mid-range options are available from larger brands like Sony, Samsung, and Vizio. These models may come with a higher price point, but they offer many more smart features. Besides streaming and voice controls, you'll also get local dimming zones in the screen for enhanced, scene-by-scene analysis of your favorite shows and movies for superior contrast, color volume, and detailing. Some may also use Dolby Atmos audio technology to produce virtual surround sound for a more immersive cinematic experience. Sony, Samsung, and LG offer high-end models which give you everything you could ever want in a smart TV. They offer larger screen sizes with more advanced picture technologies like QLED or OLED panels, AI-assisted rendering and upscaling, built-in voice controls, and ambient sound and light sensors that automatically change picture and sound settings to fit your environment. Knowing which brands offer what features in their televisions makes it easier to set a budget and narrow down your options.

LG-QUANTUM-DOT-TV-900.jpg
LG Quantum Dot TV Example. Image provided by LG

Smart Features

Now that you've decided which brand you'd like and which picture resolution works best for you, it's time to focus on exactly which smart features you'd like. Streaming capabilities are an absolute must for anyone looking to cut the cord with cable and satellite providers. Fortunately, all modern smart TVs feature either preloaded apps like Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube or have advanced operating systems that allow you to download your favorites. If you rely on a smart home network or already have smart home devices like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, you may want to get a TV that allows for hands-free voice controls. This lets you turn your TV on and off, choose apps, or change settings without fumbling with a confusing remote control. If you're always online, screen mirroring is an important feature that lets you cast your smartphone, tablet, or computer screen to your television for better viewing or simultaneous watching with your favorite movies and shows. 

For anyone looking to put together a home theater, high end models feature ambient noise and light sensors that constantly monitor your environment and automatically adjust picture and sound settings to suit the room. They also feature Bluetooth connectivity that lets you set up wireless audio equipment like soundbars, satellite speakers, and subwoofers for the ultimate surround sound audio configuration. For console gamers, a TV that features either AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G Sync technology is important. These technologies automatically detect when you start playing a game and reduce input lag and motion blur while boosting color volume and contrast for buttery smooth action, beautiful visuals, and near real-time reactions to your controller inputs.

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