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With so many different kinds of televisions available to customers, it can be a daunting task to choose the best TV for your home. Do you need a 4K or 8K UHD resolution screen? Should you get a television with voice controls or smart functionality? We've broken down our top picks from brands like LG, Samsung, and Sony to help you decide which TV is right for you.
What should you prioritize when shopping for the best TV? Obviously the aforementioned resolution is critical to display quality, but you also want to consider whether a panel has HDR support, its contrast ratio, and the kind of panel (LCD, OLED, QLED, etc.). Size is an obvious consideration, but also bear in mind that higher resolutions will always look sharper on smaller screens, and vice versa.
Built-in Roku Support
Great 4K picture quality
No voice assistant
Lower maximum brightness
Although it may not be a household name, up-and-coming Chinese manufacturer TCL makes some solid smart TVs at a pretty affordable price, and its latest 55-inch TV checks off all the boxes for those who are looking for a well-rounded 4K UHD TV with support for all of the most popular streaming services. It also packs in a generous bevy of extras, as well.
The TCL55S425 features built-in Roku TV support, providing over 500,000 movies and TV episodes from platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube, as well as access to the latest streaming services like Apple TV+ and Disney+. It’s also compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, letting you call up programs from an Amazon Echo or other Alexa-compatible speaker or a Google Home.
The image quality is excellent for the price, offering 4K high dynamic range content in HDR 10, with strong dynamic contrast and deep blacks. You also get three HDMI 2.0 inputs, including one with HDMI ARC support, a USB port for connecting an external hard drive or media player, as well as old-school coaxial and composite inputs, plus a headphone jack, optical audio out, and an Ethernet port. Our reviewer Yoona called the TCL55S425 an affordable smart 4K TV that doesn’t skimp on quality.
"A smart 4K TV that possesses many merits: an appealing price point, excellent 4K HDR picture quality, a size profile that won’t overwhelm small rooms or apartments, and an easy-to-use interface that requires little fuss." — Yoona Wagener, Product Tester
Extremely natural colors
Apple AirPlay and TV+ Support
Bixby voice assistant isn’t as popular
Not as good as OLED
If you’re looking to go with a bigger and more established brand, Samsung’s QN65Q60 is the latest entry in the well-known manufacturer’s flat-screen QLED lineup of TVs, 4K resolution delivered via the company’s patented "Quantum Dots" technology.
This allows the QN65Q60 to produce a bright picture with billions of shades of color that promises a more natural look. While it supports the HDR10+ standard, Samsung also goes a step further with its own "Quantum HDR 4X" which offers more shadow detail and brighter whites than most other TVs. You also get four HDMI 2.0 inputs along with a two-speaker 20-watt sound system plus built-in Bluetooth for directly pairing a set of wireless speakers or headphones.
As with all of Samsung’s TVs, the Q60 uses Samsung’s own Smart TV platform, including its Bixby voice assistant. Not only does it include access to well-established services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, but it was one of the first Smart TVs to add support for Apple devices, with AirPlay 2 video streaming, access to iTunes movies and TV shows, and of course support for Apple TV+, along with hundreds of other apps.
Very bright screen
Android TV provides versatile smart TV features
Sluggish user interface
Sony is one of the best-established names when it comes to TVs, and it definitely shows in the XBR75X900F, which not only offers a great 4K picture but a nice minimalist aesthetic that makes it look more like a museum piece than a TV. Eschewing the black frame common to most flat-panel televisions, Sony instead surrounds its screen with brushed black metallic bezels, directing all of the attention to the gorgeous and colorful 4K HDR display.
While it’s not an OLED screen, it’s Sony’s flagship LCD, and so it gets about as close to OLED as LCD technology can, with excellent color performance and impressive contrast levels, thanks to Sony’s proprietary X1 Extreme chip, plus one of the brightest screens we’ve seen. You also get 4 HDMI inputs, three USB connections (one of which supports higher-speed USB 3.0), plus a composite port for connecting older analog devices.
For Smart TV features, Sony has gone with the powerful Android TV platform, which means that you’ll benefit from a huge range of apps that can be found on the Google Play Store, including of course the usual collection of streaming apps for services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and of course Google’s own YouTube and Play Movies & TV apps. An included voice remote also lets you call up Google Assistant with the press of a button or issue commands hands-free if you have a Google Home smart speaker in the room. There’s also direct support for streaming from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone with Google Chromecast built in.
Stunning black levels
Apple AirPlay 2 Support
Limited Streaming Services
High Input Lag
While there are some great LCD TVs out there, nothing since the now-defunct Plasma display technology can compare to an OLED panel when it comes to delivering ultra-deep blacks and insanely high contrast ratios. Among OLEDs, LG’s C9 Series leads the pack, and while OLED screens generally don’t come cheap, LG has managed to produce one of the most affordable ones we’ve seen.
In addition to a great picture, one of the other benefits of OLED TVs is that you can get all of this in an incredibly thin display — it’s only a tenth of an inch thick — and the C9 features a bezel-less design that looks absolutely stunning, placing all of the emphasis on what’s on the screen. In fact, it’s so thin that you’ll want to be careful you don’t bend it when setting it up.
On the back, you’ll find a generous collection of ports, including four HDMI, two USB, Ethernet, coaxial, optical and 3.5mm audio outputs, and composite video. Under the hood, LG’s WebOS smart TV platform offers all of the popular streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Google Play Movies & TV, although if you’re looking for more niche apps you'll need to add your own Roku or Amazon Fire TV stick. It does, however, include Google Assistant and Alexa in addition to LG’s own voice search features, although the assistants aren’t as fully featured as the versions found on an Android or Fire TV.
Amazon Fire TV Built-in
Alexa voice commands
Basic remote control
If you’re looking to get a great smart TV without spending a lot of money, the Insignia NS-39DF510NA19 is a solid choice. While it’s not a 4K TV, it offers solid full HD 1080p quality for the price, with good contrast, bright colors, and a fairly large screen at 39 inches.
With Amazon Fire TV built-in, you can also get access to a whole range of apps, channels, and Alexa skills, including all of the biggies like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and more. Plus, Fire TV lets you integrate over-the-air TV and streaming channels all together on a single home screen.
While the remote control is relatively basic in terms of the buttons, you do get Alexa voice support, letting you easily launch apps, search for titles, play music, switch inputs, and even control smart home devices using your voice. On the back, you’ll find a good range of input ports as well, including 3 HDMI, one of which supports ARC, along with USB, composite input, coaxial input, and optical and analog audio outputs.
Inexpensive 4K UHD Quality
Bluetooth audio output
Voice control requires external smart speaker
Believe it or not, you can actually get a great 4K UHD TV without having to spend a bundle, even from a mainstream brand like Samsung. The company’s 4K UHD 7 Series offers impressive features for a TV in its price range, which is kept affordable thanks to the 43-inch screen.
Don’t let the relatively small size fool you, though, as this still offers the same great picture quality as its larger siblings, plus an elegant design the puts the picture first. The 4K Ultra HD screen includes HDR10+ with per-scene dynamic range and local dimming, plus the ability to upscale full HD 1080p content to 4K.
It also packs in Samsung’s well-known Smart TV features, with support for the usual set of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, and Samsung was also one of the first manufacturers to offer direct compatibility with the Apple ecosystem. This includes native AirPlay support for beaming video from an iPhone or iPad, and also Apple's TV app, which gives you access to buy and rent movies and TV shows from iTunes, as well as Apple's new Apple TV+ service. This is rounded out with support for both Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant speakers for issuing voice commands to your TV.
Good refresh rate for a small TV
1080p in a compact size
No smart functionality
Only 1 HDMI input
No audio outputs
In a world where 55- to 65-inch TVs have become standard, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when even 22 inches was considered big. Still, if you’re looking for something small for a dorm room, kitchen, sewing room, or closet, LG’s 22LJ4540 is a popular choice.
This TV offers good picture quality considering its size and price, and while it’s only 1080p, at 22 inches, that’s actually a bonus, as many TVs in these smaller sizes are still only 720p. It also has a higher 120 Hz effective refresh rate that’s less common on TVs in this size and price range, which means that fast scenes will look nice and smooth.
There are no smart features here, although at this price you could easily add in your own Roku box or Fire TV stick, although the single HDMI port will limit your connectivity options a bit. There are also no outputs for audio speakers, so you’ll have to use what’s built in, but the sound quality is surprisingly good for casual viewing in small spaces.
Bixby voice controls
Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant compatible
No analog inputs
If you want a TV that can deliver great contrast ratios, true blacks, and full color saturation but don't want to shell out a ton of cash for an OLED TV, QLED screens are a comparable choice. The Samsung Q60R uses Quantum Dot technology to produce over a billion colors at 100 percent volume to create ultra-realistic pictures. This TV is powered by Samsung's Quantum AI 4K processor that produces excellent native 4K resolution and distortion-free upscaling of standard HD content. It also has HDR10+ support for super sharp detailing and contrast.
If you're a serious gamer, the Game Enhancer mode uses FreeSync programming for super low latency input to make lag a thing of the past. Samsung's Bixby voice controls are built into this model for hands-free operation right out of the box; you can also connect your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices for expanded voice control capabilities and smart home integration. When the TV isn't in use, you can turn on Ambient Mode to turn the screen into a piece of art that blends into almost any decor.
Four times the resolution of a 4K UHD TV
OneConnect box compatible
The Samsung Q900R 8K TV provides up to four times the resolution as a 4K UHD model and a whopping 16 times the pixels of a standard 1080p HD TV. This model uses Direct Full Array Elite backlighting with 16 independent dimming zones that Samsung claims can rival or even surpass the contrast ratios and color saturation of OLED screens. The Quantum 8K processor is designed to eliminate compression artifacts from streaming media as well as intuitively upscale non-8K sources to take full advantage of your TV's incredible resolution.
The Q900R is compatible with Samsung's OneConnect box; you can hook up your soundbar, Blu-Ray or UHD DVD player, and game consoles to the OneConnect box and have a single cable run from the box to your TV for a clean-looking setup. Like its little brother the Q60R, this model uses FreeSync technology for low latency gaming input to reduce lag. It also uses a Dynamic Black Equalizer to enhance visibility in the dark and automatically optimizes image quality by analyzing scenes. Bixby voice controls are built into the OneRemote, and you can connect your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices.
Harman Kardon audio system
8-inch throw distance
Ambient Light Rejection screen
Heavy (42 pounds)
The Hisense L10 100-inch 4K UHD TV is best suited for those to whom money truly is no object. That said, the staggering price tag is justified by some impressive technology. This TV takes a page from cinema projectors and screens to produce a theater-quality viewing experience at home. The giant 100-inch screen uses Ambient Light Rejection technology so that in any lighting environment you get the clearest, most colorful picture possible.
The TV unit itself uses laser projector technology for more precise detailing and an ultra-short throw distance of just eight inches. The unit has a Harman Kardon audio system built in for a truly cinematic listening experience when watching everything from cartoons to sports to blockbuster movies. It also features smart functionality so you can download your favorite streaming apps right to the unit. If you're looking for voice controls, the L10 has an Amazon Alexa-enabled remote for hands-free browsing and control. If a 100-inch screen isn't big enough, it also comes in a 120-inch size with a price sticker to match.
The TCL 55S425 is a beautiful, well-rounded, fully-featured 4K TV that will satisfy everyone from first time TV buyers to experienced panel enthusiasts. For those that prefer Samsung's proprietary QLED tech, the Samsung QN65Q60 is a worthy alternative, with a bright, gorgeous picture and amazing HDR support.
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.
Yoona Wagener is an experienced tech journalist with a background in content and technical writing. She is an expert in home theatre and entertainment gear, including the latest innovations in TV, and is passionate about simplifying complex topics and making them accessible to everyone.
Shopping for a 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.
TVs with native 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 native 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.
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, native 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.
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.