Best TVs: Our top picks, plus plain-language explanations of the most important specs and features

Rob Schultz
Table of Contents

There’s never been a better time to buy a TV. The industry has worked most of the bugs out of LCD and OLED TVs, and today’s prices are lower than ever. In fact, high-end 4K models cost about half of what they did last year. We’ll give you our top picks, plus an in-depth guide to the specs and features you’ll encounter. 

You’ll face an alphabet soup of acronyms and phraseology when you go shopping: LED, LCD, HDR, OLED, quantum dots, and more. And manufacturers thicken that broth with their own trademarked nomenclature: Contrast EliteMax, Q Style Elite, X-tended Dynamic Range PRO? Give me a break.

The good news? You can ignore all that ad-speak and focus on just four things: color, contrast (including the quality of blacks), brightness, and realism. Technology changes, but your eyes don’t.

Here are our top recommendations in three categories. If you want a deeper understanding as to why we picked them, there’s an in-depth buyers’ guide further down that you’ll find invaluable when you go shopping. Click here if you’d like to jump straight to a list of our most recent reviews.

Updated Auguust 7, 2019 to add our review of Samsung’s RU8000 LED-backlit LCD smart TV. Had we reviewed this TV a couple of years ago, it likely would have earned an editors’ choice award in its price category. But times have changed and lower-cost competitors such as Hisense have upped their game considerably. This certainly isn’t a bad TV, it comes with the same excellent UI and remote control that come with all of Samsung’s much higher-end smart TVs. Our buy recommendation here just isn’t as enthusiastic as it is for those more expensive models.

Best LCD TV

It’s a win-win: Samsung’s Q8FN made a better impression than the more upscale Q9F—and it costs less. The two models use slightly different LED backlighting schemes, and we thought the Q8FN’s was more effective. You might prefer the Q9FN if you intend to hang the TV on the wall, because the One Connect breakout box greatly simplifies cable management. 

Runner-up

No manufacturer does image processing better than Sony. If moiré, shimmering in detailed pans, jagged text, and backlighting blockiness drive you up a wall, this is the TV to buy. 

Best OLED TV

We said of LG 2018 OLED that it was hard to imagine a better TV. Well, we no longer need to imagine, because LG has built it with the-new-for-2019 E9 series (we reviewed the 65-inch model OLED65E9PUA). This TV supports every HDR standard except HDR10+, and its picture quality is magnificent. LG carries over its Magic Remote and WebOS operating system (making a few improvements to the latter), which make this TV a joy to use. As usual, you have to see the blacks and OLED panel produces to understand what you’re missing with most LED-backlit LCD TVs.

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Source : Macworld