The latest and greatest in display technology, organic light emitting diodes (or OLEDs) make their own light when a current flows through them. As a result, OLED TVs are thinner than LED TVs (which, again, are really LCDs backed with LEDS), and they handle light and color much better.
This is the best-looking TV we've seen yet and is a stunning showcase for the capabilities of OLED panels. Its color performance is close to perfect and it offers effectively infinite contrast thanks to its perfect black levels. It's also quite reasonably priced for an OLED. LG's WebOS interface is occasionally clunky, but it's loaded with features like hands-free voice assistants and Apple AirPlay 2. It's simply an incredible all-around package.
The U6H is for shoppers who want to spend as little as possible without buying a piece of junk. At several hundred dollars less than the Hisense U8H, the follow-up to last year's Editors' Choice U8G, it's appealing if you're on a budget. This TV is also one of the least expensive big-screen models we can recommend; the 75-inch variant goes for a suggested price of $1,400.
If you want a TV for your (covered) deck or patio, and don't mind spending the money for the best picture for that purpose, the SunBriteTV Veranda 3 is the ideal pick. We've seen a few more affordable outdoor TVs, but none look nearly as good or offer as many smart TV features.
This isn't a completely positive upgrade, however, due to some new technology that enables its vivid colors. Like the Samsung S95B, the Sony A95K uses a quantum dot layer to expand its color range. It's effective, but its trade-off is that the quantum dots are so light-reactive that they can make the screen look just slightly less than perfectly dark with any ambient light around. The panel isn't emitting any light, but it's reflecting just a bit too much to really offer visually perfect blacks. Even with that caveat, though, this is a feature-packed TV with a great picture and some useful and unique features.
The 50-inch Vizio M-Series Quantum X TV showed excellent gaming performance and strong colors when we tested it earlier this year, but it wasn't particularly bright. The larger models in the series, however, have more powerful backlight systems and all of the same qualities otherwise. The bigger entries still aren't blazingly bright, but they offer reasonably better performance than the smaller version in this regard.
Resolution has long been a top consideration in buying a new TV, but the current TV landscape has seen a flattening of this trend. The TV resolution question used to be between the options of 720p (1,280 by 720 resolution, or just under one million pixels) and 1080p (1,920 by 1,080, or just over two million pixels). Then it moved on to 1080p versus Ultra HD, or 4K (3,840 by 2,160, with eight million pixels). Now, it's no longer a question: 4K is the standard for medium-sized and larger televisions from every major manufacturer.
That's it. Don't worry about 8K for now, despite what you might have heard about it and that the HDMI 2.1 standard supports it. 8K is 7,680 by 4,320 resolution, or four times the number of pixels of 4K. 8K TVs are currently available as premium models for significantly more money than their 4K equivalents (including OLED TVs, which are already pricier), but they aren't going to be meaningful for consumers for a few more years, and there's little reason to consider buying one yet unless you have lots of cash to burn.
4K is a no-brainer, but there's a new next-step video technology to consider when you shop for a TV. High dynamic range (HDR) content gives much more information to the display than a standard video signal. The resolution remains the same as UHD, but the range of color and amount of light each pixel can produce is significantly broader.
Keep an eye out for sales around big sporting events like the Super Bowl, or when football season is just starting. You might be able to find price cuts of a few hundred dollars or more. Like all sales, pay attention to which models are on sale; different tiers and series of TVs can perform wildly different.
Budget-priced TVs can be very appealing, especially if you haven't yet made the jump to 4K and are daunted by $1,000-plus price tags. Be careful when you see a great deal on a TV, though, even if it says 4K HDR. It could be a steal, or it could be a disappointment.
Plasma TVs were the only flat-panel models available when they first came out nearly two decades ago. They're now a dead category, however, and you won't find a major television manufacturer that sells new plasma models. That means you likely must choose between LED-backlit LCD TVs (also simply called LED TVs), and much less common, much more expensive OLED displays.
Refresh (or response) rate, the speed at which your TV's panel refreshes its image, is expressed in hertz (60Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz, 480Hz, or 600Hz). The theory is that a faster refresh rate results in a smoother image. But in reality, there are several reasons this simply isn't true, and it's not worth paying more for a set with a faster response rate. In many cases, 60Hz is just fine for films and TV, and 120Hz is plenty for video games and sports (though you should probably turn off those higher refresh rate modes when watching most shows and movies to avoid that jarring soap opera effect). Also, keep in mind that numbers above 120Hz (except for a few Samsung TVs with gaming monitor-like 144Hz refresh rates), tend not to indicate a panel's native refresh rate; they're usually numbers produced through various backlight flickering and other image processing tricks.
If space is at a premium or your budget is limited, a soundbar is your best bet. Soundbars are long, thin, self-contained speakers that sit under or over your TV. Small and simple to set up, they're less expensive than multi-speaker systems. Soundbars generally don't separate the channels enough to accurately place sound effects, but they've become quite good at producing a large sound field around you. Moreover, many soundbars pair easily with a subwoofer for that added thunder when watching movies.
Color calibrationA perfect combo. Apple TV 4K works with your iPhone to automatically adjust colors to look their best. Just point the camera on your iPhone at your TV screen once, then sit back and see how amazing your shows and movies are meant to look.
However, buying a new television with so many choices can be an overwhelming experience for some consumers. With so many things to consider, especially with the excitement of the big game coming up, it is sometimes easy to overlook one important factor - energy consumption.
The good news for consumers is the process of comparing energy consumption is fairly easy. Televisions are required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to carry an EnergyGuide label. This label is designed to help consumers easily compare televisions by looking at wattage specifications and estimated yearly energy cost.
All things being equal, you have twice as many redraws to play with on a 120Hz set as on a 60Hz set, and motion will nearly always look smoother with a higher refresh rate. Case in point: the best LED-backlit LCD sets all have 120Hz hardware refresh rates. Look for the hardware refresh rate. Or ask; it can be hard to find.
Blues are nearly always pretty accurate, but look for greens with too much yellow, and reds that are orangish rather than pure red. The black with a dark gray rectangle will reveal light leakage. (The gray is to keep the TV from shutting off the backlight completely.)
But the reason Vivid or Dynamic mode generally look better to people is because it's a preset that maxes out the TV's Backlight and Contrast settings, making it brighter and perceptively more colorful. Unfortunately, not only does that mode tend to obscure picture details and tire your eyes out, it wears out the LEDs in the TV more quickly.
Image retention may be an issue when you first begin using your OLED TV, but it gets better with time. It's only visible under extreme circumstances, and it doesn't appear to be permanent. If you do experience image retention on an OLED, simply turn the TV off for five to ten minutes before turning it back on.
Black levels and brightness are key factors in picture quality, and they are especially important when displaying the expanded contrast range of HDR content. OLED and LED TVs can both do a great job with this, but they have different strengths.
Viewing angle is another area where OLED has a big advantage over LED TVs. When you sit directly in front of an LED set, the picture looks bright and colorful, but once you move to the sides the picture can become distorted or washed out. This is caused by the backlight and the shutter effect of the screen's pixels.
When attempting to display the wider color range of HDR-enhanced content, some TVs struggle to reproduce colors accurately when the picture gets bright. But Samsung's QLED TVs maintain full color accuracy and saturation at any brightness level.
Thanks Robert. Another plasma fan! The 2022 TVs are starting to roll in, and they look pretty great. If it's not a huge rush (and you want the best), you might want to sit tight. But if you want to replace it soon, I don't think you can go wrong with A90J. I would upgrade your cables if they are that old. The latest format offers a massive increase in bandwidth, which is important for the best sound quality as well as dynamic HDR formats. Check our HDMI cable buying guide for more info on that. I hope that helps!
In an actual listening room, you'd find that some speakers play louder than others when fed the same amount of power. In equal power mode, you'll hear these differences in loudness as they naturally occur between speakers.
How good that upscaling looks depends entirely on the TV. This technique is complicated and requires significant processing; in general, more expensive TVs are better at upscaling content, and flagship models get things to look pretty close to native 4K. 59ce067264