If you want the ultimate detailed picture, 4K or ultra-HD TVs are the sets to buy. They pack four times more pixels (3840 x 2160) than traditional HD TVs, and they are the first models to get new technologies such as wider color gamut and high dynamic range (HDR) video.
In our labs, we've tested all of the most popular 4K TV sets, evaluating them based on sharpness, color and viewing angles, as well as design, smart TV features and sound. Based on our reviews, our top budget pick is the Insignia Roku TV, which delivers a striking 50-inch picture with excellent contrast. Our favorite 65-inch set for the money is the LG E7 OLED (OLED65E7P), which delivers outstanding picture quality and surprisingly robust audio for $1,000 less than comparable OLED systems.
If you're looking for the best picture possible and can afford it, you should buy the Sony Bravia OLED XBR-65A1E, whose stunning OLED display offers the most gorgeous picture we've ever seen, along with full HDR support and an innovative approach to audio that turns the entire display into a speaker. Check out our other top picks below.
Latest TV News
Vizio updated its P-Series and M-Series TVs for 2017. The first thing you'll notice is that the company got rid of the the tablet remote (for streaming content), instead prompting users to download an app to their own phone or tablet. The P-Series starts at $1,299 for a 55-inch set; the M-Series starts at $799 for a 55-inch model.
Hisense is offering a little more to cord-cutters for the holidays with the newly announced R6 Series of Roku-enabled 4K TVs. The new 4K sets come with Roku's excellent operating system, intuitive interface and wide-ranging app selection. Additionally, the new TVs will offer HDR support, DTS Surround Sound, and UHD content upscaling. The new sets will be available in 55-inch, 60-inch and 65-inch sizes.
The Best Time to Buy A TV
If you're planning to purchase a new television, the best times to buy are in November, December, and January, according to our sister site ShopSavvy. However, deals on smaller models can be found in the back-to-school timeframe of June-September, too. For more deals and advice on purchase timing, check out ShopSavvy's TV section.
The 65-inch LG E7 OLED delivers stunning picture quality in an equally impressive design, using LG’s distinctive "picture-on-glass" construction. The impressive display has deep blacks, crisp images, and impressive brightness and color fidelity. It supports all major high dynamic range (HDR) formats, (Dolby Vision, Ultra HD Premium, and HDR10) and has sound so good you may not need a soundbar for excellent audio. LG's OLED sets have set a rather high watermark for crisp 4K picture quality, and the 65-inch version of the E7 is no exception.
Ultra-HD sets aren't just for McMansions. Apartment dwellers can get a better picture, too, in the form of this 55-inch Insignia with Roku built in. It not only handles 4K content with aplomb but also ably upscales Blu-ray and standard HD content without hiccups. On action scenes, it manages to keep up with speeding motorcycles and flying stuntmen. It also features Roku's interface, which makes finding 4K content from streaming sources, such as Netflix, a lot easier. And, an app also lets you control the TV from your smartphone.
The Sony Bravia XBR-65A1E is a truly superior OLED TV with impressive sound and robust Android TV features. The 65-inch OLED panel delivers deep blacks, strikingly sharp pictures and excellent viewing angles. The 4K set also includes support for Dolby Vision and other HDR formats to deliver better brightness and more colors. Sony’s Acoustic Surface technology is a unique approach to audio turns the glass of the display into a speaker, and is a significant improvement in television sound.
The SunBriteTV Veranda is a 55-inch TV built for the great outdoors. It’s made to stand up to cold and heat, rain and snow, and provide good picture quality at any time of day. We recommend adding a streaming stick, since the set has no smart TV functions, but if you want a TV for your covered deck or poolside cabana, this is the TV to get.
The Vizio E-Series E65-E0 is a home theater display with superb quality for a sub-$1,000 display. You get Google Chromecast built in for wide-ranging smart functionality, along with HDR support. The only thing you don’t get at this affordable price is a TV tuner for over-the-air content.
Your TV is one of the central hubs of the home, so it only makes sense for you to be able to control all of your smart home devices while sitting on your couch. The KS9000 connects to Samsung SmartThings, which will let you adjust things like the lights, door locks and thermostat, right from your remote. Plus, this quantum-dot TV delivers an excellent 4K HDR picture for a reasonable price and, design-wise, looks amazing from all angles.
Where to Get 4K Content
If you're wondering where to get native 4K content, streaming services such as Amazon Instant Video, Vudu and Netflix now shoot and stream some original programs in 4K ultra HD. Sony and Samsung offer media players that let you download 4K movies from multiple studios. Although live 4K broadcasts don't exist yet, the best 4K TVs can upscale HD content to look convincingly more detailed, and the smaller pixels allow you to sit closer to the screen without seeing a distracting grid.
What is HDR, and why should you care?
New for this year are some HDR formats traveling under various labels. Ultra HD Premium, Dolby Vision and HDR 4K are tags companies are applying to indicate their sets offer more colors and improved brightness over standard 4K ultra HD sets. With HDR content still difficult to find, these sets do offer a more strikingly realistic picture.
But as HDR sets proliferate, there will be plenty of confusion about formats: Some will be Ultra HD Premium compatible (like Samsung), others will be HDR10 or Dolby Vision compatible (like Vizio) and some will be compatible with both standards (like LG). Sony will go it alone (at least for now), choosing to eschew both the Ultra HD Premium label and Dolby Vision licensing and instead call its sets "4K HDR Ultra HD" TVs.
The good news is that prices for 4K ultra HD sets continue to fall.
How We Test
We evaluate TVs both with instrument-based measurements, such as color accuracy and gamut, as well as subjective tests, to see how well the screens display real-life video. For ultra HD 4K TVs, it's especially important to see how they upscale the HD content that will make up the vast majority of the content people view on the screens. We also consider design and usability. For details on our testing methodology, please see How Tom's Guide Tests and Reviews TVs.