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. Our top budget pick is the TCL 43S517 Roku Smart 4K TV, which delivers a striking 50-inch picture with excellent contrast.
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.
For great 4K TVs that fall somewhere between high-priced premium sets and inexpensive bargain models, the mid-range TCL 6 Series 65-inch Roku TV (65R617) and Samsung 65-inch Q6F QLED TV are some of the best we've reviewed, earning top marks as the best sub-$1,000 model on the market and the best OLED alternative, respectively.
Latest News and Updates (December 2018)
- The year is almost over, but we've got our new favorite TV overall. The Samsung 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV offers impeccable picture, with rich color, sharp detail and black levels that give OLED a run for its money.
- Tom Cruise made a PSA about motion smoothing on the set of Top Gun: Maverick. We've got the fix in our guide to disabling motion smoothing on LG, Samsung and Sony TVs.
- LG is revving up it's 2019 OLED TVs with a new processor, the Alpha 9 (a9 Gen 2). The chip offers better color, sharpness and depth, and will be found in high-end OLED TVs set to debut at CES 2019.
- When LG first unfurled its jaw-dropping rollable TV prototype at CES 2018, we weren't sure if it would ever be something you could buy. Early rumors point to LG bringing back the rollable OLED display to CES, this time as a consumer product for 2019.
The 65-inch Samsung Q9FN QLED TV offers every premium touch offered on Samsung's QLED line, from the quantum-dot display to the polished smart TV experience. The superb display is as close to OLED levels of picture quality as you can get while still getting the superior brightness of LCD, and Samsung backs it up with great sound and the Bixby voice assistant.
The Q9FN QLED TV offers strong HDR support (unless you want Dolby Vision), and showed seriously great performance with it's full-array local-dimming and proprietary anti-blooming technology. And while it looks good on the included stand, it's even better up on the wall, where the included One Connect box and nearly-invisible single cable connection virtually eliminate the tangle of cables that come with most TVs.
Great things can come in small (and affordable) packages. The TCL 43S517 Roku Smart 4K TV is smaller than most TVs we recommend, but with a super affordable price, great picture and sound quality, and a slew of unexpectedly premium features, this 43-inch model is a screaming deal. (And you can find larger sizes at similarly affordable prices).
We've reviewed plenty of inexpensive Roku TVs, but TCL's reputation for better-than-average quality and some genuinely exciting features – like Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos audio support, and integrated voice search – make this substantially better than most cheap sets we've seen.
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 Vizio P-Series 65-Inch P65-F1 isn’t just a good TV, it’s probably the best thing around for cord cutters who want plenty of content options. Vizio’s smart TVs have been hobbled in recent years by funky smart functionality and the marked absence of a built-in tuner, but the Vizio P-Series 65-Inch P65-F1 corrects these missteps. With great performance, an expanded app selection, major flexibility offered by the built-in Chromecast and the return of the tuner, this TV shapes up to be the best option for anyone who wants to ditch their cable or satellite subscription.
The TCL 6 Series 65-inch Roku TV raises the bar for affordable 4K with excellent picture quality for a sub-$1,000 display, with rich color, smooth action, and excellent black levels for an LCD. The refined brushed metal design looks better than many more premium sets, and with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision, along with Roku TV with voice search, it’s easily the best TV you can get for this price.
If you want an excellent picture without the high price of an OLED TV, consider the Samsung Q8FN QLED TV. With Samsung's quantum-dot technology, bright backlight, great audio and special filters for impressive black levels, it's a supremely well-made smart TV that provides impressive 4K quality and off-axis viewing for considerably less than competing OLED models from LG and Sony.
With a gorgeous OLED display and sleek premium design, the LG 55-inch C7 OLED offers everything you want from a top-tier smart TV, like 4K resolution, HDR support, and flawless black levels. As the price drops on last year's models, the C7 becomes more affordable than ever, making it an easy pick as the best value for anyone looking to get an OLED display without loosing their shirt.
The SunBriteTV Signature Series is a 55-inch outdoor TV, and with outdoor capability comes a number of unique design elements, like a moisture-sealed aluminum chassis, weatherproof port compartment, and a screen built for viewing in partial sunlight. 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 LG 65SK9500 Super UHD may not be one of LG’s premium OLEDs, but it’s the smartest TV we’ve ever seen. LG's ThinQ AI combines voice commands, content search and Google Assistant, giving the TV the most versatile voice interaction we’ve encountered. On top of that, the TV has LG’s robust webOS platform and offers pretty great display and sound to top it off.
How We Test 4K TVs
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.
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.
Wondering whether you should buy last year's TV at a bargain or wait for the new sets to arrive in stores? Check out our advice to one conflicted TV shopper.
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.
MORE: Where to Get 4K Content
Should I get a TV with HDR?
One feature you'll see mentioned frequently in ads and reviews is HDR, which stands for "High Dynamic Range." This newer offering indicates that a TV can deliver better contrast and brightness with more colors, making your 4K movies and games look even better. Not every 4K TV has HDR support, and neither does all 4K content, but whenever HDR is offered the improvement is striking.
You'll sometimes see HDR under different labels, like Ultra HD Premium or Dolby Vision. As of right now, there is no industry standard for HDR content, and sussing out which manufacturers support each version of the format can be tricky. Thankfully, additional HDR support can often be added with a software update, and many manufacturers support multiple formats already.
The good news is that HDR support is becoming more common and more affordable, making it easier than ever to get the best picture quality available.