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 Roku 49-inch 49S405, 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 (August 2018)
- Looking for the best smart TV as you cut the cord? The Vizio P-Series 65-Inch P65-F1 is our top pick for cord-cutters thanks to a combination of built-in apps and Chromecast capability, plus the inclusion of a built-in TV tuner (something Vizio's have been missing in recent years). It's a great performer, too.
- Amazon's second wave of smart TVs has arrived with the Toshiba 55-Inch 4K Fire TV Edition. Check out the full review to see why we like Amazon's smart TV platform, even if we didn't think the TV was so hot.
- Sony has introduced its new flagship smart TVs, the Master Series, which includes the OLED-based A9F and LCD panel Z9F. These new sets feature out of the box calibration, along with a special calibrated mode for Netflix, which promises to deliver the best color accuracy for streaming content from the service. The Master Series has Sony’s latest X1 Ultimate processor, and an updated version of the Acoustic Surface speaker system heard in last year’s Sony Bravia A1E, now with 3.1 sound, thanks to a new center channel and subwoofer.
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 49-inch TCL with Roku built in. The affordable 4K TV offers high-dynamic range (HDR) support, decent sound and Roku's excellent smart TV platform, with features that are great for cord cutters and movie lovers alike. It even has short lag time for better gaming.
MORE: TCL Roku 49-inch 49S405 Review: A Great 4K TV Under $500
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.
The Samsung 65-inch Q6F QLED TV, is our pick for TV shoppers who want an affordable alternative to OLED, but don't want to sacrifice too much on picture quality. With Samsung's quantum-dot technology, bright backlight, great audio and new smart features, 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 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 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.