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 Insignia Roku 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 LG 55-inch C7 OLED (OLED55C7P) and Sony XBR-65X900E are some of the best we've reviewed, earning top marks as the best entry-level OLED set on the market and the best 4K Smart TV, respectively.
Latest News and Updates (March 2018)
- Samsung has pulled the wraps off it’s 2018 product lineup, with its premium Q-Series TVs getting updates that improve picture quality, hide cables, and make the smart TV experience a lot smarter. Samsung has also let details slip about its more exotic products, the 8K-ready Q9S and The Wall, the company’s enormous microLED modular display.
- If you want a top-tier OLED display for an entry-level price, check out the LG 55-inch C7 OLED, which has dropped below $1,700. It's our new pick for affordable OLED TVs.
- For something even more affordable, the TCL Roku 55-inch 55S405 is a 4K Smart TV with HDR support that's selling for under $400, making it one of the most affordable 4K sets we've seen. It's not perfect, but you can do far, far worse for that price.
- An early pricing announcement suggests that LG’s newest models will be more affordable than last-year’s, with LG’s premium Wallpaper W8 77-inch TV starting at $14,499, more than $5,000 less than the similar 77-inch W7 model from last year, which sold for $19,999. The lower pricing extends to other products, too, with this year’s E8 and C8 series OLED TVs selling for roughly $500 less than equivalent 2017 models.
- If you were intrigued by the excellent TCL Roku TV 55P607, you'll want to keep any eye out for the new TCL 6-Series coming in 2018. The new name offers the same great blend of performance and affordability, with some new features in the mix. It's set to be one of the best TV values of the the year.
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.
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 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.
The Sony XBR-65X900E would be a pretty great TV on its own, thanks to a high-quality LCD display and surprisingly great audio. But what we love most about it is Sony’s smart TV offering, an optimized version of Android TV that has an excellent interface, a wide number of apps, built-in Google Chromecast support and integration for Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
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.