4K resolution was once a premium feature found on high-end TVs. These days, you’ll have a hard time finding a TV that doesn’t feature it. Even the most affordable TVs on the market offer 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) resolution once you get above the smallest sizes. In other words, there’s never been a better time to invest in 4K.
It’s been years since we tested and reviewed a non-4K TV, so our round-up of the best 4K TVs of 2020 is essentially the same as our list of the best TVs you can buy. Right now, thanks to its excellent OLED picture quality and wide array of features, the LG C9(available at Amazon for $1,949.90) is our pick for the best 4K TV money can buy. If you’re looking for something different, though, our list packs plenty of alternatives.
Here are the best 4K TVs you can buy right now ranked, in order:
Vizio P-Series Quantum X
Vizio P Series Quantum
Vizio M Series Quantum
TCL 8-Series (2019)
TCL 6-Series (2019)
Vizio V Series (V556-G1)
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
LG's C9 series of OLED 4K/HDR smart TVs is the best TV of 2019. For the last few years, LG has released a suite of premium OLED TVs, and starting with the C7 OLEDs in 2017 they've been our favorite TVs every year for good reason.
If you haven't heard, OLED panels are kind of the bee's knees. Each pixel turns "on" and "off" on its own, meaning when OLED TVs display black, they display true black. Likewise, when they display a color, it emits from the pixel directly, giving it a more pure and unfiltered appearance than traditional LED/LCD TVs. LG has been the leader in OLED TV production for several years, and the 2019 C9 is the latest "C" OLED—it's almost the most affordable one in the lineup, but still has all the same awesome OLED picture quality.
The C9 series (which is available in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes) delivers a justifiable price tag alongside all the same excellent OLED picture quality, 4K resolution, High Dynamic Range and Dolby Vision specifications, LG's friendly webOS smart platform, and more. It's loaded with excellent features and a multiple calibration options. Check out our full review of the LG C9 series for more information.
When it comes to new, value-packed TVs, it’s hard to top the Vizio M Series Quantum, which offers a taste of quantum dot performance for a price most people can handle.
The M Series Quantum doesn’t get quite as bright as TVs in higher price brackets, but that doesn’t mean its contrast is anything to scoff at; the TV’s brightness and deep black levels come together nicely on the full-array panel. Colors pop, too, on account of those quantum dots, which display brilliantly colored light when illuminated.
A noteworthy caveat is the M Series Quantum’s native refresh rate of 60 Hz, which might be a dealbreaker for folks who demand smooth motion performance for high-paced content, especially sports and gaming content. That said, for most TV and film content, 60 Hz should be more than adequate.
Starting at 43 inches and running the gamut up to 70 inches, it's available in a wider variety of sizes than its closest competitor, the 2019 TCL 6-Series. It’s a great TV for anyone looking to upgrade to a dependable HDR TV without breaking the bank.
Reviewed has been testing TVs since some of its current employees were in middle school. While many proud TV testers have come and gone through Reviewed's labs, the current Home Theater team consists of Michael Desjardin and Lee Neikirk. Michael is a senior staff writer and a six-year veteran of the Reviewed tech team. A film enthusiast and TV expert, he takes picture quality seriously but also understands that not every TV is a good fit for everyone.
As Reviewed's Home Theater Editor, Lee doesn't do as much testing these days. However, he designed the company's current TV testing methodology after receiving calibration certification from the Imaging Science Foundation.
It'd be an understatement to say that we're serious about TV testing. The lab in our Cambridge location is outfitted with much of the same equipment you'd find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates television.
On the hardware side, we've got things like a Konica Minolta CS-200 tristimulus color meter, an LS-100 luminance meter, a Leo Bodnar input lag tester, a Quantum Data 780A signal generator, and more Blu-rays than we can keep track of. For software, we use CalMan Ultimate, the industry-standard in taking display measurements and calibrating screens to specifications.
Our testing process is equally complicated and has been honed over many years to gather data that is marginal enough to satisfy curious video engineers, but also relevant to the average person's viewing experience. We measure things like peak brightness, black level, hue and saturation for primary and secondary digital colors, the accuracy of the TV's electro-optical transfer function—you get the idea, it's complicated.
Weighting for our performance tests is based on how the human eye prioritizes vision, which means we put "brightness" data (monochromatic eye based on light sensitivity) higher than colorimetry, which is also scaled by the eye's sensitivity, and so on.
Outside of the strictly technical tests, we also spend a lot of time just watching and using each TV, getting a feel for the at-home experience of doing things like dialing up streaming video service, connecting a Blu-ray player and watching movies, using the smart features, and checking out the TV's ports, remote, and on-set buttons—anything and everything that might be relevant.
What You Should Know About TVs
While everyone has different eyes, generally, our vision all functions the same way: we prioritize dynamic information and bright, compelling colors over subtler hues and resolution (sharpness). Generally, a TV can be considered a good TV when we forget that we're watching a TV. We don't see pixels creating mixes of red, green, and blue to simulate colors; we see the real world, lit and colored as it is, in fluid motion.
In simpler terms, this means a TV that can get very bright and dark without obscuring details; produces accurate colors (compared to various color standards designated by the International Telecommunication Union); possesses proper bit-mapping and the right codecs and decoders for video processing; and can properly play the various types of content thrown at it without judder, blurring, and so on.
Note that specs alone (pixel count, measured brightness) aren't automatic indicators of quality, much like intense speed is not automatically an indicator of a good car.
What TV Terms Do I Need To Know?
When it comes to knowing what you're paying for, almost no category is rifer with subterfuge and tomfoolery than TVs. While knowing the specs of the TV you're shopping for is only half the battle, it's the bigger half. Here are the key bits of jargon you'll want to know while browsing:
LED/LCD: This refers to Light Emitting Diode and Liquid Crystal Display. LEDs are the backlights used in LCD TVs, also sometimes called a LED TV for this reason. The LED backlight shines through a layer of a semi-solid substance called "liquid crystal," so named for its ability to morph in reaction to tiny electrical volts and allow light to pass through.
OLED: This means Organic Light Emitting Diode. This is an altogether different panel technology than LED/LCD. Rather than an LED backlight element shining through an LCD panel element, OLED TVs essentially combine the backlight and crystal array, using sub-pixel strata that produce light and color individually.
4K/UHD: Usually 4K refers to resolution—specifically, 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. This is the current standard/mainstream resolution for most TVs. UHD means Ultra High Definition, and actually refers to a suite of picture improvements like 4K resolution and Wide Color Gamut, which can display many more shades than HD TVs.
High Dynamic Range: Like "UHD," High Dynamic Range (or HDR) refers to both a type of TV and a type of content that expands on the typical range of brightness (luminance) and color that a TV will produce. HDR TVs are newer and usually a bit more expensive, but can have many times the brightness and 30% more color production than non-HDR TVs. Current top HDR formats include HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
60 Hz/120 Hz: These numbers refer to what is called a "refresh rate," with Hz (hertz) representing 'times per second." So if a TV's refresh rate is 60 Hz, this means it re-scans and updates for picture information 60 times per second; with 120 Hz, it's 120 times per second. Currently, TVs only come in 60 or 120 Hz. A higher refresh rate is always better, but not always necessary.
Smart TV: The term "smart TV" has evolved a lot over the years, but all it really means is that the TV connects to the internet. Most smart TVs these days are just a way to watch streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video on your TV. Some smart TVs have browsers, calendars, or even Roku or Android functions. All smart TVs have ethernet or WiFi built-in.
Quantum Dots: Quantum dots are used in LED/LCD TVs only. These are microscopic nanocrystals that produce intensely colored light when illuminated. Quantum dots can be used to vastly improve the red and green saturation of a TV, and are one way that LED/LCD TVs can match the color spectrum of OLED.
Local Dimming: OLED panels look great because each pixel can operate independently. LED/LCD TVs can imitate this functioning via a process called local dimming, where localized clusters of LEDs dim or boost depending on whether the screen needs to be darker or brighter, sometimes vastly improving their performance and worth.
What Is a TV Series?
You may notice the TVs listed in this roundup don't follow the traditional naming convention you might see in a store or online. That's because rather than nominating a single size of TV (such as the LG OLED65C8PUA, aka the 65-inch LG C8 series OLED), we nominate the entire range of sizes within a "series."
Typically these TVs are identical in performance but differ in price and size. We do this in order to offer you more flexibility in your decision, but also because it's the most accurate representation available.
Other TVs We Tested
This is essentially the 2018 version of our Best Overall C9. It's still a 4K/HDR OLED TV; in fact, other than a few very specific differences, which you can read more about in the full review, the C8 and the C9 are almost identical.
The C8 will be harder to find, but the price has also dropped considerably. The picture quality and HDR/Dolby Vision performance excellent, and you still get key extras like the LG webOS platform, the Magic Remote, and a swanky (if unusual) design. Our only complaint about the C8 in 2018 was how expensive it was, and now that it's cheaper, it's a pretty fantastic choice.
Available in 55-, 65-, or 77-inch sizes, the 2018 C8 series may not be quite as fancy as the C9 series, but it still exhibits the perfect black levels, excellent contrast, and vivid color production that we expect from OLED TVs. It's also an excellent choice if you're interested in newer formats like HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos.
In order to go toe-to-toe with its direct OLED competitors (as well as budget-friendly, big-screen non-OLED HDR sets), Sony's A9F Master Series needs to set itself apart from the pack. And, for the most part, it succeeds—the A9F is a visually striking, top-tier television with the HDR chops to nip at LG's heels.
What it doesn't do, however, is justify its price point for anyone outside of a very slim niche. You can read more about everything the A9F OLED offers in our full review, but it's worth knowing that performance quality isn't what kept it from the top of this list. Instead, it's a combination of the high price point and some more aesthetics-based flaws.
That said, this is still an amazing TV that feels ultra-premium from top to bottom. We just don't think it performs so far beyond the LG C9 to justify it's price. But if you've got the dough, Sony's A9F bats at some high fences in a way that outshines many of LG's OLED offerings.
Available in 65- and 75-inch sizes only, this is one of Vizio's best. Outfitted with full-array local dimming, quantum dots, and a sleek, understated design, the P Series Quantum X looks better than any LED/LCD TV has a right to.
From its searing highlights to its brilliant hues, the P Series Quantum X is a top-shelf TV with the picture to prove it. Given its ability to strikingly bright, it's a particularly fine option for folks who long for the performance of an OLED but remain skeptical about OLED panels' relatively limited peak brightness.
Samsung's high-end TV offerings tend to be very good TVs, and the Samsung Q90R is no different. This top-tier QLED TV (available in 65-, 75-, and 82-inch models) is an impressively versatile TV that will impress virtually any viewer with any content you can throw at it.
Being a Samsung-engineered quantum dot TV, you can expect bleedingly bright performance—we measured peak brightness levels that eclipsed 1,000 nits—as well as finely-tuned colors. Plus, since the Q90R features a native refresh rate of 120 Hz and a suite of motion enhancements, its motion handling is superb. As such, it’s an instant favorite for sports fans and gamers.
That said, because this a top-tier TV with a posh design, the Samsung Q90R’s price point might make some folks consider more approachable alternatives.
The Samsung Q80R isn’t quite as good as the Q90R, but the difference in cost might make it an appealing alternative for shoppers who don’t want to splash out completely.
Being a QLED TV, the Samsung Q80R delivers searingly bright highlights and vivid, well-saturated colors. The panel also features a native 120 Hz refresh rate, which means its motion handling is terrific.
The only downside here is the Q80R’s price tag, which is too high to compete with some of the more affordable quantum dot TVs like the 2019 TCL 6-Series. To be fair, the Q80R is a better performer than the TCL 6-Series, but given the Q80R’s price tag, it gets a little caught between premium and value picks.
One of Sony's best models out there, the X950G isn't perfect, but for what you're paying you're getting a lot of really awesome specs and features.
If you're not concerned about its demonstrably narrow viewing angles and slightly disappointing color production, you'll be landing a great TV that holds up quite well in brightly lit rooms, justifying it's hefty price tag.
The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is a fantastic QLED TV that makes a strong case for itself in the all-important category of premium-but-afforable TVs.
Available in two sizes (65 inches and 75 inches), the P Series Quantum features quantum dots, a native 120 Hz refresh rate, full-array local dimming (with 200-240 LED zones, depending on the panel size) and a performance report card that’s loaded with high grades.
The Vizio P Series is a great choice for shoppers who want a premium TV but who might not want to commit to the price of an OLED TV or a better performing QLED TV, like Samsung's Q90R.
If you’re looking for a premium TV that utilizes quantum dots but haven’t found what you’re looking for from Samsung or Vizio, TCL's 8-Series is a fantastic option.
This QLED TV is available in two sizes: 65” and 75”. It aced nearly all of our performance tests and wowed us in action, demonstrating quantum dots’ ability to produce bright pictures with extra-vivid color. One of the reasons the 8-Series is such a stellar performer is the inclusion of TCL’s “mini-LED” technology, which allows for tight contrast control second only to OLED TVs.
In addition, the 8-Series ranks among our favorite Roku TVs, which also makes it one of the most user-friendly TV on this list. While 4K resolution is all well in good, at the end of the day you'll be spending a lot of hands-on time with any TV you buy, and Roku makes for the best companion out there, offering virtually every app you can dream up and intuitive command of all the particulars.
The only real hang-ups are the 8-Series’ chunky design and its limited viewing angles (the latter of which isn’t as big of an issue as it is on the TCL 6-Series, but still might deter videophiles). Otherwise, this is a very solid pick with a well-rounded blend of features and performance.
The TCL 6-Series, available in 55- and 65-inch models, is a budget-friendly QLED TV that brings the benefits of quantum dot technology (namely better brightness and color production) to a price bracket that most folks can actually afford.
We were quite impressed with the TCL 6-Series’ contrast; the TV’s relatively deep black levels look all the better thanks to its ability to get very bright, particularly during HDR content. Like the TCL 8-Series, it's also a Roku TV, meaning it runs our favorite smart platform of all the major players.
That said, you can’t really offer a QLED TV in this price bracket without some concessions. The 6-Series’ motion handling isn’t as good as higher-end QLED TV’s whose panels feature a native refresh rate of 120 Hz. Additionally, the 6-Series’ viewing angles are quite limited.
Still, this TV is jam-packed with value, especially if you’re hoping to land a TV that’s bright enough to accommodate a room that gets a lot of natural or artificial light.
The Vizio V Series comes in a wide variety of sizes and options, and a handful of them feature slightly different hardware in the form of differing numbers of LED zones with local dimming.
The 55-inch Vizio V Series that we tested (V556-G1) features 10 local dimming LED zones, which means its contrast is slightly better than the V Series models that don’t feature local dimming, though not significantly.
The V Series is a great pick for folks who just need to upgrade to a 4K/HDR TV but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. The performance in a vacuum isn’t much to write home about, but given the V Series’ price point it is something to celebrate. It’s not the type of HDR TV that will demonstrate the superiority of HDR content, but it doesn’t really need to be.
The V Series isn’t the best TV on the block, but most folks will be happy to own one—especially if you're upgrading to 4K for the first time. And because it's so affordable, it's also a great gift for that special someone who's still riding their ailing HD TV into the ground.
Very, very affordable
Performs quite well for the cost
Vizio's smart platform is a drag
Doesn't get as bright as the Vizio M Series Quantum
The TCL 4-Series (2019) is a huge value/budget option. Available in six screen sizes, you're getting 4K resolution, HDR10 compatibility, the Roku remote, and 60 Hz refresh rates. Not bad specs for this TV’s price point. Get the TCL 4-Series from Amazon
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.