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The LG C2, our current pick for Best Overall TV, displaying 4K/HDR content Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Best TVs of 2022

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The LG C2, our current pick for Best Overall TV, displaying 4K/HDR content Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

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Editor's Choice Product image of LG OLED55C2PUA
Best Overall

LG OLED55C2PUA

The LG C2 OLED is one of the best TVs we've ever seen. It's spectacular for movies and games, especially if you don't have a bright living space. Read More

Pros

  • World-class picture quality
  • A top-tier gaming TV
  • Wafer-thin design

Cons

  • Not as bright as top-shelf QLED TVs
  • Slight off-angle color shift
2
Editor's Choice Product image of Sony XR-65A95K
Best Upgrade

Sony XR-65A95K

The Sony A95K is not only the best OLED we’ve ever tested, it’s also the best TV, period. Its top-of-the-line picture quality outshines a handful of minor flaws. Read More

Pros

  • World-class picture quality
  • Superb design
  • Fast, flexible software

Cons

  • Gaming support so-so
  • Minor color fringing
3
Editor's Choice Product image of Hisense 65U8H
Best Value

Hisense 65U8H

The Hisense U8H is one of the best budget-friendly TVs of the year. It offers excellent performance and useful features for a surprisingly low price. Read More

Pros

  • Excellent contrast and color
  • Easy-to-use smart platform
  • Strong gaming support for the price

Cons

  • A few picture processing quirks
  • Narrow viewing angle
  • Lackluster design
4
Editor's Choice Product image of Samsung QN55QN90BAFXZA
Best For Bright Rooms

Samsung QN55QN90BAFXZA

The Samsung QN90B Neo QLED is a dazzling, premium TV whose stunning brightness allows it to perform at a high level in bright rooms. Read More

Pros

  • Incredibly bright
  • Brilliantly showcases HDR
  • Great for next-gen gaming

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision
  • Noticeable light bloom
  • Would benefit from calibration
5
Editor's Choice Product image of TCL 55S555
Best TV Under $500

TCL 55S555

The 2022 TCL 5-Series combines impressive performance, improved brightness, great gaming support, and Roku OS to be the best budget pick available. Read More

Pros

  • Excellent out-of-box performance
  • Snappy Roku OS
  • Great for casual gaming

Cons

  • Some light bloom
  • Roku or bust

Whether you use your TV for shows, movies, or gaming, you want the best TV you can buy. But what makes a TV the best? Every year, TV brands add new bells and whistles that promise the latest and greatest in picture quality.

While the buzzwords may change, the basics of a good TV usually remain the same. You want inky black levels, brilliant colors, excellent motion, and a fast, intuitive smart interface. Lucky for you, we've spent years testing hundreds of the most popular TVs on the market, so we know a thing or two about how to shop for one.

If you just want to buy the top TV we've tested, check out the LG C2 (available at Amazon for $1,296.99) . This LG OLED features stunning contrast, 4K resolution, Dolby Vision specifications, and LG's webOS smart platform. To top it off, its cutting-edge gaming hardware will support next-gen gaming for years to come. If you don't want to shell out that kind of cash, don't worry: We've got great TV picks for every budget.

The LG C2 OLED TV displaying 4K/HDR content in a living room setting
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The LG C2 combines the unbelievable performance of an OLED with an array of exciting features.

Best Overall
LG C2
  • Screen sizes: 42”, 48”, 55”, 65”, 77”, 83”
  • HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: LG webOS 22

The LG C2 is the successor to our favorite TV of 2021, the LG C1. While not radically different, the C2 improves on an already-fantastic formula. It’s our current pick for the best TV you can buy right now.

The main ingredient to its stunning image quality is the C2’s self-lit pixels. Unlike traditional LED TVs, OLED displays can adjust their brightness on a pixel-by-pixel basis, even turning pixels off. This allows for perfect black levels, giving OLED TVs feature unparalleled contrast.

Anchored by perfect black levels, the C2 delivers exceptionally bright highlights for its class. It features LG’s OLED evo display technology, a blend of software and hardware enhancements that were only available in the TV brand’s top-tier G1 Gallery model in 2021.

OLED evo delivers incredible brightness and color volume. In HDR, the TV can produce specular highlights in the 700- to 800-nit range, and it covers about 97% of the HDR color space (DCI-P3). SDR content (like most cable broadcasts and streaming service content) also looks spectacular, though not as bright.

Cinephiles and A/V enthusiasts will appreciate the C2’s Dolby Vision support. If you’re a gamer, the C2 is one of the best TVs you can buy this year. All four of the C2’s inputs are full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1, supporting 4K gaming at 120 hertz (Hz).

The C2 also supports both Auto Low Latency (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), with AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync along for the ride, too. Like its predecessor, the C2 is equipped with LG’s Game Optimizer settings menu, which toggles the TV’s VRR options, relays frame rate information, and lets you easily tweak the picture while gaming.

It’s not perfect, however. LG TVs quietly stopped supporting DTS audio in 2020. If you connect a Blu-ray player directly to the TV, any Blu-rays with DTS soundtracks won’t deliver the full experience.

Also, between slow navigation and an overabundance of sponsored content, LG’s smart platform, webOS, can be a chore to use. We recommend pairing the C2 with an external streaming device so that you don’t have to rely on its smart features.

The LG C2 is the newest addition to a long line of winning OLED TVs from LG. It’s pricier than most TVs, but the price is justified by its world-class performance and impressive, all-encompassing list of features. See our LG C2 review for more info.

Pros

  • World-class picture quality

  • A top-tier gaming TV

  • Wafer-thin design

Cons

  • Not as bright as top-shelf QLED TVs

  • Slight off-angle color shift

Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

The A95K is the best TV we’ve ever seen.

Best Upgrade
Sony A95K
  • Screen sizes: 55", 65"
  • HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: Google TV

The A95K is Sony's first attempt at a quantum dot-enhanced OLED TV, and the result is an absolutely mindblowing experience. From a picture quality standpoint, it's the best-looking TV we've ever seen. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most expensive TVs we've ever seen, too, which will undoubtedly make it a tough sell for most shoppers.

Like all OLED TVs, the A95K delivers perfect black levels and the widest viewing angles money can buy. Although a lack of brightness has been an issue for OLED TVs in the past, this isn't much of a concern for the A95K; it's one of the brightest OLEDs we've ever tested. As long as it's not positioned directly in a sunbeam, its plenty bright for both daytime and nighttime viewing.

Thanks in part to Sony's quantum dot technology (dubbed Triluminos Color), the A95K's colors are staggeringly good. It covers an impressive 100% of the HDR color gamut (DCI-P3), and its bold, bright colors pop across all content types, be them TV shows, movies, or games. Most impressive is the A95K's ability to properly render skin tones and subtle gradations—you're not likely to notice any color banding, even during upscaled content.

The A95K's Google-based smart platform is fast, flexible, and relatively easy to use, too. It's a great option for everyday streaming. And while the A95K doesn't offer quite as much gaming flexibility as some of its high-end competitors, you're still getting a decent amount of gaming support for next-gen consoles. Two of the TV's HDMI 2.1 inputs support 4K gaming at 120Hz (though one of these inputs also serves as the TV's eARC-enabled port). The A95K also comes with Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and G-Sync compatibility.

Most folks will understandably balk at the A95K's head-spinning price tag, but if you're looking for the absolute best picture money can buy, look no further. See our Sony A95K review for more info.

Pros

  • World-class picture quality

  • Superb design

  • Fast, flexible software

Cons

  • Gaming support so-so

  • Minor color fringing

The TV on display in the Reviewed labs with the screen showing off a large and bright blue splash.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

The Hisense U8H offers great performance for a price most people can justify.

Best Value
Hisense U8H
  • Screen sizes: 55", 65", 75"
  • HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
  • Smart platform: Google TV

If you're looking to maximize your dollar, the Hisense U8H is one of the best options of the year. It delivers an excellent picture and an impressive array of features for a surprisingly low price.

The U8H is a mini-LED TV with quantum dots, which is a hardware tandem typically found in higher-end TVs. Impressively, the U8H's local dimming performance rivals that of its higher-end competitors; there's shockingly little light bloom whenever bright picture elements meet dark backgrounds. And, when it comes to brightness, the U8H is no slouch, either. Whether you're watching SDR or HDR content, the U8H is plenty bright enough for daytime viewing. We measured a peak brightness of around 1,700 nits for specular highlights in HDR, and in SDR, the average picture brightness climbs as high as 900 nits. This level of brightness is almost unheard of in this price range.

Colors on the U8H are rich and voluminous, too, thanks in part to the TV's use of quantum dots. Our lab tests revealed that the U8H covers an impressive 97% of the HDR color gamut (DCI-P3). In real-world terms, this means you can expect everything from SDR TV shows to HDR movies to look realistically colorful.

The U8H may not offer as much gaming upside as a higher-end mini-LED TV like the Samsung QN90B, but given its price, it's remarkably fit for next-gen gaming. You're getting two HDMI 2.1 ports capable of 4K gaming at 120Hz, along with Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and FreeSync Premium Pro. If you're hoping to use your next TV's built-in smart platform as your daily driver, the U8H has you covered, too; Google TV is fast, easy to use, and can be outfitted with downloadable apps of your choice.

There are a couple of drawbacks worth mentioning. For one thing, Hisense's picture processing isn't quite as refined as Sony's, Samsung's, and TCL's, particularly when it comes to upscaling sub-4K content. Off-axis viewing can be problematic at times, too, as the U8H's picture quality begins to drop the more you shift away from a direct, head-on viewing position.

But for the money, few TVs this year deliver this level of performance. There's far more to love about the U8H than there is to nitpick. It's a terrific, value-forward TV that most folks will be thrilled to call their own. See our Hisense U8H review for more info.

Pros

  • Excellent contrast and color

  • Easy-to-use smart platform

  • Strong gaming support for the price

Cons

  • A few picture processing quirks

  • Narrow viewing angle

  • Lackluster design

The Samsung QN90B displaying 4K/HDR content in a living room setting
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Samsung QN90B is one of the brightest LED TVs we’ve reviewed this year.

Best For Bright Rooms
Samsung QN90B
  • Screen sizes: 43”, 50”, 55”, 65”, 75”, 85”, 95”
  • HDR support: HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: Samsung Tizen OS

If you’re looking for a top-shelf TV that blends cutting-edge features with a powerfully bright picture, the Samsung QN90B is one of the year’s best options. It’s our current pick for the best TV for bright-room viewing.

The QN90B features the second generation of Samsung’s Neo QLED technology, which blends the contrast-enhancing power of mini-LEDs with the bright, color-boosting qualities of quantum dots. The result is a dazzlingly bright, colorful picture that excels at reining in its luminance during dark scenes.

In fact, the QN90B delivers one of the brightest pictures we’ve ever seen, showcasing HDR content better than just about every LCD/LED TV on the market.

Casual and avid gamers are sure to appreciate the QN90B’s gaming prowess. All four of the QN90B’s HDMI 2.1 ports support 4K gaming at 120Hz. The QN90B also supports Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), ensuring low-latency gaming free of visual artifacts like screen tearing. FreeSync Premium Pro and G-Sync are both here, should you choose to use them.

Unfortunately, like all Samsung TVs, the QN90B does not support Dolby Vision (though it does support HDR10 and HDR10+). In addition, the QN90B sometimes falls victim to minor light bloom, particularly when viewed from an off-axis position.

Still, if a bright picture and premium features are what you’re looking for, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option this year than the Samsung QN90B. See our Samsung QN90B review for more info.

Pros

  • Incredibly bright

  • Brilliantly showcases HDR

  • Great for next-gen gaming

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision

  • Noticeable light bloom

  • Would benefit from calibration

The TCL 5-Series displaying an image of Morning Glory hot spring while sitting on a wooden credenza.
Credit: Reviewed / John Higgins

The TCL 5-Series (2022) provides great performance and a nice collection of features for under $500.

Best TV Under $500
TCL 5-Series S555 (2022)
  • Screen Sizes: 50”, 55”, 65”, 75”
  • HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: Roku

TCL is again the best you can get under $500 with the 2022 5-Series. It builds upon the previous version that came out two years ago with better performance and improved features that make it an incredible value buy.

The 5-Series’ average and peak brightness won’t match what you’ll get from more expensive midrange TVs such as its bigger sibling, the 6-Series R655, or the Hisense U8H. But it’s one of the brightest you’ll find for the price and there’s still plenty of brightness to combat ambient light and deliver an eye-popping picture. Color performance is impressive, too, with better color gamut coverage than before in both SDR and HDR and added HDR10+ support.

For gamers, there are HDMI 2.1 ports (one with eARC), Auto Low Latency Mode, and Variable Refresh Rate (including AMD FreeSync support). Game mode is an independent toggle, so you can enjoy the excellent color and contrast performance from the TCL’s Movie and Dark HDR picture modes.

There are some minor drawbacks, such as a limited number of dimming zones which leads to blooming, and if you’re not a fan of Roku, as we are, that’s currently your only Smart OS option. But even with those slight hiccups, the TCL 5-Series is a serious budget win and an enormous value at under $500 for the 55-inch model. See our TCL 5-Series (2022) review for more info.

Pros

  • Excellent out-of-box performance

  • Snappy Roku OS

  • Great for casual gaming

Cons

  • Some light bloom

  • Roku or bust


Other Top TVs We Tested

Product image of Samsung QN55S95BAFXZA
Samsung S95B
  • Screen sizes: 55”, 65”
  • HDR support: HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: Samsung Tizen OS

The Samsung S95B is one of the first TVs to combine the perfect black levels of an OLED display with the color- and brightness-boosting qualities of quantum dots. The S95B brilliantly showcases the advantages of this technology, known as QD-OLED.

For years, one of the main criticisms of OLED TV technology was that it couldn’t get nearly as bright as an LED TV—particularly one with quantum dots. And although the S95B still doesn’t get as bright as a TV like the Samsung QN90B, it’s the brightest OLED we’ve tested to date.

Coupled with OLED’s perfect black levels, the S95B’s added brightness has an incredibly powerful impact on HDR content, from movies to video games and beyond. Specular highlights pop off the screen, adding an astonishing level of depth. But perhaps the most significant improvement the quantum dots offer is their effect on the S95B’s color reproduction. Reds and greens look particularly stunning here.

It's built for next-gen gaming, too. All four of the S95B’s HDMI ports support 4K gaming at 120Hz, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). Combined with Samsung’s Game Bar (a dedicated settings menu for game optimization), avid gamers will be covered for years to come.

Being a Samsung TV, the S95B does not support Dolby Vision (though HDR10 and HDR10+ support are included). Samsung’s Tizen-based smart platform is a bit laggy and difficult to navigate this year, too, which may incentivize you to use an external streaming device. Picture purists who don’t intend to hire a professional calibrator might want to check out the LG C2, as that OLED TV’s out-of-the-box picture is closer in line with reference standards.

Still, the Samsung S95B is an excellent (albeit pricey) OLED that’s better for viewing in bright rooms than nearly every other OLED on the market. Despite its lack of Dolby Vision and its cumbersome smart platform, it’s a total game-changer. See our Samsung S95B review for more info.

Pros

  • QD-OLED is a game changer

  • Excellent gaming TV

  • Superb design

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision

  • Might need to be calibrated

  • Minor color artifacts

Product image of LG OLED65C1PUB
LG C1
  • Screen sizes: 48”, 55”, 65”, 77”
  • HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: LG webOS

The LG C1 is a stunning OLED TV. Its array of future-facing features will help maintain its value for several years to come. It was our top pick until successor, the LG C2, unseated it.

OLED TVs are known for incredible contrast, and the LG C1 is no exception. It pairs a perfect black level with stellar highlights. Its sustained peak brightness of around 700 to 800 nits in HDR makes it one of the brightest OLED TVs we’ve ever seen.

The C1’s color performance is top-level, too. It features 100% SDR color saturation (Rec.709) and 97% HDR color saturation (DCI-P3). That means that whether you’re watching TV shows or Blu-rays, you can expect rich, true-to-life color.

The LG C1’s four HDMI 2.1 inputs all support 4K resolution at 120Hz, making it great for gaming on an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. In fact, it’s stuffed with gaming-centric features. You’ll find Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and FreeSync/G-Sync support. The TV’s Game Optimizer menu features a suite of additional picture enhancements.

The C1 comes with LG’s webOS smart platform pre-installed. While it’s not our favorite smart software, it will meet most people’s needs. It’s zippy, easy to navigate, and offers a broad app selection via LG’s Content Store.

The incredible performance, wide array of features, and elegant design means the LG C1 is still one of the best TVs you can buy. See our LG C1 review for more info.

Pros

  • Incredible contrast and color

  • Impressive array of features

  • Elegant design

Cons

  • Not a good fit for particularly bright rooms

Product image of Sony XR-65A90J
Sony A90J
  • Screen sizes: 55”, 65”, 83”
  • HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: Google TV

The Sony A90J is an excellent premium OLED TV from 2021 that was one of the best TVs we ever tested, and can now be found at a discount.

OLED naturally offers picture-perfect black levels. The A90J augments that with excellent highlights for an OLED. It regularly reaches 700 to 800 nits in HDR, with highlights getting much brighter than that in short bursts.

The added brightness elevates the TV’s voluminous, accurate colors. In fact, the A90J’s HDR color palette covers about 98% of the expanded DCI-P3 color space when the TV is in its “Custom” picture mode.

This Sony is also packed to the gills with features. It includes the Google TV smart platform, eARC compatibility, and support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. It has a native refresh rate of 120Hz. Its Center Speaker mode lets you use its built-in speakers as the center channel of a surround sound setup.

Crucially, two of the A90J’s HDMI 2.1 ports offer Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and support for 4K content at 120Hz. If you want to get the most out of current-gen gaming consoles like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, these features are essential.

If you have the means and want an incredible out-of-the-box TV experience, the A90J is one of the best you’ll find. Having been on the market for a while now, the A90J is currently on sale, making it a great time to pick one up. See our Sony A90J review for more info.

Pros

  • Incredible contrast and color

  • HDMI 2.1-specified features

  • Zippy, flexible smart platform

Cons

  • Dim compared to LCD/LED TVs

Product image of LG OLED65G1PUA
LG G1
  • Screen sizes: 55”, 65”, 77”
  • HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: LG webOS

The LG G1 (available in 55, 65, and 77 inches) is an amazing TV stuffed with an incredible amount of features. The G1 was significantly more expensive than the LG C1 upon release, but these days, the gap in their price tag has shrunk considerably. While the C2 and the C1 are a better fit for most people, the G1 is nevertheless a fantastic option.

As an OLED TV, the G1 sports perfect black levels and incredible picture detail. It uses LG’s OLED evo technology to achieve slightly greater brightness than the LG C1. (OLED evo technology has since made its way into the LG C2, the C1’s successor). The OLED evo panel is also marginally better at saturating HDR color than the C1, though only the keenest eyes will notice the quality difference between the two.

Feature-wise, the G1 offers everything but the kitchen sink. With a 120Hz refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, G-Sync/FreeSync, Auto Low Latency Mode and more, the G1 is one of the best TVs for gamers. It also comes with LG’s webOS smart platform, which is fast and flexible enough for most users.

The “G” in G1 stands for “Gallery”. LG designed their Gallery OLED to hang on a wall like a piece of art. If you don’t want to wall-mount your next TV, you’ll need the G1’s stand, which is sold separately and not ideal.

While the LG G1 is one of the best TVs we’ve ever seen, it’s only a marginal improvement over the C1, and the newer C2 is our overall pick for the best TV you can buy. Still, if you go all-in on this TV, you’ll be getting one of the best, and you’ll be getting it at a significant discount. See our LG G1 review for more info.

Pros

  • Top-tier picture quality

  • Speedy processing

  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Overkill for many shoppers

Product image of Samsung QN55QN90AAFXZA
Samsung QN90A
  • Screen sizes: 55”, 65”, 75”, 85”
  • HDR support: HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
  • Smart platform: Samsung Tizen OS

For a top-shelf TV with a bright, colorful picture, the Samsung QN90A is still one of the best options. It combines the impressive performance we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s flagship TVs with an incredible toolbox of features and enhancements. Before the release of its successor, the QN90B, this was our pick for the best TV for bright-room viewing.

The QN90A is outfitted with Samsung’s Neo QLED display technology, which marries quantum dots with mini-LED backlights. Quantum dots create a brighter, more color-rich picture. Meanwhile, the mini-LEDs offer above-average black levels and tight contrast control. The end result is stunning image quality, especially for HDR content.

Beyond the dazzling display, it’s packed to the brim with hardware and software enhancements. The 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 support make it a great choice for avid gamers. It supports both Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate, both widely considered essential for next-generation gaming.

The QN90A also puts all of its gaming-related settings in an easy-to-access menu called Game Bar. Gamers should note, however, that only one HDMI port supports 4K gaming at 120Hz. If you want more flexibility in that department, you’ll have to spend up on the newer QN90B.

The QN90A offers a host of other extras, too, from Multi View (which allows users to watch more than one source at a time) to the Samsung Health ecosystem. And while the QN90A’s Tizen-based smart platform isn’t our favorite, it’s easy to use and offers enough flexibility for most users.

All told, the Samsung QN90A is still one of the best Samsung TVs you can buy. While it’s not exactly budget-friendly, its current sale price makes it a great deal. See our Samsung QN90A review for more info.

Pros

  • Searing brightness

  • Rich color saturation

  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Occasional LED bloom in high contrast scenes

Product image of TCL 65R655
TCL 6-Series with Roku
  • Screen sizes: 55", 65", 75", 85"
  • HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
  • Smart platform: Roku TV

The TCL 6-Series is a fantastic mid-range TV that punches well above its weight. For a reasonable price, it offers bright mini-LED performance, a user-friendly smart platform, and a decent array of gaming-friendly features.

Being a Roku TV, the 6-Series features our favorite smart platform right out of the box. Roku is easy enough for newcomers to use while still being flexible enough for dedicated streamers. Its picture quality is quite good, too, whether you're watching during the day or taking in a movie at night. It pairs deep black levels with bright highlights, climbing as high as 1,300 nits during HDR content. The inclusion of quantum dots ensures that colors are well-saturated regardless of content. The 6-Series covers 92% of the wide HDR color gamut—not quite as impressive as the similarly priced Hisense U8H, but good nonetheless. The 6-Series, on the other hand, offers better picture processing than the U8H—especially when it comes to upscaling content.

The 6-Series is also a terrific option for gamers. Two of its HDMI 2.1 ports support 4K gaming at 144Hz with Variable Refresh Rate enabled. Crucially, the TV's dedicated eARC port is separate from the TV's pair of gaming-optimized ports, so it can accommodate two next-gen consoles as well as a dedicated soundbar. Auto Low Latency Mode and FreeSync Premium Pro are also supported.

Unfortunately, the 6-Series does not offer very many options to tweak the picture and audio. You can choose from various picture presets and make basic adjustments to the TV's backlight and color temperature, but that's about it. The design of the TV is relatively basic, too.

While not as bright and colorful as the Hisense U8H, the 6-Series is nevertheless a superb option for shoppers on a budget. If you're a set-it-and-forget-it type of viewer, the 6-Series will serve you well, but if you appreciate having a bit more control over your TV's settings, we recommend taking a closer look at the U8H. See our TCL 6-Series review for more info.

Pros

  • Bright, colorful picture

  • Built-in Roku smart features

  • Class-leading gaming features

Cons

  • Not enough A/V customization settings

  • Out-of-the-box picture is too cool

  • Chunky, ho-hum design


How We Test TVs

Credit: Reviewed

Our lab is outfitted with much of the same equipment you would find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates televisions.

The Testers

Reviewed has been testing TVs for over a decade. Our current Home Theater expert is Michael Desjardin. Michael is a Senior Staff Writer and an eight-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.

John Higgins is Reviewed’s A/V and Electronics Editor. In his A/V career that has spanned two decades he has written about TVs, speakers, headphones, AVRs, gaming, and all manner of technology. He is also an ISF Level III-certified calibrator.

A TV tester measuring a TV's contrast
Credit: Reviewed / Chris Snow

We measure things like peak brightness, black level, hue, and so on.

The Tests

It'd be an understatement to say that we're serious about TV testing. Our Cambridge laboratory has much of the same equipment factories use to manufacture and calibrate televisions.

Our hardware includes a SpectraCal C6 colorimeter and a LS-100 luminance meter. We have a Leo Bodnar input lag tester, and a Murideo Seven 8K signal generator for testing 8K TV features. We also have more Blu-rays than we can keep track of.

For software, we use Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate color calibration software. It’s the industry standard for display measurement and screen calibration.

Our testing process has been honed over many years. We gather enough esoteric data to satisfy curious video engineers, while also focusing on the average person's viewing experience.

We measure factors like peak brightness and black level. We test hue and saturation for primary and secondary digital colors. We check the accuracy of the TV's electro-optical transfer function—you get the idea.

We weigh our performance tests based on how the human eye prioritizes vision. The human visual system processes brightness better than color. So we weigh brightness first, then move on to colorimetry, and so on.

Beyond the technical tests, we also spend a lot of time just using each TV. We stream video, connect a Blu-ray player to watch movies, and use the smart features. We also check out the ports, remote, and on-set buttons. We evaluate anything and everything that might be relevant to the daily experience of using the TV.

How to Buy the Best TV

Finding the best TV for you can be an intimidating process. Unsurprisingly, we suggest reading current TV reviews to learn about specific models. But since it’s easy to get lost in all the technical terms and features, here’s a quick look at the most important considerations as you decide on your next TV.

What is Resolution?

Resolution refers to how many pixels comprise the screen. All the TVs on our Best TV list are 4K. They have 3,840 pixels across and 2,160 pixels down for a total of almost 8.3 million pixels. UHD stands for Ultra High Definition, and specifies resolution plus a whole host of other parameters including Wide Color Gamut and frame rate.

While there are 8K TVs on the market, we don’t recommend them…yet. Available content is virtually nonexistent and the exorbitant cost doesn’t validate the minimal increase in performance.

Different Display Types

There are two main display technologies with current TVs—LED/LCD and OLED. LED/LCD refers to Light Emitting Diodes and Liquid Crystal Display. The LEDs are the light source, or backlight, for the TV. They send light through a color filter and then the LCD layer before it hits our eyes.

The LED backlights use a process called local dimming, where zones of LEDs dim or boost brightness depending on what’s on the screen. This vastly improves contrast if it’s done well.

The LCD layer reacts to electrical current that causes the liquid crystals to twist and control the amount of light that passes through. LCD TVs use either VA or IPS panels, which each have their own benefits and drawbacks.

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV technology might sound similar to LED, but the name is where the similarities end. OLED is an emissive technology, meaning the pixels create their own light so a separate backlight isn’t necessary.

Individual pixels can be shut off instead of relying on dimming zones, allowing OLED TVs to achieve deep blacks and an infinite contrast ratio—the most notable benefit of OLEDs over LEDs. Past OLEDs have been plagued by the threat of burn-in (or image retention), where the impression of an image stays on the screen, but that’s not a concern with current TVs for consumers.

Tied to these display technologies are quantum dots. These are microscopic noncrystals that produce colored light when illuminated, increasing the light output and color range of a television.

We’ve seen quantum dots on LED TVs for a few years (called QLED, QNED, or Triluminos by Samsung, LG, and Sony respectively). But now we’re seeing htem OLED TVs (QD-OLED), as well.

What is HDR?

High Dynamic Range (HDR) refers to both a type of TV and a type of content. HDR expands the potential range of both luminance (brightness) and color that a TV can produce.

There are four different varieties of HDR—Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG. All of our best TVs are HDR-compatible and support at least HDR10, with some supporting all four.

Which HDMI Connection Do You Need?

The predominant connection on TVs is HDMI, but you might have seen there’s both HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 out there. The biggest difference between the two is an increase in data bandwidth (18Gbps on HDMI 2.0 vs up to 48Gbps on HDMI 2.1).

For most people, HDMI 2.0 is sufficient, but if you want to get 4K resolution at refresh rates higher than 60Hz on the Xbox Series X or PS5, you’ll need at TV with at least one HDMI 2.1 port. Just make sure your HDMI cable is capable of that increased bandwidth as well.

The higher bandwidth of HDMI 2.1 also allows for eARC, which sends high-bitrate audio (such as Dolby Atmos) from the TV to an AV Receiver or soundbar, pumping up the audio experience far beyond the built-in TV speakers.

Smart Platforms

How you interact with your TV, and how much or how little frustration is involved, comes down to the smart platform. This is where you’ll find streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, as well as the TV’s input selection and setup menus.

Some TV brands, like LG and Samsung, use homegrown platforms, while others rely on Roku or Google to supply the OS. We’ve been fans of Roku for years and it’s still the best OS available, although others have made strides to close the gap.

If you’re not a fan of your TV’s built-in OS, you can always buy an external streaming device to use instead.

What About Gaming Features?

In addition to looking for HDMI 2.1, there are some gaming-specific TV features to look out for, like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM).

Variable Refresh Rate comes in different varieties, so you might see this called FreeSync or G-Sync, as well. This technology syncs the refresh rates of the TV and game console to prevent unwanted artifacts like screen tearing that can be distracting while gaming. Some TVs also have special gaming hub interfaces that display all the gaming features the TV offers at once.

Some models, such as Samsung TVs with Gaming Hub—don’t even need a console to play. Instead they include cloud gaming services that allow you to game without needing to download anything, as long as your internet speeds are fast enough.

What Size TV is Best?

Our recommendation will always be “the bigger the better,” as larger TVs offer a more immersive experience. For optimal movie viewing, your sitting distance should be at most 1.2 times the diagonal size of the TV away (so 5.5 feet back from a 55-inch TV). Sitting too close can cause eye fatigue. It can also make you notice individual pixels at lower resolutions, but with 4K it isn’t a huge issue.

What Is A TV Series?

You may notice the TVs listed in this roundup don't follow the traditional naming convention you might see when shopping. That's because we don’t nominate a single TV. Instead, we nominate the entire range of sizes within a "series."

Typically a TV series is the same model, in different sizes. While the price and dimensions differ, the performance is usually identical, with occasional small differences in things like dimming zones on LED TVs. We focus on the series because it's also the most accurate, useful way to discuss televisions, and lets you consider your needs regardless of your room size.


Meet the testers

Michael Desjardin

Michael Desjardin

Senior Staff Writer

@Reviewed

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.

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Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor, Home Theater

@Koanshark

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.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews
John Higgins

John Higgins

Editor, Electronics & Audio/Video

@johntmhiggins

John is the A/V Editor for Reviewed. He is an ISF Level III-certified calibrator with bylines at ProjectorCentral, Wirecutter, IGN, Home Theater Review, T3, Sound & Vision, and Home Theater Magazine. When away from the Reviewed office, he is a sound editor for film and musician, and loves to play games with his son.

See all of John Higgins's reviews

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