• LG C9 Series (2019)

  • Vizio M Series Quantum (2019)

  • How We Tested

  • What You Should Know About TVs

  • Other TVs We Tested

  • Older TVs We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite TVs of 2020

  1. Best Overall

    LG OLED65C9PUA

    Pros

    • Comes in three sizes

    • Lots of great features

    • Great picture

    Cons

    • Justifiably high price tag

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Value

    Vizio M558-G1

    Pros

    • Great price

    • Excellent contrast

    • Tons of color

    Cons

    • Forgettable design

    • Finicky features

    • Not as bright as competition

    Skip to the full review below
Lg-C9-Best-Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Michael Desjardin

The C9 series delivers a justifiable price tag alongside all the same excellent OLED picture quality.

Best Overall
LG C9 Series (2019)

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 super-premium OLED TVs, and starting with the C7 OLEDs in 2017 they've been our favorite TVs every year for very good reason.

If you haven't heard, OLED panels are kind of the bee's knees for the avid TV watcher. Each pixel turns "on" and "off" automatically, meaning when OLED TVs display black, they display actual 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's 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 stuffed full of great features and a geeky array of calibration options for the AV nerds out there. Check out our full review of the LG C9 series for more information.

Pros

  • Comes in three sizes

  • Lots of great features

  • Great picture

Cons

  • Justifiably high price tag

Vizio M Series Quantum
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The 2019 Vizio M Series Quantum offers a taste of quantum dot performance for a price most people can justify.

Best Value
Vizio M Series Quantum (2019)

When it comes to new, value-packed TVs, it’s hard to top the 2019 Vizio M Series Quantum, which offers a taste of quantum dot performance for a price most people can justify.

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 the M Series’ quantum dots.

A noteworthy caveat, however, is the M Series Quantum’s native refresh rate of 60 Hz, which might be a dealbreaker for folks who’d rather pay a little extra for a TV with smoother motion performance.

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.

Pros

  • Great price

  • Excellent contrast

  • Tons of color

Cons

  • Forgettable design

  • Finicky features

  • Not as bright as competition

Related content

How We Tested

How-We-Test
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 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.

Contrast Reading
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 lab in 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 DVD 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 more rife 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, albeit on the surface they work similarly. 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, Wide Color Gamut, and High Dynamic Range.

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 four times the brightness and 30% more color production than non-HDR TVs, at least. Current HDR formats are HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

60 Hz/120 Hz: These numbers refer to what is called a "refresh rate," with Hz (hertz) meaning "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 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 struck with light. 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

LG C8 (2018)

This is essentially the 2018 version of our Best Overall C9—except it's the C8. This is still a 4K/HDR OLED TV; in fact, other than 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 is still 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 is, and now that it's cheaper, it's a pretty good choice.

Available in 55-, 65-, or 77-inch sizes, the 2018 C8 series may not be quite as fancy as the 2019 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.

Pros

  • Stellar contrast

  • Near-perfect color production

Cons

  • Not exactly budget-friendly

Sony A9F Series (2018)

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 particular aesthetics-based flaws.

That said, this is still an amazing TV, and you're getting ultra-premium from top to bottom. We just don't think it performs so beyond the LG C9 for the price that it's worth paying more for. But if you've got the dough, it bats at some premium fences in a way that outshines some of LG's OLED offerings.

Pros

  • Amazing contrast

  • Unique design

Cons

  • Software is a bit of a headache

Vizio P Series Quantum X (2019)

Available in 65- and 75-inch sizes only, this is arguably the best TV that Vizio has ever produced, something we agree with after testing and something that definitely earns it a place on the list of the best TVs you can buy. 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.

You can read the full review for more details, but just know that this TV is seriously impressive, especially for what you're paying.

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 get really freakin' bright, it's a particularly good option for folks who long for the performance of an OLED but remain skeptical about an OLED's relatively limited peak brightness.

Pros

  • One of the brightest TVs we've ever tested

  • Vibrant color

Cons

  • Limited viewing angles

  • Software lacks flexibility

Samsung Q90R (2019)

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 impressive, versatile TV for cinephiles, sports fans, gamers, and everyone in between.

Being a Samsung-engineered quantum dot TV, you can expect sizzling brightness and rich, finely-tuned colors—we measured peak brightness levels that eclipsed 1,000 nits. Plus, since the Q90R features a native refresh rate of 120 Hz and a suite of motion enhancements, its motion handling is superb. It’s a great pickup 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.

Pros

  • Bright, colorful QLED-backed performance

  • Sleek design

Cons

  • Priced at a premium

Samsung Q80R (2019)

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 features a native 120 Hz refresh rate, which means its motion handling is terrific, too.

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, you might be tempted to just spring for the top-shelf Samsung Q90R.

Pros

  • Excellent motion handling

  • Gets very bright

Cons

  • Premium price tag

Sony X950G Series (2019)

One of the Sony's best 2019 models, 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're looking at a great TV that holds up well in brightly lit rooms. For the most part, the X950G performs as well as it should, given its price tag.

While you can check out our full review of the Sony X950G for more information, the thing to know about the X950G is that it's a good all-rounder. Performance isn't the X950G's only selling point: at this price, you're getting the Android smart TV platform and a slick, modern design, too. It's not the best value nor the best performer of 2019, but it straddles the line between a huge price tag and outright cheapness, giving you a posh-feeling TV without such staggering prices.

Pros

  • Great contrast

  • Thoughtful design

Cons

  • Frustrating software

  • Narrow viewing angles

Vizio P Series Quantum (2019)

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-not-too-premium 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 chock-full of good 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 the Samsung Q90R.

Pros

  • Fantastic performance for the price

Cons

  • Vizio's smart platform isn't great

  • Narrow viewing angles

TCL 8-Series (2019)

If you’re looking for a premium TV that harnesses the power of quantum dots but haven’t found what you’re looking for from Samsung or Vizio, why not take a look at the TCL 8-Series?

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. The TV’s excellent motion handling and built-in Roku software also make it a versatile pick.

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 some folks). In addition, while the price tag reflects the TV’s performance, bargain hunters might feel more comfortable either going with a more affordable, mid-range TV, and folks hunting for top-tier performance might be better off springing for something with a better design and picture.

Pros

  • Superb contrast

  • Excellent motion handling

  • Built-in Roku smart platform

Cons

  • Premium price tag

  • Chunky design

TCL 6-Series (2019)

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. We also love the TV’s built-in Roku software, since Roku is 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.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly quantum dots

  • Built-in Roku smart platform

Cons

  • Lacks native 120 Hz refresh rate

Vizio V Series (V556-G1)

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 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 on bells and whistles. The performance in a vacuum isn’t much to write home about, but the performance given the V Series’ price point 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, nor is it the best budget-friendly TV on the block, but most folks will be happy to own one—especially people who are upgrading to 4K for the first time.

Pros

  • Very, very affordable

  • Performs quite well for the cost

Cons

  • Vizio's smart platform is a drag

  • Doesn't get as bright as the Vizio M Series Quantum

Vizio V Series (V605-G3)

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 LED zones with local dimming.

The 60-inch Vizio V Series that we tested (V605-G3) does not feature local dimming, which means its contrast performance will likely fall just short of the models that do feature local dimming, but not to the degree that it has a significant impact on the overall experience.

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 on bells and whistles. The performance in a vacuum isn’t much to write home about, but the performance given the V Series’ price point 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, nor is it the best budget-friendly TV on the block, but most folks will be happy to own one—especially people who are upgrading to 4K for the first time.

TCL 4-Series (2019)

The 2019 TCL 4-Series 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.

In fact, the TCL 4-Series is one of the most affordable 4K TVs we've seen to date. Although its performance isn't remarkable, the 4-Series gets the job done for a ridiculously low price tag. Plus, being a Roku TV, you can expect to enjoy a smooth, easy-to-use smart platform.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use smart platform

  • Includes 4k resolution

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Average performance

Older TVs We Tested

While most of the TVs listed above are still available from major retailers, these older models (detailed below) might be a bit harder to track down. Nevertheless, we’ve included them here—just in case you’re still on the fence about any of them.

LG C7 Series (2017)

While it might be a bit hard to track down, you can technically still find LG's 2017 C7 OLED (yes, this is still the same "C" line as the 2018 C8 and 2019 C9) for sale, though it's not a heck of a lot cheaper than the 2018 model.

This is another excellent TV, though we'd probably go with the C8 or the C9 unless you can find the C7 at a serious discount. Check out the full review for more information.

This one is still 4K and HDR-capable, though it's not quite as bright as the C8 and C9 models. Colors are still very impressive, and overall the C7 still looks better than a large majority of TVs in 2019—that's saying something.

LG E8 Series (2018)

Yet another excellent LG OLED, the 2018 E8 didn't win out over the C8 because it required you to pay more for a few frills that—while nice—were not something we found to be totally essential. However, beyond those differences, the E8 is still an excellent TV, providing OLED's usual inky blacks, crisp highlights, rich colors, and flawless viewing angles.

You can read more detail about what makes the E8 different (read: pricier) than the 2018 C8 in the full review, but what it boils down to is a different design and better audio (for the E8).

Still, the E8 sometimes gets massively discounted sometimes, and for being only a year old it's still a hugely powerful, impressive TV with more features than most people could even keep track of. You're getting 4K resolution, High Dynamic Range support, the webOS smart platform, and a sleek, futuristic design.

Vizio P Series (2018)

You can still get the non-quantum-dot-equipped Vizio P Series from 2018 if you know where to look. It's not quite as swanky and impressive as the Quantum, but it's still an excellent LED/LCD TV and is quite a bit more affordable.

You're still getting wide color, 4K resolution, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and a whole suite of useful features. You can read about all the details of the 2018 P-Series in our full review.

The step-up P Series Quantum (2018) is a better choice if you're more invested in HDR performance since its quantum dots give it higher brightness and a wider color production range than the non-quantum dot equipped P Series Quantum.

TCL 6-Series (2018)

TCL first blew our minds in 2017 with an unexpectedly amazing LED/LCD TV, called (confusingly) the P-Series. The 2018 TCL 6-Series was the update to that, and it continued the tradition of offering premium-feeling fixtures like 4K resolution, HDR, a built-in Roku smart platform, and much better picture quality than you'll usually find in this price range. Getting a TV like this for such a low price is a serious steal, even if it doesn't hold a candle to the two or three thousand dollar sets.

While it won't blow your mind with intense brightness and color the way the high-end OLED and QLED TVs might, this TV punches well above its weight class. It's a good choice for movies, video games, channel surfing—almost anything you happen to throw at it.

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.

See all of Michael Desjardin's reviews
Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor

@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

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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.

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