Dolby Vision is the "premium" version of High Dynamic Range, and while it isn't available in every TV, it is available in some super-premium ones. If you're here, you probably already know a little about Dolby Vision, Dolby's proprietary HDR (High Dynamic Range) format. It's less widely adopted than the open-source HDR10 format, but the trade is that Dolby Vision content is mastered to a higher standard, allowing the content to remain relevant longer as better TVs come along.
If price is no object, the best Dolby Vision TV around is the LG C9 series OLED TV(available at Amazon for $3,731.14). It's one of the best-looking Dolby Vision TVs we've seen, and also plays Dolby Atmos, the audio companion to Dolby Vision's video.
If you're not looking for the best TV money can buy, fear not: While it's slightly harder to find Dolby Vision TVs, there are quite a few on the market, and you don't necessarily have to shell out an arm and a leg to get a good one.
These are the best Dolby Vision TVs we’ve tested, ranked in order:
Vizio P Series Quantum X
Vizio P Series Quantum
Vizio M Series Quantum
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LG's C9 OLED TVs is our current pick for the overall best TV you can buy, so it stands to reason that it’s also our pick for the best Dolby Vision TV, too.
For the last few years, LG has made super-premium OLED TVs its bread and butter. Starting with the C7 OLEDs in 2017, they've been our favorite TVs every year—and for very good reason.
If you haven't heard, OLED panels are some of the best displays money can buy. Each pixel turns "on" and "off" automatically, so when an OLED TV displays black, it’s displaying actual, true-to-life black. Likewise, when they display a color, it emits from the pixel directly, giving it a more pure, vivid appearance than the colors of traditional LED TVs. LG's been the leader in OLED TV production for several years, and the 2019 C9 was the best TV we tested last year.
The C9 series (which is available in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes) isn’t cheap, but it justifies its price tag with the excellent OLED picture quality, 4K resolution, High Dynamic Range and Dolby Vision specifications, LG's friendly "webOS" smart platform, and more. It's chock-full of great features and a geeky array of calibration tools for the AV nerds who want to tinker with their TV’s picture. Check out our full review of the LG C9 series for more information.
When it comes to new, value-packed TVs that support Dolby Vision, 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. It’s our pick for the Dolby Vision TV that offers the most bang for your buck.
The M Series Quantum doesn’t get quite as bright as higher-end TVs that support Dolby Vision, but that doesn’t mean its contrast is disappointing; the TV’s brightness and deep black levels make for a great picture. Colors pop, too, on account of the M Series’ quantum-dot display.
One critical shortcoming, however, is the M Series Quantum’s native refresh rate of 60 Hz, which might not cut it for folks who’d rather pay a little extra for a TV with a 120-Hz refresh rate.
Starting at 43 inches and going all the way up to 70 inches, it's available in a wide array of sizes. It’s a great TV for anyone looking to upgrade to a dependable Dolby Vision 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. Our lab in Cambridge location is outfitted with much of the same equipment you'd find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates televisions.
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 Is Dolby Vision?
The biggest thing in TVs right now is "HDR," or High Dynamic Range. Movies that are HDR-compatible have been mastered to push TVs to their limit, with brighter highlights, deeper blacks, and a wider array of colors.
There are currently two HDR formats: the "open" (open-source) HDR standard, HDR10, and the "closed" (proprietary) Dolby Vision standard. Thus far, HDR10 is far more popular, but plenty of TVs support Dolby Vision as of 2020.
What Are The Differences Between HDR10 And Dolby Vision?
These two HDR formats have a few things in common:
Both formats require TVs to have a minimum 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution
Both formats call for "wide color gamut" displays capable of ~90% of the DCI-P3 color gamut
Both formats require TV panels and components capable of at least 10-bit color depth
Here’s what sets HDR10 and Dolby Vision apart:
Dolby Vision mastering supports up to 10,000 nits peak brightness, with a current 4,000 nit peak brightness target
HDR10 mastering supports up to 4,000 nits peak brightness, with a current 1,000 nit peak brightness target
Dolby Vision mastering supports up to 12-bit color depth, HDR10 is mastered for 10 bits
Dolby Vision mastering supports up to the BT.2020 color space, HDR10 is mastered for DCI-P3
Essentially, Dolby Vision is aiming to be a premium version of HDR10, so in theory, Dolby Vision is the superior format, promising better image quality across the board.
What Other 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.
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 Dolby Vision TVs We Tested
The Sony A9F might be a little old (it was released in 2018), but it’s still a visually striking, top-tier Dolby Vision television with the performance chops to go toe-to-toe with LG’s OLED TVs.
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 particular aesthetics-based flaws.
That said, this is still an amazing TV—you're getting ultra-premium performance and features from top to bottom, including Dolby Vision support. If you’re shopping for an older OLED TV with superb picture quality and want to look beyond LG’s recent OLED offerings, you should definitely take a look at the A9F, provided you can still track it down.
Available in 65- and 75-inch sizes only, the Vizio P Series Quantum X is arguably the best TV that Vizio has ever produced. 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. If you’re looking for a bright TV to show off Dolby Vision content, they don’t get much brighter than the PQX.
From its searing highlights to its brilliant hues, the P Series Quantum X is a top-shelf Dolby Vision TV with the picture to prove it. 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.
The Sony X950G isn't perfect, but given the cost, you're getting a lot of really awesome specs and features, including Dolby Vision support. It’s easily one of Sony's best TVs of 2019.
There’s a few things to keep in mind about the X950G, however, namely its narrow viewing angles and slightly disappointing color production. That said, you're looking at a great TV that holds up well in brightly lit rooms, and 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. You're also getting the Android smart TV platform, and a slick, modern design, too. It's not the best value pick from last year, nor the best performer of 2019, but it’ll do a great job for years to come and most folks will be quite happy with it.
The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is a fantastic QLED TV with Dolby Vision support, and one that makes a strong case for itself in the all-important category of premium (but not too premium) TVs. Think of it as the best second-string player of the season.
Available in two sizes (65 inches and 75 inches), the P Series Quantum is equipped with quantum dots, a native 120 Hz refresh rate, full-array local dimming (with 200-240 LED zones, depending on the panel size), and of course, Dolby Vision support. The 120 Hz refresh rate also makes it a great pick for gamers.
The Vizio P Series is tailor-made for shoppers who want a premium TV but who don’t want to spend money on an OLED TV or a better performing QLED TV.
If you’re looking for a premium Dolby Vision TV that harnesses the power of quantum dots but don’t like what you see from LG, Vizio, or Sony, why not take a look at the TCL 8-Series?
This QLED TV is only available in two sizes: 65 inches and 75 inches. It aced just about all of our lab tests and wowed us with its ability to produce bright pictures with extra-vivid color.
One of the reasons the TCL 8-Series is such a stellar TV is the inclusion of TCL’s “mini-LED” technology, which allows for tight contrast control second only to OLED displays. The TV’s excellent motion handling and built-in Roku software also make it a versatile pick for gamers and streamers.
The only real drawbacks are the TV’s 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). Additionally, while the 8-Series’ price tag reflects the TV’s performance, bargain hunters might feel safer committing to 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.
The TCL 6-Series is available in 55- and 65-inch models. It’s a budget-friendly QLED TV that supports Dolby Vision and offers some of the benefits of quantum-dot technology (namely better brightness and color production) to a price bracket that most folks can actually afford.
We were very impressed with the TCL 6-Series’ contrast. Its relatively deep black levels look all the better thanks to its ability to get very bright, particularly during HDR content. We also love the built-in addition of Roku, since Roku is our favorite smart platform right now.
Unfortunately, you can’t really offer a quantum dot TV in this price bracket without some corners being cut. The 6-Series’ motion handling isn’t as good as higher-end TVs that feature a native refresh rate of 120 Hz, for instance. Its viewing angles are rather limited, too.
Still, the 6-Series is absolutely packed with value, especially if you’re hoping to land a Dolby Vision TV that’s bright enough to sit in a brightly lit room.
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.