Dolby Vision is widely considered to be the premium version of High Dynamic Range (HDR), a feature that allows for more brightness, richer colors, and a better overall picture. And while Dolby Vision isn't available on every TV, it is available in more of them than ever before. If you're here, you probably already know a little about Dolby's proprietary HDR format. It's less widely adopted than the open-source HDR10 format, but the tradeoff is that Dolby Vision content is mastered to a higher standard, allowing the content to remain relevant longer.
If price is no object, the best Dolby Vision TV around is the LG C1 (available at Amazon) . It's one of the best-looking TVs we've seen, so naturally, it rocks when it comes to Dolby Vision. 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 a ton of cash to get a good one.
The LG C1 (available in 48-, 55-, 65-, and 77-inch models) is a stunning OLED TV with an array of future-facing features that will help maintain its value for several years to come. It’s easy to see why it’s our pick for the best TV you can buy right now.
OLED TVs are known for their incredible contrast, and the LG C1 is no exception. It pairs a perfect black level with stellar highlights, offering a sustained peak brightness of around 700 to 800 nits in HDR, making it one of the brightest OLED TVs we’ve ever seen. When it comes to color, the C1 is a top-level performer, too; it features 100% SDR color saturation (Rec.709) and 97% HDR color saturation (DCI-P3). That means no matter what you’re watching, you can expect rich, true-to-life color. From cable TV to Blu-rays, the C1 makes TVs and movies look their best.
The LG C1 is equipped with four HDMI 2.1 inputs that all support 4K resolution at 120fps, which makes it a great choice for gamers who own (or plan on owning) an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. In fact, the LG C1 is stuffed with gaming-centric features, like Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and FreeSync/G-Sync support, and a suite of picture enhancements that can be found in the TV’s Game Optimizer menu.
The C1 also comes with the sixth iteration of LG’s webOS smart platform pre-installed, and while it’s not our favorite smart software going right now, most folks will find it suitable to their needs; it’s zippy, easy to navigate, and offers a broad selection of apps via LG’s Content Store.
Although the LG G1 and the Sony A90J are better-performing TVs by the thinnest of margins, we believe that, for most folks, the slight difference in picture quality isn’t worth the added cost.
Between its incredible performance, its wide array of features, and its elegant design, the LG C1 is the best TV you can buy right now. True A/V enthusiasts might be tempted by the LG G1 and the Sony A90J’s slightly superior picture quality, but if you want the best ride for your money, the C1 offers a nearly identical experience for a considerably friendlier price.
The 2020 TCL 6-Series (available in 55-, 65-, and 75-inch variants) is one of the most value-packed TVs in recent memory, thanks to a robust offering of features and picture quality that punches well above its weight. All told, the 6-Series performs better than just about every TV in its price range, making it a great pick for folks looking to maximize their dollar when shopping for a Dolby Vision TV.
The TCL 6-Series produces a bright, colorful 4K picture during both SDR and HDR content, thanks in part to the TV’s quantum dots. In our lab, we consistently clocked the 6-Series at around 800-900 nits of brightness while receiving an HDR signal. This makes the 6-Series a fantastic option for folks whose living rooms receive a fair amount of ambient light. The inclusion of quantum dots also makes for rich, well-saturated colors, particularly during HDR content.
Gamers will be thrilled with the 6-Series’ native 120Hz refresh rate (up to 1440p at 120Hz) as well as the addition of something called THX Certified Game Mode, a suite of enhancements that includes VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) support and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) to adjust to the different frame rate of gaming content.
Being a Roku TV, the TCL 6-Series comes equipped with our favorite streaming platform right out of the box. Its software is sleek, easy to use, and offers access to a vast library of apps.
The TCL 6-Series isn’t as impressive as the top Dolby Vision TV, but its performance and features are highly commendable given its price tag. In short, it’s one of the best deals in the industry at the moment.
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 Murideo Seven 8K signal generator, and more Blu-rays than we can keep track of. For software, we use Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate color calibration software, 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 Buying a Television
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.
60Hz/120Hz: 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 60Hz, this means it re-scans and updates for picture information 60 times per second; with 120Hz, it's 120 times per second. Currently, TVs only come in 60 or 120Hz. 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
If quality is what you’re after and you don’t mind splashing out on a high-end TV, the Sony A90J is not only one of the best OLED TVs we’ve ever tested, but one of the best TVs we’ve ever tested, period. If you're looking for a TV that takes advantage of Dolby Vision, the A90J is a tremendous option.
The A90J blends the picture-perfect black levels of an OLED with some of the brightest highlights we’ve ever seen for this impressive display technology. In HDR, the A90J regularly climbs as high as 700 to 800 nits, with specular highlights getting much brighter than that in short bursts. The added brightness also elevates the TV’s colors, which are equal parts voluminous and accurate. 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.
The Sony A90J is also packed to the gills with features and enhancements, including the Google TV smart platform, eARC compatibility, Dolby Atmos support, a native refresh rate of 120Hz, and Center Speaker mode, which allows users to use the A90J’s internal speakers as the center channel of a surround sound setup.
Crucially, two of the A90J’s HDMI 2.1-specified ports offer Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and support 4K content at 120fps. If you own (or plan on owning) a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, these features are essential if you’re hoping to get the most out of the newest generation of gaming consoles.
If there’s one major criticism you can level at this remarkable TV, it’s that its cost is much higher than most TVs. Even among other high-end TVs in its own category, the Sony A90J sticks out as one of the priciest. Still, if you have the means and you’re searching for a TV with incredible out-of-the-box performance, the A90J is one of the best you’ll find on shelves today.
The LG G1 (available in 55, 65, and 77 inches) is the crown jewel of LG’s consumer-facing OLED TV lineup for 2021, offering slightly better performance than the LG C1, though at a significantly higher price point. It’s not an ideal fit for most people—even many folks shopping in a higher price bracket—but it’s an incredible TV stuffed with an incredible amount of features.
Being an OLED TV, the LG G1 sports perfect black levels and an incredible level of picture detail. It’s one of the few LG OLED TVs that uses the company’s “OLED “evo” panel technology, which allows the G1 to get slightly brighter than the LG C1. The OLED evo panel is also marginally better at saturating HDR color than the C1. That said, only the keenest of eyes will recognize the difference in picture quality between the G1 and the C1.
In terms of features, the G1 offers everything but the kitchen sink. With a 120Hz refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, G-Sync/FreeSync, Auto Low Latency Mode, and various game optimization settings, the G1 is one of the best TVs available for gamers. It also comes with the sixth iteration of LG’s webOS smart platform, which we find fast and flexible enough for most users.
The “G” in G1 stands for “Gallery,” and LG’s Gallery OLED series carries that name because it’s designed to hang on a wall like a piece of art. If you don’t want to wall-mount your next TV, you’ll need to shell out extra for the G1’s stand, which is sold separately.
There’s no denying that the LG G1 is one of the best TVs we’ve ever seen, and one that performs marginally better than the LG C1. The added cost, however, is anything but marginal—especially once you factor in the G1’s separately sold stand. For this reason, the G1 isn’t at the top of our ranking. If you decide to go all-in on the G1, however, you’ll be investing in one of the best TVs money can buy—and it’ll stay that way for years to come.
The LG BX (available in 55- and 65-inch variants) is one of the most affordable OLED TV series released in 2020, which makes it a great pickup for folks who don’t mind paying a premium for stunning, top-of-the-line TV technology, but nevertheless don’t want to spend the extra dough to land a newer, better-performing TV, like the LG C1.
The BX is a 4K TV with HDR support including Dolby Vision. Since it’s an OLED TV, you can expect perfect black levels and dazzling, voluminous color. Like the C1 OLED, the BX also comes with LG's webOS smart platform pre-installed. The software is user-friendly, responsive, and should satisfy AV enthusiasts and novices alike.
For some folks—gamers in particular—the main draw of the BX will be its special features; the TV is equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports, supports FreeSync/G-Sync, and features a native refresh rate of 120Hz. Simply put, the BX is one of the most affordable ways to secure a TV that will get the most out of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, even if its price tag doesn’t seem very affordable at first glance.
Because OLED TVs don’t get as bright as quantum dot LED TVs—and because the LG BX isn’t as bright as higher-end OLED TVs like the LG C1—folks with relatively bright living rooms might want to give brighter TVs a closer look. The LG BX isn’t exactly a dim TV, but it’s not as bright as you might expect given its price tag.
Here’s the bottom line: The LG BX isn’t a budget-friendly TV, but it is one of the most affordable ways to secure incredible OLED performance and future-proof features.
Vizio’s first OLED TV successfully blends the high-end picture quality we’ve come to expect from OLED TVs with the value-forward philosophies that helped give way to Vizio’s recent rise in popularity. It’s currently one of the most affordable ways to secure an OLED TV that supports Dolby Vision.
Available in 55- and 65-inch models, the Vizio OLED is packed with features fit for next-generation gaming, including HDMI 2.1 support (with eARC passthrough), VRR, and ALLM. Like all of the OLED TVs we’ve tested in recent years, the Vizio OLED also features a native refresh rate of 120Hz. This refresh rate, combined with the TV’s HDMI 2.1 support, means that the Vizio OLED will be capable of 4K gaming at 120fps.
And then, of course, there’s the Vizio OLED’s picture, which is unsurprisingly stunning. Due to the self-illuminating nature of organic LEDs, the Vizio OLED is capable of perfect black levels and rich, accurate colors. Although it doesn’t get nearly as bright as high-end quantum dot TVs, it’s about as bright as its direct competitor, the LG BX.
If you’re hoping to make your next TV an OLED, the Vizio OLED is the most affordable way to go about doing so without investing in an OLED TV from one or two years ago. Simply put, when you factor in its performance chops and its next-gen gaming features, the Vizio OLED is one of the most value-packed TVs on the market.
The newest iteration of Vizio’s P-Series Quantum X is one of the best LED TVs you can buy, thanks to its terrific performance and an array of features that includes Dolby Vision support.
Like its predecessor of the same name, the PQX is one of the brightest TVs we’ve ever tested, topping the average brightness of both the Samsung Q90T and the TCL 8-Series. Like those competitors, the PQX is a quantum dot TV with full-array local dimming, so its extra-bright highlights are finely tuned to prevent light bloom. The addition of quantum dots is also partly responsible for the PQX’s rich, vibrant colors, which look their best during HDR content.
Folks who own (or are planning on buying) a next-generation gaming console will appreciate the P-Series Quantum X’s HDMI 2.1 inputs and support for features like Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and 120Hz gaming at 4K resolution.
The only drawback is Vizio’s SmartCast smart platform, which is less streamlined than Roku TV and doesn’t offer a way to download new apps at your choosing. We recommend pairing the PQX with one of our favorite streaming devices.
The Vizio P-Series Quantum X is a fantastic TV whose picture and features selection is on par with Samsung’s premier QLED, the Q90T. If you’re willing to do without Samsung’s superior smart platform, you’ll save a significant amount of money by choosing the P-Series Quantum X.
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.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.