2016 Best of Year TV and Home Theater Awards
Looking for a new TV? These are the very best we tested this year.
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With advances like 4K and HDR, it's been a big year for TVs. But like any new technology, separating the good from the bad is a tough task. We've spent hundreds of hours testing all the top TVs on the market in our state-of-the-art test labs with the goal of providing you with the very best recommendations.
So whether you want a big-screen TV for the big game or a budget TV for catching up on your favorite Netflix shows, we've got you covered. These are the absolute best TVs we've tested all year, and the ones that we think you'll be happiest about putting in your living room.
Best TV: LG B6 Series
LG’s 4K, HDR OLEDs dominated our top spots again this year, but as good as the G6, E6, and C6 OLEDs are, our favorite is by far the "mid-range" B6. What makes it so great? In short—everything. It delivers the same fathomless black levels and rich, vivid colors of LG's more expensive sets, hits the "HDR Premium" benchmark, has a flat screen, and does it all for significantly less money than the flagship sets.
Throw in compatibility with both of today's HDR formats (HDR10 and Dolby Vision), and it’s clear the B6 is the best TV for today and tomorrow, especially since both the 55- and 65-inch models just saw permanent price drops. A top-tier, HDR OLED for less than $2,000? No other TV stands a chance. Read our review.
Best TV for the Money: Samsung KS8000 Series
We were blown away by Samsung’s KS9800 flagship at the beginning of the year—it basically set the reference benchmarks for bright-room HDR and quantum dot color. So when Samsung’s KS8000 Series came along, we couldn’t believe our eyes: it is every bit as bright and colorful as the company’s highly impressive flagship, and at a fraction of the cost.
The Samsung KS8000 series may not boast a fancy design or a curved screen (which might be a plus, for some), but the KS8000 delivers an absolutely spellbinding HDR picture at equally jaw-dropping prices. While it’s probably not the ideal choice for dark home theaters, this is the one to go for if you want great HDR without breaking the bank. Read our review.
Best TV Under $500: 50-inch Hisense H8
The 50-inch Hisense H8 isn’t going to blow your mind in terms of picture quality, but getting a 50-inch, 4K/HDR-compatible smart TV for less than $500 is stunning. The HDR performance is more icing on the cake than anything—the TV simply isn’t bright or colorful enough for truly impressive HDR—but it’s a nice addition to an already well-rounded package.
In short, this is a lot of TV for not a lot of money. And while Hisense may not be the most recognizable name to US buyers, it's the dominant TV maker in China and it's backing up all its models with a best-in-class 4-year warranty. Read our review.
Best TV Under $1,000: Samsung UN55KU7000
Samsung’s been a leader in bright-room HDR all throughout 2016, and the KU7000 series is one fruit of that labor. While it’s not nearly as impressive (in terms of HDR) as the high-end SUHD models like the KS8000, the 55-inch KU7000 delivers a lot of screen, brightness, color, and ample 4K goodness for under $1,000.
Oh, and did we mention the stylish silver bezels and minimalist design? Basically, if you’re looking to future-proof your purchase and get a big TV without hitting the four-digit mark in terms of price, give the 55-inch UN55KU7000 a peek. Read our review.
Best TV For Gaming: Samsung KS8000 Series
One of the biggest things in gaming right now—especially where console gamers are concerned—is getting a good 4K HDR TV that also has low input lag. While there are lots of decent HDR sets on the market, many of them—even LG’s premium 4K OLEDs—have serious latency problems when playing games in HDR.
For this reason, Samsung’s super-bright, hyper-colorful KS8000 series is one of the best choices around for gamers. Not only does it deliver a low latency HDR gaming experience, it does so for very reasonable prices. If you're planning on getting a 4K-compatible gaming console in the next couple of years, the KS8000 series is the TV to pair it with. Read our review.
Best TV For Gaming Under $500: Samsung UN43KU6300
If you’re on a budget, it can be hard to find a TV that not only offers good input lag performance for gaming, but also doubles it with a picture quality that won’t make you hate watching movies, TV shows, and sports.
Fortunately, Samsung’s highly-affordable, 4K/HDR-compatible KU6300 series checks off all the boxes. The 43-inch offers up low latency and an appreciable 4K gaming experience for just $499. Read our review.
Best Big Screen TV Bargain: Vizio E65u-D3
Sometimes, you just want a big honkin' screen without breaking your budget wide open. At a little over $1,000, Vizio’s 65-inch E Series is one of the biggest and best-looking TVs you can buy in this price range. While it’s no flagship, the TV’s full-array local dimming backlight, 4K resolution, and “SmartCast” platform combine to deliver a high-quality experience without the usual high-quality price tag.
This is a perfect size for filling a large room and getting the most out of 4K resolution, and you might even have money left over for a few pounds of popcorn. Go big or go home. Read our review.
Best Soundbar: Razer Leviathan
Razer’s dominance in the design-heavy, marginally aggressive gaming peripheral market may be unmatched, but it turns out the company also makes a pretty darn good soundbar. The Razer Leviathan delivers 5.1-channel audio soundbar/subwoofer combo for a very attractive price tag, and its sturdy finish, audio clarity, and intuitive UI helped it to best a number of big-name competitors during our soundbar roundup.
Whether or not you’re enthused about the funky, tribal snake branding is a different matter entirely. If you can look past that (or hide it in your entertainment center) the Razer Leviathan is a great all-around value. Read our soundbar roundup.
Best Streaming Device: Roku Premiere+
Streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast are far-and-away the best, easiest ways to get content from Netflix, HBO Now, and Hulu on your TV. But with so many options, what one is best? Our money is on the newly launched Premiere+ from Roku.
The Premiere+ isn't the cheapest box around, but you get support for 4K and HDR video, Roku's simple interface, the best Roku remote (including a headphone jack for wireless listening), and support for wired internet. It's a killer combo that anyone should love. Read our streaming device roundup.
Best Streaming Device Under $50: Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick has always been competitive at around $50, but the recently released version adds a killer feature: support for Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. It's by far the most robust voice assistant around, letting you search across 80 of the most popular apps for whatever you're looking for.
Best of all, Alexa on your Fire TV can control anything other Alexa-powered products can, such as wireless speakers and your smart home products. As with other Fire TV devices you'll get the most out of it if you're an Amazon Prime member, but it's so good even non-Prime users will find a lot to love. Read our budget streaming device roundup.
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