If you’re in the market for a new TV, the number of options can seem overwhelming. You know you want a TV to stream your favorite shows, but which brand? What type of display?
A great TV draws its viewers into the action, making other worlds feel real through the magic of lifelike images and sounds. The trick is wading through all the tech jargon and marketing to choose one that’s right for you and your family—hopefully without signing away your first-born child in the process.
Our easy-to-use TV buying guide breaks down the technology—from Dolby Vision to QLED and OLED—in simple terms. Plus, it helps you choose based on screen size and use. It’s an easy way to shop for some of the best TVs currently available.
Not quite convinced a smart TV is what you need? Check out what makes a smart TV smart to see if one is right for you.
What Is a Smart TV?
A smart TV is a TV that connects to the internet. This connection is most often used to access streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Sling TV.
You can also use the internet connection to integrate with home automation systems or voice control via digital assistants like Alexa
Smart TVs have pretty much become the standard these days, so any new TV you buy is more likely to be a smart TV than not. This even includes budget TVs in the $200 range.
This is great because it gives anyone access to the wealth of content that streaming services offer.
Smart TV Brands to Consider
Every manufacturer under the sun is making smart TVs these days. Not all of them are created equal, though. Which brands are worth your hard-earned money, and which brands should you steer clear of?
Top Smart TV Brands
LG has been the king of the TV hill for several years, thanks to its stunning OLED panels. These amazing TVs are far from cheap, but if you’ve got the cash to burn, they make for an incredible viewing experience.
Samsung and Sony sit just behind LG in terms of display quality, and together, these three brands dominate the high-end market.
There’s another player in the budget and midrange categories, though, that offers a ton of value for your money: TCL. This company’s Roku smart TVs are some of the best you’ll find in the lower price brackets.
Smart TV Brands to Avoid
We’ve said this before, but Insignia and Sanyo both have some issues with quality control, which makes it tough to recommend them, especially when you could just get a TCL, Samsung, or LG for a similar price instead.
Sharp rounds out the B-list because it focuses mainly on appliances and office electronics, not TVs. Sharp smart TVs aren’t bad, but they just don’t compare well to the competition.
Our recommendation: Stick with established brands that have a good reputation for quality control to avoid issues down the line
Still have questions?
Don’t worry—we’ve done all the hard work for you. Below, we’ve gathered the best TVs out right now. Just relax, pick your favorite, and enjoy.
While searching for a smart Tv to buy, there are things to lookout for, and consider, before purchasing one of your choice. The points to lookout for are;
- Don’t buy a TV with less than 4K resolution. Avoid full HD or 1080p sets.
- Choose your price range.
- You can skip 8K TVs (for now). 8K TVs are super expensive, and 8K movies and shows aren’t available yet.
- Expect to pay about $500 for a good 55-inch 4K TV. And at least $900 for a 65-inch model.
- Don’t buy a TV with less than a 120 Hz refresh rate. This is important for smooth motion.
- Look for an HDR-compatible set: This offers more realistic colors and better contrast.
- Choose OLED or LED. OLED TVs look much better than most LCD sets: But QLED TVs from Samsung, Vizio and TCL are an affordable middle ground.
- Look for at least four HDMI ports. And opt for the newer HDMI 2.1 format if you can.
- Plan to buy a soundbar. TV speakers are worse nowadays because the screens are thinner.
- Avoid extended warranties. Your credit card company may already provide purchase protection
- Bigger is better. Always. “I wish I bought a smaller TV” said no one ever. (Bigger + 4K these days = spectacular. Jaw-dropping. Wow.)
- Upgrade your HDMI cable. It’s all about the plumbing, and the extra $30/40 bucks is more than worth it. Get an HDMI cable worthy of your TV investment and see every single pixel replicated in glorious form.
- Upgrade the sound. Audio is more than half the experience, and your TV’s built-in speakers aren’t up to the task. (In fact, they were actually better years ago.)
- Choose a trusted brand. We have a reputation for testing and vetting brands. In short, we put them all through the wringer. What TV brand is the best? Three clearly rise above: LG, Sony, and Samsung, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
- Buy your new TV from an authorized dealer. You get the manufacturer’s warranty, service, and support. (In our case, guaranteed support even long after the sale. Not to brag, but we did take #2 in Customer Service by USA Today. Just sayin.’)
Without further ado, we would move into the main topic, the best Tvs out there:
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If you want the best picture quality, this is it. The LG CX-series will blow you away with the contrast between its bright, vivid whites and deep, inky blacks.
Performance is fast, and navigating through the interface is quick and relatively painless, though getting it set up and tweaking the options isn’t as simple as it could be.
The other potential hang-up that keeps this TV from being our top pick overall is the design. It’s unbelievably thin at the top, but that means all the internals are crammed into a thick section at the base of the TV.
It’s not the end of the world, but it is a little polarizing, at least in our experience.
If you want a smart TV with breathtaking picture quality, a unique and clever kickstand design, and excellent built-in audio, look no further.
Sony’s OLED panels are right up there with LG these days, and the audio experience of this set really completes the package. While it won’t replace your Dolby Atmos surround sound system, it will get the job done and then some, without you spending even more money on a soundbar.
As for the cons, there really aren’t any. The picture is just a hair worse than LG’s OLEDs, in our opinion. But again, that’s us intensely nitpicking. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of the top three picks.
If the Samsung Q90T is out of your price range, try the Q60T series. It has great QLED picture quality, Quantum HDR, smooth operating systems, and a slim profile (although it is nearly a full inch thicker than the Q90T).
It’s also much more affordable than the Q90T, as you’ll see below.
If you need a great budget-minded smart TV, this TCL is it. These surprisingly great-looking smart TVs offer a ton of value at a very reasonable price.
The screen is QLED, so it does a great job at a much cheaper price. It also has plenty of HDMI ports for connecting devices like Blu-ray players.
TCL smart TVs use the Roku TV platform, so you’ve got all the apps and other benefits of Roku built in. The TV also packs plenty of ports into an attractive design—but doesn’t have Bluetooth or wireless connectivity, which isn’t so great.
A caveat: there have been some complaints of screen issues and poor quality control on some of these TVs. Just keep an eye out and be open to an exchange if you have any issues.
Samsung is really crushing it lately with its QLED line of TVs, and the Q90T series is the pinnacle, in our opinion.
This smart TV mixes an amazing screen with a gorgeous, thin design that works with any living room decor. It’s also a perfect TV for mounting on your wall, thanks to an even depth from top to bottom.
Add in Ultra Viewing Angle—meaning you’ll have a great view no matter where you sit—and Samsung’s killer operating system, and you’ve got a winner.
It doesn’t come cheap, but if you want the best all-around combo of picture, size, design, and software, this is the TV to beat.
From our review of the best TV out there, we have chosen the Samsung Q90T Series Smart TV, it does all you want from a smart TV, not only that, it does it perfectly. Though it is a little bit on the high side, but if you do spend on this TV, you are sure to get value for your money