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The Best TVs

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Get the most out of your favourite films, television shows and video games at home with a new high-quality 4K HDR TV

Many of us spend a significant proportion of our downtime watching television, which makes choosing the best TV our budget allows for a crucial decision.

If you haven't upgraded your TV for a while, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised, as television technology has come on leaps and bounds over recent years.

In addition to the outstanding picture quality you can expect from 4K HDR sets, the latest TVs all have built-in Wi-Fi and slick user interfaces that can negate the need for a Blu-ray player or setup box.

Modern televisions bring Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and many more streaming services directly to your lounge and display your favourite shows and movies in glorious detail and vivid technicolour.

On this page, you’ll find our pick of the best TVs we’ve tested. After that, you’ll find our handy buying guide, which takes you through everything you need to know about finding the right TV for you, from which resolution to choose to the smart features you may want to look out for.

The best TVs you can buy

1. Samsung AU9000

The Samsung AU9000 proves that affordable 4K TVs don't have to look cheap and are capable of offering features on par with more expensive rivals. Its AirSlim design is attractive and practical too, with a narrow black chassis capable of slotting into living room spaces bulkier sets could only dream of.

Picture quality is impressive when viewing both SDR and HDR content, and HDR10+ performance is solid, given the AU9000's price tag. Samsung's handy Game Bar provides key gaming information via an easily navigated interface, input lag is very low, while VRR support and an Auto Low Latency Mode also boost the AU9000's gaming credentials.

The aforementioned picture quality and gaming options are complemented wonderfully well by Samsung's Tizen operating system, which is intuitive and provides access to a comprehensive range of streaming services and apps. Peak brightness, viewing angles and sound quality could be better, but overall, the Samsung AU9000's package is unmatched for the money. If you're after a budget 4K TV, this is the one to buy.

2. LG C1 OLED

No matter what you want from your new TV, whether it be gaming prowess, class-leading 4K HDR picture quality, impressive audio, cutting-edge smarts or all of the above, the LG C1 will not disappoint. This mid-range 4K OLED is the follow-up to our favourite all-around TV of 2020, the LG CX, so expectations were high. We’re happy to say that the LG C1 met and then exceeded them. From the svelte design to the unparalleled HDR performance, this really is the TV to beat. It doesn’t come cheap, of course, but we were happily surprised to find that all the LG C1 models actually launched at a lower price than their 2020 LG CX equivalents.

Film and TV enthusiasts will relish the stunning dynamic range made possible by the OLED panel’s pixel-level control; deep inky blacks, detailed specular highlights and vibrant colours bring HDR movies and shows to vivid life like no other TV at this price can. The refined near-black gradation, colour accuracy and comprehensive colour coverage (it hits 99% of the DCI-P3 range) put the C1 right at the top of its class. Sadly, there’s no HDR10+ on board, though the HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support make up for it. As for upscaling, the LG’s new Alpha 9 Gen 4 processor can make 1080p Blu-rays look so good you’d think they were native 4K.

Gamers are well served here too, just as they were with the LG CX. There are four HDMI 2.1 ports, and every single one supports next-gen features such as Variable Refresh Rate (G-Sync and FreeSync), 4K at 120Hz and Auto Low-Latency Mode, ensuring that PC, Xbox Series X and PS5 owners can get the absolute maximum out of their prized consoles. And response times? With the LG C1 in Game Optimiser mode, we measured a ludicrously low input lag of just 6ms.

3. Samsung QN90

Part of Samsung’s Neo QLED range, the Samsung QN90 is an attractive TV that delivers excellent picture quality, decent audio and a smart platform featuring just about every streaming service under the sun.

Its use of Mini LED technology allows significantly more dimming zones to be incorporated in the panel than Samsung’s standard QLED sets, resulting in deeper colours, wider viewing angles and more precise local dimming. HDR picture quality is top-notch, with brightness peaking at 750cd/m² in Dynamic mode and colour accuracy while presenting SDR and HDR content proving perfectly respectable.

All of those qualities make the QN90 an appealing choice for general viewing but it’s also a television well-equipped for next-gen gaming. The HDMI 2.1 port means you can enjoy 4K at 120Hz along with Variable Refresh Rate, support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Auto Low Latency Mode. Additionally, Samsung’s new “Game Bar” can be used to display all relevant gaming-related information in one handy location.

It's worth pointing out that we reviewed the 50in model and that larger screen sizes come with a different stand and upgraded sound system in the form of Object Tracking Sound+.

4. Philips 805 65in (65OLED805)

The Philips 805 is arguably the best-value OLED TV on the market right now. It’s the most accessible of the entry-level OLEDs, undercutting rivals from Sony, LG and Panasonic. Like other OLEDs, the 805 offers great viewing angles, vibrant colours and an extremely high contrast ratio, but it also has the added benefit of Ambilight, Philips’ immersive integrated bias lighting system. Ambilight really adds to the viewer’s immersion, changing hues to match the onscreen action while also reducing eye fatigue when watching in a darkened room.

High Dynamic Range support is universal on the Philips 805, with coverage for HDR10, HDR10+, Hybrid Log-Gamma and Dolby Vision. The 805 makes the absolute most of its TV-led implementation of Dolby Vision, optimising tone mapping and colour mapping from scene to scene without exhibiting any black crush. And because it has the second-highest brightness of any OLED (behind only the Panasonic HZ2000, below), the 805 produces dazzlingly bright specular highlights.

It’s not as much of an all-rounder as the LG C1 listed above, however, since its refresh rate is capped at 60Hz and it doesn’t have any HDMI 2.1 inputs. That means no 4K 120Hz capabilities and no Variable Refresh Rate, two of the key next-gen gaming features that Xbox Series X and PS5 owners should be looking out for. But if you’re not a hardcore gamer and simply want class-leading 4K HDR picture performance, then the 805 is a reasonably priced way to get it.

How to buy the best TV for you

What TV resolution do I need?

High-definition TVs currently fall into three categories: Full HD/FHD, otherwise known as 1080p, which has 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on the screen; Ultra HD/UHD, more commonly referred to as 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels); and the highest of them all, 8K (7,680 x 4,320 pixels). These days, only the cheapest (and often the smallest) TVs utilise an FHD/1080p resolution. 4K is now the de facto standard for any self-respecting TV, offering four times the resolution of 1080p. Although 8K is gaining traction in the consumer market, it’s really not necessary to buy a TV with an 8K resolution just yet. They’re expensive for one, and there’s also barely any native 8K content out there. By and large, you’ll only be watching upscaled 4K content if you have an 8K TV in your living room.

What size TV should I buy?

The size of the TV you buy should be dictated not only by the size of your room but also by how far away you intend to sit from it. To get the full benefit from a 4K HDR set, you need to sit close enough for your eyes to appreciate the increased picture clarity that 4K brings over FHD. Buying a 4K TV that’s too small for your room may mean that it won’t look much better than a much cheaper 1080p TV.

This is all down to the resolving power of the human eye; our eyesight can only differentiate between lines and dots up to a fixed distance. So if you sit 25ft away from a 4K or 8K TV, those millions of extra pixels won’t make a difference. Think of it like a pointillism painting – from far enough away, you can no longer make out the individual dots on a Georges Seurat landscape.

How can I watch 4K content?

There are plenty of ways to watch 4K TV and movies these days. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus (to name just a few) are constantly adding 4K movies to their lineup, and all of the original shows released on these platforms are in 4K as well. Besides streaming, there’s a gigantic library of movies available on 4K Blu-ray discs, and games consoles have fully embraced 4K as the definitive standard too.

If you’re thinking about streaming 4K content via the internet, bear in mind that you’ll need a fast broadband internet connection. Netflix, for instance, can deliver 4K video at a maximum bit rate of 15.6Mbits/sec and frame rates up to 60fps. In comparison, 1080p Netflix content is currently delivered at a maximum of 5.8Mbits/sec. While most modern 4K TVs come with a built-in Netflix app, some streaming services don’t have the same level of support.

Are some TVs better for gaming?

When it comes to playing the latest AAA console and PC games in 4K and HDR, with the highest refresh rates possible, it pays to make the right choice. Ideally, you’re looking for a TV that has multiple HDMI 2.1 ports, supports ALLM (Auto Low-Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and has a 120Hz panel.

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