Not sure which TV is right for you? This is our guide to picking the best TV for any budget and any room
Whether you’re watching movies, sports or playing the latest games, the best TVs make it feel like you’re right in the heart of the action. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about choosing the best TV, and we’ll reveal our favourite budget, mid-range and high-end TV picks.
Firstly, the good news: you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great image quality. The best budget TVs we’ve tested outshine older models with clearer 4K images and more natural colour, and if your budget allows, the mid-range and high-end models harness the latest QLED, OLED and QD-OLED technologies to make movies look exactly how the director intended them to.
You’ll find quick buying links for our favourite TVs in the at-a-glance list below, followed by a buying guide which will answer all your key questions. Scroll a little further down the page and you’ll find mini reviews of our favourite models along with links to our full reviews for more in-depth analysis.
How to choose the best TV for you
What TV resolution do I need?
High-definition TVs currently fall into three categories: Full HD, 4K and 8K. Unless you’re buying a very small or huge (75in or larger) model, a 4K TV is the best choice.
- Full HD/FHD, otherwise known as 1080p, has 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on the screen. These days, only the cheapest (and often the smallest) TVs use an FHD/1080p resolution.
- Ultra HD/UHD, more commonly referred to as 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels). This is the sweet spot for 99% of consumers, and most TVs are 4K these days.
- 8K (7,680 x 4,320 pixels) is gaining traction in the consumer market, but it’s expensive, and overkill for most users as all mainstream movie and TV content is still in 4K.
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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 Full HD. Buying a 4K TV that’s too small for your room may mean that it won’t look much better than your old Full HD TV.
- Why? Our eyes can only differentiate between lines and dots up to a fixed distance. 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.
- Our TV sizing guide can help you find the perfect size of TV for your room.
How can I watch 4K content?
There are plenty of ways to watch 4K TV and movies these days. You can buy a subscription to a streaming service, such as Netflix or Disney+; buy digital content via stores such as Amazon Prime Video or Apple’s iTunes Store; or purchase 4K Blu-ray discs to play in a compatible 4K Blu-ray player.
- You may need to purchase a premium subscription to get access to 4K content as most standard subscriptions will only provide Full HD streaming.
- Even if you do pay for 4K streaming, not every film or programme is available in 4K on these streaming services. If you want to watch in 4K HDR and have Dolby Atmos sound, you may need to buy the movie separately from stores such as Apple’s iTunes Store.
- Most popular TV series and movies also get a 4K Blu-ray disc release and these normally provide the best video and audio quality, but bear in mind that you’ll need a dedicated Blu-ray 4K player – older Blu-ray players will not support the 4K discs.
How fast does my internet connection need to be for 4K?
If you want to stream 4K content via the internet, you will need a fast broadband internet connection. Around 30 to 40 Mbits/sec is probably a safe minimum, but you’ll need a faster connection if other people in the house will be streaming concurrently or using the connection for gaming.
- Major streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ can deliver 4K video at a maximum bit rate of up to around 20 Mbits/sec, but not all programmes will be streamed at that quality, so some may use significantly less bandwidth. For reference, 1080p Netflix content is currently delivered at a maximum of 5.8Mbits/sec.
- Apple TV+ tends to exhibit the highest streaming bitrates, pushing up to around 30 Mbits/sec. Theoretically, this should result in better image quality. Although it is worth noting that the Apple TV+ apps built into TVs tend to stream at a lower bitrate than Apple’s dedicated Apple TV 4K boxes.
Are some TVs better for gaming?
Yes. If you want to see the latest AAA console and PC games in all their 4K HDR high framerate glory, you need a TV which supports key gaming features, such as:
- Multiple HDMI 2.1 ports
- ALLM (Auto Low-Latency Mode) support
- VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) support
- A 120Hz panel
If gaming is one of your top priorities, read our guide on how to choose the best TV for gaming.
How our experts test TVs
All of the televisions listed below have undergone rigorous testing using an X-Rite colorimeter and Portrait Displays’ Calman colour calibration software.
- We test numerous aspects of SDR and HDR performance, including peak brightness, colour gamut coverage, and colour and greyscale accuracy. As a result, we’re able to provide you with data-led reviews of televisions and compare different models objectively.
- We also watch a huge amount of content on the TVs we review. This content ranges from shows on terrestrial channels to films on streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video – if we find issues, we tell you about them.
- Gaming functionality is tested with a TV hooked up to a next-gen console, either the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.
- A TV’s audio reproduction is assessed with a wide variety of movies and music. We also take the time to watch varied content on the TV during the testing period and try out all the major supported audio formats.
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The best TVs to buy in 2024
1. TCL RC630K Series: Best cheap 4K TV
Price when reviewed: From £299 (43in) | Check price at Currys
Two things set this budget TCL TV apart from the competition: its QLED (quantum dot LED) panel and its Roku TV operating system. Let’s start with that panel first. Quantum dot technology has been around for a number of years now but has historically only been found on mid-range models. TCL is the first manufacturer to bring it to a set starting at under £300 and the impact on picture quality is significant. The RC630K covers over 95% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, elevating its HDR performance above similarly priced sets that lack quantum dots, while support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ further boosts its HDR credentials.
No matter what content you’re watching, the RC630K will support the HDR format it’s mastered in, and boy, do you have a lot of choice when it comes to content. Roku’s TV operating system offers one of the largest ranges of apps and streaming platforms around and is wonderfully easy to navigate. All of the most popular services are available – Netflix, BT Sport and Disney Plus to name but three – and the Roku OS homepage can be customised to ensure your favourites are just a couple of clicks away.
As the RC630K’s panel is limited to a refresh rate of 60Hz it falls short in the next-gen gaming department but that, and the limited brightness just about every cheap TV is hamstrung by, are the only drawbacks to an otherwise exceptional budget television.
Read our TCL RP630K review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 43in, 50in, 55in (tested) and 65in; Display type: VA-type LCD LED direct-lit; Resolution: 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160); HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; HDMI inputs: 3 x HDMI 2.0; Operating system: Roku TV
2. LG C3: Best TV for gaming
Price when reviewed: From £999 (42in) | Check price at Amazon
LG’s C-Series OLEDs offer superb picture quality combined with all of the next-generation gaming features you could ask for. The 2023 model isn’t a huge step up from the C2 but houses an updated processor, runs a new version of the South Korean manufacturer’s excellent webOS and delivers slightly better picture quality overall than its predecessor.
Its four full-fat HDMI 2.1 ports all support 4K@120Hz, Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate (Nvidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync), input lag is extremely low and LG’s Game Optimiser remains a great way of getting the best experience from your next-gen console or PC. The 42in screen size is a particularly good choice for those looking for premium performance from a TV that can effectively double up as a gaming monitor.
The LG C3 is a top performer across the board but its huge range of gaming features makes it our top pick for those after a TV to get the most out of their PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or gaming PC.
Read our LG C3 review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 42in (tested), 48in, 50in, 55in, 65in, 77in and 83in; Display type: OLED; Resolution: 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160); HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; HDMI inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1; Operating system: webOS 23
3. Samsung S90C: Best-value quantum dot OLED TV
Price when reviewed: From £1,179 (55in) | Check price at Amazon
Samsung made a stellar return to the OLED market with last year’s S95B and the S90C builds on that success, with noticeable improvements to picture quality courtesy of a new screen filter and higher peak brightness. The combination of OLED and quantum dot technologies enables the S90C to deliver pure, accurate colours when watching HDR content, while Samsung’s video processing does a superb job upscaling lower-resolution source material.
The S90C’s LaserSlim design also helps it stand out from the crowd. It’s sleek yet sturdy, and well-connected, with four HDMI 2.1 ports complemented by a pair of USB-A ports, an optical digital output and an ethernet port. Gamers are as well-served here as they are by the more expensive Samsung options on this list, though a few sacrifices are made in the sound department. The 2.1-channel speaker is no match for the QN95C or QN900C but still manages to create a well-balanced soundstage, clear dialogue and decent bass.
Read our Samsung S90C review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 55in (tested), 65in and 77in; Display type: Quantum dot OLED; Resolution: 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160); HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+; HDMI inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1; Operating system: Tizen OS
4. TCL C845: The best TV under £1,000
Price when reviewed: From £799 (55in) | Check price at Currys
TCL has gradually been strengthening its foothold in the global TV market and the C845 represents the first chance UK consumers have to experience its top-tier Mini LED models. It’s priced extremely aggressively but doesn’t skimp on features and still manages to deliver impressive picture performance.
Out of the box, it’s not as colour-accurate as we’d like, but calibration controls allow you to quickly rectify this. And where HDR images are concerned, the C845 excels, thanks to searing brightness and near-complete coverage of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. The inclusion of a 2.1-channel Onkyo audio system enables it to deliver surprisingly good sound quality, while a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports and the panel’s 120Hz refresh rate mean next-gen gamers have little to complain about.
All things considered, the TCL C845 sets a new benchmark for what can achieved at its price point and is our pick of the TVs available for under a grand.
Read our TCL C845 review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 55in (tested), 65in, and 65in; Display type: VA-type Quantum Dot LCD with Mini LED backlight; Resolution: 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160); HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision, IMAX Enhanced; HDMI inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0; Operating system: Google TV 11.0
5. Philips OLED808: Best Ambilight TV
Price when reviewed: From £1,099 (42in) | Check price at AO
Ambilight technology is the unique selling point of many Philips TVs and the OLED808 implements it very nicely along three sides of its screen. The LEDs built into the rear of the panel can be set to match the colours produced on-screen to enhance immersion or set to a neutral white to improve the perceived contrast and make viewing in dark conditions easier on the eyes.
But the OLED808 has more up its sleeve than just Ambilight. Cutting-edge image processing and a reasonably bright panel combined to deliver impactful HDR images that are accurate, rich with detail and possess plenty of pop. Gaming performance is impressive, with two of the OLE808’s four HDMI ports supporting the full roster of next-gen gaming features, while sound quality is excellent given the inherent limitations of an in-built 2.1-channel system.
That range of functionality is complemented by a competitive price, making the Philips OLED808 well worth considering if you’re in the market for an OLED and our top pick for those in search of an Ambilight television.
Read our Philips OLED808 review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 42in, 48in, 55in (tested) and 65in; Display type: OLED (EX); Resolution: 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160); HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ; HDMI inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0; Operating system: Google TV
6. Panasonic MZ2000: Best TV for sound quality
Price when reviewed: From £2,000 (55in) | Check price at John Lewis
The MZ2000 is a flagship OLED that gets just about everything right and delivers some of the most accurate pictures we’ve seen from a consumer television. In Filmmaker Mode, it’s able to reproduce greyscale and colours with exceptional accuracy and the MLA OLED panel can hit brightness levels to do justice to every type of content.
Few TVs can match it for picture performance but even fewer can compete with its immersive audio system. The 150W 360o Soundscape Pro setup includes forward-, side- and up-firing speakers and the result is audio that has ample width and height and can compete with discrete soundbars where bass reproduction is concerned.
Support for key next-gen gaming features, every HDR format and a wide range of streaming services via the latest iteration of Panasonic’s my Home Screen Screen smart platform round out a truly impressive range-topper that’s one of the very best TVs you can buy.
Read our Panasonic MZ2000 review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 55in (tested) 65in and 77in; Display type: OLED (MLA); Resolution: 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160); HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision; HDMI inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1; Operating system: my Home Screen (8.0)
7. Samsung QN95C: Best 4K Neo QLED
Price when reviewed: From £1,397 (55in) | Check price at Amazon
The QN95C may not have the resolution of its 8K stablemate the QN900C, but this 4K Mini LED quantum dot-powered flagship is an incredible TV in its own right. It’s capable of hitting very high peak brightness and the number of independently dimmable zones has doubled from 2022’s QN95B. Images are stunning as a result, with plenty of shadow detail, highlights that pop and colours that are both vivid and accurately reproduced.
A quartet of HDMI 2.1 ports, Samsung’s Game Bar 3.0 and extremely low latency make it a great choice for gamers, while those not wanting to invest in a soundbar will be pleased to hear the in-built audio system has the muscle to deliver movie soundtracks and music wonderfully well. The 4.2.2-channel setup isn’t quite as effective as the QN900C’s, and you only get the Plus version of Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound tech, but that doesn’t stop the TV from handling Atmos content with aplomb.
Read our Samsung QN95C review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 55in, 65in (tested), 75in and 85in; Display type: Neo QLED LCD; Resolution: 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160); HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+; HDMI inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1; Operating system: Tizen OS
8. LG G3 OLED evo: Best TV for wall mounting
Price when reviewed: £1,578 (55in) | Check price at Amazon
There are plenty of TVs designed primarily for wall mounting, but the LG G3 is the best and brightest of them all. In fact, it’s one of the brightest OLEDs we’ve ever tested, thanks in no small part to its use of Micro Lens Array technology. This uses the light refraction of tiny lenses to help boost brightness and is found on three of the four screen size options of the G3; only the 83in misses out.
Brightness aside, the G3 delivers crisp, accurate and vivid pictures across both SDR and HDR content and a wonderful gaming experience courtesy of LG’s Game Optimizer Mode and four HDMI 2.1 ports, all of which support 4K@120Hz, VRR and ALLM. The webOS operating system is another great strength of LG TVs and is as easy to use as ever on the G3. The selection of streaming services is enormous, navigation using the Magic Remote is intuitive and the home screen is less cluttered than it was on webOS 22.
Sound quality is a little disappointing given that this is LG’s flagship 4K TV, and you’ll have to pay extra for a stand if you don’t want to wall mount it as there’s not one included, but otherwise, this mighty MLA-powered is hard to fault and one of the best televisions we’ve seen years.
Read our LG G3 review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 55in, 65in (tested), 75in and 83in; Display type: OLED; Resolution: 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160); HDR formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision IQ, HLG; HDMI inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1; Operating system: webOS 23
9. Samsung QN900C: Best 8K TV
Price when reviewed: From £4,199 (65in) | Check price at Samsung
There still isn’t a huge amount of native 8K content available but that’s slowly changing and increased resolution is but one of the QN900C’s many talents. Its Mini LED backlight and peerless local dimming deliver some of the best picture quality we’ve seen from any television, particularly when you’re consuming HDR content.
Its gaming credentials are first-rate, too, with four HDMI 2.1 ports that support all the features next-gen gamers could ask for, including 4K@120Hz, VRR and ALLM. Audio quality is another standout feature: the QN900C’s in-built 6.2.4-channel speaker system is powerful and articulate and benefits enormously from the inclusion of Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound Pro technology. This matches sounds to specific objects on the screen to deliver an immersive sonic experience that does justice to the gorgeous images the QN900C is able to produce.
Read our Samsung QN900C review
Key specs – Screen sizes: 65in, 75in (tested) and 85in; Display type: Neo QLED LCD; Resolution: 8K/UHD (7,680 x 4,320); HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+; HDMI inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1; Operating system: Tizen OS
What else do I need to know before I buy a TV?
What’s the difference between LCD and OLED TVs?
Flat-screen TVs use two main types of panel technology: LCD and OLED. LCD used to be split into two further categories: those with LED backlights and those with cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlights. However, almost all LCD TVs now use LED backlights, which are less power-hungry and tend to produce a more vibrant, brighter picture.
With LED TVs, manufacturers improve the contrast ratio of their displays by using a dynamic backlight that dims the screen when displaying dark scenes. This produces a darker picture with more pronounced blacks, but a side effect is that highlights and details are lost. In other words, you can have bright whites and dark blacks, but not both together.
LED TVs can be further separated into two categories: those that are edge-lit and those that are backlit.
- Edge-lit models have LEDs at the edge of the screen. These can cause obvious glow around the screen edges, and inferior contrast levels.
- Backlit sets have an array of LEDs spread behind the entire panel (if these are indepentently controllable, that’s a feature known as local dimming). Local dimming is preferable as it allows the TV to control picture brightness with greater accuracy.
OLED TVs work differently. Despite sharing a similar name, OLED (or organic light-emitting diode) panels use an organic material that emits light when an electric current is passed through it. This means each pixel can generate its own light source, meaning it doesn’t need to use a bulky backlight to illuminate the screen.
This has several advantages:
- It creates truly deep blacks
- They’re even more energy-efficient than LED TVs
- They have superior viewing angles. Even when sitting at almost 90 degrees, there’s rarely any visible colour shift.
- OLED panels are thinner, lighter and more flexible than LCD displays, so they can be bent and curved more easily.
What kind of apps do smart TVs have?
Most new TVs are equipped for wireless (or wired) networking, so you can connect them to the internet and your home network. This lets you stream multimedia content from your home computer and access online smart TV portals.
Some TVs have excellent smart hubs that let you access catch-up services such as Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Amazon Prime Video, Now, social networking tools and on-demand movies, while others only offer iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube video streaming.
Most TVs can also play videos, music and photos directly from a memory card, portable hard disk or USB flash drive. Our reviews tell you what each TV can do, and how well it works.
What’s the difference between Freeview Play, Freeview HD and Freesat HD?
Every new TV receives Freeview, but the majority now include Freeview HD tuners, too. This is the easiest way to watch HD broadcasts because you can use your existing digital aerial without having to buy any additional equipment.
Freesat HD is a non-subscription alternative to Freeview HD that’s transmitted by satellites rather than broadcasting towers. If you live in an area with poor broadcast reception and don’t want to pay for Sky TV, this is the best way to get television into your home. You can use an existing Sky satellite dish or pay to have one installed. You will also need to run a coaxial cable from the satellite to your television if no access point is available nearby.
Freesat offers the same free-to-air HD channels as Freeview, with the addition of NHK World, but some minor standard definition channels differ between each platform. Also bear in mind that certain TVs have dual tuners for both Freeview and Freesat installations. Be wary of TVs that just have a DVB-S2 satellite tuner. Technically, these can be manually tuned to receive Freesat channels, but you won’t get the EPG, so they’re practically useless in this country.
If you want to find out more about free-to-air TV, check out our article here: Freeview vs Freesat vs YouView.
Aside from clearer images, another benefit of digital TV is the electronic programme guide (EPG), which can show you what’s on now or later at a glance. All TVs display “now” and “next” information in a small pop-up window, but most models also have a more in-depth fullscreen mode that shows seven or more days of scheduling.
What ports and connections do I need?
You’re almost definitely going to have at least one other device you want to connect to your TV, so it’s important to choose a model with an appropriate number of inputs.
HDMI is the connection of choice for virtually all modern devices, including games consoles, Blu-ray players and digital set-top boxes.
We suggest a minimum of four HDMI inputs, which should cover all the basics and still leave a spare port in case you want to connect a camcorder or digital camera.
Look out for an HDMI input with an Audio Return Channel (ARC). This lets you send sound from the TV back down the HDMI cable to a connected amp, so you can get better sound for TV programmes without introducing more cabling.
For future-proofing, HDMI 2.1 is preferable if you’re after the latest gaming features. The reason for this is simple: HDMI 1.4 only supports frame rates up to 30fps. HDMI 2 adds support for frame rates up to 60fps and also greatly increases the maximum audio throughput. The advent of HDMI 2.1 means that TVs housing those ports can deliver 4K resolution at a refresh rate of 120Hz.
SCART sockets have almost been completely replaced in favour of HDMI, but older devices, such as some games consoles and VCRs, still need them. You’re unlikely to find an S-Video port on a modern TV, so you may have to connect some older devices through the composite or component interface and put up with the inferior image quality.
USB ports are fairly common on modern TVs. If you have a spare external flash drive, these can be used to record programmes, eliminating the need for a dedicated set-top box. You will need to format it for your particular TV, though. Alternatively, you can use them to play your own media files from your PC. Some TVs support a wider range of file formats than others, but our reviews tell you which formats each TV supports. If you want to browse the web, USB ports are also useful for connecting a keyboard and mouse.
Should I worry about the length of the warranty?
If you’re spending a decent chunk of your hard-earned money on a new television, you want the longest warranty possible. This will ensure that you will be covered in the event of anything going wrong with the set.
Most retailers typically offer at least a one-year warranty, which tends to fall in line with the warranty offered by manufacturers.
John Lewis is a little different, however, and provides a five-year guarantee on all of the TVs it sells.
That’s a pretty compelling reason to buy your next TV from John Lewis and as such, we’ve included links to products on the John Lewis website where possible. If the TV is available cheaper elsewhere, we’ve also linked to the retailer with the best price.
What is UHD Premium?
Essentially a certification badge, the UHD Premium specification has been agreed by TV heavyweights Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony, industry leaders Dolby and Technicolor, and various huge film studios such as Disney, Universal and Warner Bros. Contributors to the specification include TP Vision (Philips), Nvidia, Intel, Hisense, Amazon and Toshiba. The list is a “who’s who” of audiovisual industry players, making UHD Premium a badge you should be able to rely on.
A set of big players is all well and good, but what does UHD Premium actually mean for the TV you buy? The required specifications for consumer televisions are actually fairly simple:
- 3,840 x 2,160 resolution with ten-bit colour covering 90% of the DCI P3 colour gamut. This is an Ultra HD resolution with more than one billion possible colours. The P3 gamut is a wider colour gamut, meaning you’re presented with more realistic colours, with deeper shades now possible. This creates a more visually pleasing image and is also far closer to the way the director intended you to see their creation. Most high-end cinemas use projection systems that cover the DCI P3 colour gamut, so expect to hear about “cinema-quality” images in the near future.
- High dynamic range (HDR). You will have probably already heard of HDR, and we’ve reviewed a number of TVs that support it. Now the tech has been given an official label and is integrated into UHD Premium. To be UHD Premium-certified, a TV needs a maximum brightness of 1,000cd/m² (otherwise known as nits) and a black level of less than 0.05cd/m². Alternatively, if your set can only get to 540cd/m², your black levels must be less than 0.0005cd/m². It’s not stated in the briefing information, but it’s safe to assume that these figures must be possible simultaneously, giving you incredibly immersive and bright images where punchy blacks and bright colours can coexist.
- Content can also be UHD Premium-certified. We won’t go into it in detail, but content must also be mastered in a way that works with UHD Premium television sets. With the likes of Netflix and Amazon supporting such tech, as well as the new UHD Blu-ray standard, expect more UHD Premium-compatible content to start appearing.