Ensure the most pixel-rich television experience possible with our pick of the best 8K TVs money can buy
With many consumers still only just getting to grips with 4K, and native 8K content virtually nonexistent, even the best 8K TVs have to date struggled to capture the public’s imagination. Which, we’d argue, is a real shame.
Pretty much every brand that’s dabbled with 8K has made next-generation resolution just one part of a much wider premium picture quality offering. So, as well as the extra pixel density and image depth made possible by a 7,680 x 4,320 pixel count, 8K TVs typically get other key features such as increased numbers of LED local dimming zones, wider colour gamut support, more advanced (increasingly AI-driven) picture processing and higher brightness.
Those are just some of the reasons to invest in an 8K TV, and we’ll go into more detail about them below, while also providing guidance about how to choose the right 8K TV for you and a list of the best 8K TVs currently available. If you’re ready to take your TV watching to the next level, read on.
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How to choose the best 8K TV for you
While 8K TVs are not yet supported by all the main TV brands and understandably are available in much more limited numbers than 4K TVs, you can nonetheless buy 8K TVs based around OLED, LCD or Mini LED technologies, and at a huge range of vastly differing price points and screen sizes. So you need to ask yourself a few questions before settling on the model that will suit your needs the best.
How much should you spend on an 8K TV?
The spread of pricing in the 8K world really is immense – much larger than anything you’ll find in the 4K world unless you include barely available (or practical) Micro LED technology in your calculations.
So, working out how much you can comfortably afford to spend on your next TV will likely greatly reduce the potential shortlist of 8K options for you to pick between. If you’re considering buying an affordable LCD 8K TV, it’s worth noting that some models – including all of LG’s 8K sets, and relatively cheap models from one or two other brands – use IPS LCD panels, which deliver less contrast than the alternative VA panel types.
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What size 8K TV should you buy?
While you can get 8K TVs as small as 55in, unless you’re intending to use one as an 8K gaming monitor we’d advise going for as big a screen as your room can accommodate – or your bank balance can afford.
The benefits of so many pixels are much more obvious from regular viewing distances on bigger screens. In fact, if you can only accommodate a 55in TV, you’ll probably be better off buying a good quality 4K TV instead.
What conditions do you typically watch TV in?
If it’s relatively easy to black out or at least heavily darken the room your 8K TV is going to be going into, you may want to go for an OLED 8K TV. Every one of the 8K roster of pixels in an OLED screen can make its own light, so 8K OLED TVs can match their resolution with levels of light precision and local contrast control that no other 8K technology can match.
If your room tends to veer between very bright and quite dark, a mini LED TV is a better bet given the technology’s ability to go much brighter than OLED TVs while still giving very good – albeit not down to pixel level – light control.
Generally, bright rooms may enable you to get by with a relatively affordable 8K TV that uses a more routine full array with local dimming LCD panel. One last thing to consider here is viewing angles. If your seating position will regularly find you – or others – sitting at a wide angle to the screen, OLED is your best bet. If you can afford it…
What connectivity options do you require?
Most 8K TVs are built to a premium specification, and so will have four HDMI ports. Not all of those HDMI ports will necessarily support 8K at 60Hz, though – or, more pertinently for today’s content world, 4K at 120Hz. So if you happen to have a PS5, Xbox Series X or a PC with the latest flagship AMD or Nvidia graphics cards, you want to get an 8K TV that has enough ‘full bandwidth’ HDMI 2.1 ports to meet your gaming connection needs.
How much native 8K content is available?
At the moment, not much at all, but we are starting to see glimmers of native 8K hope. For instance, Samsung and Sky Germany recently teamed up to stream the third season of Das Boot entirely in 8K, and there are already a few 8K videos on YouTube. Film studios are starting to shoot and remaster more films at resolutions higher than 4K (even if they often only ultimately release them in, at best, 4K), while the PS5, Xbox Series X and latest games consoles have all hinted at 8K being in the gaming pipeline.
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What is upscaling and why is it important?
Because of that lack of native 8K content, 8K TVs rely on upscaling lower-resolution content. As the word suggests, upscaling sees an image taken and scaled up to fit the resolution of the screen it’s being displayed on.
Modern televisions use picture processing powered by AI (artificial intelligence) to do this, with the AI analysing the image and estimating what each pixel would display were the content native 8K. The results some brands can achieve really are remarkable, delivering pictures, at least with 4K sources, that look more detailed, more three-dimensional and more lifelike than they do on even the best native 4K screens. All, typically, without generating nasty side effects.
Is 8K really necessary?
It’s been argued that 8K just isn’t necessary as your eyes can’t tell the difference, but we’ve seen more than enough evidence now to refute that. This is especially (though not exclusively given the extra sharpness smaller pixel pitch can bring) true where screens bigger than 65in are concerned. Good, especially native, 8K images just look more realistic and ‘window-like’ than 4K ones.
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How we test the best 8K TVs
When testing televisions in-house, we use the Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software in conjunction with an X-Rite colorimeter to gather data on numerous aspects of SDR and HDR performance. These include peak brightness, colour gamut coverage, greyscale and colour accuracy, and we test the various picture modes available to see how each performs.
Some of our TV freelancers also use the Calman software, which makes use of patterns generated specifically for display testing, while others rely solely on watching a huge amount of content on the TV being reviewed.
Content is selected based on the compatibility of the TV in question: if there’s support for Dolby Vision we may watch supported films on Netflix, while for HDR10+, we’ll likely turn to Amazon Prime Video or a 4K Blu-ray that has a HDR10+ edit. We watch terrestrial channels extensively too. TVs are put through their paces at different times of day to see how the viewing experience is affected by ambient light conditions, and we also ensure they’re viewed from multiple viewing angles.
Picture performance is just one element of our testing, however, and we’re constantly analysing the sound quality of a TV’s in-built speakers while using it and also keeping tabs on various other factors. These include the responsiveness of the operating system and the breadth of choice it offers in terms of streaming platforms, build quality, the range of connections available, and provision for next-gen gaming features such as 4K@120Hz and Variable Refresh Rate.
The best 8K TVs to buy
1. Samsung QN900C: The best 8K TV overall
Price: From £5,099 (65in) | Buy now from Samsung
The Samsung QN900C is a technological statement if we’ve ever seen one. Its 8K panel has a quantum dot filter, a Mini LED backlight with a huge number of dimming zones, and is powered by Samsung’s highly advanced Neo Quantum HDR 8K Pro processor. It’s able to hit extremely high peak brightness figures too, and this heady combination sees it produce phenomenal images regardless of the resolution of the source material, with the upscaling of FHD and 4K content handled brilliantly.
Sound quality is also exceptional, with the 6.2.4–channel in-built speaker system doing away with the need for an accompanying soundbar. Object Tracking Sound Pro technology heightens immersion by positioning sounds accurately on-screen, while Atmos content benefits enormously from the inclusion of two up-firing speakers. The QN900C scores very highly where next-gaming support is concerned too, with all four of its HDMI 2.1 ports supporting 4K@144Hz, VRR and ALLM.
If you’ve got the money to buy a premium 8K TV and can live with the fact there’s not a great deal of native 8K content at present, this is the television to buy.
Read our full Samsung QN900C review for more details
Key specs – Screen sizes: 65, 75 (tested) and 85in; Screen type: Mini LED; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+; Connectivity: 4 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x USB-A, Ethernet, optical digital audio output, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port
2. LG Z2 OLED: The best 8K TV for home cinema
Price: From £11,999 (77in) | Buy now from John Lewis
Home cinema fans will likely already know all about the picture quality charms opened up by OLED technology’s ability to have each pixel in a screen produce its own light. Imagine, then, these charms increased by a factor of four, as all 7,680 x 4,320 pixels in the Z2’s 77in screen achieve the same self-illuminating feat.
Starfields look even more packed with the lights of space’s infinite history, for instance, while tiny details such as animal fur, facial pores, blades of grass, and even grains of sand stand out even more clearly than they do in 4K. There are no backlight blooms or grey-looking blacks to distract from the stunning 8K detailing and purity either, making this a truly awesome spectacle for lights-down movie nights.
A gorgeously slim OLED design further enhances the feeling that you’re looking through a big window rather than watching a TV, while four full-bandwidth HDMIs and a dedicated Gaming dashboard make the Z2 a mesmerisingly good gaming display. People with bright rooms should note that its peak brightness is only around 1,000cd/m², but this limitation notwithstanding, in relatively dark conditions the Z2 delivers arguably the best picture quality in the TV world.
Read our full LG Z2 review for more details
Key specs – Screen sizes: 77 and 88in; Screen type: OLED; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; Connectivity: 4 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x USB-A, Ethernet, optical digital audio output, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port
3. Sony Bravia XR Z9K: Best 8K TV for realism
Price: From £7,499 (75in) | Buy now from John Lewis
The forward march of TV technology is all about making pictures look more lifelike, with the arrival of 8K resolution being just the latest stage on this endless journey (12K is posited by some visual experts as roughly equivalent to the ‘analogue’ way our eyes perceive the world).
Adding lots more pixels joins a host of other picture technologies in making TV imagery more realistic, though. There’s also high dynamic range technology, for instance, with its expanded light range. Then there’s motion reproduction, wider and more accurate colour gamuts, enhanced image depth, more localised light control, the list goes on.
No TV better marshals all of these aspects of picture quality – and more – into delivering a truly lifelike picture than Sony’s Bravia XR Z9K. Its huge screen size options get the ball rolling, helping images look at times almost alarmingly life size. The massive brightness and huge contrast achieved by its mini LED backlighting system help it reach parts of HDR pictures precious few rivals can, too, and its 8K resolution ensures that its pictures look as free of image structure as your eyes are.
Colours look vibrant but never gaudy, and Sony’s latest Cognitive XR processor does a uniquely effective, borderline uncanny job of massaging multiple aspects of incoming images to help them appear in a way that more accurately resembles the way you perceive the real world.
Key specs – Screen size: 75 and 85in; Screen type: Mini LED; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; Connectivity: 4 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x USB-A, Ethernet, optical digital audio output, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port
4. Samsung QN700B: Best 8K TV for gaming
Price: From £1,499 (55in) | Buy now from Currys
The QN700B is the only option on this list available in a 55in screen size and it’s that model we’d recommend if you’re looking for a 8K TV to double as a gaming monitor. To appreciate the benefits of 8K on a 55in screen you’ll likely want to sit pretty close to it, like gamers typically do.
Its HDMIs include support for 4K at 120Hz gaming and even native 8K gaming should it appear, and despite having to upscale 4K games to 8K, images in Game mode still only take around 10ms to appear on the screen. There’s also Samsung’s Game Bar interface screen for fast and easy access to gaming-specific settings and information; support for Super Ultrawide GameView settings with compatible PC games; support for the gaming industry’s ‘HGiG’ HDR in gaming initiative; and support for variable refresh rates – including AMD FreeSync Premium.
Since the TV combines Quantum Dot colours with Samsung’s mini LED technology, meanwhile, all the QN700B’s gaming-related features are joined by bright, contrast-rich, colourful and, of course, ultra-detailed graphics playback – as well as video pictures that don’t give up the ghost in the slightest when you decide to swap gaming for a movie night.
Key specs – Screen sizes: 55, 65 and 75in; Screen type: Mini LED; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+; Connectivity: 4 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x USB-A, Ethernet, optical digital audio output, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port