TV Reviews

Editor's Note:
It used to be that you needed to spend thousands of dollars for a top performing TV. You still can, but as we found in our research, these TVs prove that there's no need to. We also look at sets for those who demand the very best picture quality regardless of cost, and TVs that have picture quality that is pretty good at a price tag that's hard to beat.
 
Vizio M65-D0
Specs that Matter
Resolution -- 4KHDR support? -- YesAdditional screen sizes -- 50", 55", 60", 70", 80"
Best Reviewed
Best TV for most people
Vizio M65-D0

Reviewers are impressed by the 2016 line of Vizio M-Series TVs, including the 65-inch Vizio M65-D0. This is a 4K set with black level performance that stands up well when compared to TVs that cost considerably more. Color performance is strong, too, though some tweaking can make it even better. New this year is a Google Cast-based streaming platform, and a free tablet that, for better or worse, is needed to use it and some other TV features. The biggest downside is that there is no built-in TV tuner.

Samsung UN40KU6300
Specs that Matter
Resolution -- 4KHDR support? -- YesAdditional screen sizes -- 43", 50", 55", 60", 65", 70"
Runner Up
40-inch TV
Samsung UN40KU6300

Among mid-sized TVs, and especially for use in well-lit spaces such as living rooms or family rooms, the Samsung UN40KU6300 looks like a great choice. Blacks aren't the darkest around, but the picture quality is otherwise aces. The feature lineup includes a good streaming platform and 4K resolution. Value is excellent for a set from a top-tier maker. If you want something bigger than 40 inches, the KU6300 series is available in many sizes, up to 65 inches. All get good feedback.

Hisense 55H8C
Specs that Matter
Resolution -- 4KHDR support? -- YesAdditional screen sizes -- 50"
Best Reviewed
Best cheap big-screen TV
Hisense 55H8C

While no one will mistake it for a premium TV, the Hisense 55H8C delivers pretty good picture quality at a pretty good price. Compared to similarly priced sets -- and many sets priced higher -- color, contrast, black levels and uniformity are simply terrific, testing says. On the features side, the smart platform is modest, but this set is future proofed with 4K resolution and HDR support. And speaking of future proofing, the four-year warranty is the longest we've seen for a consumer TV set.

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Hisense 55H8C 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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Samsung UN28H4000
Specs that Matter
Resolution -- 720pHDR support? -- NoAdditional screen sizes -- 24"
Best Reviewed
Best small TV
Samsung UN28H4000

The 28-inch Samsung UN28H4000 is an excellent small-screen TV, perfect for those situations where a big screen TV is too big, too expensive, or both -- for example as a secondary TV for your kitchen, bedroom or elsewhere. The specifications don't impress, and the resolutions is only 720p, but what's seen on the screen looks pretty darn good, especially when compared to other sets in the same size/price class. Expert and user reviews are strong, and a smaller-still 24-inch version is also offered.

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Samsung UN28H4000 28-Inch 720p 60Hz LED TV (2014 Model)
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Samsung UN65KS8000
Specs that Matter
Resolution -- 4KHDR support? -- YesAdditional screen sizes -- 49", 50", 55", 60"
Runner Up
Premium big screen LED TV
Samsung UN65KS8000

If you want a very large screen TV with performance that approaches that of sets costing more -- and in some cases much more -- look no further than the 65-inch Samsung UN65KS8000. Reviewers are so blown away by other aspects of picture quality that they are willing to overlook black levels and uniformity that are merely good rather than great, and bestow the UN65KS8000 with a bevy of awards and recommendation. The feature list is long, and includes a Quantum Dot screen, HDR compatibility and a robust smart TV platform.

LG OLED55B6P
Specs that Matter
Resolution -- 4KHDR support? – YesAdditional screen sizes -- 65"
Best Reviewed
TV with the best picture quality
LG OLED55B6P

If the best possible picture matters more than anything else, the 55-inch LG OLED55B6P OLED TV belongs at the top of your list. Though relatively expensive, it's the least costly 4K OLED model offered to date, yet its picture quality is as good as pricier versions. OLED requires more careful use than LED sets, so this set is a better choice for enthusiasts rather than casual viewers, but it simply blows away every other current TV in just about every picture-quality measure that matters.

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LG Electronics OLED55B6P Flat 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2016 Model)
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TCL 32S3800
Specs that Matter
Resolution -- 720p (in screen sizes 32" and below)HDR support? -- NoAdditional screen sizes -- 28", 40", 48", 50", 55"
Best Reviewed
Best smart TV
TCL 32S3800

Make no mistake, no one should buy the 32-inch TCL 32S3800 TV for its picture quality, though that's actually pretty good for its size class. However, cord cutters and others interested in the very best experience in streaming content should give this set serious consideration. It offers full Roku platform built in, and that functionality simply outperforms even the best smart TV offerings in other sets. That's easily more than enough for most reviewers to overlook this set's picture shortcomings and heartily recommend the TV.

Finding the perfect TV

If you're in the market for a new TV you're in for a treat as prices for HDTVs have dropped dramatically and performance has improved just as much. Prices for sets with cutting edge technology -- including 4k (also called Ultra High Definition, or UHD) and OLED (organic LED) -- have started to tumble as well. Smart sets -- including bargain-priced TVs with Roku and other robust streaming platforms built in -- are also available with lower-than-ever price tags. But, and here's the rub, finding the perfect TV for you and your family can be a bit of a juggling act.

Types of TVs
LCD TVs

For most buyers, an LCD TV will be the first, and in many cases only, choice. These TVs come in sizes smaller than 10 inches all the way up to 90 inches and beyond. Prices cover a similar expanse, with 32-inch sets available for well under $150 (and smaller-screen TVs available for still less) to nearly $20,000 for big-screen, flagship TVs. In between sit a host of TVs with varying performance and features. The good news is that you can find a nice assortment of top performing sets at prices that are substantially less than in past years.

OLED TVs

OLED is the only other current TV technology, and if you prize picture quality over everything else, you'll certainly want to consider an OLED TV. The downside is the cost, with prices starting at around $2,000 for a base 55-inch model, and, again, ranging up to near $20,000 for a 77-inch flagship model. The upside is absolutely stunning image quality -- with some current models being called the best ever tested by reviewers.

Smart TVs

Many TVs, from the priciest flagship models to some super cheap budget ones, boast some sort of "smart" functionality -- i.e., the ability to connect to the Internet to access streaming content from Netflix, Amazon Prime and a host of other well-known providers, as well as other providers most casual viewers have never heard of. Some of those integrate user interfaces that are easy to use, however none approach the functionality of those TVs that have the Roku platform -- universally acknowledged to be the most robust and user-friendly streaming system. For those who want the best smart TV experience, cord-cutters, for example, we highlight the best Roku-equipped TVs.

Finding The Best TVs
Our Sources1. ConsumerReports.org
LCD & Plasma TVs2. CNET
Best TVs of 20163. Reviewed.com
TelevisionsSee All

To find the best TV for any viewer and any budget, we examine professional and user reviews to identify the sets that shine in terms of image quality, features, design and value, and name those our Best Reviewed choices. We also look at some TVs that don't fall too far behind and can be excellent options in their own right. Experts we consult include CNET, PCMag.com, Reviewed.com, ConsumerReports.org and many others. User feedback is drawn from popular retail sites such as Amazon.com and BestBuy.com.

The best TVs for most people

While TV choices span a dizzying spectrum of price, performance and features options, for those looking for good image quality, good features, and good value, the Vizio M series looks like a winner, especially for those that want a bigger screen TV. While reviewers like the series in general, several note that for technical reasons (fewer dimming zones in the 50-inch version; lower refresh rate in the 55-inch version; and a different, less desirable type of panel in the 60-inch model) screen sizes of 65 inches and up represent the best bang for the buck in these sets, and for that reason we are nominating the 65-inch Vizio M65-D0 (Est. $1,300) as the best TV for most buyers.

While not every reviewer agrees, the Vizio M65-D0 earns plenty of accolades. It's an Editor's Choice selection at both CNET and Reviewed.com. Rtings.com calls it a "good all-around TV," with "great picture quality." Unlike many sets in its price range, the M-series uses a full backlit array rather than edge-lighting (see the Buying Guide for more information) with local dimming for better uniformity (fewer bright areas in dark scenes) and deeper blacks. Color performance is also good, though CNET needed to do a little tweaking in their test to get things looking their best.

On the features front, this 4K resolution set has High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, but not a Quantum Dot screen to take full advantage of all that HDR can offer (again, see the Buying Guide for more info on those features). But the big feature is the fully functional 6-inch Android 5.1 tablet. The table isn't a world-beater specs-wise, but reviewers say it works well enough for web browsing, email reading and causal game play. It's also required to get the most out of the TV since settings and such usually found on TV menus are offloaded to the device. Reviewers aren't crazy about needing to "futz with the tablet to turn on the TV," as CNET's David Katzmaier puts it, but a small traditional remote for everyday tasks like that, as well as controlling volume, input selection and more, is also included. Vizio has dumped its dated streaming platform and replaced it with SmartCast, which uses the same technology as Google Chromecast, opening up the set to the largest library of streaming apps short of the Roku platform. As was the case last year, there's no 3D support in this or any other 2016 Vizio set.

While we and others like this TV very much, there are reasons why you might not. For starters, it lacks a tuner. If you still get local TV over the air via a TV antenna (covered in their own report), that might be a deal killer, but it's not a concern if you rely on cable/satellite TV or get all your programming streaming over the Web. The other issue is the set's brightness. The trade-off for the excellent (for an LED set at this price) black levels is that brightness is limited. That means movie watching in a darkened room will be better than on any other set in this price range, and even many sets priced higher, but if your viewing room is excessively well lit, things might look a tad washed out. That said, Katzmaier notes that the set "is still plenty bright for just about any room," though some tweaking might be needed.

If those issues concern you, the Samsung KU6300 is worth a look. Sets in this series span a wide range of sizes, from 40 inches up to 70 inches, and garner respect in many corners. For example, for those looking for a mid-sized set, the 40-inch Samsung UN40KU6300 (Est. $400) earns Recommended status among sets in its size class at ConsumerReports.org and is named one of the top performers in terms of picture quality among 40-inch to 43-inch sets at Rtings.com. Other sets in the series, including the 65-inch Samsung UN65KU6300 (Est. $1,100), are equally well-liked.

Unlike the Vizio, the Samsung KU6300 TVs have a tuner, so that box is checked. In terms of picture quality, this 4K set uses an edge lit design with no local dimming, so blacks will not be as dark as seen on the Vizio. On the plus side, uniformity, often awful on edge-lit sets, is pretty good, at least according to Rtings.com's testing. Brightness is higher than the Vizio's; though not as bright as seen on some sets, it should look fine in even very well-lit spaces. One concern in well-lit rooms is light reflections, and we see a split opinion there, with Rtings.com calling it worse than average, but LCDTVBuyingGuide.com saying that "Screen Reflection is not severe."

Like the Vizio, the set is HDR compatible, though testing shows that the set won't be able to display more colors even with HDR content. Color performance is good for standard content, however, and ConsumerReports.org gives the set its highest ratings for HD and 4K picture quality. The feature set is not extensive, but a good, although not great, streaming platform that includes most of the must-have providers is on board. Of note, while we don't give a full recommendation to smaller than 65 inch Vizio M-series TVs, if your room or budget demands a smaller screen, we have no such reservations with the KU6300 series and it is a top choice among mid-sized sets.

Good picture quality at a bargain price

Hisense might not be a household name among TV makers in the U.S., but a lot of families have Hisense TVs without knowing it as the company has, for years, supplied many of the sets sold under house brands by Best Buy, Sears and others. Sharp TVs currently sold in the U.S. are also made by Hisense.

Be that as it may, Hisense has begun selling TVs under its own moniker as well, including the 55-inch Hisense 55H8C (Est. $500). Most experts actually look at the slightly smaller, 50-inch Hisense 50H8C (Est. $450), but note that performance of the two H8 series sets should be identical.

Reviews are largely positive for these TVs, including an Editors' Choice selection by Reviewed.com. Rtings.com gives it good feedback as well, saying that with "good picture quality that is uncommon for the price," the TV is a top choice for anyone looking for a larger screen size in this price range.

No, picture quality is not quite up to that of the sets mentioned above (or in the same universe as the enthusiast sets covered next), but HDGuru.com's Greg Tarr is fairly impressed nonetheless. He notes that the 50-inch set he tests has "an impressively high level of performance" compared to other "entry level" HDR 4K TVs. "Black levels are deep, colors rich and bright and 4K resolution sharp and realistic," he says, adding "it's hard not to be impressed with the amount of television you get for your dollar."

Those great blacks are the result of a full matrix backlight with local diming. Contrast is good too, with good brightness, as is screen uniformity. Color performance is spot on when measured against older, non-HDR standards, but at this price point you won't get the boosted colors that HDR can deliver. Of course, for that, you'll need to dig a lot deeper into your wallet for a higher performance TV. Be that as it may, Lee Neikirk at Reviewed com says, "But for what it is, the H8 series is a perfectly good buy, and it's future-proofed with the best of them." The smart features are limited compared to some TVs, but the basics are more than adequately covered. Another plus: An abnormally long four-year warranty (one-year is the industry norm) that covers parts, labor and in-home service for all the company's 4K sets.

A top small-screen choice

Not everyone wants or needs a wall-filling TV. But finding a good performing set that measures 32 inches or less can be a challenge. Very few reviewers test sets that small, and some manufacturers have abandoned making them altogether. The 28-inch Samsung UN28H4000 (Est. $185) is a happy exception. This one gets good expert feedback, including an Editors' Choice award from Reviewed.com and a Recommended tag from ConsumerReports.org. This set was originally introduced in 2014, and has amassed a large and largely positive catalog of user feedback -- including a 4.5-star rating at Amazon.com following more than 1,600 reviews. All that adds up to us making it easily the Best Reviewed small TV. And if 28-inches is still too large, the set also comes in a still-smaller size as the 24-inch Samsung UN24H4000 (Est. $160).

It's unfair to expect a TV in this size and price class to be a world-beater picture-wise, and that holds true for this Samsung. Still, picture quality is quite good compared to available alternatives. Black levels are low, but uniformity is surprisingly good. Colors measure accurate according to one review, and easily pass an eyeball test, even right out of the box, according to another.

The spec sheet isn't especially impressive -- on paper -- but perfectly reasonable and acceptable in a TV with this screen size and price. Its resolution is only 720p, but that's fine in a 28-inch set. One reviewer notes that motion performance is not terrific, but that the visible effects are usually not noticeable on typical program material. Reviewed.com, on the other hand, calls motion performance "good."

Features are non-existent, for the most part. There's the typical USB port for displaying your own files -- something now found on virtually every TV, smart or dumb, cheap or expensive. Reviewed.com praises the Samsung remote for being back lit. A small thing, but useful for using your clicker in a dark room, such as your bedroom at night, and something often missing from remotes on cheap, small TVs.

Enthusiast TVs at less-than-enthusiast prices

Up to now, we've focused on good performing TVs at budget friendly prices. If, on the other hand, your wallet can stretch a little to afford TVs with somewhat better picture quality, we suggest you consider the Samsung KS8000 series, including the 65-inch Samsung UN65KS8000 (Est. $1,700). No, it's not a flagship TV, and no, image quality is not quite up to flagship standards. But those sets can cost two, three, or many more times as much. On the other hand, the KS8000 delivers picture quality that would have been flagship-grade just a couple of years ago, and at a price that would have been unimaginable (in a good way) at the same time.

The KS8000 is crammed to the gills with every key feature, including 4K resolution; HDR10 support; a Quantum Dot screen so you can get the most out of HDR content; ample connectivity; and a well-regarded Smart TV interface with a healthy selection of top streaming partners, along with lots of niche providers that most will probably never access. Smaller screen sizes, ranging from 49 to 60 inches, are available and all are expected to perform similarly.

Picture quality is excellent, especially in rooms with normal to bright ambient lighting, and the set minimizes issues with reflections even in very well-lit rooms. Color is precise, right out of the box; "among the best sets in my lineup" reports CNET's Katzmaier. Image processing is first rate as well, and this Samsung TV handles the necessities, such as upscaling lower-resolution content, without any serious bobbles. The TV earns Editors' Choice status at Reviewed.com, Recommended status at ConsumerReports.org, a Highly Recommended award at FlatPannelsHD.com and good user feedback. Rtings.com rates it among the best non-OLED TVs you can buy.

But some reviewers have a decidedly different take. If the Samsung KS8000 has an Achilles heel, it's that its black levels aren't very deep, and its uniformity is less than perfect. Under normal viewing conditions, that's not a huge issue, most say, but if you like watching movies in darkened rooms, it can negatively impact the experience. That's a point that even those reviewers that otherwise like the set concede.

If that's an issue for you, the Vizio P-series might leave you happier. It's not without some faults of its own, but it's also an excellent TV, most say, and some say it's one of the best LED TVs you can buy at any price. Writing at TheWirecutter.com, ISF-certified calibrator Chris Heinonen says that he was so blown away by the 65-inch set in the series, the Vizio P65-C1 (Est. $2,000), that he bought one to serve as a reference UHD display in his AV testing room.

If you read our take on the Vizio M-series above, this set's pluses and minuses should be familiar to you. Picture quality is better than on the cheaper Vizio, CNET says, but the price is higher, too. Like the M-series, there's a full array backlight, but with even more local dimming zones for better black levels -- better than found on most LED TVs, including those that cost quite a bit more. Uniformity is excellent, too, at least by LED TV standards. Color accuracy and image processing all test out well.

The feature line up is similar to that of the Vizio M-series, including the accessory Android table. Like everything else, however, things are stepped up a notch over the cheaper set. In the case of the tablet, that means a more powerful processor, more storage, and a higher resolution screen (1080p vs. 720p). But, Katzmaier says, the experience is largely similar. Likewise, the streaming features are powered by Google's Cast technology

The Vizio-P series shares its downsides with the M-series as well. Light output is limited compared to competing sets, like the KS8000 -- though not so much so that it won't be a perfectly fine performer in most settings. In testing, CNET reports that the P-Series TV is "plenty bright for even the most sun-soaked rooms, but if you insist on maximum brightness for some reason, you'll need to get a more expensive TV." It also lacks a tuner -- which is a deal breaker for those that still get at least some programming the old fashioned way, over the air via an antenna. Also, while smaller screen sizes are available, because of differences in specifications, performance might be a step worse, so these comments only apply to sets with larger screen sizes -- this set and the 75-inch version.

OLED for the rest of us

For those who demand the very best picture quality, regardless of price, OLED remains the best choice, and the 55-inch LG OLED55B6P (Est. $2,000) is our Best Reviewed pick among OLED sets. You can spend more for spiffier styling and better sound quality, or a lot more for a bigger screen, but when you can get every ounce of picture goodness that OLED technology offers for just under $2,000 there's no reason to. If you demand a larger image, a 65 inch set in this series is also available, but sells for $1,000 more.

How good is this TV? "The LG B6 outperforms every other TV we've tested, with the exception of even more-expensive 2016 OLED TVs, which perform about the same," CNET's Katzmaier says. CNET names it an Editors' Choice, as does PCMag.com, Reviewed.com and others.

This 4K HDR-compatible OLED TV hits most of the picture-quality benchmarks, though it's not quite perfect (and no TV ever made has been). Black levels are "perfect," however, PCMag.com reports, and black uniformity is "flawless" in Rtings.com's tests. Color accuracy is excellent, though a little tweaking might be in order right out of the box, and it can display the wider color gamut and higher contrast that HDR delivers. Brightness is a little bit of a laggard compared to the brightest LED TVs, but the set remains compelling even in well-lit rooms and nearly unbeatable when watching movies or other content in dark spaces. LG's WebOS smart platform isn't especially robust, but the key content providers are there -- and the quality of the streaming platform shouldn't be a make or break issue for anyone considering this TV.

On the other hand, as compelling as the overall picture quality of this LG OLED set is, OLED is not necessarily for everyone. OLED technology is still cutting edge and supported primarily by LG, though Panasonic is dabbling in the space (its 2016 model is no longer available, but a new set for 2017 is promised). OLED also requires a bit of care compared to LED sets -- a break in period and watchfulness against static images (such as a stock ticker at the bottom of the screen) to prevent image retention, just like with plasma sets, which have been out of production for a couple of years now.

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Samsung UN40KU6300 40-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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Samsung UN65KU6300 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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Hisense 55H8C 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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Samsung UN28H4000 28-Inch 720p 60Hz LED TV (2014 Model)
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Samsung UN24H4000 24-Inch 720p LED TV (2014 Model)
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Samsung UN65KS8000 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
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New: $2,799.99   
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LG Electronics OLED55B6P Flat 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2016 Model)
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