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How We Tested

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Spent
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 101 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide for Best HDTVs

    We’re living in a Golden Age of television — not only are there more options for watching shows and movies than ever before, we now also have the technology to show every frame in its pixel-perfect glory. It’s an exciting, and certainly technically confusing, time to be a viewer.

    Whether you’re building the perfect home cinema to screen movies from the comfort of your living room, or you just want the latest and greatest TV for Super Bowl weekend, it’s important to know the right features to get, and the gimmicks to avoid.

    Use our insights and advice to pick a set that does your content justice, and wows the occasional guest! At BestReviews, our mission is to provide our readers with thorough, unbiased product reviews, so they can make informed buying decisions. We buy every model we test with our own funds, and never accept free or discounted products from manufacturers.

    Most new TV models are released in March or April, making spring the perfect time to upgrade — or to pick up last year’s model at a sweet price.

    4K vs. 1080p

    When it comes to watching movies and shows in high definition, there are two types of TV resolutions to consider: 1920x1080 (otherwise known as “full HD” or “1080p”) and 3840x2160 (otherwise known as “ultra HD” or “4K”). The numbers refer to the number of pixels each type can display — more pixels means more detail.

    1080p TVs are more affordable than 4K sets, and they are an ideal match for cable TV, DVDs, standard Blu-Rays, and every major streaming video service (most content today is only available at 1080p resolution and not yet available in 4K). A solid 1080p set may not have the astonishing detail of a 4K equivalent, but it will cost hundreds less, and will nonetheless deliver a quality picture.

    4K TV sets feature four times as many pixels as 1080p TVs, and when paired with proper 4K content can transform any living room into a cinema. Beyond adding more pixels, many 4K TV sets include game-changing features like HDR or OLED displays, all of which will significantly level-up any home theater by producing more vibrant colors, deeper blacks, and stronger contrasts.


    Most major cable providers do not yet support 4K through their set-top boxes. To find more 4K content, consider signing up to a streaming service that supports 4K, such as Amazon Video or Netflix. You can also buy a 4K Blu-ray player, and watch 4K Blu-ray movies.

    Staff  | BestReviews

    What’s the Fuss About HDR?

    High Dynamic Range, better known as HDR, is a new feature in televisions. HDR dramatically improves how colors and contrast are handled. In a nutshell, content producers are now able to include HDR data on 4K Blu-Ray discs and streaming content, which delivers instructions to the TV specifying how vivid the colors should be, and how bright each pixel should be. The end result is astonishing: HDR content on a properly calibrated TV produces images that are mind-bogglingly bright.

    There are actually several competing technologies in the HDR space, including standard HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision. This is hardly a format war, however: the vast majority of 4K movies and TV shows support traditional HDR, while support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision can be very difficult to find.

    If you’re buying a 4K TV, consider HDR an essential feature — the improvement is so dramatic and powerful that it’s not worth buying a 4K set without it.


    Many 4K streaming content producers, like Amazon and Netflix, support multiple HDR formats, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+.

    LED vs. OLED vs. QLED

    Not all flat screens are the same, and in fact, the differences can be pretty stark. There are currently three different kinds of television panels being used to manufacture HDTVs, each with their own unique qualities.

    • LED panels, or light-emitting diode screens, are the most commonly available type of screen. LED screens are typically backlit and very affordable, however, they can often be hard to see from certain angles.

    • OLED panels, or organic light-emitting diode screens, are unique because they allow the TV to adjust the brightness of every pixel individually, creating a picture that is exponentially more vibrant than an LED screen could. While OLED televisions are the most expensive, they’re certainly worth it — OLED TVs can even turn off individual pixels, creating blacks that are much darker than those displayed on other sets.

    • QLED is an exclusive Samsung technology that describes their improvements to LED. By using “nano-particle filters,” QLED sets can produce brighter colors that arguably compete with those from OLED TVs.

    First introduced in 2012, OLED TVs are a relatively new technology for mainstream consumers, and the current high prices are expected to steadily drop over the next several years.


    Legacy Features

    Each year, television manufacturers add new features to their TVs in hopes of wowing consumers with the latest and greatest technologies. However, in recent years, some less popular features have been abandoned — most notably 3D support and curved-glass sets.

    • 3D was dropped as a feature by all TV manufacturers in 2017. Aside from not being part of the 4K technical standards, 3D just never took off. If you’re a 3D enthusiast, consider looking at pre-2017 TVs, or buying a projector instead — many projectors still support 3D, and the majority of summer blockbuster movies get 3D Blu-ray releases.

    • Curved TVs have been an intermittent fad, with fewer curved models being offered every year. Curved TVs are designed to mirror the curvature of the human eye, which arguably produces a better picture by relying on the viewer’s peripheral vision. Most of the major TV manufacturers are still producing curved sets, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how long they’ll be around.


    There are two types of 3D televisions: those that support passive 3D and use glasses similar to those used at the movies, and those that support active 3D, and require bulkier glasses that must be charged before use. Both types are compatible with standard 3D Blu-ray discs.


    Before deciding which HDTV you’re going to buy, consider these tips.

    • TVs will perform differently depending on the light in the room. Be sure to calibrate your TV, using the settings menu, to optimize how it looks with the available light in your home.

    • If you buy a smart TV, before watching anything, connect it to your home WiFi and check for any available software updates. Make sure your TV is running the latest version of its operating system to ensure you’re taking advantage of the latest features, fixes, and apps.

    • Most modern HDTVs have auto-shutdown timers that are disabled by default. When you first set up your TV, enable this functionality so that the TV will turn itself off and save power if you accidentally leave it on (or fall asleep watching).

    • Dolby Vision is a hardware-based type of HDR, whereas HDR and HDR10+ are software-based. This means that in order to watch content in Dolby Vision, the TV must include the on-board hardware to do so. In contrast, HDR and HDR10+ are part of the TVs firmware — which means that some specific TVs can add HDR and HDR10+ through a software update.

    • If you’re planning to mount your HDTV to a wall, start by checking what VESA mounting standards it supports (for example, many LG TVs use the 400x400 standard). Be sure that the wall mount you buy explicitly mentions your TV’s VESA standard, otherwise it won’t work.

    • Some TV manufacturers use the same remote control frequency across multiple devices from the same brand, so you can use one remote to control them all. For example, most Samsung HDTVs include a remote control that can also be used to control Samsung Blu-ray players.

    • Most HDTVs have built-in hardware for connecting to an antenna. By simply connecting an HDTV antenna to your set’s coaxial input, you can receive all of the local broadcast channels in your area, in sparkling high definition!

    Attaching an LED strip to the back of your HDTV creates a glow behind the set known as “bias lighting.” The effect enhances the picture by highlighting the contrast and frame of the TV’s picture.


    Q. Why are some 4K TVs so much cheaper than others?

    A. Many 4K sets skimp on key features in order to keep their prices low. For example, some bargain 4K TVs have multiple inputs, but only one that actually supports 4K content. Others forego options like HDR, which keeps costs down at the sacrifice of picture quality.

    Q. Do I need special HDMI cables for a 4K HDTV?

    A. Yes and no. There are two main types of HDMI cable — version 1.4 and version 2.0. Cables that are HDMI version 1.4 can work with 4K content, so long as it’s shot at 30 frames per second (fps). However, HDMI version 2.0 cables are required for 4K content in HDR or anything shot in 4K at 60 frames per second. So while it’s definitely possible to enjoy 4K TV with older cables, there are many reasons why the additional capabilities of HDMI 2.0 cables are worth the upgrade.

    Q. Can I connect my computer to an HDTV?

    A. If your computer has an HDMI video output, you can use your HDTV as a monitor for it with an HDMI cable. Keep in mind that while 1080p HD resolution is great for movies and TV, some find that resolution to be a little low for computer screens, where readability matters.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jaime
    • Jeff
    • Kyle

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