Mimics framed artwork when not in use. Magnetic bezel takes different frame styles. Offers smart TV features such as streaming apps, app store, and compatibility with Amazon Alexa. QLED display with 120Hz refresh rate boasts vivid color and advanced HDR. Offers HDMI, Bluetooth, and WiFi connections.
Pricey. Physical connectors are housed in separate unit from the TV. Uses Tizen OS rather than Roku, FireOS, or tvOS.
Runs FireOS by Amazon for full smart TV experience. Can utilize Alexa search and voice control via Alexa remote. Boasts HDR10 and HLG for high-quality picture. Compatible with Apple AirPlay. Has 4 HDMI inputs, including eARC for Dolby-compatible pass-through.
Doesn’t support hands-free controls or 2-way video calling. Only 60Hz refresh rate.
Direct full-array LEDs behind the screen create deeper blacks and brighter whites than regular LED TVs. Ultra-thin bezel emphasizes the screen. Offers 3D-like contrast enhancement with spatially-aware sound including Dolby Atmos. Offers 4 HDMI ports and 120Hz refresh rate.
Thick bump in the back houses connections and hardware. Smart Hub interface takes getting used to.
Screen is flush with thin bezel for seamless image. Runs Google TV with support for most popular streaming services. Impressive picture quality with wide color spectrum. Supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2. Has special PlayStation 5 game mode.
Needs separate device for Alexa compatibility. Does not support gaming at 120Hz refresh rate.
Offers dedicated game control panel with variety of gaming-focused enhancements for sound, latency, frame rate, and more. Runs WebOS with popular streaming apps and live sports updates, as well as separate user accounts. Impressive remote works with Alexa, Google, and Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.
Some customers report issues with light leakage and difficult picture adjustments.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
It took a little while, but 4K TVs are now mainstream, and you can find models that include cutting-edge on-board tech like video streaming apps and HDR for less than $500. If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading your TV, there’s never been a better time to do so.
The latest 4K TVs offer huge jumps in picture quality over standard 1080p HDTVs: they have four times as many pixels, and in many cases, they are made with new panel technologies that produce brighter, more vibrant images than we’ve ever seen before. They’re also starting to integrate other technologies — for example, it’s not tough to find a 4K TV that’s compatible with voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, or one that includes Google’s Chromecast local streaming technology. Make no mistake: TV technology has evolved by leaps and bounds, and now is the time to reap the rewards.
Before you start shopping, it helps to spend a little time thinking about some of the basics to help focus your search. Start with these questions.
The first decision to make is about screen size. The bigger the screen, the clearer the picture — but you’ll also pay a lot more for it. Consider the area in which you will be placing the TV, and do some quick measuring to determine your ideal size.
TV manufacturers are using improved display panels on their best models, resulting in picture quality that is substantially brighter. Each company has its own version (you’ll see OLED, XLED, and QLED, for starters), and those models are more expensive than standard 4K TVs. If you’re a movie fanatic, or you just want the best picture quality available, you’ll need to spend a little more, but it’ll be worth it.
Count everything you connect to your TV, from your cable TV box to your Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 to your soundbar. Make sure the 4K TV you buy has enough HDMI ports to handle all of your existing devices, and you'll want to keep an eye out for HDMI 2.1 ports, as they support higher bandwidth, premium HDR support, and more fluid gaming.
If you’re thinking about buying a 4K TV, you may have heard the debate between 1080p vs. 4K. The primary difference between these two types of television is resolution. 4K televisions offer more pixels and a higher-quality resolution. They tend to cost a bit more than 1080p options, which have fewer pixels but are still good appliances.
All 4K TVs boast an impressive 3840 x 2160 resolution, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are the 4K TV features that separate the best models from the ones that are just so-so.
Traditional LED panels light up pixels from behind in clusters, so while an LED 4K TV will display a resolution of 3840 x 2160, the light clusters bleed into one another, resulting in a picture that looks good but can at times be fuzzy.
New approaches from Samsung’s QLED and Vizio’s XLED 4K TVs solve this problem by reducing light bleeding, so you can see every pixel much more quickly. LG’s and Sony’s OLED TVs are in a class of their own: they utilize local dimming to individually light each pixel, and they can turn off individual pixels to display the color black. OLED 4K TVs are the most expensive models, by far, but they offer a visual experience that other TVs can barely compete with.
HDR is one of our favorite features on 4K TVs because it dramatically improves colors and overall picture quality. With an HDR TV, both contrast and color are improved, so roses look redder, violets look bluer, and pitch-blacks are much darker for all-around superior image quality.
You’ll need to find HDR-enabled content to take advantage of the feature, but most 4K Blu-rays and 4K streaming services offer a wide array of HDR content in HDR.
Like many ongoing tech debates, the HDR versus Dolby Vision argument polarizes viewers. Our take: because HDR is currently supported by more streaming platforms than Dolby Vision, most viewers will be more than satisfied with an HDR-enabled 4K TV. If you’re a fan of Dolby Vision, or if you want to be prepared for when more Dolby Vision content becomes available, get a 4K TV that supports both standards — just be forewarned you’ll need to pay a little more for the cinematic Dolby experience.
Whether it is powered by Android TV or Google TV, Roku, WebOS, or its own native platform, the vast majority of 4K TVs support smart functionality. The average smart television has access to a huge library of popular streaming apps, such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, which makes it easy to enjoy a wide range of TV shows and movies.
Historically, TVs have never had great speakers, but that’s starting to change. Some TV manufacturers now include built-in soundbars with their premium models, so you don’t have to buy a separate audio solution — and you can control your entire setup with one convenient remote. Some premium audio systems even support surround sound audio formats like Dolby Atmos.
Once you’ve got the right 4K TV, you’ll need the right gear to play all of your content. Start with these peripherals.
Streaming box: Apple TV 4K
Chances are, your 4K TV is smart, but if you’re serious about your streaming, we recommend getting a separate streaming box anyway. Streaming boxes have more apps and more frequent updates, and in the case of the Apple TV, they offer key functionality like access to iTunes movie and TV rentals as well as Dolby Atmos. If you’re planning on watching Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, or Vudu on your new 4K TV, get an Apple TV 4K for the best picture and sound quality available.
Between $250 and $800, you’ll find a wide range of solid mid-range TVs. The choices in this price range have great picture quality and smooth smart functionality, and they support a fair share of user-friendly features, such as Chromecast and a dedicated game mode. If you’re buying a secondary TV, or a 4K TV for a small apartment, living room, or dorm, you can find a solid value in this price range. If you’re looking for a larger TV (bigger than 55 inches) or one with features that improve picture quality, you’ll need to spend more.
Between $800 and $1,400, you’ll encounter the best values in 4K TVs. It’s not hard to find a massive 4K TV with HDR for this much, or a TV with a XLED QLED TV. If you’re looking for a TV with an incredible picture that will last you until the 8K models arrive without breaking the bank, this price range is a worthwhile long-term investment.
Between $1,500 and $3,500 are the best and brightest: mammoth 4K TVs that are made with the latest TV technologies, such as 4K OLED panels and high-contrast full array backlighting, or premium audio features. If you’re building a home theater, or if you simply want the best TV money can buy, plan on spending this much or more.
4K has the advantage over 1080p in terms of color and vibrance. However, buyers should know that 1080p has the advantage as far as content goes. In other words, not all content comes in 4K yet. That said, you could get a TV that “upscales” 1080p content.
Save some money by buying last year's 4K TV. While it may not have the latest TV features and technologies, the best budget-friendly strategy is to compare stock between retailers, as there are some excellent TV deals available if you are willing to buy a slightly older 4K TV.
If you’re planning on mounting your 4K TV to the wall, check to see what size VESA mount it requires. All 4K TVs can be wall-mounted, but you’ll need a wall mount that’s the right size. Wall mounting hardware kits are all built to VESA standards, a system for making mounting measurements universal. Before you buy a wall mount, check the 4K TV to see what VESA standard it works with. For example, let’s say you like a TV with mount measurements of 400 x 300. You will want to make sure the mounting kit you buy supports the 400 x 300 standard.
Update your 4K TV’s firmware before you do anything else. All 4K TVs are smart. They run their own operating systems with apps you can use to stream video from sources like Hulu, Netflix, or Vudu. Just like the systems on laptops and smartphones, TV OSs need to be updated regularly to deliver improvements and security fixes. When you first turn on your 4K TV, connect it to your local Wi-FI network. Then, use the on-screen settings menus to check for firmware updates. If any updates are available, download and install them. Firmware updates typically take about a half-hour to complete.
A. Smart televisions support a huge collection of streaming apps, and many of them, including Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video host plenty of crystal-clear 4K content.
A. If you’ve bought an HDMI cable in the last few years, it’s likely you won’t have to replace it to watch 4K. One of the perks of moving your game consoles and smart devices from an HD or Full-HD TV to a 4K model is compatibility, as their HDMI cables will work just as well in 4K.
A. While you can play on any 4K TV, you will get the most out of your Xbox Series X by seeking out a gaming TV that supports VRR, or Variable Refresh Rate, for smoother and more fluid gameplay, quantum dot technology for a more vibrant color range, low input lag, and high-end HDR performance for more pronounced levels of contrast between shadows and bright effects.
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