Best HD TVs

Updated July 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
Cons
How we decided

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

30 Models Considered
22 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Buying guide for best HD TVs

We are living in a Golden Age of television. Not only are there more options for watching shows and movies than ever before, TV manufacturers like Sony, Vizio, Hisense, and Samsung have the technology to show every frame in its pixel-perfect glory. It’s an exciting, and certainly a technically confusing, time to be a TV viewer.

Whether you are building the perfect home cinema to screen movies from the comfort of your living room or you just want the best 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 we never accept free or discounted products from manufacturers.

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HD TVs
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.

Key considerations

Resolution

When it comes to watching movies and shows in high definition, there are two main 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. The more pixels on display, the greater the level of detail your TV is capable of showing.

First, let’s look at 1080p LED TVs. These are more affordable than 4K sets, and they are an ideal match for cable TV, DVDs, standard Blu-Ray discs, and every major streaming video service. A solid 1080p set may not have the astonishing detail of a 4K resolution equivalent. However, it will cost you hundreds less than a 4K TV, and it will still deliver a quality picture.

4K Ultra HD TV sets feature four times as many pixels as 1080p TVs do. What’s more, when paired with proper 4K content, these sets can transform any living room into a cinema.

Beyond adding more pixels, many 4K TV sets include game-changing features. These include HDR or OLED displays. Even models that are considered to be “mid-range” will significantly level up any home theater by producing more vibrant colors, deeper blacks, and stronger contrasts.

More feature-packed and all-around better looking than their HD and FHD counterparts, a 4K UHD TV is a must-have for anyone researching 65-inch TVs or even larger options.

LED vs. OLED vs. QLED

Not all flat screen TVs are the same. In fact, the differences between them can be pretty stark.

There are currently three kinds of television panels being used to manufacture HDTVs. These are LED, OLED, and QLED TVs. Each has its own unique qualities.

  • LED panels, or light-emitting diode screens, are the most commonly available type of screen these days. LED screens are typically backlit. They are very affordable, too. They are the most common type of HD TV.
  • OLED panels, or organic light-emitting diode screens, are unique because they allow the TV to adjust the brightness of every pixel individually. This creates a picture quality that is far more vibrant than an LED screen could ever hope to be. While the best OLED televisions available are fairly pricey, they are  certainly worth it. OLED TVs can even turn off individual mini-LED pixels, creating blacks that are much darker than those displayed on other sets.
  • QLED is an exclusive Samsung technology. It embodies the company’s improvements to LEDs. 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. The current high prices are expected to steadily drop over the next several years.

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Features

Not all HD TVs are built the same. Most models share a relatively smaller screen size and are fairly affordable. That said, there are a few important features that you should look for when shopping for a new HD TV:

  • Smart TV functionality: Why buy a separate streaming device when you can simply buy an HD Smart TV instead? The best HD TVs incorporate smart TV functionality via Roku TV, Android TV, WebOS, Samsung’s Tizen, or Amazon’s Fire TV. Thanks to this, you can enjoy streaming services like Hulu and Apple TV. You can simply sit back and enjoy TV shows and movies with a press of the remote control.
  • Dedicated game mode: Gamers should search for an HD TV with a dedicated game mode. These models support a superior image quality. They also have a faster refresh rate or VRR (variable refresh rate), multiple HDMI inputs, and low input lag. So, while you may not be enjoying your Xbox Series X at its 4K best, it will have the smoothest and most detailed experience that an HD TV can provide.
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Did you know?
Although 4K Tvs are considered the industry standard for picture quality, and fewer new HD TV models are produced each year, it is certainly not worth investing in a high-end 8K TV right now. The reason: they are priced extremely high, and true 8K content is still rare.
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Tips

Before deciding which HDTV you would like to own, consider these tips.

  • If you need an HD TV for a room with a lot of viewers, keep an eye out for models that feature a wide viewing angle. This will make your new TV look amazing no matter what side of the room you are watching from.
  • If you buy a smart TV, before watching anything, connect it to your home WiFi. Then, check for any available software updates. Make sure your TV is running the latest version of its operating system so you can take advantage of the latest features, fixes, and apps.
  • A soundbar may be a wise investment. After all, not all HD TVs are built the same. While the sound quality of a budget TV may be far lower than that of a pricier model, buying a good soundbar is the best way to get cinematic sound without a big upfront investment.
  • If the idea of streaming TV shows directly from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet to your HD TV appeals to you, look for models that include Chromecast or Samsung’s Tap View.
  • If you are 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, the mount and the TV will not work with each other.
  • Some HDTVs incorporate voice controls to navigate smart TV features. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung’s Bixby are three of the most common HDTV voice controls, and they allow you to manipulate the TV with convenience and ease.
  • 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 from behind its bezels. This is known as “bias lighting.” The effect enhances the picture by highlighting the contrast and frame of the TV’s picture.

You might be surprised to learn that TV antennas have made a return to the main stage! Today’s antennas are flat, thin sheets you place in a window. By installing one, you gain access to live TV stations without having to pay a subscription rate.

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Pricing

When looking for the best buy, the good news is, you need not spend a lot to get a great HD TV.

For under $300, you can get a full HD TV with 1080p resolution. Many of these options will be 32 inches in size, but you may find an occasional 43-inch display available.

The great thing is, you are very likely to find an inexpensive HD TV for even less than that. Many great companies, including Vizio, TCL, and Samsung, offer excellent TVs that cost under $200.

Accessories

Soundbar: JBL Bar 2.1
We are fans of soundbars for several reasons. The built-in speakers of a TV don’t have quite the oomph of a soundbar; if your dream is to create a cinematic experience at home, a soundbar can bring you that much closer. 

Wall mount: VideoSecu Wall Mount
Wall mounting seems to be all the rage these days with TVs. We are not surprised. With a wall mount, you save precious floor space and minimize clutter. You also can get a really great viewing angle. This TV mount has an articulating arm so you are sure to enjoy the picture to the maximum.

Theater seating: Flash Furniture Three-Seat Recliner Set
We are huge fans of this awesome looking set of three recliners. You can create the atmosphere of the movie theater — a very upscale one — at home with these comfy recliners. Flash Furniture also makes the chairs in a set of two for those romantic nights in.

HD TVs 2
Attaching an LED strip to the back of your HDTV creates a glow from behind its bezels. This is known as “bias lighting.” The effect enhances the picture by highlighting the contrast and frame of the TV’s picture.

FAQ

Q. Why are HD TVs so affordable?

A. Several factors contribute to the relatively affordable price of HD TVs. This includes the fact that superior-looking 4K UHD displays are more popular. Many new HD TVs are rarely larger than a 32-inch model,  and they may lack many important TV innovations like a quantum dot backlight, HDR10 (high dynamic range,) or full-array local dimming for noticeably deep black levels.

Q. How do I find the best HD TV deals?

A. One method is to wait for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Memorial Day weekend. Major retailers tend to save their best discounts for popular shopping days.

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. You may be able to project your display directly to your HD TV via Chromecast or a wireless display adapter plugged into the TV’s USB port.

 

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