Best TV: upgrade your lounge this winter with the best OLED, QLED, 4K and Smart TVs

The best TVs to invest in for your next movie night, binge-watch, or the big game

Best TV: Samsung Q80T
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(Image credit: Samsung)

If you’ve recently been feeling inspired to upgrade the tech in your living room, then you’re not alone. Spending more time at home in recent years has naturally led many of us to start daydreaming about our next TV splurge, whether that involves a considerable size increase, a jump to 4K (or even 8K), or something else.

The best TVs can turn an ordinary Friday night in front of Netflix into a cinema-worthy experience. If that’s been lacking for you, then we think that it’s high time you take a look at what’s currently on offer.

But how to choose the perfect set? Specs and features in the television space are notoriously confusing and too often bogged down with incomprehensible jargon, so it’s essential to do your homework before handing over your hard-earned cash.

If you’re having trouble, then we’re here to help decipher things such as the difference between LED, OLED, and QLED, or between HD, 4K, and 8K, and answer questions like ‘can an 85-inch TV ever really look good in an ordinary-sized living room?’.

Keep reading to see how we rated some of the best TVs available right now, or narrow down your search with our guide to the best 75 inch TVs

The best TVs 2022

Sony A9G Master Series Smart 4K OLED TVReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony A9G Master Series Smart 4K OLED TV

Best 4K TV

Specifications

Display: OLED
Resolution: 4K
Sizes: 55”, 65”, 77”
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Smart TV: Android TV
Voice assistants: Google Assistant (works with Alexa, HomeKit, Nest)
Surround sound: Dolby Atmos

Reasons to buy

+
Dolby Vision and Atmos
+
120Hz refresh rate
+
In-built Google Assistant

Reasons to avoid

-
No built-in Alexa (though it’s compatible)
-
Older (2019) model
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Only available in mid-large sizes

Despite being the oldest TV on our list, the Sony A9G remains our pick for the best 4K TV available in right. That’s down to a few things, not least of which is the fact that the A9G’s relative age means you can pick up the previously expensive TV for much less. 

The TV benefits from Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos surround sound, as well as Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech that puts Sony’s offering at the top of the pile when it comes to in-built sound quality. So, if you don’t want to shell out for a separate soundbar, then this could be a good choice. Of course, if you’re undecided, you can check out our guide to the best soundbars.

As for smart features, the A9G comes with in-built Google Assistant and Chromecast and uses the Android TV platform for streaming. You don’t have to completely sign yourself over to Google, however, as it also works with Alexa and Apple HomeKit if you already have a device at home. There’s also a Netflix Calibrated picture mode that promises to boost the quality when streaming from the app.

The refresh rate and Motionflow XR processor make this a good choice for sports fans and gamers, also, as fast action will look great. For general use, you get a menu of picture modes that includes vivid, cinema, game, and photo options.

Real Homes rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Samsung Q80T Smart 4K QLED TVReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Q80T Smart 4K QLED TV

Best QLED TV

Specifications

Display: QLED
Resolution: 4K
Sizes: 55”, 65”, 75”, 85”
HDR: HDR 10+, HLG
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Smart TV: Tizen
Voice assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant
Surround sound: Dolby Digital Plus

Reasons to buy

+
120Hz refresh rate and low input lag
+
Object Tracking Sound
+
Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant 

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Vision or Atmos 
-
Only available in mid-large sizes 
-
Older (2020) model 

The Samsung Q80T has full-array backlighting that floods the screen and prevents you from having to skimp on an edge-lit display, as well as boosted audio with Object Tracking Sound that makes it feel like you’re in the room with the action. All of this at a very reasonable price, making it our top pick for best QLED TV.

The Q80T also has a dedicated Game Motion Plus setting that reduces judder and blur for smoother gameplay. But, aside from being the top choice for gamers, this smart TV also has everything you might need to watch your favorite shows and movies on-demand with built-in Alexa and Google, as well as streaming via the Tizen platform.

Picture quality is predictably great with 4K UHD resolution and a QLED panel. It also offers bright HDR and AI-enhanced images, and an ultra-thin bezel that gives it a minimalist feel despite all of the tech hidden inside. Samsung’s Ambient Mode is here, too, so you can use the Q80T to display your photos and artwork.

Real Homes rating: 5 out of 5 stars

LG GX Smart 4K OLED TVReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: LG)

3. LG GX Smart 4K OLED TV

Best LG TV

Specifications

Display: OLED
Resolution: 4K
Sizes: 55”, 65”, 77”
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Smart TV: webOS
Voice assistants: Google Assistant (works with HomeKit and Alexa)

Reasons to buy

+
Dolby Vision
+
120Hz refresh rate 
+
In-built Google Assistant  

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-built Alexa (but it is compatible) 
-
Only available in mid-large sizes
-
Older (2020) model 

Released back in 2020, the LG GX has remained one of our favorite gallery TVs, built with both displaying artwork and brilliant 4K viewing in mind. With gorgeous detail and clarity, the only thing that might give you pause is the price tag but, if you want something that will look as great in the lounge when it’s off as when it’s on then this is an excellent option.

The GX offers a decidedly minimalist aesthetic, made possible by OLED’s amazing technology and ultra-thin form factor. The TV mounts flush to the wall to complete the effect of it being just another piece of your gallery wall, so it’s a really great choice for interior design fanatics.

Speaking of that OLED screen, you’ll witness perfect blacks, intense color, and deep contrast when switching to your chosen entertainment. And LG OLED TVs now all feature the Filmmaker mode, which disables special effects such as motion smoothing and image sharpening to preserve the original intention of the director. Add to this the LG webOS platform and your movie marathons and box-set binges will never be the same.

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Samsung The Frame Smart 4K QLED TVReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Samsung)
Best TV for size options

Specifications

Display: QLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HLG, HDR 10+
Sound: Dolby Digital Plus
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Smart TV: Tizen

Reasons to buy

+
Hangs flush to wall
+
Great viewing angles
+
Home décor friendly
+
Alexa and Google Home built-in

Reasons to avoid

-
Better image performance from models for less money

Building on the first model of its Frame TV, Samsung's lifestyle TV is available in additional sizes and has a new AI-based auto-curation feature in the form of the Art Store. As such, it's now able to suggest artwork in line with the specific tastes of the owner.

It might not be the cheapest TV on the market (you're paying for the design as well as the specs), the Frame offers an outstanding viewing experience with its bezel styled like a picture that you can hang on your wall.

This means that, when it's off, the screen blends in with other pictures hanging on the wall, with access to thousands of digital images ranging from contemporary to classic. Or you can create your own slide show with your own snaps.

Key to the appeal of this set is the No Gap Wall Mount which sits the TV absolutely flush to your wall with only enough space for a tiny cable to run discreetly down to the One Connect Box.

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Samsung Frame TV

LG C1 Smart 4K OLED TV

(Image credit: LG)

5. LG C1 Smart 4K OLED TV

Specifications

Panel: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG
Surround sound: Dolby Atmos
Smart TV: webOS
Dimensions: 42.2 x 24.3 x 1.8in
Weight: 32.8lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Alexa and Google Assistant built-in
+
2021 model
+
Dolby Atmos sound

Reasons to avoid

-
No HDR 10+

The LG C1 OLED TV is our pick of the best screen right now. Released in 2021, the C1 sports a gorgeous 4K panel with an a9 Gen4 processor that upscales beautifully. Its smart TV offering, webOS, is one of the most popular for streaming fans, and Alexa and Google Home are in-built.

The LG C1 Series is also available in larger sizes up to 83", but we love the 43" model as it combines affordability with the latest tech. The panel is incredibly thin, which means it looks pretty sublime mounted to the wall, and there's a Game Optimiser setting the uses NVIDIA G-SYNC and FreeSync Premium to boost specs.

All in all, this is a seriously impressive TV, and our pick of the new releases this year.

LG CX Smart 4K OLED TV

(Image credit: LG)

6. LG CX Smart 4K OLED TV

Best TV for sound

Specifications

Panel: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG
Sound: DTS-HD, Dolby Atmos, OLED Surround
Smart TV: webOS

Reasons to buy

+
Alexa and Google Home built-in
+
Dolby Atmos

Reasons to avoid

-
Picture not as sharp as other brands

Next on our list is the LG CX Series, which was released in 2020 as an update to the brand's C-Series. The set is perfect for movies night on the sofa as well as the big game or, for gamers, that Sunday afternoon session. The experience is boosted by Dolby Vision IQ, an upgraded video processor and more.

The magic remote that comes along with the set is the cherry on top, allowing you to control your TV with gestures, and in-built Alexa and Google Assistant make it ideal for existing smart homes and newbies alike. You won't be disappointed by the sound quality, either, with Dolby Atmos creating a surround sound experience without the clutter of addition of speakers.

Samsung Q950TS Smart 8K QLED TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung Q950TS Smart 8K QLED TV

Best 8K TV

Specifications

Display: QLED
Resolution: 8K
HDR: HLG, HDR 10+
Sound: Dolby Digital Plus
Smart TV: Tizen

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible detailing
+
Impressive up-scaling
+
Alexa and Google Home built-in

Reasons to avoid

-
Predictably pricey
-
Limited 8K content
-
No Dolby Vision or Atmos
-
Available on mega large screens, only

This Samsung television is without doubt the best example of an 8K screen. While it's easy to be critical about one of the first 8K TVs to market, it truly does usher in a new era of TV picture quality which could be worth investing in if you're in it for the long-run.

Enjoy enhanced colour, texture and tones on the big screen for the ultimate home cinema experience. Four times the resolution of 4K (never did we think we'd see the day!), this image quality – which is free of pixels – simply cannot be beaten.

Designed to bring you the best sound and picture, whatever you're watching, the Samsung Q950R automatically adapts to ensure consistently high quality.

Thanks to innovative design, the Samsung Q950R also guarantees a perfect picture from every angle, which is great if you're planning on hosting the movie nights this super screen deserves.

And when your TV is turned off, you won't have to worry about it being too much of an eye sore. With ambient mode, you can watch your TV blend, seamlessly, into your interior scheme. Or, project your favourite photos, artworks and more.

How to choose the best TV for your home

Samsung QN75Q80TAFXZA on TV stand opposite sofa with TV watchers

(Image credit: Samsung)

What should I consider when looking for the best TV?

Choosing a TV for you and your family can be daunting. The single most significant decision you’ll need to make (other than agreeing on a budget) is between LED, OLED, and QLED.

OLED TVs are the most expensive of the bunch, but they benefit from absolutely astonishing levels of contrast thanks to the fact that they’re able to turn off individual pixels for ‘perfect’ black levels. That said, they aren’t quite as bright as LED TVs, meaning they can be a little harder to watch in bright living rooms. You also don’t get quite as much sparkle in those bright parts of the image.

Beyond panel type, your decision will come down to the strengths and weaknesses of each TV in particular. Ultimately this depends on what you want in a TV - the latest tech, the biggest screen, the smartest abilities, and voice control? The list goes on.

And for those who want a TV that will blend into the rest of their décor, check out our guide to living room TV ideas for ways to cleverly disguise your tech. 

What is the difference between QLED and OLED?

This TV vocabulary is being thrown around a fair bit, which can be confusing, but it’s always good to know about these things before committing.

OLED, or Organic Light Emitting Diode, means that each pixel in the screen is self-lighting and can be switched on and off individually. There is also an extra white sub-pixel, which delivers ultra-fine gradation and a true-to-life color palette.

OLED TVs are fast becoming the most popular option, and it’s easy to see why. The self-lighting LEDs mean that the TV can be thinner, and a faster refresh rate reduces motion blur for sharper, more natural images.

QLED, or Quantum-dot Light Emitting Diode, was introduced by Samsung as an alternative to OLED technology. In simplified terms, QLED TVs place a quantum dot color filter in front of an ordinary LCD backlight which - though not sounding too impressive - has caught on with more companies wanting to invest in it.

QNED, or Quantum NanoCell Emitting Diodes, is the new kid on the block and is only being sported by a handful of LG TVs right now. The technology uses tens of thousands of tiny LEDs to control brightness, contrast, and everything else in minute detail, combining the best parts of NanoCell LCD and Mini LED tech. 

Are 4K and 8K worth it? 

The three main resolutions to choose from these days are HD, 4K (or Ultra HD), and 8K. This refers to the number of pixels carried - and the higher, the better.

You can buy 4K TVs for pretty affordable prices these days, so we would recommend going for it if picture quality is at all important to you. It’ll also be somewhat future-proof with more and more 4K content delivered via streaming apps like Netflix.

8K is a different proposition, as those who have already leaped are finding that there really isn’t much around at the moment to enjoy in the brain-busting resolution. So it’s an expense that may not be justifiable, BUT you may be glad you invested in a few years when 8K movies and TV shows are more common. Technology moves quickly, as we all know. 

What is HDR?

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is the next step in picture quality, giving you bright spectral highlights, reflections that glint, and sunlight that glares. If you're an avid sports fan, it's a real bonus. Plus, HDR content is currently available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. When choosing an HDR-compatible TV, don't buy a budget model – mid to high-end models only will give you the picture quality you're seeking.

What size TV should I buy?

Got your tape measure to hand? Good, because choosing the right size TV for your living space may be the most straightforward step, but it’s also vitally important.

There’s a simple equation to use when it comes to getting a TV that will fit in your space and allow everyone to watch from a comfortable distance: 

  • Tips: Divide the diagonal width (in inches) of the TV by 0.84 to get the optimum viewing distance. 

For a 65 inch TV, for example, you will need to be sitting at least 6.5ft from it  – something to bear in mind if you have a smaller living room, but your heart is set on a giant screen. 

That said, modern TVs are smaller/slimmer than older models, which means you can afford to go larger than your last model. Plus, if you replace an HD TV with a 4K one of the same sizes but don’t change your viewing distance, you won’t see an improvement in resolution. So either buy a larger 4K TV than your old HD one or stay the same and pull your sofa nearer.

  • We hope this guide has gone some way in helping. Want to see our full list again? Jump back up to the top ^

Caroline has been part of the Real Homes ecommerce team in the UK since the start of 2021, after working for the last decade as a journalist across publications in technology, entertainment and more. In her spare time she's usually obsessing about space-saving and DIY hacks for small spaces, and how to affordably make a rental feel like a home.

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