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Best TVs: upgrade your lounge 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

Samsung Q80T
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(Image credit: Samsung)

If you’ve recently been feeling inspired to seriously upgrade your TV set-up, then you’re not alone. Spending more time at home has naturally led many of us to start daydreaming about our next TV, whether that involves a considerable size increase, a jump to 4K (or even 8K), or something else. A great TV 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 it’s high time you look at what’s on offer.

But how to choose the perfect set? Specs and features in the television space can too often become incomprehensible jargon, so you must do your homework before handing over your hard-earned cash.

And, if you’re having trouble, then we’re here to help decipher things like the difference between LED, OLED, and QLED, 4K and HD, and whether an 85-inch TV can ever really look good in an ordinary-sized living room.

Keep reading to see how we rated some of the best sets out there right now, or narrow down your search with our guide to the best 75 inch TVs. Just don't forget to consider where your new TV will live, whether that be on your wall again or atop a new TV stand.

The best TVs: tried and tested by us

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

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

(Image credit: Samsung)
Best lifestyle TV

Specifications

Resolution: 4K
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Tizen
Backlight: Edge Lit
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Sizes: 32", 43", 50", 55", 65", 75", 85"
Year: 2022

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of size options
+
Alexa, Google Home and Bixby built-in
+
Home décor friendly
+
120Hz refresh rate

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

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 can now suggest artwork in line with the owner's specific tastes.

It might not be the cheapest TV on the market (you're paying for the design and the specs), but 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 slide show with your snaps.

Key to the appeal of this set is the No Gap Wall Mount, which sits the TV 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 The Frame TV (2020) 

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

(Image credit: Samsung)
Best lifestyle TV (runner up)

Specifications

Resolution: 4K
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Tizen
Backlight: Edge Lit
HDR: HDR10+
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Sizes: 43", 50", 65"
Year: 2022

Reasons to buy

+
Alexa, Google Home and Bixby built-in
+
Ambient Mode+
+
Great design
+
120Hz refresh rate

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in a couple of mid-range sizes

The Samsung Serif TV may not have caught attention like its sister, The Frame, but it's a great lifestyle TV in its own right. With the same 4K QLED screen technology, it sports a design by Bouroullec that incorporates a black metal floor stand (it can also sit on another flat surface if this isn't for you.

Ambient Mode+ allows you to have your TV display everything from beautiful works of art to your family photos, and you can also use the Multi-View feature to have your favorite series and your Twitter feed on screen side by side.

As an alternative to The Frame, The Serif has many of the same features and an even more distinctive design. It also scored highly in our review, so it is recommended. This is also one of our best 40 inch TV options!

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Samsung The Serif (2020)

The best TVs: more top picks

Sony A9G Master Series Smart 4K OLED TV

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony A9G Master Series Smart 4K OLED TV

Best 4K TV

Specifications

Panel type: OLED
Resolution: 4K
Sizes: 55”, 65”, 77”
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Smart TV: Android TV
Year: 2019

Reasons to buy

+
Dolby Vision and Atmos
+
120Hz refresh rate
+
In-built Google Assistant (works with Alexa, HomeKit, Nest)

Reasons to avoid

-
No built-in Alexa (though it’s compatible)
-
Older (2019) model
-
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 right now. That's down to a few things, not least because the A9 G's relative age means you can pick up the previously expensive TV for much less. 

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

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 ultimately 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. In addition, you get a menu of picture modes for general use, including vivid, cinema, game, and photo options.

LG C1 Smart 4K OLED TV

(Image credit: LG)

4. LG C1 Smart 4K OLED TV

Best 4K TV (runner up)

Specifications

Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Sizes: 48", 55", 65", 77", 83"
Year: 2021

Reasons to buy

+
Alexa and Google Assistant built-in (works with Apple HomeKit)
+
Dolby Atmos sound
+
120Hz refresh rate

The LG C1 OLED TV is one of the best screens available. Released in 2021, the C1 sports a gorgeous 4K panel with an a9 Gen4 processor that upscales everything beautifully. In addition, its smart TV offering, webOS, is one of the most popular for streaming fans.

The panel is skinny, which means it looks pretty sublime mounted to the wall, and there's a Game Optimiser setting that uses NVIDIA G-SYNC and FreeSync Premium to boost specs. Google Home and Alexa are also built-in, so you can enjoy smart home features even if you don't yet have a standalone smart speaker.

Samsung Q950TS Smart 8K QLED TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung Q950TS Smart 8K QLED TV

Best 8K TV

Specifications

Panel type: QLED
Resolution: 8K
HDR: HLG, HDR 10+
Refresh rate: 120Hz
Smart TV: Tizen
Sizes: 85"

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible detailing
+
Impressive up-scaling
+
Alexa and Google Home built-in
+
120Hz refresh rate

Reasons to avoid

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

This Samsung television is undoubtedly the best example of an 8K screen. While it's easy to be critical about one of the first 8K TVs to market, it does usher in a new era of TV picture quality that could be worth investing in if you're in it for the long run.

Enjoy enhanced color, 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 – free of pixels – 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. Instead, you can watch your TV blend seamlessly into your interior scheme with ambient mode. Or, project your favorite photos, artworks, and more.

How we test the best TVs

The products on this list have been chosen based on the industry knowledge and expertise of our editors and writers, as well as first-hand experience of the models featured. While we aim to have tested every product that we feature, this is unfortunately not always possible. Products we have tried ourselves will be clearly marked within the content.

The best TVs are tested in several ways to ensure our recommendations are as useful as possible for our readers. Criteria include how the set looks in an average living space, its price, size availability, and the use of various technology such as resolution, audio, and HDR formats. Head to our guide for more information on how we test.

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. On the other hand, 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 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. Ultimately this depends on what you want in a TV - the latest tech, a giant 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 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. The technology uses 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 at pretty affordable prices, so we recommend going for it if picture quality is essential to you. It’ll also be 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 isn’t much around now 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: 

Divide the TV's diagonal width (in inches) 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, so you can afford to go bigger 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 Preece
Smart Homes Editor

Caroline has been part of the Real Homes ecommerce team since the start of 2021, after working for the last decade as a journalist across publications in technology, entertainment and various other areas. She took over smart homes content for the site shortly after, and can now be mostly found swooning after the latest gadget or smart speaker release. 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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