Best TV 2020: our top 7 budget to premium 8K Ultra HD televisions | Real Homes

Best TV 2020: our top 7 budget to premium 8K Ultra HD televisions

Compare our best TV picks from big-named brands – such as Samsung, LG and Sony – in our expert guide

best tv
(Image credit: Samsung)

Upgrade your screen time with the best TV (your) money can buy. With a plethora of new releases for 2020, the televisions this year offer an incredible picture quality, super smart platforms and stunning designs which will all fit seamlessly with your decor.

What is the difference between QLED and OLED?

This TV vocabulary is being knocked-around a fair bit, which can be confusing, but it's good to know these things before committing to a buy so we'll help decipher...OLED, Organic Light Emitting Diode, means that each pixel in the screen is self-lighting, so they can switch on-and-off individually. And there is an extra white sub-pixel, delivering ultra-fine gradation and a true-to-life colour palette. QLED, Quantum-dot Light Emitting Diode, was introduced in 2017 by Samsung. This tech (in simplified terms) has a quantum dot colour filter in front of an LCD backlight which, OK doesn't too sound impressive, but more companies are starting to invest in it so not just the big screens can benefit from incredible details.

Televisions come in a vast array of screen sizes and tech to boot so we have put together this guide, to help you decipher all that TV jargon and self-branded tech spec to ensure you make the right decision. The televisions in our guide have been vetted by our television expert, Dan Sung, or heavily scoped out with our tele hats on, so we can recommend a series of screens – from 4K TVs to the 8K televisions, and even the (beautiful) OLED TV – which we would be happy to have in our own home.

Keep scrolling for the best TV you can buy, and for our honest views about exactly what you'll get from each of the options available. Prefer to watch TV outside? No worries: check out our best outdoor projectors to take the on-screen entertainment outside.

Our best TV picks for 2020

best TV 2020: Samsung QE65Q90R

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

1. Samsung Q90 QLED TV (2019)

The best TV 2020: our pick of the best 4K TV, so far...

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Yes (Samsung Smart Hub)
HDR: Yes(HDR 2000)
Available screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 75in, 82in
Reasons to buy
+Superb picture quality+Attractive design+Voice assistant+Wider viewing angles+Well built
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision support-No Dolby Atmos speakers

The Q90 could well be the best TV, ever. The 2019 model is a marked improvement on the Samsung Q9FN which had a number of criticisms which it has now addressed (obstructed viewing angles and an over-aggressive local dimming system, to name a few), ending up as a firm favourite which will be hard to beat in the new release of screens later on this year.

4K in more ways

Boasting four times the number of pixels than 1080p Full HD TVs, the Q90 delivers stunning realism, natural motion and incredible detail. And if you're watching content which is non-4K (which is the case for most), UHD upscaling increases the clarity so it's on-par with live screening.

What's more, thanks to a Quantum Processor 4K the Q90 adapts to give you the optimum 4K TV picture, targeted sound and personalised TV recommendations.

See everything

You'll find the best viewing angle wherever you sit in the living room. And thanks to Anti-Reflection with Ultra Black Elite technology, you'll see nothing less than the purest picture presented to you across the anti-reflective screen.

Smart features & voice assist

Featuring Samsung's Smart Hub, you'll have unprecedented access to the latest apps (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and more) so you and the family can experience the very best content.  Skim through content easily, searching for your favourite programmes and movies while you are still watching TV. And enjoy super-fast response times, as you flit between apps, online services and live television.

The best bit (perhaps) is that you can interact and control your TV with your voice. The Q90 works in harmony with Bixby, Alexa, Google Assistant and Smart Things devices (compatible phone and app required) to bring you your favourite programme when you want them.

  • Buy the Samsung Q90
  • Like what you've seen so far? You may be interested to hear that Samsung's flagship television for 2019 is the Samsung QE65Q90R.

best TV: LG OLED55C9PLA

(Image credit: LG)

2. LG C9 OLED Series (2019)

Best OLED TV if you're on a budget, and don't mind having last year's model

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: WebOS
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Available screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 77in
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic black levels+Strong dark detail+Punchy colours
Reasons to avoid
-Audio doesn't pack a big punch, so a soundbar is advised

It's hard to fault this TV. If you want to pick at it, sure, it's not the last word in audio performance but then no flat screen TV really is. What you get with the C9 is LG's very latest in OLED know-how and, by golly, does this Korean company know a lot.

4K & OLED

The C9 has all of the wonderful black depth and punchy, colourful imagery that LG's 2018 (LG C8) sets could manage, but also pack in a wealth of superb dark detail too, making each scene as wonderful to behold as the last ,no matter whether it's set in the shadows or a blinding white blizzard.

All the screen sizes in this range are blessed with four times the number of pixels than 1080p Full HD TVs, delivering stunning realism, natural motion and incredible detail. But, because it's OLED, the panel adds an extra white sub-pixel, to showcase ultra-fine gradation and stunning realism.

Smart features & voice control

The award-winning webOS platform is also a dream, especially with the Magic Remote which acts like a voice controller and an on-screen pointer for all your needs. The Apple TV app is probably the only missing piece of software but there are other ways of accessing iTunes content.

And then there's the option to get answers to questions while you're watching TV with the help of Google Assistant and Alexa. When you're signed in to Google, you can also control compatible smart devices, and check your Google photos or Google Calendar on the big screen.

If your budget is anywhere up to £2,000, and you've been persuaded by the power of OLED, then this is the set for you.

  • Buy the LG C9

LG GX

(Image credit: LG)

3. LG GX OLED Series (2020)

The best OLED TV: if you want the latest tech showcased on a beautiful screen

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: WebOS
HDR: Dolby Vision IQ / HDR10 / Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG)
Available screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 77in
Reasons to buy
+Minimalist aesthetic+Gallery design+Decent audio
Reasons to avoid
-A little pricey (could be worth it, though!)

New for 2020, this LG television is a piece of artwork which will display your fave entertainment with beautiful detail and clarity. It's in our third spot, rather than second, just because of the heavy price tag but if you want the latest screen then this is an excellent option.

Minimalist aesthetic

The LG GX offers a uniquely minimalist aesthetic, made possible by OLED’s revolutionary panel technology and ultra-thin form factor. The TV mounts flush to the wall akin to a piece of art in a gallery meaning it is the ultimate choice for interior design fanatics.

Talking of the OLED screen... you'll witness perfect blacks, intense colour, and infinite contrast when it's switched on with your entertainment. This one is stunning; on or off.

It's a winner of the iF Design Award and Red Dot Design Award 2020 best of the best, so you don't just need to take our word for it.

All-new features

LG OLED TVs now all feature the all-new Filmmaker Mode. This disables special effects such as motion smoothing and image sharpening to preserve the original, just as the director intended. This can be easily activated through the TV menu, or by using the LG smart remote in-built voice control. 

Add this to the LG webOS smart suite and movie marathons, and box-set binging, will never be the same.

  • Buy the LG GX OLED Series (2020)

best tv: Samsung Q950R

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Samsung Q950R QLED TV (2019)

Best 8K TV: if you want more pixels for your buck, this is the screen for you

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Yes(Samsung Smart Hub)
HDR: HDR 2000
Available screen sizes: 65in, 75in, 85in
Reasons to buy
+Incredible detailing+Impressive up-scaling
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.

Incredible 8K quality

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.

Adapts to bring you the best audio and visual experience

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

Perfect picture from every angle

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.

Ambient mode

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.

  • Buy the Samsung Q950R

Panasonic TX-55GZ2000B OLED TV

(Image credit: Panasonic)

5. Panasonic GZ2000 OLED TV (2019)

Best TV for sound quality: you can forget soundbars for this television because its audio is pretty punchy

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: Yes(My Home Screen)
HDR: Yes
Available screen sizes: 55in, 65in
Reasons to buy
+Superb dark details+Vivid, realistic colours+Excellent sound
Reasons to avoid
-Poor app support

Panasonic’s top OLED TVs offer something that the LG C9 above does not and that’s sound. It’s not the prettiest box to put on your wall but this range of television comes with an integrated soundbar at the bottom of the picture as well as upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers on the back, which makes for the best TV audio you'll hear anywhere.

4K & beyond

Picture-wise, the Panasonic GZ2000 is right up there with the sound. It betters the LG B9 below for dark detail, and that’s worth considering if you happen to watch a lot of crime, horror or other content which follow the trope of low lit scenes. The downside to all this brilliance, of course, is that it costs a lot more than the LG TVs. 

The user-interface is simple but not quite as decked with apps but it does support all flavours of HDR (Netflix, Amazon Prime, or your 4K Blu-ray movies) which is quite useful at present.

Custom-made

To distinguish the GZ2000 from its older, cheaper models, Panasonic have embedded a custom-made OLED panel in the range to elevate the picture quality above, and beyond, the (already impressive) GZ1500 and GZ1000 models.

It's smart

Panasonic uses its own MyHomeScreen smart TV platform which, unlike other TV platforms, doesn’t mute or pause the action when you call up the Home menu. But, and it is a big but, the smart platform is based on Firefox OS (which is getting on a bit now) and has struggled to recruit more apps to the scene which are beyond the major players (Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Freeview Play). For example, you won’t find Spotify, Tidal or Deezer here, and there's a lack of music capabilities which is slightly disappointing given that it's so brilliant for audio. This can be easily sorted with an external streaming stick, however, so is still more than worthy of a place in the living room.

  • Buy the Panasonic GZ2000

LG OLED55B9PLA OLED TV

(Image credit: LG)

6. LG B9 OLED TV (2019)

Best TV for those on a budget: a great option if you want an OLED screen but are watching the pennies

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: Yes(My Home Screen)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HLG
Available screen sizes: 55in, 65in
Reasons to buy
+Lovely colour production+Fantastic price+Strong smart platform
Reasons to avoid
-Dark details lacking

The LG B9 is the most affordable OLED you can buy right now. It’s also very, very good. The only difference between it and the more expensive LG C9 OLED TV is that the processor inside it is from LG’s 2018 TVs. The actual display is the same.

4K & OLED

With the same display as the LG C9 which is found higher up on our list, you'll still experience the gorgeous deep blacks, vivid but natural colours and all the features and apps on this 4K TV with OLED screen you can expect in the top end models. This includes Dolby Vision and arguably the very best OS you can find on an OLED TV anywhere.

You can get more dark and light detailed performance out of LG’s C9 and E9 sets but the B9 is a great value sweet spot for OLED.

It's smart, too

The B9 comes with LG’s Magic Remote gesture controller which offers a compact and easy way to navigate the menus and settings. Naturally, the system is fitted with all the obvious apps like Prime Video, Netflix and the catch-up services but there’s also the tricky but important ones to find like Now TV for pay-per-view access to all of Sky’s content and the Apple TV+ app for Apple’s huge 4K HDR film and TV library.

  • Buy the LG B9

best tv: Sony XE90

7. Sony XE90 LED TV (2019)

Best LED 4K TV: if you're not quiet onboard with OLED then this is a good tele to opt for

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: LED
Smart TV: Yes
HDR: HDR10, HLG
Available screen sizes: 49in, 55in, 65in, 75in
Reasons to buy
+Accomplished backlight is great for HDR+Decent audio abilities
Reasons to avoid
-HDR could be brighter

If you're not on board with the amount of money you'd have to spend on an OLED, then there are still a good number of LCD TVs worth considering. 

On screen

Unlike an OLED it's unable to turn its light off on a pixel-by-pixel basis, so in order to create contrast between light and dark parts of an image it instead uses an LED backlight. This backlight is able to turn off behind certain parts of the image to allow for variation in brightness levels.

The resulting HDR images speak for themselves, and mean that you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of LCD over OLEDs, namely much higher peak brightness levels.

It's smart, too

Sony’s smart TV offering is one that imports Google’s Android TV, which has joined forces with YouView In the UK) for a catch-up TV platform. Both Netflix and Amazon apps support 4K and industry standard high dynamic range streams and, since the XE90 uses Sony’s X1 chip rather than the more powerful X1 Extreme chip, there’s no support for the premium Dolby Vision HDR platform.

  • Buy the Sony XE90

What to consider when buying the best TV

Choosing the best TV for you and the family, but not sure where to start? The single biggest decision you'll have to make (other than agreeing on  budget) is between buying a conventional LCD TV (also occasionally referred to as LED TVs) and an OLED TV

OLED TVs are more expensive, yes, but they benefit from absolutely astonishing levels of contrast thanks to the fact that they're able to turn off individual pixels to create 'perfect' black levels.

That said, they can't quite get as bright as LCD TVs meaning they can be a little harder to watch in bright living rooms. You also don't get quite as much sparkle in brighter parts of an image. 

Beyond panel type your decision will come down to the strengths and weaknesses of each TV in particular, which ultimately comes down to what you want in a TV; the latest tech, the biggest screen, the smartest abilities or voice control (the list goes on).

How to choose the best TV

When it comes to choosing the best TV to suit your needs, there is a variety of factors worth careful consideration. 

There are two display technologies: LED (Light Emitting Diode) or backlit LCD and OLED. Here's the main difference between them:

  • OLED: renowned for their incredible picture quality, OLEDs are fast becoming the most popular option and it’s easy to see why. As individual LEDs light themselves, no backlight is required, meaning the TV itself can be even thinner. Plus, the faster refresh rate reduces motion blur, offering a sharper, more natural image with perfect inky blacks and vibrant colours. Browse our pick of the best OLED TVs to find the best buys
  • LCD: this option is great if you're looking for a lightweight TV on a smaller budget. Be aware, however, that because they use a backlight to illuminate pixels, colours may be less vivid and the blacks less, well, black. You might hear about QLED, too; that's Samsung's variant of LCD.

There are also two main resolutions to choose from on our screens these days: Ultra HD (UHD, also known as 4K) and HD. The main difference between these two types of resolution is in the number of pixels carried; 4K Ultra HD is 3840 x 2160 pixels and Full HD is 1920 x 1080 pixels. The higher number of pixels means better quality image, which is why 4K TVs tend to be the more popular option of the two.

What is HDR?

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is the next step up 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 it comes to 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.

Smart TV platforms

It's highly likely the TV you're considering is network connectable, offering Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube at the minimum, as well as broadcast catch-up TV from BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5. But which smart TV platform to choose?

  • WebOS: found on LG connected screens, this award winning platform has a host of clever features, including app access, photo sharing and more.
  • Panasonic’s My Home Screen: recently overhauled, this offering from Panasonic allows for easy navigation, as well as access to a rang of handy apps.
  • Android: used by Sony and Philips, this platform doesn't impress reviewers as much, but it does have Chromecast built-in and works with effectively with Google smart speakers.

What size TV to buy

Got your tape measure to hand? Good, because choosing the right size TV for your living space may be the simplest step, but it’s also vitally important. So, how do you go about choosing the right sized screen?

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

So, for example, for a 65 inch TV, you would 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 huge 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 UHD one of the same size, but don’t change your viewing distance, you won’t see an improvement in resolution. Either buy a larger UHD TV than your old HD one, or stay the same and pull your sofa nearer.

How much to spend on a new TV?

While we can’t put an exact number on the cost of a new TV – this figure is affected by a variety of variables – what we will say is not all TVs were created equal and you do tend to get what you pay for. 

As our cheap TV sales guide show, you can get a decent TV from £300 and an even better screen if you have a budget of up to £1000. But, if you are after the best TV, you are probably going to have to go head-first through that four-figure barrier. 

What is the best TV 2020?

To recap...if you want the best TV, you'll want to buy the Samsung QE65Q90R. The Q90 secures it's top spot because it incorporates comprehensive features and cutting-edge picture innovation with the best viewing angles around. In fact, it delivers a performance which competes with and often surpasses the best OLED TVs so you get an idea of the experience you're in for.

You don't need to just take our word for it either. It's a winner with TechRadar, T3, What HiFi, Trusted Reviews and Apple TV, so we're pretty confident that it'll be a winner in your eyes too.

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