Best TV 2020: the 10 new TVs worth buying this year

Best TV 2020: the 10 new TVs worth buying this year

2020-05-28 03:54:18
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Shopping for the best TV of the year? Look no further. TechRadar has brought together the biggest, brightest, and highest-performing televisions to have ever passed by our eyeballs – and they’re all available to buy today.

We’re a decent way into 2020 now, meaning that this year’s new TV ranges are starting to enter the market – and the first big-hitters of the year already trickling into buying guides such as these.

Many of the sets below are from 2019, but don’t let that put you off: upgrades between TV generations tend to be pretty incremental, and you usually won’t miss out on a huge amount by sticking with last year’s model – especially when TV brands support and update the software of their smart TVs going back three or four years at least.

There are other TVs we’re keeping an eye out for as they’re available to review, including the new LG CX OLED, upcoming Vizio OLED, and TCL 6-Series with Mini-LED. All of these (and more) have the potential to make this list, and we’ll be sure to update this guide once we’ve put them to the test ourselves.

For now, though, this is a list of the 10 best TVs currently on the market, whether you’re after a high-end display bigger than you are, or a more affordable model offering the best of mid-range performance.

Best TV 2020 at a glance:

  1. Best TV: Samsung Q90R QLED TV
  2. Runner up: LG C9 OLED Series
  3. Vizio’s best TV: Vizio P-Series Quantum X
  4. Best 8K TV: Samsung Q950TS QLED TV
  5. Best motion handler: Sony A9G Master Series OLED
  6. Best budget OLED: LG B9 OLED Series
  7. Best mid-range QLED: Samsung Q80T QLED TV
  8. Best TV on a budget: TCL 6-Series QLED (R625)
  9. Best TV deal: Hisense H8G
  10. Also consider: Sony Bravia X950G Series

Best TV

Best TV 2019

1. Samsung Q90R QLED TV (2019)

Bright and beautiful but still missing some key components

65-inch: Samsung QN65Q90R | 75-inch: Samsung QN75Q90R

Incredible HDR performance

Wider viewing angles

Comprehensive smart platform

No Dolby Vision

Last year, the Samsung Q9FN was the TV to beat. It won plaudits galore for its features and image quality, not to mention its excellent, improved smart platform that came with Bixby support and Samsung SmartThings.  

However it wasn’t perfect and there were legitimate complaints about viewing angles and an over-aggressive local dimming system that crushed detail just above black. 

Samsung has clearly taken these criticisms to heart, and directly addressed them in the Q90. The new model has a visibly superior viewing angle that holds its own against an OLED TV, and the local dimming delivers deep blacks without losing shadow detail. To that end, the new Ultra Black Elite filter is nothing short of a revelation, rejecting ambient light in a way that just staggers belief.  

The Q90 is able to deliver images that can directly compete with an OLED, with natural colors, bright highlights, deep blacks, and well defined shadows. It can also surpass any OLED when it comes to HDR, with images that are often breathtaking in their detail and dynamic range.

In fact our only real criticism would be that, unlike some of the competition, the Q90 doesn’t support Dolby Vision. However in all other respects the Samsung Q90 is an absolutely stellar new Samsung TV that takes QLED to another level.

Read the full review: Samsung Q90R QLED TV

Today’s best Samsung QN65Q90R & QN75Q90R deals

Samsung Q90 Series 65-Inch…

LG C9 OLED Series (2019)

2. LG C9 OLED Series (2019)

LG’s new OLED has evolved into the smartest TV on the planet

55-inch: LG OLED55C9 | 65-inch: LG OLED65C9

Vizio P-Series Quantum X (2019)

3. Vizio P-Series Quantum X (2019)

This is Vizio’s best and brightest TV

65-inch: Vizio P-Series Quantum X PX65-G1

Samsung Q950TS QLED TV (2020)

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Q950TS QLED TV (2020)

Samsung’s new flagship 8K offers state-of-the-art performance

85-inch: Samsung QN85Q950TS | 75-inch: Samsung QN75Q950TS

Sony Bravia A9G OLED (2019)

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony A9G Master Series OLED (2019)

Equipped with the X1 Ultimate processor, the A9G is Sony’s killer OLED

65-inch: Sony Bravia 65A9G | 55-inch: Sony Bravia 55A9G

LG B9 OLED Series (2019)

(Image credit: LG)

6. LG B9 OLED Series (2019)

LG’s budget OLED delivers 95% of the performance at 50% of the cost

55-inch: LG OLED55B9 | 65-inch: LG OLED65B9

LG’s cheapest 2019 OLED

Rich colors and sharp detail

Not the latest processing

No HDR10+

The LG B9 OLED absolutely delivers on its promise – to give shoppers a cheaper way into a world of OLED, with the sharp contrast and vivid colors that involves.

Inevitably there are some corners cut to get there, and you’re not getting the excellent experience of the C9 or E9 – while the delayed launch of the budget B9 model, and continuing price cuts to more premium sets, means this year’s B Series isn’t quite the deal it would have been a few months ago.

If the B9 is all your budget allows for, it’s a solid purchase, though scrimping and saving for the LG C9 OLED – and keeping an eye out for it in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales – may be a better decision in the long run.

Today’s best LG OLED55B9 deals

LG – 55″ Class – OLED – B9…

Samsung Q80T QLED (2020)

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung Q80T QLED TV (2020)

The Q80T is a brilliant HDR QLED

49-inch: Samsung QN49Q80T | 55-inch: Samsung QN55Q80T | 65-inch: Samsung QN65Q80T | 75-inch: Samsung QN75Q80T | 85-inch: Samsung QN85Q80T

Best TV

TCL 6-Series (R625) (2019)

(Image credit: TCL)

8. TCL 6-Series QLED (R625) (2019)

A beacon of hope for budget TV buyers

55-inch: TCL 55R625 | 65-inch: TCL 55R625

Bright, colorful HDR

Supports Dolby Vision

Loss of darker details

Limited motion settings

Few TVs have changed the home entertainment space in the same way that the TCL 6-Series has – it’s made high-end features like Dolby Vision support, full-array panels and Wide Color Gamut available to consumers at a third of the cost of high-end TVs. This year’s addition to the storied series, the TCL 6-Series QLED (2019), adds a Quantum Dot filter that makes colors more vibrant and contrast even more extreme and the new AIPQ upscaling engine that better converts HD video to 4K resolution.

It’s still not as good as the leading TVs from Samsung, LG and Sony in the upscaling department and has some motion issues due to the underlying 60Hz panel, but at just $599 we can easily overlook these issues. To that end, it’s absolutely fair to say that the TCL 6-Series is the best TV you can possibly get in this price range.

Read the full review: TCL 6-Series QLED (R625)

Hisense H8G Quantum Series

(Image credit: John Brandon)

9. Hisense H8G Quantum Series (2020)

The Hisense H8G Quantum is a 4K wonder at a low price

50-inch: | 55-inch: | 65-inch: | 75-inch:

Sony Bravia X950G Series (2019)

(Image credit: Sony)

10. Sony Bravia X950G Series (2019)

A beautiful 4K HDR TV that desperately needs an attached soundbar

65-inch: Sony Bravia X950G

X1 Ultimate Processor

Good motion handling

Poor sound quality

Mediocre 4K/HDR black levels

OK, so you don’t want (or can’t afford) Sony’s new A9G OLED or the fantastic-but-pricey Z9G. So what should you buy? Check out the X950G series. With superb 4K image clarity, powerful SDR-to-HDR remastering, and a smooth direct LED backlight, Sony is offering something very different with the X950G. 

Right out of the box, the best way to describe the image quality of the X950G is… well, natural. It’s not flashy. It’s not overly bright. Colors aren’t oversaturated. It’s just a really natural picture with subdued colors and great black levels perfect for HD/SDR content. That said, if you’re the kind of person that wants a bit more pop to your images all you need to do is turn on Live Color in the picture settings. This mode works on HD/SDR content to add a bit more color saturation to the image and helps to make the image ‘pop’ in a way that really grabs your attention.

It’s a shame that poor sound quality ruined such a great 4K/HDR TV, however, taken by itself, the Sony X950G is an immaculate screen with a ton of potential.

Read the full review: Sony BRAVIA X950G (XBR-65X950G) 

Today’s best Sony X950G deals

Sony X950G 55 Inch TV: 4K…

How to buy

What TV technology is best? Which is the best LCD TV? Which screen size is best for your living room? What’s the difference between LCD and LED TVs?

The answers aren’t always obvious. In fact, buying a new TV can be stressful even for the tech-savvy – as there are so many brands, so many features, so many screen sizes, colors, technologies and flavors to choose from.

So which one is right for you, your family and your living space? In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about buying a new TV.

What types of TV are there out there?

There are a lot of different screen types out there, all working in different ways to produce the same results. Each technology has its own unique strengths and weaknesses so here are some basics to consider:

LED TV: Direct LED
These displays are backlit by an array of LEDs (light emitting diodes) directly behind the screen. This enables localised dimming – meaning immediately adjacent areas of brightness and darkness can be displayed more effectively – and greatly improves contrast. LED TVs are also more power efficient and capable of a wider colour gamut than CCFL sets. Because of the extreme cost of mounting these arrays of LEDs, cheaper TVs usually use Edge-Lit LED screens over Direct or Full-Array LED screens.

LED TV: Edge LED
With these TVs, LEDs of the backlight are mounted along the edges of the panel. This arrangement enables radically slender displays and offers superior contrast levels to CCFL, but can’t achieve the same picture quality as directly lit LED sets. However, they do come in far cheaper which is why most LED TVs out there now use this technology.

OLED TV
The backlighting on OLED (organic light emitting diode) sets is achieved by passing an electric current through an emissive, electroluminescent film. This technique produces far better colours and higher contrast and also enables screens to be extremely thin and flexible. This is the holy grail display technology and LG, Sony, Philips and Panasonic have all adopted it in their flagship sets.

Quantum Dot
Quantum Dot is Samsung’s big play in the LED TV space. With it, the brand claims that it’s able to produce more colorful pictures than LG and Sony while offering even brighter panels. LG’s Super UHD TVs all use a variation of Quantum Dot called Nano Cell, and Hisense makes a number of Quantum Dot TVs for the US and China.

Curved TV
Some manufacturers are still making TVs that have slightly curved screens. But unlike old CRT TVs, the curve is inwards rather than outwards. The idea is that this makes every pixel equidistant from your eyes, delivering a more satisfying picture. However, there are drawbacks for this type of screen, the main one being that if you sit far enough to one side – more than 40 degrees or so – the curve clearly starts to affect the image’s geometry, foreshortening content near to you and compressing the image’s centre.

Quantum Dot

What resolution tech should I go for?

HD
HD TVs come in two resolutions. Sets with the HD ready are required to be able to display a minimum 720p picture, and generally has a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Meanwhile, Full HD TVs have a higher resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It’s highly advisable that you don’t go for anything less than full HD in this day and age.

Ultra HD and 4K
The resolution of Ultra HD is exactly four times higher than full HD – 3840 x 2160. It means a far more detailed picture, with content requiring a lot more bandwidth and storage space. 4K TVs tend to be good at upscaling HD video to Ultra HD but there are currently very few options for watching native 4K content. Read more about
4K resolution.

8K
If 4K isn’t enough to impress you, there are now a good number of 8K TVs entering the market. This ultra-ultra-high-definition format packs in four times the number of pixels as 4K, for even sharper, crisper images.

The difficulty is that there’s little 8K content available – nothing on Netflix, for example! That means these sets need highly advanced processing to make upscale HD or 4K content for 8K screens, and while it isn’t yet a must-buy technology, it’s certainly where the TV market is going. Read more about 8K resolution.

HDR
Arguably the shift to HDR video could make a more dramatic difference to your viewing experience than moving from HD to 4K. Like still HDR images, the moving version expands the range of both the light and dark ends of spectrum, providing more detail for both. 

HDR needs new filming methods though – at the moment there is no way to backfill HDR into existing video. It also needs new TV tech too, with Samsung the only ones to create specific screens, though LG and Sony are going be able to update some of their existing stock to be compatible.

Sony Ultra HD

What else should I consider?

Buying a flatscreen television is a major investment and one that you can’t afford to take lightly. Just popping into the closest store and grabbing the first plasma or LCD you see won’t get you the best deal, the screen that suits your needs, or the gear you require to make the most of your new purchase.

Size matters

People tend to pick the size of their flat TV based on the amount of space they have for it, this isn’t necessarily wise. Flat TVs take up much less space than you might think, so your new TV may end up a foot or two further away from your viewing position, making the picture appear smaller.

Also, with hi-def, you can have a bigger screen and the same viewing distance without worrying about seeing blemishes inherent to the source. A 4K TV’s lack of noise means that the ideal distance to sit from the screen is three to four times the height of the TV.

How many HDMI sockets do I need?

For a living room TV you should be looking for a minimum of 3 HDMI inputs. If you want to attach a set-top box as well as games consoles etc, those HDMI ports will fill up fast.

(Image credit: iStock)

Do I want to hang my TV on the wall?

First off, you’ll need to consult a construction expert to check that the wall in question is strong enough to support a flatscreen. Then find out if the set you want is designed to be wall-mounted and, if so, ask if the relevant bracket is included in the basic package or as an optional extra.

Will I be connecting it to a home cinema?

If the answer is no, you might want to think more carefully about your set’s audio performance. Look for a screen that can go as loud as you’ll need without distortion or cabinet rattle. Consider how dialogue sounds and how much low-end rumble the bass is capable of.

Conversely, it’s pointless paying out more cash for exceptional built-in speakers if you already have a decent home cinema system.

Other buying guides to check out


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