The best TV that our budget will allow for is an important choice because many of us spend a large deal of our free time watching television. You might be pleasantly surprised if you haven’t upgraded your TV in a while because of how far television technology has progressed in recent years.
The most recent TVs all come equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and modern user interfaces, which can eliminate the need for a Blu-ray player or set-top box in addition to the excellent picture quality you can expect from 4K HDR displays. Modern televisions transmit your favorite shows and movies from Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and many other streaming services right to your living room, displaying them in gorgeous detail and vibrant color.
How to pick the ideal television for you
What TV resolution am I looking for?
Currently, high-definition TVs can be divided into three groups: The screen resolutions for Full HD/FHD, also known as 1080p, are 1,920 x 1,080; Ultra HD/UHD, also known as 4K (3,840 x 2,160); and the highest resolution, 8K (7,680 x 4,320). Only the most affordable (and frequently tiniest) TVs today use an FHD/1080p resolution.
Given that it offers four times the resolution of 1080p, 4K has become the de facto standard for any self-respecting TV. Even if 8K is becoming more popular among consumers, purchasing an 8K TV is not absolutely necessary just yet. For starters, they are pricey, and there is hardly any native 8K video available. In general, if you have an 8K TV in your living room, you will only be seeing upscaled 4K video.
What TV size should I purchase?
The size of the TV you purchase should take into account your intended viewing distance as well as the size of your room. You must be seated closely enough to a 4K HDR TV for your eyes to fully perceive the improved picture clarity that 4K over FHD delivers. If you purchase a 4K TV that is too tiny for your space, it might not appear much that different from a lot more affordable 1080p TV.
All of this is a result of the human eye’s limited ability to distinguish between lines and dots at close ranges. Therefore, those millions of additional pixels won’t matter if you’re 25 feet away from a 4K or 8K TV. Imagine it as a pointillist picture where, at a certain distance, the individual dots on a Georges Seurat landscape are no longer discernible.
How can I access stuff in 4K?
These days, there are several ways to watch 4K TV and movies. All of the original episodes released on these platforms are in 4K, and 4K movies are continually being added to their catalogs by platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ (to name a few). In addition to streaming, there is a sizable collection of 4K Blu-ray discs including movies, and gaming consoles have fully accepted 4K as the de facto standard.
Keep in mind that a fast broadband internet connection is required if you plan to view 4K material online. For instance, Netflix is capable of delivering 4K video at frame rates of up to 60fps and a maximum data rate of 15.6Mbits/sec. Netflix material in 1080p is being transmitted at a maximum rate of 5.8Mbits/sec. Even though the majority of contemporary 4K TVs have a built-in Netflix app, other streaming services aren’t as well supported.
Do certain TVs work better for gaming?
Making the proper decision pays off while playing the newest AAA console and PC games in 4K and HDR at the fastest refresh rates available. A TV with numerous HDMI 2.1 connectors, ALLM (Auto Low-Latency Mode) support, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), and a 120Hz panel would be ideal. If choosing the greatest TV for gaming is one of your top priorities, read our primer.
The top TVs to purchase in 2023
The best affordable 4K TV is the TCL RC630K Series.
The QLED (quantum dot LED) display and the Roku TV operating system are what distinguish this low-cost TCL TV from the competition. Starting with that panel, let’s go on. Although quantum dot technology has been known for some time, historically it has only been available on mid-range devices. The picture quality is significantly affected, and TCL is the first manufacturer to introduce it to a set with a starting price under £300. The RC630K’s superior HDR performance versus similarly priced televisions without quantum dots that lack over 95% of the DCI-P3 color palette, as well as its compatibility for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, further enhances its HDR credentials.
The RC630K will support the HDR format it was mastered in regardless of the content you’re watching, and boy, do you have a lot of options. The Roku TV operating system is incredibly simple to use and has one of the broadest selections of apps and streaming services available. Netflix, BT Sport, and Disney Plus are just a few of the widely used services that are available. The Roku OS homepage may be customized so that your favorite content is only a few clicks away.
2. The best midrange 4K TV is the Samsung BU8500.
This is the choice for you if you’re searching for a TV that won’t break the bank but can yet produce stunning images. The gigantic 75in model will cost you less than a thousand, while the smaller 43in and 50in ones are both around £500.
The BU8500 is a member of Samsung’s entry-level Crystal UHD series for 2022 and employs an LED screen sans quantum dots, but given the cost, the image quality is surprisingly good. While the Filmmaker mode reproduces SDR content with realistic grayscale and colors and good screen uniformity and contrast. Due to the BU8500’s limited peak brightness and inability to completely cover the DCI-P3 color gamut, HDR content isn’t handled as well as it could be, but the overall image still looks natural, rich, and beautifully detailed.
The BU8500’s sleek and attractive appearance adds to its appeal, as does Samsung’s Tizen OS, which supports a wide variety of streaming services and is simple to use and intuitive. Although the sound quality could be better and there is no support for next-generation games due to the lack of HDMI 2.1 connectors, this is still a fantastic mid-range purchase.
3. LG C2: Top gaming TV
Our favorite TV of 2021 was the LG C1, and it’s replacement is almost always better. There are four HDMI 2.1 connections on it, and each one is capable of 4k@120Hz, Auto Low Latency Mode, and Variable Refresh Rate via AMD Freesync and Nvidia G-Sync. The LG Game Optimizer is still a wonderful way to get the most out of your next-generation console or PC, and input lag is incredibly low. This year, the hub was enhanced with new settings like a Dark Room mode and a visual setting for sporting events.
Exceptional SDR and HDR picture quality, amazing Dolby Atmos sound, and the most recent version of LG’s smart platform, webOS 22, perfectly compliment those gaming-specific features. The latter offers access to just about every streaming service imaginable, and using the Magic Remote to navigate the platform is a breeze. LG’s evo panel technology, which boosts brightness compared to last year’s model, benefits models 50in and larger. Unfortunately, because of their smaller panels’ lower pixel density, the 42in and 48in alternatives are unable to benefit from this, although they are still more than bright enough to produce excellent HDR performance.
4. The best OLED TV with quantum dots is the Samsung S90C.
The S90C builds on Samsung’s successful comeback to the OLED market with the S95B from a year ago, offering noticeably better picture quality thanks to a new screen filter and increased peak brightness. The S90C delivers clean, true colors while viewing HDR content thanks to the combination of OLED and quantum dot technology, and Samsung’s video processor does an excellent job of upscaling lower-resolution source material.
The S90C stands out from the competition thanks to its LaserSlim design. With four HDMI 2.1 connectors, two USB-A ports, an optical digital output, and an ethernet port, it is stylish yet robust and well-connected. Despite some sound compromises, gamers will find that this Samsung alternative is just as well-suited to them as the more expensive Samsung options on this list. Even though it can’t compete with the QN95C or QN900C, the 2.1-channel speaker manages to produce a balanced soundstage, audible speech, and passable bass.
5. The best TV for image accuracy is the Panasonic LZ2000B
The Panasonic LZ2000 is the most accurate out-of-the-box TV we’ve ever evaluated when in Filmmaker mode. This is the TV to buy if you want to see movies the way the director intended because it tracks both greyscale and colors within the sRGB gamut incredibly well. The LZ2000, however, is able to produce remarkable detail in both light and dark environments because of its outstanding peak brightness, and it constantly creates contrasty and punchy images, so picture quality is excellent across the board. Additionally excellent are upscaling and motion handling, and a few HDMI 2.1 connectors guarantee that you can fully appreciate next-generation games.
The LZ2000 makes this list as the best TV for image accuracy, but given how immersive its built-in 360° Soundscape Pro sound system is, it could just as easily be on here as the greatest TV for audio quality. A pair of side-firing speakers, a speaker array running down the panel, and an up-firing speaker placed behind the panel all work together to provide genuine Atmos height effects.
That’s a fairly good argument to get your new TV from John Lewis, so whenever it’s practical, we’ve given links to items on the John Lewis website. We have also provided a link to the merchant offering the best price if the TV is cheaper elsewhere.