Which is the best TV for most people?
The current ranges of 4K Ultra HD TVs commanded premium prices and not much in terms of features. As 4K has grown, performance has improved, features have expanded and prices have become much more affordable
But with so many great TVs to choose from, which deserves your time and, just as importantly, your money?
Whichever brand you look at, it’s been a great year for TVs. LG’s OLED range has been consistently excellent with the C9 winning our Best TV of 2019 award.
Panasonic’s OLED range has pushed forward the home cinema capabilities of a TV, while Samsung has continued to make big strides with its QLED range. Let’s not forget Sony either, as they continue to make stylish and great-performing TVs, while Hisense is gaining more traction with its affordable efforts.
You can read more about each brand’s range at the foot of this article – and what all the OLED, LEDs and QLED jargon actually means.
The following is the top 12 TVs we’ve reviewed in 2019. Be sure to scroll down to find out more, and to click through to read our comprehensive reviews.
- Best overall: LG C9
- Best for audio: Panasonic GZ2000
- Best for 4K picture quality: Panasonic GZ1500
- Best for HDR: Samsung Q90R
- Best for immersive viewing: Philips OLED804
- Best for design: LG E9
- Great for films: Panasonic GZ1000
- Great for gaming: Samsung Q80R
- Best mid-range 4K TV: Panasonic GX800B
- Best for 8K upscaling: LG OLED88Z9
- Great 8K HDR: Sony ZG9
That said, there are TVs from 2018 that offer excellent value and can be found at far cheaper prices. See more of the best cheap TVs here. If you’re still not sure, take a look at our specific guides to the best 4K TVs.
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1. LG C9
A state-of-the-art OLED TV
- Impressive image accuracy
- Amazing blacks and contrast
- AI-enhanced smart platform
- Dolby Vision and Atmos
- Incredibly low input lag
- Limited HDR brightness
- No HDR10+ support
LG finds ways to improve its OLED range every year and the C9 is one of the best TVs we’ve tested so far in 2019.
It boasts an AI-enhanced picture and sound, both of which are excellent, a comprehensive smart platform and a range of features that turn this multitasking TV into a home entertainment hub.
Whether it’s displaying SDR or HDR pictures, the C9 offers superb image quality, and its design remains as elegant as ever. For some purchasers, the omission of HDR10+ may prove a sticking point, but despite that, the C9 is an outstanding TV.
- Read our full LG OLED55C9 review
2. Panasonic GZ2000
The best sounding TV
- Superior OLED panel brightness
- Excellent peak HDR and near-black performance
- Dolby Atmos implementation
- Heavy price premium
- Over-specified for AV enthusiasts
After having been announced all the way back in the early knockings of 2019, it’s taken a while for Panasonic’s GZ2000 to appear.
But it has and it hasn’t let itself down. It’s arguably the best all-round OLED TV available right, the custom Professional Edition panel offers plenty if terms of detail and dynamics, the wide range of HDR support makes it an inclusive set and the Atmos speakers offer the best sound presentation you’re likely to hear from a TV in 2019.
It’s expensive, but this is home cinema quality delivered in spades.
- Read our full Panasonic TX-55GZ2000 review
3. Panasonic TX-55GZ1500
A stellar television
- Beautifully refined and detailed picture quality
- Strong sound from the Blade speaker
- Easy-to-use smart system
- Slight banding in HDR colour blends
- Occasional motion stutter
- Smart system is less sophisticated than those of some rivals
Judging by Panasonic’s OLED offering, 2019 is one of the brand’s strongest years for some time. The GZ1500 is a stellar effort and it’s not even the model at the top of the range.
Picture quality is superb, and we’ve come to expect nothing less from Panasonic’s OLEDs. It boasts some of the best near-black light management we’ve seen on an OLED panel, giving a rich, natural-looking image. The Blade speakers give sound an appreciable boost; they generate a wide, encompassing sound field that gives Atmos content the space to breathe, and the results are extremely convincing.
- Read our full Panasonic TX-55GZ1500 review
4. Samsung Q90R
Marries the benefits of LED and OLED into one TV
- Groundbreaking contrast for an LCD TV
- Groundbreaking viewing angles for an LCD TV
- Fantastic HDR performance
- No Dolby Vision support
- Some missing shadow detail in Standard mode
- Motion could be handled better
The Q90R’s much-improved contrast performance goes beyond that of last year’s Q9FN. The introduction of Ultra Wide Viewing Angle technology allows content to be seen from almost any angle without any drop in colour or contrast standards, closing the gap between LCD and OLED.
Packing 2000 nits of peak brightness, the Q90R gives a dynamic, intense picture with terrifically consistent black levels, and can even achieve greater brightness than OLED.
- Read our full Samsung QE65Q90R review
5. Philips OLED804
Outstanding OLED picture quality
- Extremely sharp, detailed, vibrant pictures
- Support for both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision
- Great price for what’s on offer
- Colours flare out in Vivid mode
- Potential for MPEG noise with dark streamed video
- Sound is a little light on bass
Philips made a big statement about its OLED intentions with its OLED803 and OLED903 TVs. With the stunning OLED804, the Dutch-based company proves its commitment to quality even further.
The OLED804 comes at a price that makes it relatively affordable for an OLED TV. Ambilight adds an immersive aspect to TV watching, but it’s the presence of both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ that makes the Philips such an attractive proposition, killing two HDR birds with one TV.
- Read our full Philips 55OLED804 review
6. LG E9
An outstanding and (nearly) complete package
- Terrific image quality
- Comprehensive feature set webOS functionality
- Very good audio performance
- Low input lag
- No HDR10+
- Settings and modes can be challenging to navigate
When it comes to picture quality and features, there’s not a great deal of difference between the C9 and the E9. Design, though, is another matter.
While the C9 is elegant, the E9’s OLED-on-glass panel design is the epitome of minimalism. Its AI sound offers a big, room-filling presence, Dolby Vision content looks great despite OLED’s limited brightness, and the features are exhaustive and forward-looking – HDMI 2.1 connectivity is included. This OLED offers great design, picture quality and features, all in one enticing package.
- Read our full LG 55OLEDE9 review
7. Panasonic TX-65GZ1000
An outstanding premium OLED screen
- Catch-all HDR support – HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and HDR10+
- Outstanding SDR and HDR performance
- Intuitive smart platform
- You’ll want an external Dolby Atmos sound system
- Bulkier than some OLED screens
- Ugly remote control
Panasonic’s impressive 2019 OLED line-up includes the GZ1000, which may just hit the sweet spot for performance and features.
The company’s decision to include support Dolby Vision and HDR10+ dynamic metadata is one we can get behind, and overall image quality is outstanding, whether it’s SDR or HDR images. The smart system is intuitive, though some might think it rather basic. If you want better audio performance, the GZ1000 would benefit from an external sound system. It is, nevertheless, a genuinely impressive effort.
- Read our full Panasonic TX-65GZ1000 review
8. Samsung Q85R
A stellar example of QLED tech
- Bright 4K HDR performance
- Excellent upscaling abilities
- Brilliant contrast
- Expressive colours
- One Connect cable management
- No Dolby Vision
- Sound lacks weight
- OTT apps can’t play Atmos
We’ve enjoyed what we’ve seen from Samsung’s QLED range in 2019, and the brand’s Q85R is another great showcase of the format’s skills.
Contrast is great, and approaches the full extent of OLED capability. The implementation of Samsung’s Ultra Wide screen tech also brings OLED TVs up to scratch on viewing from an angle, improving on previous LCD TVs (bar the Q90R).
The brightness, sharpness and colour performance this TV can provide mean that the Q85R makes an excellent case for choosing QLED over OLED.
- Read our full Samsung Q85R review
9. Panasonic TX-50GX800B
A mid-range 4K TV that won’t break the bank
- Cinematic picture performance
- Multi HDR support – HDR10, HLG, HLG Photo, Dolby Vision and HDR10+
- Classic good looks
- Limited black level performance
- Brightest HDR performance requires Dynamic image preset
Of all the TVs on this list, the GX800B could well be the biggest bargain.
This mid-range 50-in TV can be had for well under £1000. It comes with Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and Atmos compatibility, and also features an easy-to-use smart interface. The GX800B’s polished pictures are another boon, though black levels could be better, and in terms of design it’s an accomplished, sensible set that looks great in the centre of the room. This very affordable mid-range 4K TV is definitely one to consider if you don’t want to spend too much.
- Read our full Panasonic TX-50GX800B review
10. LG OLED88Z9
Best all-round picture quality
- Stunning picture quality with 8K and good 4K sources
- Gorgeous design
- Strong smart TV system
- It isn’t cheap
- Needs an external decoder box for non-HDMI 8K sources
- Some streamed sources can look noisy
The Z9 isn’t cheap at an eye-bleeding £30k, but if you’re someone who has that amount stashed underneath your bed, the Z9 offers the most beautiful picture quality of any TV we’ve seen.
And while there’s not much 8K content out there, the LG’s upscaling puts in an excellent performance that arguably bests the Samsung 8K on this list. The audio system is, as we’ve heard on LG’s cheaper OLEDs, very robust, and the smart system is another slick presentation. It’s not cheap, but it is excellent.
- Read our full LG OLED88Z9 review
11. Samsung Q950R
Sets new standards for 8K TVs
- Stunning contrast, brightness and colour
- Wide-angle viewing technology works brilliantly
- Remarkable upscaling system
- Slight backlight blooming with off-axis viewing
- High price
- Set-up requires attention
The 4K market is still maturing, but Samsung is already looking to the future with its 8K TVs. Despite there being little-to-no 8K content out there (yet), the Samsung QE85Q950R is still an impressive performer.
The Q950R sidesteps the lack of 8K by being an expert upscaler of 4K and even 1080p content. It’s a very bright TV, with 2750 nits possible in Standard mode, making for an intense and spectacular image.
Alongside the lack of native 8K content and its imposing size, which may be overwhelming for some rooms, the QE82Q950R’s £9000 price is another barrier. But 8K TV is getting cheaper and more impressive with each passing year.
- Read our full Samsung QE82Q950R review
12. Sony KD-85ZG9
A stunning next-generation TV
- Sensational 8K HDR picture quality
- Very good, immersive upscaling
- Excellent video processing and backlight management
- Occasional limited backlight blooming issues
- Voices can get lost in action movie audio mixes
Samsung no longer has the 8K market all to itself, as Sony has launched its first 8K effort: the ZG9.
And it’s a sensational performer. If you have a wallet big enough to afford the ZG9, you’ll be rewarded with impressively bright, clear and detailed images. The ZG9’s colour management is excellent and the audio performance surpasses that of Samsung’s 8K models. This first effort from Sony is genuinely thrilling.
- Read our full Sony KD-85ZG9 review
13. Samsung Q80R
An impressive mid-range QLED
- Bright, high-contrast images
- Good off-axis performance
- Quite full-bodied sound
- Fine OS
- No Dolby Vision
- Relatively deep chassis
- Some mild motion-handling traumas
2019 is the year that has seen Samsung spread the wealth of its QLED options across more ranges. The Q80R sits in the middle.
The QLEDs don’t quite have the shapeliness of their OLED rivals, but they are well-built, robust looking TVs that have all the connections that you’re currently likely to need. Colours are expressive, upscaling is impressive, the Ultra Wide Viewing Angle technology is effective and the smart interface also stands out. Low latency will appeal to gamers. The Q80R ticks all the right boxes.
- Read our full Samsung Q80R review
14. Samsung Q70R
A cost-effective QLED
- Great picture quality
- Good HDR performance
- Comprehensive smart platform
- Incredibly low input lag
- No Dolby Vision or Atmos support
- Limited viewing angles
As Q70R falls towards the bottom rung of the QLED line-up, its feature list isn’t as extensive as that of some other models.
There’s no wide angle viewing tech or One Connect box, but this is, after all, an affordably priced QLED. It still has a direct backlight and local dimming panel, so black levels and contrast remain very good. While it’s not as bright as the top models, HDR images still pop with vibrancy. If you’re seeking a QLED panel but aren’t keen to fork out a substantial amount of cash, the Q70R warrants your consideration.
- Read our full Samsung Q70R review
15. Hisense O8B
A competitively priced 4K OLED TV
- Impressive picture quality
- Great blacks and contrast
- Simple and effective smart platform
- Dolby Vision and Atmos
- Competitively priced
- Limited HDR brightness
- No HDR10+ support
Hisense has made a name for itself in the UK for its aggressively priced LCD TVs. Now it’s trying to achieve a similar reputation for affordable quality with its first OLED, the O8B.
While HDR performance is affected by the set’s limited brightness, picture quality is impressive, with fine black levels and a natural, accurate look. The VIDAA interface is simple, responsive and effective, and sound is boosted by Atmos compliance. Hisense’s first outing in the OLED arena is a strong performer.
- Read our full Hisense O8B review
How to choose the right TV for you
- Panasonic’s 2019 4K HDR and HD TV line-up explained
- Sony TVs 2019: What you need to know before you buy Bravia
- Samsung QLED TVs 2019: Every new Samsung 4K TV explained
- Philips TVs 2019: Every new OLED, LCD, 4K and HD model explained
- LG TV 2019: Every OLED and NanoCell 4K TV explained
What is full HD vs 4K/UHD?
Most TVs are Full HD, which gives you a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. However, Full HD is gradually being overtaken by Ultra HD (commonly known as UHD or 4K), which gives you a resolution of 3840 x 2160. That’s four times the number of pixels, generally crammed into the same TV sizes. It means greater sharpness, detail and clarity.
There used to be a real lack of 4K content, but these days there is plenty to stream from Netflix and Amazon Video – and you can buy 4K Blu-rays. Read our What is 4K TV and Ultra HD? guide to find out more.
What does HDR mean?
HDR stands for high dynamic range. Essentially it promises a wider range of brightness, colour and contrast – because your eyes can perceive more information than TVs have traditionally been able to display. There’s not much content mastered in HDR yet, but there is plenty on the way – this is the next big thing in the world of TVs. Read our guide: What is HDR TV?
What’s the difference between LCD, OLED and QLED TVs?
Plasma TVs are no more, so most TVs are either LCD (often referred to as LED) or OLED.
LCD is the most common, though there’s a big difference between the cheapest and most expensive LCD TVs due to the types of backlight, panel and processing technologies used. You get what you pay for.
OLED is a relatively new technology and it’s expensive, but it’s seen as a natural successor to plasma technology. Unlike LCD, OLED pixels produce their own light, so there’s no need for backlighting or edge lighting. That means screens can be made thinner and more flexible too. Contrast and rich colours are also OLED strengths, although LCD screens are generally brighter. Read our guide: OLED vs LED LCD.
QLED is a tricky one. In the past few years QLED has been used to refer to a theoretical self-lighting technology, similar to OLED. But now Samsung is using the QLED name to refer to its latest Quantum Dot TVs. This is still LCD technology, albeit one with fancy crystals. Consider this a beefed-up version of LCD, rather than an entirely new category.
For more detail, take a look at our guide: What is QLED?
Related: Best deals for TVs
What a nit?
A nit is just a measure of maximum brightness per area – you’d expect to see a nits value of around 2,000 for an HDR TV.
How we test TVs
Our crack team of expert TV reviewers use both the naked eye and specialist tools to check every set they test for contrast, black levels, maximum brightness and input lag, plus any hint of backlight bleed, blooming or anything else that might spoil your viewing enjoyment.
A variety of test footage is used to cover every type of scene, so we can assess a TV’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how it performs against the competition.
Sound quality isn’t forgotten, either – we give the built-in speakers a thorough listen to determine whether you’ll need to invest in a soundbar or speaker system to beef things up.
Read our full guidelines on how we test TVs.