Updated

Best picture quality LED TVs - Winter 2017
Reviews

While LED TVs don't have picture quality as good as OLED TVs (learn about it here), there is a large difference in price between the two technologies. You get more choices for sizes and brands (only LG makes OLEDs, and only in 55 inches, 65 inches and a ridiculously expensive 77-inch model). Because of that, most of the TVs we review are LED LCD TVs. New models are a few months away still, and 2016 models are at a fraction of the price.

Best high-end LCD/LED TVs

Usage Ratings
8.2Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
8.2Movies
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What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
8.0TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.9Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
8.4Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
Score components:
8.4HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.5HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
7.3PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
49" 55" 60" 65"

The best LED TV for most people is the Samsung KS8000 UHD TV. It performs great at just about every task and will please most users. Among all the TVs we’ve tested this year, it's one of the most versatile.

Don’t get tempted by the more expensive KS9000. We didn't find much to differentiate it from this one. As it happens, the only real flaw we’ve found with the KS8000 is its build quality. Both the rear panels on our KS8000 and KS9500 have started coming off.

Most people shouldn’t face these issues, though. We are a lot harsher on our TVs than any average user would be. It might be a bit scarce right now, however, so the curved KS8500 is a good alternative.

See our review

Alternative

50" 55" 65" 75"

As an alternative, the Vizio P Series 2016 4k TV is a bit more of a specialist. It’s not as versatile as the Samsung, but it has a few tasks where it excels and is above any other LED TV.

One of these fields is movies. The Vizio P has the best local dimming we’ve tested this year.  Blacks are also very uniform, so this TV performs very well in a dark room. It has a dedicated gaming port with exceptionally low input lag. This doesn’t translate to HDR gaming, unfortunately, but most people won't care.

If you're looking for a TV for a sealed movie theater, the Vizio P is the best choice for an LED TV. For most other cases, especially because of the price, the KS8000 is a better choice.

See our review

Best mid-range LCD/LED TVs

Usage Ratings
7.9Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
8.2Movies
Show Help
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.1TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.4Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
8.8Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
Score components:
7.8HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.1HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
7.9PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
50" 55" 60" 65" 70" 80"

The Vizio M series 2016 is the best choice for a mid-range LED TV. Its picture quality is a fair step above its competition since it’s essentially the same as the P Series, minus the HDR capability.

While it technically supports both HDR signals (HDR and Dolby Vision), it doesn’t make much use of either. Keep in mind, though, while it comes with the excellent picture quality of the P series, it also comes with its drawbacks. Lower resolution content won't look as sharp as on other TVs, and you get a lot of input lag with HDR.

See our review

Alternatives

43" 49"

If you’re looking for something that is a bit more versatile, look for the Sony X800D LED TV. It has good picture quality and is better at HDR than the Vizio M.

It has the best upscaling of lower resolution content we’ve tested, and reasonable input lag that isn’t affected by resolution or HDR. Unfortunately, it’s offered in a limited set of sizes, and a lot of people might not be pleased by the lack of a 50+ inch version.

See our review

49" 55"

If you're not interested in HDR, get the X700D instead of the X800D. It's limited in functionality in that aspect, but it's an excellent TVs for sports and our most recommended IPS TV.

IPS type LED TVs have worse contrast in exchange for very wide viewing angles, so while they suffer in a dark room, for example, they'll do very good in a wide, well-lit living room. Input lag is pretty low as well, so it'll do good for gaming as well.

The X700D's price has dropped considerably for Black Friday, making it quite attractive. It performs better in a lot of aspects than most high-end TVs of the same type like the X850D and UH8500, so it is a definite good choice.

See our review

Best budget LCD/LED TVs

Usage Ratings
7.4Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
7.0Movies
Show Help
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.1TV Shows
Show Help
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.4Sports
Show Help
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
8.2Video Games
Show Help
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
Score components:
7.2HDR Movies
Show Help
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
7.5HDR Gaming
Show Help
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
5.9PC Monitor
Show Help
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
50" 55"

The best budget LED TVs we've tested this year is the Hisense H8C UHD TV. It's a versatile TV with a very good picture for the money.

It doesn’t look as good physically as our top choices, but the picture quality is quite similar to the Samsung KU6300. It reaches comparable levels of contrast and blacks are very close. It doesn’t get as bright, though, and input lag is a bit worse. Because of that, it won’t be as good in a bright living room or for gaming, but nothing unusable.

See our review

Alternative

55" 65"

For something even cheaper, the TCL US5800 4k TV is what you should look for. It’s not as good as more expensive TVs, but for an affordable alternative, it’s good value. Contrast isn’t too far off, and thanks to the excellent Roku TV smart OS, it’s both very easy to calibrate and enjoyable to use.

While it's a slight drop in quality, the TCL US5800 is great value for money and is the best choice if you're looking for an inexpensive TV.

See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best LED TVs to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

A few examples of LCD TVs that didn't make the cut:

  • Samsung KS9500. The price difference with the Samsung KS8000 is not worth it, even if the picture quality is slightly better. See our review
  • LG UH8500. Great TV and an improvement over the equivalent model from last year, but priced too high for what it is. See our review
  • Samsung JS8500. Almost out of stock everywhere now, or priced too high. See our review

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of LED TVs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them. 

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Questions & Answers

6 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
23
Is it possible to review the Insignia NS-55DR420NA16 please? Thanks!
We currently don't have anything planned for that one, but if we get enough requests, we might schedule a review.
21
Will you be reviewing the Panasonic CX850U?
We don't currently have any plans to do so, but maybe if we get enough requests for it and if Best Buy or Amazon start selling it.
8
I too am hoping you'll add the Insignia NS-55DR420NA16 from Best Buy. It has hundreds of user reviews on the Best Buy site and Consumer Reports has now reviewed it. However I find your reviews/tests to be the best and most thorough.
Unfortunately, we have no plan to review it at the moment.
3
Hi. Will you be reviewing the new Vizio D-series? Do you have any intel on that model? I was looking to buy the latest one, since they were improving over the last couple of series. Thanks.
We will be reviewing the UHD version of the D-series within the next couple of weeks.
2
Lost my owner's manual for my Samsung 5/5201 32 inch TV and I need to re-do it's setup. Any suggestions?
Since it is basically the same TV as the H5203 we reviewed, you can try our settings. You can also find the user manual here.
2
I hung my 55" Samsung TV on the wall in my bedroom. It was hung quite high with 15 degree angle. The viewing angle seems to have improved the picture quality. Is this possible?
From an objective standpoint, we doubt it, as vertical angles weaken contrast and desaturate colors. But it's entirely possible that your personal preferences are better met by putting the TV up high. If you like the look, don't overthink it. Just enjoy your TV.
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