Regardless of whether you want to build a home theater from the ground up or you’re in the market for an affordable upgrade to your existing setup, there’s likely a 4K TV on the market that fits your needs. Since most streaming content is offered in 4K, it’s possible that your current TV is actively degrading your viewing experience by adapting the resolution in real time. Plus, as manufacturers have made improvements in high-definition visual technology, such as the coveted and ultra-expensive 8K resolution, the relative cost of 4K options has gone down. While that doesn’t make them affordable in all cases, it’s worth taking into consideration, especially since the average viewer won’t notice a drastic difference between 4K and 8K resolution. Taken together, these factors make it clear that there’s never been a better time to consider taking the 4K leap.
However, the fact that there are so many options to choose from, and so much jargon, especially acronyms such as OLED, to learn, finding the right model for your situation can be difficult. To help make your decision easier we made sure to include a broad range of 4K TVs at different price points and sizes. From high-end OLED options that cost a small fortune to affordable and effective no-frills models, these are the best 4K TVs on the market today.
— Best Overall: LG OLED C1 Series 4K Smart TV
— Best Budget: TCL Class 5 Series 4K QLED Smart TV
— Best for Gaming: Hisense ULED Premium 65U7G QLED Series Smart TV
— Best Design: LG OLED G1 Series Gallery Design TV
— Best Amazon Fire: Toshiba C350 Series LED 4K UHD Fire TV
How We Picked the Best 4K TVs
We investigated a range of 4K TVs with different functions, features, and price tags to ensure we arrived at the best recommendations. We also took special-purpose TVs, such as those with a high response rate for gaming tvs or smart TVs with excellent internet browsing capabilities, into consideration. Each of the models was selected after in-depth research, professional product testing, and verified customer reviews. We paid particular consideration to the following criteria when selecting the best 4K TVs:
Picture Quality: Regardless of what you intend to use your TV for, picture quality is one of the most important, if not the most important, functions to take into consideration. However, different people have different preferences for picture quality depending on what they’re planning to do on the new TV. For instance, a movie buff thinks TVs with a stunning range of color provide the best picture, while a gamer may think refresh rate results in a better picture than color range. We made sure to take this variability into consideration when measuring the picture quality of the TVs we selected.
Technology and Features: There’s an overwhelming number of TVs that claim to have the latest and greatest in terms of technology and convenience, but few can actually back it up. We made sure to select TVs that offered top-notch technology and features, such as Bluetooth 5.0. We narrowed down our selections by comparing what was on offer to the price to ensure our selections had great value.
Design: Thanks to the rapid pace of television technology innovations, there are a number of minimalist and ultra-thin options that aren’t intrusive or difficult to decorate. However, great design doesn’t always mean fitting a lot of technology into a comparatively small package. We made sure to include TVs that were both pleasant to look at when they weren’t being used. If you’re concerned about what your TV is going to look like when it’s off, consider investing in one that doubles as a display for your favorite photos and paintings.
Connectivity and Convenience: Modern TVs have more connectivity options than ever, and in some cases, you can get a nearly wireless setup. However, if you plan to set up a surround-sound system at some point or want to maximize versatility, connectivity options make a big difference. Each product on our list has at least two options for connections, and as many convenience features as possible, such as sleep timers and WiFi 6 technology, for the price.
Value: Regardless of the price, we always take value into consideration when making our product recommendations. Even if you want the best of the best, you don’t want to spend more than you have to get it. We investigated the specifications for each TV on our list and compared the features and build quality on offer to the price of the TV. Only those TVs with a favorable ratio made the final cut.
Best 4K TVs: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: LG OLED C1 Series 4K Smart TV
Why It Made The Cut: This OLED 4K TV has it all, and then some. If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-install TV that exceeds expectations in a number of areas, from gaming to movie watching, look no further than this LG 4K TV.
— Size Range: 48 to83 Inches
— Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
— Display Type: OLED
— Connectivity Options: WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, Ethernet and USB ports
— Works with Google Assistant and Alexa
— Supports Dolby Vision and HDR10
— AI enhances content in real time
LG has been a pioneer in the TV industry for decades, which is why the C1 Series TVs are jam packed with innovative and useful technology. While a number of TVs offer voice command capabilities, few can pick up your voice as well as the C1 series. This, in addition to the fact that it syncs with Alexa and Google Assistant, makes it a true resource. In fact, the inclusion of Alexa and Google Assistant maximize the ‘smartness’ of your smart TV and allow you to easily take advantage of voice control capabilities. Plus, this TV is primed and ready to integrate with a home theater thanks to its full suite of Dolby products.
Best Budget: TCL Class 5 Series 4K QLED Smart TV
Why It Made The Cut: This TCL 4K TV punches well above its weight class, especially for the price. If you’re looking for a 50-inch 4K TV without breaking the bank, this is your best bet.
— Size Range: 50 to 75 inches
— Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
— Display Type: QLED
— Connectivity Options: WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, USB and HDMI ports
— Compatible with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision
— Voice control syncs with other devices
— Includes Chomecast and Google TV
— Refresh rate of 60 Hz isn’t ideal for gaming
TCL has earned a reputation in the TV industry for consistently producing high quality, affordable TVs, and the Class 5 Series is no different. Regardless of what size you pick, you can rest assured knowing you got a good value for your money. Although the Class 5 Series TVs don’t have the greatest refresh rate, they do include a game mode that automatically turns on when a console is plugged in. When the TV is in game mode, it analyzes the incoming video data to lower the latency for optimal smoothness. If you choose to stream movies from your gaming console, you’ll also have this feature applied to that content. Although Chromecast isn’t the most popular streaming service, it does allow you to easily send content from any android phone to the TV. The Class 5 Series TVs are also capable of syncing with other smart devices in your home, such as your lights, thereby giving you voice control over them as well.
Best for Gaming: Hisense ULED Premium 65U7G QLED Series Smart TV
Why It Made The Cut: Not only is this TV the best for gaming at this price, it also presents one of the highest value-per-dollar metrics on this list, making it the best 4K TV under $1,000.
— Size Range: 55 to 75 inches
— Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
— Display Type: ULED
— Connectivity Options: WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, Ethernet, and HDMI
— Intelligent refresh rate
— Equipped with IMAX Enhanced
— 90 localized brightness zones
— Not many sizes to choose from
— Image quality degrades when viewed at an angle
This Hisense TV is chock-full of gaming-specific features, such as a dedicated mode that uses AI software to control the latency and refresh rate in real time and up to 1,000 nits of brightness that allow the user to see in the darkest corners of their game during the brightest days. The ULED screen is unique to Hisense TVs and delivers some of the best image contrast in variable light conditions that we’ve seen. One of the reasons for the crystal-clear contrast is the fact that this TV has 90 individual brightness zones, which gives the user a high level of control and customizability. The Hisense ULED In addition to the great display, this TV also has IMAX Enhanced. which combines the best built-in digital audio capabilities. Despite the fact that the refresh rate is already fast, and capable of intelligently analyzing content to reduce digital noise, IMAX Enhanced can speed it up further.
Best Design: LG OLED G1 Series Gallery Design TV
Why It Made The Cut: This TV has an excellent design that allows it to transform into a standalone piece of art when it’s not in use as a TV.
— Size Range: 50 to 77 inches
— Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
— Display Type: OLED
— Connectivity Options: WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, HDMI 2, USB, Ethernet
— Stunning still-image display
— Can be purchased in a bundle
— Easy to integrate into any design
— Doesn’t include a stand
You may be concerned with the potential impact a large TV may have on the design of your living room, and rightly so. Not everyone likes the look of a large, black piece of plastic and glass hanging off their wall. If that’s you, then you should consider this TV for no other reason than the fact that it’s designed to double as a picture frame for your favorite photos and paintings when it’s not in use. With the LG G1 Gallery Design TV, you no longer have to choose between good looks and functionality. However, since the TV doesn’t include any form of stand or mounting hardware, you’re going to have to purchase additional equipment for that. That may be a hard pill to swallow considering this TV is already quite expensive.
Best Amazon Fire: Toshiba C350 Series LED 4K UHD Fire TV
Why It Made The Cut: Amazon has carved out a significant portion of the content streaming market, and this is the best value 4K TV that includes Fire TV as standard.
— Size Range: 43 to 75 inches
— Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
— Display Type: LED
— Connectivity Options: WiFi, HDMI (including HDMI 2.1), USB, and Bluetooth
— Great value
— Equipped with DTS technology
— Internet browsing is limited
— Getting Live Fire TV costs extra
If you use Amazon for the majority of your content viewing, whether it be live TV or for your favorite movies, then this TV may be perfect for you. It makes connecting with all of Amazon’s ancillary businesses easier than ever and can be synced with your existing Alexa system and any other Amazon-enabled smart devices in your home. If you’re a diehard Amazon user, this TV just makes sense. However, because this is an Amazon TV, you are forced to use all Amazon apps and widgets for things like internet browsing, which severely limits what you can do and how quickly you do it because these interfaces aren’t as intuitive as more popular options, such as Google chrome.
Things to Consider Before Buying a 4K TV
Although you may feel an urge to get the biggest possible TV, bigger isn’t always better in this case. To make sure you get the right sized TV for your space, consider the dimensions of the room you’re going to put it in. While it’s true that you can sit a lot closer to a 60-inch 4K TV than you can to a standard 60-inch HD TV, a good rule of thumb is to divide the distance between your seating and your TV, known as the viewing distance, by 2.5, and to then use that number to determine the right diagonal measurement. If you really want to go big, it’s okay to exceed that number by a few inches. Any more than that and you risk lowering the quality of your viewing experience. Keep in mind that larger screens are better for viewing from farther away, and if you sit too close, you may not experience the best color saturation or viewing angle.
Current Setup and Connectivity
When shopping for a new TV, make sure to take stock of your current entertainment setup, especially if you don’t plan to do a complete overhaul. Because streaming and video transmission technology is constantly changing, it’s easier than you may think to purchase a new TV that’s not compatible with your current setup. On the other hand, if you’re just getting started, make sure to keep an eye out for TVs that have a range of connectivity options so that it can continue to be useful as you upgrade other portions of your system, such as your surround sound.
Intended Purpose and Versatility
Choosing the perfect TV is a balancing act, but some considerations merit further analysis while others are simple preference. Unless you’re looking for a TV for a truly singular purpose, you’re going to have to consider both the activity you do most frequently as well as the activities you do less frequently but still want to maintain top quality. For example, if you’re a movie buff, but someone in your house is an avid gamer, invest in a TV that adequately meets both of these needs. Take a close look at the specifications that matter for your intended purpose, such as refresh rate, color palette or brightness, and make sure they aren’t too slanted towards one task.
Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you may be able to get TVs that are equipped with additional picture quality enhancements, such as Dolby Vision HDR which enhances your picture and color quality without actually increasing the number of pixels. Also, be on the lookout for smart TVs with the latest internet streaming capabilities and Bluetooth technology, as this will allow you to integrate your television into other at-home entertainment systems you may have, such as whole-house sound from Sonos.
Q: How much do 4K TVs cost?
High-quality budget models cost between $400 to $600, while top-tier 4K TVs can run you as much as $3,000. Keep in mind that one of the largest determinants of price is size, so if you’re not looking for a large TV, you can get brand-name TVs within the budget range. Also, specific extras, such as built-in home theater quality speakers or 3D technology, are more expensive than comparatively simple upgrades, such as WiFi 6. If you’re looking for the top of the line, we recommend sticking with established brands that are more likely to deliver quality upgrades than budget options that make big claims.
Q: Will a 4K TV use more energy than my current HD TV?
Unfortunately, a 2015 study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that 4K TVs consume 30 percent more energy on average than their 720p and 1080p counterparts. That being said, even regular HD streaming emits eight times more carbon in the process than standard definition. There’s no way around the fact that digital technology has a long way to go in terms of reducing its carbon footprint. However, check out the Energy Star-certified list of TVs to narrow your choices and learn more about the potential increase in cost on your electricity bill if you do choose to upgrade to a 4K TV.
Q: What is the difference between 8K, 4K, and regular HD?
These are the three main categories of high-definition resolution on the market today. By today’s standards, regular HD screens have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, hence the nickname 1080P. A 4K screen, on the other hand, has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which results in quadrupling the total amount of pixels in comparison to 1080P. Then there’s 8K, which is the latest, most expensive option, which has four times the total pixels of 4K, and 16 times the total pixels as 1080P on the same sized screen. Hard to believe, I know. However, you don’t have to worry about settling for 4K if you want the best because there’s very little content available in 8K right now. Streaming services like Netflix are just beginning to offer 4K, and it’s still an expensive upgrade.
Q: What is the difference between LED, OLED, and QLED?
While there’s a lot of technological differences between these screen types, there’s only a few that you need to know. Standard LED LCD screens rely on a backlight for illumination, while OLED pixels produce their own light. LED LCD pixels are known as ‘transmissive’ screens because the light is projected through them, while OLED pixels are ‘self-emissive’ because they create their own light. Although OLED is newer, it isn’t always better. LED LCD screens can achieve much greater brightness than OLED screens, which makes them better for daytime viewing and ideal for areas that get a lot of sunlight. OLED screens are best suited for darker rooms, which allows the incredible contrast ratio produced by their pixels to shine. OLED pixels can be viewed from virtually any angle without distorting the contrast, which is ideal for anyone who wants to place their TV in a space with a lot of activity, such as a home gym or kids playroom. QLED TVs add quantum dots to the same transmissive technology. These microscopic dots reflect a broad array of light and color that improves the picture quality.
If you’re in the market for a high-end yet reasonably priced 4K TV that can handle everything from gaming to movie watching and everything in between, consider the LG OLED C1 Series 4k Smart TV. The refresh rate and picture quality are market leading for this price point, and LG is a trustworthy brand. However, LG TVs aren’t cheap. If you’re looking to save some money but don’t want to sacrifice quality, take a look at the TCL Class 5 Series 4K QLED Smart TV. Regardless of what you choose, all of the TVs on this list are capable of upgrading any existing standard HD setup.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.