With prices falling, 4K content options expanding, and features such as high-dynamic range (HDR) becoming more widespread, you may be looking for a 4K TV this year. Several of the top performers from our ratings are listed below (including some 2015 models, which may present great bargains.)
Among the best 4K TVs, you'll find two basic technologies: LED LCD sets and OLED sets. The OLEDs topped our ratings last year in the larger screen sizes, and managed the same feat again this year. Without getting into the physics of it, they can deliver a truly stunning picture in part because they do a great job of displaying the blackest parts of an image. But right now LG is the only brand making OLED TVs, and they remain relatively pricey compared to most other LCD-based sets of the same size.
But those prices are falling. The best 55-inch 4K TV in our ratings—the LG OLED55E6P described below—is now selling for $2,500. Two months ago, it was $4,000. The 55-inch B6 model mentioned below is currently selling for $2,000, a thousand dollars less than a few months ago.
That said, the overwhelming majority of 4K TVs sold this year will be LED LCD models—and you can find some highly rated options for less than $1,000. The better LCD sets do a good job with black levels. Maybe not as good as an OLED TV, but close. On the other hand, they tend to be brighter. And that's good if you tend to watch television in a well-lit room.
Before you decide on an LCD-based model, though, be sure to check out the viewing angle, especially if you plan to watch TV with family or friends: On many sets, the picture looks its best only when viewed head-on.
Best Overall TV
You'd be hard pressed to find a TV better than this 65-inch 4K OLED UHD TV from LG, in the company's flagship "Signature" G6 series. We recently named it "Best TV of 2016." As you'd expect, it has excellent high-definition picture and excellent UHD performance, and like all OLED TVs it has an unlimited viewing angle. Another plus: It has very good sound—among the best we heard this year—thanks to the sound bar-style speaker system integrated into the stand. It's a 3D model with very good 3D performance. The TV, which has LG's "picture on glass" slim design, supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) technology, and is capable of reproducing a wider range of colors than regular sets. This model has four HDMI inputs, and three USB ports.
Best 55-Inch Set
Among the very best sets we've ever tested, the LG 55OLEDE6P boasts excellent high-definition picture and excellent ultra high definition (UHD) performance. Like all OLED TVs, it has an almost unlimited viewing angle. And the audio from the integrated sound bar speaker is very good. This TV also ranks among the few models with very good 3D performance. It supports high-dynamic range (HDR) technology—which maximizes the contrast between the lightest and darkest parts of an image—in both the HDR10 and Dolby Vision standards, and is capable of reproducing a wider range of colors than regular sets. It comes with LG's updated webOS 3.0 smart TV platform, which includes a new Magic Motion remote control. The best news: The vignetting issue we saw with last year's OLEDs appears to be gone.
Best LCD/LED-Based TV
This 65-inch LED LCD-based 4K UHD TV--the flagship model in Samsung's SUHD lineup for 2016--delivers excellent high-definition picture quality and excellent UHD performance. The TV, a curved-screen model, also has very good motion-blur reduction and sound. This model is in the only Samsung series this year to use a full-array LED backlight with local dimming, and it was capable of producing very deep black levels for an LCD TV. Like other Samsung SUHD TVs this year, this model earns the Ultra HD Premium designation for 4K TVs, meaning it's capable of hitting the Ultra HD Alliance's specs for brightness and colors. The TV supports the open HDR10 high dynamic range standard, and has 10-bit color processing and quantum dot technology to produce a wider range of colors. The TV comes with smart remote with an embedded microphone for voice searches, and the ability to control almost any other device in your system, including cable/satellite boxes. The TV comes with four HDMI inputs, plus two USB ports.
Best TV If You Have a Sound Bar
This 55-inch 4K OLED TV gives the E6P model above a run for its money, though its sound isn't quite as good. You get excellent high-definition picture and excellent UHD performance, plus a lower price. (Don't expect the 3D capability, too, however.) The LG OLED55B6P does support both HDR standards. And like many other LG OLED TVs this year, it's capable of hitting the Ultra HD Alliance's specs for brightness and colors. Other features include LG's updated webOS 3.0 smart TV platform, four HDMI inputs, and three USB ports.
Best 4K TV Under $1,000
We've seen this 4K UHD TV, a 55-inch LED LCD-based 4K model in Samsung's mid-tier non-SUHD line, for about $800 recently. Despite its relatively low price, it delivers excellent UHD and high-definition picture quality. Although the TV, which features a curved screen, has "Motion Rate 120" anti-blur technology, it dimmed the image too much so we turned it off, so the TV had blurring on some fast-moving scenes. The set has edge-based LED backlighting with local dimming. Like other Samsung models this year, the TV has the ability to control almost any other device in your system, including cable/satellite boxes, plugged into an HDMI input. The TV comes with three HDMI inputs, plus two USB ports.
Great 4K TV If 3D Still Matters
This 60-inch set delivers excellent HD and UHD picture quality, plus a wider-than-average viewing angle for an LCD TV. It not only does a decent job with 3D, but also comes with two pairs of glasses. The LG 60UH8500 supports both HDR standards and includes technology to reproduce a wider range of colors. Other features include LG's webOS 3.0 smart TV platform, the new Magic Motion remote control, and a zoom feature that lets you enlarge a scene on the TV simply by pressing a key on that remote.
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