What's behind our TV Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 178 models in TVs to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Based on HD picture quality, sound quality, 3D performance (when feature is present), viewing angle, motion blur performance, ease of use, versatility, and power consumption. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
  • TV resolution type
    Denotes whether the TV is an Ultra HD with 3840x2160 display resolution, or an HDTV with typically 1920x1080, or 1366x768 display resolution.
  • Display type (Backlight)
    Display technology type, and TV resolution format. Display technology types include LCD ( with LED backlight, or CCFL -- when LED is not listed), Plasma, or OLED. TV resolution formats include HDTV, and Ultra HD.
  • Screen size
    The size of the television's screen, measured diagonally in inches.
  • HD picture quality
    Based on objective tests and subjective evaluations by expert testers after TV is adjusted using standard picture controls to achieve the highest-fidelity image possible. Tested image attributes include detail, color accuracy, and contrast, using signals from a Blu-ray player, cable box, and professional broadcast equipment and meters. All signals are routed through an HDMI input.
  • Ultra HD performance
    The Ultra HD performance rating represents a composite of observations relating to this TV's ability to reproduce full UHD image detail when presented with 4K content, how well it upconverts HD source material to the TV's higher native UHD resolution, and whether it is capable of playing 4K UHD content via its HDMI input, streaming from the Internet, or stored on a USB flash drive.
  • 3D performance
    Evaluation of the TV's ability to reproduce realistic 3D images. For effective 3D, images should be bright and maintain full resolution, remain free of ghosting (also known as crosstalk, or when double images are visible even when wearing 3D glasses), and be free of any viewing angle issues specific to the 3D mode.
  • Viewing angle
    Evaluation of picture quality for clarity and color accuracy at various horizontal and vertical viewing angles, typically a challenge for LCD TVs. Excellent = Unlimited, Very Good = Wide, Good = Moderate, Fair = Narrow, and Poor = Very Narrow
  • Motion blur
    Evaluation of how well the display can present a blur-free image during motion scenes. TVs with a 120Hz, or 240Hz frame rate feature generally perform better than TVs with a 60Hz frame rate. However, if the blur reduction feature also invokes a "smooth motion" effect, the feature will be turned off for our test.
  • Sound quality
    Measured from the set's built-in speakers using audio test equipment, with additional subjective testing by a listening panel. In our judgments we listen for overall clarity of sound, depth of bass, effective volume level, and audible distortion, for dialogue, music, and movie soundtrack content.
  • First time setup
    How easy it is to setup the product out of the box.
  • Everyday use
    How easy it is to use on a daily or regular basis.
  • Versatility
    Indicates features that increase a TV's utility or capabilities. These include 3D capability, access to the Internet (streaming services and/or Web browsing), number of HD and USB inputs, support for various media, and other useful features.
  • Energy cost/yr.
    Estimated cost per year in dollars, calculated for 5 hours a day turned on and 19 hours in the off (standby) mode, based on the current year's national average electricity rate. Your usage and local rates will affect your costs. Note that the energy scores are for a TV optimized for the best picture quality, not using any energy-saving technology included in the set.



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Recommended TVs

Recommended TVs are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
As new technologies take over, they present consumers with a number of evolving television choices. Whether you're looking for an LED LCD model or one of the newer OLED TVs, a standard high-definition set or a UHD TV with an even higher-resolution screen, or an Internet-capable smart TV with access to loads of streaming content, you'll need to make a number of smart decisions. Consumer Reports is your best resource for information about LCD, LED, OLED & UHD TVs. Consumer Reports’ TV reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our TV buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider in an LCD, LED, and OLED TV. We also provide unbiased Ratings and TV reviews you can use to compare various models as you choose the best television for your needs.

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TV buying guide

Buying a TV involves many choices, some of which may be new to you. This TV buying guide organizes the process into clear, logical steps that will help you make a smart decision.

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