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Image of kids watching TV, for a story on the best 4K TVs.

Best 4K TVs to Buy Right Now

If you're ready to take the leap to 4K, these models are your best bets

With prices falling, 4K content options expanding, and features such as high-dynamic range (HDR) becoming more widespread, now might be the time you decide to buy a 4K TV.

Several of the top performers from our ratings are listed below, including new 2017 models and a few 2016 sets that are still available as great bargains.

There are two basic technologies for 4K TVs: LED LCD and OLED. We find that OLED TVs deliver a truly stunning picture, in part because they do a great job of displaying the blackest parts of an image. But they remain relatively pricey compared with most LCD-based sets of the same size.

OLED models topped our ratings last year in the larger screen sizes, and we've tested a few of the first 2017 LG OLED TVs. We also just tested the first OLED TVs from Sony

The overwhelming majority of 4K TVs sold this year will be LCD models, and you'll find some highly rated options for less than $1,000. The better LCD sets do a good job with black levels and also tend to be brighter, which is good if you often watch television in a well-lit room. We expect that top-tier LCD models from Samsung and Sony and other major brands will give OLED TVs a run for the money.

Before you decide on an LCD-based model, check out the viewing angle. On many sets, the picture looks best only when viewed head-on.

1
Best 55-Inch Set
Sony Bravia XBR-55A1E

Sony Bravia XBR-55A1E

This one is a toss-up between the Sony Bravia XBR-55AE1—the company's first 4K OLED TV—and the LG OLED55C7P. But we're giving this 55-inch Sony set the edge thanks to its unique design and innovative sound system. The TV delivers great overall picture quality, with excellent high-definition picture quality, excellent UHD performance, and effective HDR.

 

In addition, the set’s “Acoustic Surface” audio technology—which uses vibrating actuators that turn the entire panel into a speaker, paired with a subwoofer mounted in the rear angled stand—delivers very good (near excellent) sound quality.

 

Both this model and its 65-inch sibling (the Sony Bravia XBR-65A1E) are ultra-thin, with a no-visible-stand design that tilts the TV backwards at a slight angle. Like other Sony UHD TVs this year, this set uses Google's Android TV smart TV platform, which offers access to Google Cast for streaming from mobile devices.

    2
    Best TV Overall
    LG OLED65W7P

    LG OLED65W7P

    Now sitting atop our TV ratings is the LG OLED65W7P, the pricey flagship model in LG's line of 4K OLED UHD smart TVs. Dubbed LG's "wallpaper" TV, the set is visually striking, with the slimmest design we've ever seen.

     

    This model delivers excellent high-definition picture, excellent UHD performance, and very effective HDR performance, which produces enhanced contrast and brighter specular highlights (an example of a specular highlight would be the glint of light bouncing off steel or glass).

     

    This TV also has excellent sound, courtesy of its impressive, sizeable sound bar–style speaker system, equipped with pop-up, up-firing speakers and support for Dolby Atmos sound. The system, which houses the TV's electronics and connections, attaches to the set via a broad, flat ribbon-style cable that can be painted to match your wall. 

     

    This model has LG's updated webOS 3.5 smart TV platform, which includes a new Magic Motion remote control.

      3
      Brightest HDR
      Sony XBR-65X930E

      Sony XBR-65X930E

      Narrowly edging out the new Samsung Q7 QLED and the LG OLED TVs, which can't get quite as bright, the 2017 Sony XBR-65X930E wows with excellent high-definition picture quality and excellent UHD performance.

       

      Its unique edge-lit local-dimming backlight, called Slim Backlight Drive, delivers great blacks and contrast. This model is also capable of very effective HDR performance, which can—when done well—produce enhanced contrast and brighter specular highlights.

       

      Like all Sony HDR models, the set supports both the HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR formats and uses Google's Android TV smart TV platform.

        4
        Best TV Remote and Navigation
        Samsung QN65Q7F

        Samsung QN65Q7F

        This 65-inch Samsung QN65Q7F, a 4K UHD TV in the company's entry-level series of premium QLED TVs for 2017, gets the nod in this category thanks to its simple, elegant remote control and all navigation being done onscreen.

         

        Another big plus: The TV remote can control any device plugged into one of the set's HDMI inputs.

         

        But a buying decision is not all about ease of use. The TV also delivers excellent high-definition picture quality, excellent UHD performance, very effective HDR, and—perhaps surprising given its super-svelte profile—excellent sound quality.

         

        This is a flat-screen model; those enamored of curved screens should consider the similar QN55Q7C model. Both feature Samsung's updated Tizen smart TV platform.
         

          5
          Best 4K TV Under $1,000
          Samsung UN55KU6500

          Samsung UN55KU6500

          Now that the Samsung KS-series TVs from 2016 have pretty much exited the market, the Samsung UN55KU6500 earns bragging rights as the best 4K TV for less than $1,000. It, too, is getting a little hard to find, but it costs only about $700 right now at several places, including Abt and B&H Photo.

           

          This 55-inch LED LCD-based 4K UHD TV, in Samsung's mid-tier non-SUHD 4K series for 2016, delivers excellent high-definition picture quality, excellent UHD performance, and very good sound. The TV has a curved screen, edge-based LED backlighting with local dimming, and Samsung's Tizen smart TV system from last year.

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            James K. Willcox

            I've been a tech journalist for more years than I'm willing to admit. My specialties at CR are TVs, streaming media, audio, and TV and broadband services. In my spare time I build and play guitars and bass, ride motorcycles, and like to sail—hobbies I've not yet figured out how to safely combine.