SUPER BOWL XLIX

Consumer Reports' top 10 TVs for Super Bowl XLIX

Doesn't the Big Game deserve a big-screen TV that can do it justice?

Published: January 20, 2015 04:45 PM

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If you're not heading to Glendale, Arizona, to catch Super Bowl XLIX between the Patriots and the Seahawks in person, then the next best way to watch the big game is on a big-screen TV. And now's a good time to buy, because prices are falling.

Based on info from research firm Market Track, we expect to see the price of many of the sets in our top-10 list drop an average of about 20 percent before the Super Bowl. Be sure to ask about a 30-day price-match guarantee—prices will continue to fall next month when retailers start clearing out inventories of leftover 2014 sets in earnest. 

But which TV to choose? That's easy—just pick one from this list. True, none is a budget pick, but all are guaranteed to deliver top-notch picture quality for sports as well as for your favorite TV show or a blockbuster action flick.

Here are our top picks for a Super Bowl TV. For an even wider assortment of sets, check our Ratings of more than 200 TVs.

—James K. Willcox

The big speakers on the Sony XBR-65X900B provide great sound.

1. Sony XBR-65X900B 65-inch UHD TV, $3,500

Many of the sets in this Top 10 list can deliver a superb picture. Only one—the Sony XBR-65X900B (shown)—delivers excellent sound. Not everyone is going to like the look of the set, with large speakers proudly exposed on side panels that flank the screen, but you can't argue with the results. This UHD TV matches its great sound with excellent picture quality and Sony's smart TV service. Even better, the TV costs about $300 less than just two weeks ago.

2. Samsung UN60HU8500 60-inch UHD LED LCD TV, $2,300

This 60-inch Ultra HD TV from Samsung shows how close LED-backlit LCD TVs are getting to plasma sets in several areas, including black levels and motion blur, and its UHD screen betters them in terms of picture detail. It's an all-around great set that has excellent picture quality, very good sound, and a lot of features. And it costs about $300 less than it did a few weeks ago.

3. LG 55EC9300 55-inch OLED TV, $3,000

How does a $500 price drop sound? Just a few weeks ago this same model was priced at $3,500. It's now widely available for $3,000, and you might be able to find it for $200 or $300 less at some online retailers. It's true that we had a few issues with this set, (read "LG's OLED TV Isn't the Best TV We've Ever Tested") but the fact is, both our TV project leader, Claudio Ciacci, and I would pick this OLED TV over every other model we tested this year. Yes, it has 1080p resolution at a time when the industry is quickly moving to UHD, but extra detail isn't always evident, especially at normal viewing distances. When we brought colleagues into our TV test labs, almost every single person reacted immediately to this TV's deep black levels and contrast when we showed scenes from the movie Gravity. The picture isn't perfect, but overall we felt this TV gave us a glimpse of the future of television. But even though we loved this set, you may want to hold off a bit—LG is about to launch its first UHD OLED TV soon.

Find the best flat-panel TV for your needs and budget with our TV buying guide and Ratings.

Vizio P-series UHD TVs are well priced for their size and features.

4. LG 65UB9500 65-inch UHD TV, $2,300

This UHD TV from LG fires on all cylinders, with excellent high-definition picture quality and excellent 3D performance. The set also has a wider-than-average viewing angle for an LCD set and very good sound. Its price is about $200 less than a few weeks ago.

5. Samsung UN65HU8550 65-inch UHD TV, $3,000

This TV is in many ways similar to the HU8500-series set mentioned above, though that model's sound has slightly deeper bass. But both have excellent picture quality and very good sound, and they do a great job at reducing motion blur. They both also come with Samsung's smart TV platform. This set is still selling for about $3,000 at several major retailers, but a few others—including Abe's of Maine—have cut the price significantly.

6. Sony KDL-70W830B 70-inch LED LCD TV, $1,800

First, start off with a really big 70-inch screen. Then add in excellent high-definition picture quality and very good sound, plus a ton of features, and you'll have one of the better 1080p TVs this year. And just a few weeks ago this set was selling for $2,500. Just note that if 3D is your thing, you should look elsewhere—this set's 3D performance is poor, among the worst we've seen.

7. Samsung UN55HU9000 55-inch UHD TV, $3,000

Like its 65-inch sibling, which we also tested, this 55-inch flagship UHD TV boasts a curved screen that gives it a unique look. Our opinion is that the curve is more an aesthetic statement than a performance-related one, but this TV isn't just a pretty face—in addition to its unique look it provides excellent picture quality and very good 3D performance, plus it does an excellent job of reducing motion blur during fast-moving scenes. Befitting its flagship status, it's loaded with features. Its price hasn't dropped much at the major retailers, but some other sites have it for $800 or $900 less.

8. Sony XBR-65X950B 65-inch UHD TV, $6,000

This 65-inch 3D-capable Sony Ultra HD—in its pricey flagship UHD series for 2014—is among the best UHD TVs we've tested, with excellent high-definition picture quality and excellent motion-blur reduction. It doesn't have the great sound found in the 900B-series set described above, but its viewing angle is better, about average for an LCD TV. The TV has lots of features, including Sony's smart TV platform, and it's ready for Sony's 4K download service. The other good news: It's selling for about $1,000 less than a few weeks ago at most major retailers.

9. Vizio P652ui-B2 65-inch UHD TV, $1,500

This 65-inch set from Vizio, well priced for a UHD TV, delivers excellent high-definition picture quality and a lot of features, including a full-array LED backlight with local dimming and the company's VIA Plus smart TV platform with access to streaming movies and TV shows from several services. It has five HDMI inputs, one more than most sets this size. This TV is still $2,200 on Vizio's website, but Best Buy currently has it for $1,500.

10. Samsung PN64H5000 64-inch plasma TV, $1,300

This 64-inch set from Samsung, one of the few remaining plasma TVs you can still get, reminds us why we're lamenting the disappearance of this TV technology: excellent picture quality, great black levels, the ability to handle fast motion without blurring, and an unlimited viewing angle. It's a 1080p set that lacks the greater picture detail we're now seeing in many higher-resolution UHD sets, but given all its other attributes we don't think you'll miss it. It is, however, a more basic model without Samsung's smart TV platform and access to online content.

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