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Best TVs of 2018

Consumer Reports tests hundreds of televisions each year. These 4K sets rise to the top.

Family sitting in a living room watching TV.
Photo: LG

With prices still falling and more movies and TV series being presented in 4K and high-dynamic range (HDR), this might be the year you decide to buy a 4K TV.

We've been testing the new 2018 TVs as they come on the market, and some are already top performers in Consumer Reports' TV ratings, which also include a selection of 2017 TVs.

Below, you'll find a selection of some of the best TVs of the year in several categories, including two sets that are battling it out for the top spot in our ratings. While many of the best TVs are pricey, we also picked out one great set, a 55-inch 4K TV, you can buy for less than $1,000.

Once again this year, there are two basic TV technologies available: LCD—also called LED TVs due to their LED backlights—and OLED. OLED TVs can deliver a truly stunning picture, in part because they do a great job of displaying the blackest parts of an image. They also have unlimited viewing angles, so the picture still looks great if you view the TV from the side of the room.

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The huge majority of TVs being sold are LCD sets. They tend to cost less than a similarly sized OLED TV, and you can find some highly rated LCD sets for less than $1,000 even in the largest screen sizes. (Premium LCDs can cost several times that.)

More on TVs

LCD-based sets generally can't deliver OLED-like blacks but they get better every year, especially models that use full-array backlights, where the LEDs are spread across the entire rear panel instead of just along the edges. LCD TVs also tend to be brighter than OLEDs, making them a good choice in well-lit rooms.

But before you choose an LCD-based model, check out the viewing angle if you expect people to watch the TV from a variety of angles. Sets with a narrow viewing angle look their best only when seen head-on.

Each year we test about 250 individual TVs from major well-known brands such as LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio to emerging TV companies. All of the sets in our ratings go through a battery of objective measurements and subjective evaluations designed to push them to their limits.

In our ratings, you’ll see separate scores for high-definition picture quality, UHD performance (for 4K models), viewing angle, motion blur, and sound quality. We also consider ease of use and versatility. And we let you know how well a TV does with HDR content in the detailed test results on the TV's model page. (HDR can produce enhanced contrast and brighter specular highlights when done well.)

Like all the products that Consumer Reports tests, every TV we evaluate is purchased at retail. We don’t accept freebies or handpicked models from manufacturers, so every tested model is just like the one you might take home.

One last thing: It's still early in the testing year, so keep checking back for our latest updates on the best TVs because some new models may replace our current picks.

Best TV Overall

LG OLED65C8PUA, $3,500
As in past years, an LG OLED TV tops our ratings in 2018, though this year it pushes ahead by fractions in our ratings scores. (See Best TV, Part II, below.)

Though it's not inexpensive by any stretch of the imagination, the 65-inch LG OLED65C8PUA—a mid-tier OLED model for 2018—offers a great balance of price and performance. You get excellent high-definition picture, excellent UHD performance, and very effective HDR, something not true of all HDR-compatible TVs this year. (LG 4K TVs support several HDR formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor.)

Like all OLED TVs, this model has an almost unlimited viewing angle, and the sound is also excellent. (As a bonus, it supports Dolby Atmos audio, which can give a soundtrack a more three-dimensional effect.) LG's updated smart TV platform includes its own voice-enabled ThinQ artificial intelligence platform as well as built-in support for the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa digital voice assistants.

TVs in Our Ratings.
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