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Best TVs to Buy Right Now

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 clearance sales for 2018 models now underway and more movies and TV series being presented in 4K and high dynamic range (HDR), this may be a great time to buy a new 4K TV.

More than 200 of these older sets are in the Consumer Reports' TV ratings, and many of them are now at their lowest prices ever. (New 2019 sets haven't yet arrived in stores.)

This article focuses on 65-inch sets, but many of these models are available in 55-inch and smaller sizes, as well.  

Below, you'll find some of the best TVs you can buy. While many of these models are pricey, we've also included a great 65-inch 4K set that costs less than $1,000.  

LCD vs. OLED TVs

You can choose between two basic TV display technologies: LCDs, which are also called LED TVs for the LED backlights that illuminate the screen; and OLED sets, where each pixel generates its own light.

There are far fewer OLED TVs on the market, and they tend to be more expensive, though prices have dropped significantly over the past year. OLED sets can deliver a truly stunning picture, in part because they do a great job of displaying the blackest parts of an image. The deepest shadows can really look black, as in real life, rather than gray. OLED TVs also have unlimited viewing angles, so the picture still looks great if you view it from the side of the room.

The list below includes 4K OLED sets from LG and Sony that battled it out for the top spot in our ratings. In some instances, scoring was so close it's hard to call one a clear winner.

More on TVs

The huge majority of TVs being sold are LCD sets. You can find some highly rated LCD sets for less than $1,000, even in the largest screen sizes. But premium LCD TVs can cost several times that.

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.

These models also include a feature called local dimming, which divides the backlights into zones that can be separately dimmed or illuminated, depending on the scene. This, too, can help improve black levels.

Most TVs, though, are edge-lit, meaning the LEDs are positioned on the sides of the screen. Some of these sets also include local dimming, though this feature tends to be less effective on these sets than with those that use full-array backlights. In general, LCD TVs tend to be brighter than OLEDs, making them a good choice for well-lit rooms.

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

And 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.

We'll be updating this article with new models in a few weeks when we've completed our testing of the first 2019 sets.


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Best TV Overall

LG OLED65B8PUA
As for past model years, an LG OLED TV tops our 2018 model ratings, though it pushes ahead of its top competitor by just a hair in our ratings. (See "Best TV, Part II" below for the runner-up.)

The 65-inch LG OLED65B8PUA costs about $2,600. That's far from cheap, but it was LG's least expensive OLED model for 2018, and it provides top-notch performance, as shown in our ratings. You get Excellent high-definition picture, Excellent UHD performance, and very effective HDR—which is not true of all HDR-compatible TVs. (LG 4K TVs support several HDR formats used by content creators: 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 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.

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