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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 well 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.

Many of these older sets are still in Consumer Reports' TV ratings, and some of them are now at their lowest prices ever. But we have dozens of 2019 sets in our TV ratings as well.

Below, you'll find some of the best TVs you can buy, mainly in 65-inch screen sizes. (Most are also available in smaller screen sizes if you're looking to save money or don't need a TV that big.) While many of these models are pricey, we've also included a great 65-inch 4K set that costs less than $1,000. 

Before we get to the individual models, it pays to understand the two basic technologies used in today's televisions.

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 a side of a 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, the scoring was so close it was difficult to call one a clear winner.

More on TVs

A 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 one you might take home.

We'll be regularly updating this article as more 2019 sets make their way into our labs for testing.


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Best TV Overall

LG OLED55CP9PUA
Although a few Sony OLED sets are at the top of our TV ratings now, it's mainly due to their higher reliability scores. So there's a strong argument to be made that this is the best TV we've tested so far this year.

The 55-inch 2019 LG OLED55C9PUA—the only size in this series we've tested so far—earned top scores for HD and UHD picture quality, and did a bit better than the Sony OLEDs when it comes to HDR performance. (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 top-notch, among the best we've tested. 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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