Update: When it comes to getting a great viewing experience, buying the right hardware is only half the battle. You'll also need to make sure it's properly set up. Check out our guide on how to set up your TV if you want to get the most out of your new set.
Original article continues below...
Picking the right TV is hard work, and any mistakes can be costly. Choose well and you'll get a great selection of apps in an easy-to-navigate interface, all combined with a fantastic looking and sounding set.
But choose poorly and you could end up with a second-rate audio visual experience that's a pain to control.
Our constantly updated guide to the best TVs available today is here to change all that by giving you an easy to understand guide to the best options available at the moment.
The two hottest pieces of TV tech right now are undoubtedly Ultra HD and HDR, which offers four times the resolution of conventional HD televisions and better contrast, respectively. If you're looking for a buying guide that deals with TVs that only support this new resolution, check out our guide to the best 4K TVs.
However, if you're looking for the best-of-the-best TV out there today without limits or stipulations, this is the place for you.
- Samsung Q9F QLED
- LG OLEDE7 Series
- Panasonic DX802 Series
- Samsung KS7000 Series
- Sony W805/809C Series
- Panasonic DX902 Series
- LG OLEDB6 Series
- Sony XD9405 Series
- Samsung K5600 Series
- Panasonic DX600 Series
- Need something to watch? Check out the best movies on Netflix.
- Need something else to watch? There's also best movies on Amazon Prime.
- Not keen on streaming and want to stick to physical media? We've got a a list of the best Ultra HD Blu-ray players right here.
- Want better audio? Check out our guide to the best soundbars available.
- Once you've decided on a panel, make sure you read our guide on how to set up your TV to make sure you're getting the most out of it.
"So, should I buy a TV now or wait it out?"
We hear this question a lot. Like most technology, TVs are getting incrementally better all the time, but recently there has been a huge flurry of progress as manufacturers have rushed to embrace new display standards including and .
Thankfully, things seem to have settled down a little in this department, and the majority of TV manufacturers now support these next generation of features, including newer versions of HDR such as Hybrid Log Gamma.
So long as your next TV purchase supports these technologies (looking for an certification is a good way to go), we reckon you won't be kicking yourself in six month's time when the next batch of sets arrive
That said, we'd be remiss if we didn't let you know about the cool technologies that are just around the corner in TV tech. Chief amongst them is support for the new , which as well as allowing support for 8K at 60 frames per second and 4K at 120 will also allow for to be supported over HDMI.
It's cool technology for sure, but unless you're seriously into your gaming then we reckon you're safe making a purchase now.
1. Samsung Q9F QLED
These spectacularly bright TVs do a sensational job of revealing the full majesty of the latest HDR content
Samsung was the first brand to introduce a TV capable of showing high dynamic range pictures in 2015, and it built on that achievement this year by delivering us the Q9F, the brightest TV the world has seen to date. It delivers around 1500 nits of brightness on a 10% white HDR window, and manages to reach nearer 1800 nits in smaller areas, making it the single brightest TV we’ve ever tested.
This means it's uniquely qualified to unlock the full potential of HDR, delivering incredibly life-like, dynamic and dramatic pictures that also contain more detail and colour information in bright areas than we've ever seen before.
The set even carries the best attempt yet at turning standard dynamic range pictures into HDR. The use of direct LED lighting with local dimming and quantum dots also means the Q9F is able to deliver some gorgeously deep black and stunning colours alongside that ground-breaking brightness.
You occasionally see clouds of extra light around very bright objects and some settings cause striping in HDR colours, which is a shame considering how much the Q9F retails for, but it does a hell of a job of showcasing Samsung’s TV making prowess.
2. LG OLEDE7 Series
OLED just keeps getting better
The OLEDE7's incredibly slim 'picture on glass' design technique creates some incredibly gorgeous TVs. They're certainly not just a pretty face, though. Especially since the way each OLED pixel produces its own light and colour independent of its neighbours means the OLEDE7 series delivers levels of contrast and light control just not possible with LCD.
Unprecedentedly deep black colours sit right alongside even the brightest HDR whites without a hint of light 'bleed' - something just not possible with current LCD technologies. This works wonders for high-contrast HDR sources, as well as making today's standard dynamic range sources look better here, too.
While you could opt to buy the sensational-but-expensive OLED W7, picking the more affordable E7 will give you more bang for your buck: It still looks like a million bucks, still boasts an integrated soundbar that claims Dolby Atmos support, still boasts LG’s excellent webOS smart system, and still, most importantly of all, delivers pretty much identical picture quality to its more expensive sibling. For all those reasons and more, the E7 OLED is a worthwhile addition to any home theater.
3. Panasonic DX802 Series
Despite being aggressively priced, the DX802 TVs combine a gorgeous design with excellent picture and sound quality
Considering the Panasonic DX802 TVs sat just one rung below Panasonic's flagship TVs for 2016 (the DX902 sets that feature later in this guide), they're strikingly aggressively priced. Especially when you consider that their feature list includes an awesome-sounding 12-speaker external sound bar audio system, native UHD screens, support for high dynamic range playback, and a brilliantly simple smart TV system.
The DX802s also enjoy a unique design that finds their screens hanging within two easel-style silver legs, between which you also rest the external sound bar speaker (though you can remove the screen from the legs and wall mount it if you prefer).
The DX802s' edge LED lighting sometimes means you can see bands and blocks of unwanted light around bright objects. Otherwise, though, provided you use the TVs' adaptive backlight feature on its highest setting, the DX802s produce lovely, refined pictures with HDR and especially SDR content that exude Panasonic's self-proclaimed obsession with making pictures look like their creators intended them to look.
4. Samsung KS7000 Series
The Samsung KS7000 series combines great value with ultra-bright HDR pictures and a slick smart TV system
Samsung's desire to bring quality HDR to a wider audience is epitomised by the KS7000s. Their combination of an ultra bright panel and Quantum Dot colour reproduction enables it to deliver levels of dynamism, colour vibrancy and punch with HDR sources that have to be seen to believed considering the range starts at just £1200. The sets are attractive too, featuring slim, metallic frames and minimalist desktop 'feet'. It's also nice to find the airy design kept relatively free of cable spaghetti by an external box that passes on picture and sound via a single cable.
The KS7000s make it easy to find favourite content via a new, improved version of Samsung's Tizen smart interface, too. Bright HDR objects can cause some backlight striping and blocking when they appear against dark backgrounds, and 3D fans will have to look elsewhere as Samsung has abandoned the feature. The bottom line, though, is that no other TV in its price range delivers HDR as successfully.
5. Sony W805/809C Series
This outstanding full HD range of TVs proves that you don't have to have a 4K resolution to deliver gorgeous picture quality
It's getting increasingly difficult to find a big-screen TV that doesn't carry a UHD resolution. Yet there are still plenty of people who have no interest in forking out for UHD sources, and so would rather get a high quality HD TV for the same money as a relatively low-quality 4K TV. Cue the Sony W805/809C series, which deliver probably the finest picture quality the HD world has ever seen while costing precious little by today's TV standards.
Ideally the Android interface would be sleeker and more customisable (though it does carry a huge amount of apps), and you might want to add an external sound system at some point to replace the rather flimsy built-in speakers. The W805C/W809C TVs' fabulous pictures, though, really are gorgeous enough to overwhelm any flaws elsewhere.
If you're willing to forgo support for Ultra HD, then this is a great range to consider.
6. Panasonic DX902 Series
This stunning TV will take your breath away, it's that good
In a bid to deliver levels of light control beyond the typical capabilities of LCD TVs, the Panasonic DX902 series employs a new honeycomb panel designed to limit how far unwanted light around bright objects can spread.
Coupled with an exceptionally bright panel, brilliant black levels for an LCD screen and ultra-rich but also beautifully controlled colours (thanks to Panasonic's pro-grade 3D Look Up Table colour system), the new honeycomb approach really does work wonders for the most part on the latest high dynamic range pictures, giving them an intensity second only to that of Samsung's KS9500 models. And Panasonic's models are around £800 cheaper.
The only catch with the honeycomb design is that in limiting the extent of light bleed in the picture it does sometimes make what light bleed there is look more pronounced. Fast motion occasionally looks slightly soft too. None of which alters the fact, however, that for their money the DX902s are really in a class of their own.
7. LG OLEDB6 Series
If you like the idea of OLED technology but can't afford LG's previously mentioned OLEDE6 series...
LG took an unusual approach with its 2016 OLED TV range, choosing to base the differences across the series in the range more on design than picture quality concerns. So it is that while the entry level OLEDB6 series isn't quite as ultra-slim and unfeasibly gorgeous as the premium 'picture on glass' OLEDE6 models, they do deliver broadly similar picture quality. Which is handy when you're talking about the sort of beautifully high contrast, colour-rich, HDR-capable, 4K pictures LG's OLED TVs provide.
The OLEDB6 pictures lack some of the refinement of the more expensive OLEDE6 screens, and there's slightly more potential for noise in dark areas. There's also no support for 3D, and audio is noticeably thinner than that of the sound bar-equipped OLEDE6s. All that will likely matter about the OLEDB6 series for many AV fans, though, is that they represent the cheapest way to get your hands on LG's fantastic OLED tech.
8. Sony XD9405 Series
If your tastes are more home cinema than mere TV, this spectacular 75-inch Sony beast could prove hard to resist
75-inch: Sony KD-75XD9405
If you're into movies and you've got plenty of space in your living room, Sony's 75XD9405 is our favourite 'giant TV'. Its mammoth 75-inch screen gives you deliciously detailed, colourful, high contrast, clear and natural pictures with high and standard dynamic sources alike, and its enormity also does a great job of underlining the benefits of having a native 4K pixel count to work with. Its pictures aren't the brightest around, and some high-contrast HDR content causes light 'blooming' around bright objects.
Android TV's interface isn't the most helpful around either, and the low-profile buttons on the remote control are tortuous to use. For the vast majority of the time, though, the size and overall quality of the 75XD9405's pictures creates a stunningly immersive experience that could well make the idea going out to watch films a thing of the past.
9. Samsung K5600 Series
The best small screen TVs of the year
While all four models in the K5600 range are worthy HD contenders, we're particularly fond of the 32-inch and 40-inch models, since they bring a level of quality to the small-screen/second room TV markets that's rarely found these days. Their pictures, for instance, enjoy much more contrast, brightness and colour vibrancy than the vast majority of other small-screen TVs these days, and they also offer more smart features - including Netflix, Amazon and all the 'big four' UK catch up TV services - than you'd usually expect to find.
You can view content on your smartphones and tablets via integrated sreen mirroring, and there's even an optional extra SmartThings hub available that introduces features like the TV turning on as soon as you enter the room, and being able to adjust connected lights and speakers. Even the K5600 design is a cut above the flimsy plasticky finishes associated with most non-4K TVs now.
Read the full review: Samsung UE32K5600
10. Panasonic DX600 Series
Fancy a 4K TV but don't have much space or money to spare? Then say hello to the Panasonic TX-40DX600
Please note that we're only recommending the 40-inch DX600. The two larger DX600s use different kinds of panel which struggle to deliver useful amounts of contrast. The 40DX600, though, is a really appealing model for its sub-£500 price. Its native 4K screen produces sharp, clean pictures that benefit from an unusually assured contrast performance for such an affordable 4K model. Colours look bold, punchy but also surprisingly subtle.
Panasonic's Firefox smart system is also exceptionally well presented and easy to use too, and comes backed up by Freeview Play to let you access on-demand content from the main UK broadcasters via a TV listings screen that scrolls back through time as well as forwards. All in all, while the relatively small 40-inch screen doesn't sell the TV's native 4K resolution all that well and you can't watch it from much of an angle before colour and contrast start to lose their intensity, the 40DX600 gives you an awful lot of bang for precious little buck.