Our guide to the best TVs for sport covers the full range of brands and tech that contribute to making watching sports at home a fantastic experience.
Whether it’s the Samsung QN90C, which sits at the top of this list, or budget and premium options such as the Hisense U8K and Samsung S95C, respectively, there's sure to be a TV here to help you get your game on.
Al Griffin, Senior Editor – Home Entertainment
The best TVs for sport combine an excellent picture, a great design and good value for money. If you're buying a TV you'll primarily be using to watch sporting events, whether that’s football games, racing, athletics or anything else, there are several important things you'll need to consider.
In this list, you'll see that the best TVs for sport aren't all the most high-end, premium displays from our best TVs guide. That's because your prime consideration should be motion. Whether you enjoy watching football (either type), baseball, cricket or curling, on-screen images are constantly moving, which means that the more detail you can see when there’s motion, the better. Otherwise you’ll be watching lots of blurs dart across the screen.
Some TVs are better at scanning the picture and adding detail back into blurred motion than others. But it's not solely about the motion control, you should also consider brightness and reflections.
If you’re watching sport during the day, you’ll also need to make sure you can see what's going on. For that, you’ll need a bright TV that can cut through any reflections from natural light. Some TVs that are fantastic for watching movies – especially cheaper OLED TVs – are at their best when you can control the level of lighting, but we'll assume that with sports, you won't always want to do that.
Below you'll find our selection of the best TVs for sports. We’ve reviewed many of the best TVs over the years, so we know what to look for when it comes to TVs designed for watching sports that can handle all-important motion and reflections well.
The best TVs for sport for 2024
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Samsung QN90C is the ideal TV for sport. This is because it comes equipped with a mini-LED backlight that not only allows for a brighter picture, but enables a greater number of local dimming zones for better contrast. It also comes with an anti-glare screen designed to limit reflections, making it an excellent partner for daytime viewing in environments that suffer from bright natural light.
The QN90C's picture benefits from mini-LED brightness, which we measured at over 1,700 nits at its peak – that is over 300 nits brighter than the Samsung S95C, Samsung's brightest OLED. We also noted in our review that "the company’s Ultra Viewing Angle tech also helped images retain contrast and color saturation when viewed at off-center seats – a performance aspect that gives the QN90C an advantage over budget LCD TVs". If you put all these elements together, and add in strong motion handling with great contrast, the QN90C's picture lends itself perfectly to sport, especially for larger groups.
The QN90C also pulls double duty as an excellent gaming TV. It's stacked with features suited to next-gen consoles such as VRR, 4K 120Hz, AMD Freesync Premium and more. It also comes in a variety of sizes to suit every environment, from 43- to 85-inches.
This is not the cheapest mini-LED on this list (look to the Hisense U8K at #2 on this list instead) but it does give you the overall best package in terms of viewing angles, a bright picture and responsive motion, which is why it sits at the top of this list.
Read our full Samsung QN90C review
The best budget TV for sport in the US
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Like the Samsung QN90C (that sits at #1 on the list), the Hisense U8K has a mini-LED backlight, meaning it's significantly brighter than standard LED and OLED screens. Although its 1590 nits peak brightness was lower than the QN90C's of over 1,700 nits, this is still bright enough to handle any well-lit viewing environments when paired with its anti-glare coating – a must for daytime sports.
We found in our review that "whether (we were) watching news channels with the lights on or streaming movies and shows with them dimmed, everything looked very good on the U8K". The U8K also benefits from rich contrast and black levels, although there is some backlight blooming present.
Perhaps the strongest point of this TV is its value. It defines bang for your buck, as it's kitted out for gaming, with 144hz, Dolby Vision and other gaming features, good sound quality and when you pair all this with its picture for under $800 in a 55-inch size, it's seriously good value – it's pricier in the UK, which is why we have the Samsung Q80C as an alternative below.
So, why is the Hisense U8K not at the top of this list? Despite its amazing value, it does lose some of its picture quality when viewed from an angle, which isn't ideal for bigger groups and its picture isn't as strong as the Samsung QN90C's. If you can't stretch to the QN90C's price though, the Hisense U8K is your next best bet if you're a sport fan in the US.
Read our full Hisense U8K review
The best budget TV for sport in the UK
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Samsung Q80C comes equipped with a QLED panel for added brightness over standard LED sets and even though it may not hit the peak brightness levels of mini-LEDs, such as the Samsung QN90C and Hisense U8K both featured above, that didn't stop it from impressing us. We referred to the Q80C as a "mid-range QLED marvel" in our review and it's easy to see why.
Whatever your room size, the Q80C has you covered as it ranges from 50-inch to a giant 98-inch size, so whatever your group size for the game, the Q80C has the size. The Q80C's picture is bright with vivid colors, great lighting control and customizable motion (thanks to its clarity settings), meaning it's fantastic for sports. We measured its peak brightness at 929 nits, which is a great result for a TV of this mid-level price range, and should handle most brightly lit room well.
The Q80C is also packed with gaming features including four HDMI 2.1 ports supporting 120Hz refresh rate, VRR and AMD Freesync Premium and, we were surprised to find, a solid sound system with great object tracking sound and clear sound stage. All of this comes at competitive price as well, with the 55-inch model priced at under £800.
However, the Q80C doesn't sit at the top of our list, as its picture isn't as strong as the QN90C's and the lower brightness levels mean it won't fair as well in brighter rooms, but it should still do a good enough job. We also noted its viewing angles aren't as good as the QN90C's, so may not work for larger groups of sports fans. But for the price, the Q80C is no slouch either so if you're on a stricter budget, it's definitely one to consider.
Read our full Samsung Q80C review
The best premium TV for sports
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
For those looking for an OLED TV to watch sport on, look no further than the Samsung S95C. It has the contrast and black levels of OLED mixed with the higher brightness levels of QLED to create a TV that's going to give OLED a fighting chance in a brighter room. We measured its peak brightness at roughly 1,400 nits, which although a ways off mini-LED is brighter than most other OLEDs.
In our five-star review of the S95C we said: "the fact remains – with knobs on – that the S95C’s pictures set dazzling new standards for the already high-performance OLED TV world." This is because the S95C's colors, sharpness and detail and black levels are simply magnificent and combine to make a near-perfect picture. In fact, our only real fault was that the Standard preset needs adjusting.
Not just for sport or movies, the S95C is equipped with all the gaming features we look out for, including four HDMI 2.1 ports which support 4K 120Hz, VRR and all the other good stuff. It also looks phenomenal while you're playing any game as well.
While the Samsung S95C is an outstanding TV, it isn't our top pick for sports. That's because we think the higher brightness of the QN90C is important for sport viewing. Also, the S95C is significantly pricier, averaging $700/£500 more than the QN90C. But, if you want premium, you expect to pay a premium price tag and that's the case with the S95C.
Read our full Samsung S95C review
The best OLED TV for sports in varying sizes
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Not every sports fan is after a giant screen TV, but they also don't compromise on quality. If this sound like you, the LG C3 could be your best option. Coming in a wide range of sizes, from 42-inches all the way to 83-inches, the LG C3 has a size for all rooms big or small.
Picture has always been a highlight on LG's OLED TVs and the C3 is no exception. It has fantastic picture detail, with sharp textures, vibrant color and the lovely rich blacks made possible by its OLED panel. Whilst it's not as bright as the other sets on this list, with a peak brightness of 830 nits overall, it's definitely not a set to be scoffed at. As we said in our review: "the LG C3’s basic picture performance is so good, there’s not much you need to mess with." Hassle-free picture is always an added bonus.
The C3 is also a brilliant option for gamers, thanks to its full suite of features. This includes Dolby Vision gaming, 4K 120Hz, VRR and more across its four HDDMI 2.1 ports. The Game Optimizer feature is also perfect for those who want to set their games to the best settings as fast as possible.
Unfortunately, it's not totally smooth-sailing for the C3. Its sound quality is average and it's still dimmer than the other TVs on this list, so it may suffer from glare in harsh environments. This isn't good for daytime sport viewing. But, if you can limit the damage from the bright lights and still want great quality OLED in a choice of sizes, the C3 really is your best option.
Read our full LG C3 OLED review
The best TVs for sport: FAQs
How do you choose the best TV for sports?
There are a number of factors to consider when you're looking for the best TV for sports.
The first is the picture quality on offer. All TVs need a decent picture, but it's paramount if you're going to be watching sports as detail, clarity and brightness could make all the difference as to whether you see a football, tennis ball or car whizz across your screen or not.
On that point, motion handling is also vital. You need to be sure the TV you're considering handles moving objects well. This will make the TV a solid choice for both gaming and sport. Looking out for the refresh rate as a good indicator here. Many TVs these days have a 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rate, 120Hz tends to be better, but a range of factors determine motion handling performance.
Will you be using a soundbar? If not, you'll need to make sure the TV has decent audio performance, too. You may not think sound is as important as what you can see in sports, but it can be vital and adds to the atmosphere, too.
Considering where you'll be putting the TV is important too. You'll need to ensure you not only have enough space to hang it on a wall or place it on a shelf, but that you'll have room to view it from a good distance, too. This is especially important if you plan on having people over to watch the big game. Many manufacturers recommend sitting between 1.5 and 2.5 times the TV's diagonal screen size to find your perfect viewing spot.
What should you look for in a sports-centric TV?
If you’re buying a TV and you know you'll be watching a lot of sport, there are a few key things to consider. For starters, there are many different aspects of picture performance to bear in mind, including detail retrieval, color fidelity, and edge definition. Of course, these are all the hallmarks of a good TV, but a great TV for sport needs some extras.
We’d expect slow camera pans to follow faster movement, abrupt changes of direction, movement in the opposite direction the way the camera is moving, and great big swathes of uniform color with smaller elements of different color in constant motion. You get the idea. The way a TV handles motion is extremely important.
How efficient a TV is at handling motion comes down to how well it implements different refresh rates. You don’t need to get caught up in the technicalities here, but it’s worth considering that UK broadcasts are almost always at 50Hz (or 50fps).
This means there are 50 images broadcast per second, which is what makes still pictures look like they’re moving. Therefore, how well a TV can handle this rate of transmission will determine how smooth and convincing the on-screen motion is going to look.
Bear in mind that there isn’t a TV out there with a refresh rate of less than 50Hz. So in theory, one TV should be very much like another when it comes to taking those 50 images per second from the broadcaster and delivering them at a rate of 50 per second on the screen.
How we test
How we tested the best TVs for sport
Why you can trust TechRadar
When we tested the best TVs for sport, we had a few key things on our 'must-have' list to determine which displays were included.
The first is picture quality. Not all of the best TVs for sport need to be premium displays. But the detail, clarity and brightness on offer needs to be good – otherwise you're not going to see the athletics, football or racing play out in a satisfying way. We tested the TVs in a range of environments and at different times of day to ensure that all of the picture quality specs matched up in the real world.
Next up, motion. If you're watching sport, on-screen images are constantly moving so you need a TV that handles motion well and doesn't make every player or ball or car look like a blur. We tested each of the TVs in our guide above with a range of content to make sure motion handling was top notch.
Most people pair their TVs with soundbars nowadays, but we did want to listen out for a solid audio performance, just in case you do want to use your TV straight out of the box.
We also took into account a range of considerations we always need to see in any TV we recommend, like a decent user experience for setting up the TV, all major smart apps that work well and any added features that make the TV truly shine.
We've tested a huge range of TVs over the years, so we know what separates a decent performance from a fantastic one. We bring this breadth of knowledge to every guide we write so you know you're not getting a copy and paste of the specs here, you're getting hands-on experience informed by years of reviewing insights.
Latest updates to this guide
February 1, 2024
Removed older entries such as the LG C2, Sony X90J, Samsung Q80B and more due to stock levels. Moved Samsung QN90C to 'best overall'. Introduced Hisense U8K as 'best budget US', Samsung Q80C as 'best budget UK', 'Samsung S95C as 'best premium' and LG C3 'as 'best OLED for sizes'. Added this 'latest updates' section.
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Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at T3.com, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.