Skip to main content

The best TVs in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best TVs of 2021
(Image credit: Panasonic)

When it comes to finding the best TVs, there are a few different things you can prioritise – is image quality the main thing, or are you looking for something at a particular size and/or budget? Are you looking for the best TV for gaming? Finding the best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X in particular means looking for a few features that  not all TVs offer currently. (If you're still after a PS5, try our PS5 restock article).

The good news is that if you're looking for the best TV for streaming, that's pretty much all of them now – not only do they all have smart TV platforms, they all have really good smart TV platforms (and most of them are compatible with Disney Plus too).

There's a colossal range of TVs available now, so we've stripped things right back to the essential sets – the ones that offer the best mix of features, picture quality and price. We've gone from the high-end right down to low-cost options, so whatever kind of budget you're working with, there's an ideal choice here. If you're not sure what you need from a TV, then jump to our section on what to consider when buying a TV

Best TVs in 2021: US

Best TVs: LG CX

(Image credit: LG)

01. LG CX

This all-rounder TV is the best buy for the majority of people

Specifications
Sizes: 48, 55, 65, 77 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Screen type: OLED
Reasons to buy
+Superb OLED picture quality+Future-proofed for connectivity
Reasons to avoid
-Risk of OLED burn-in-Can't go that bright

For most people, the LG CX is our TV pick, because it just checks so many boxes all at once. For that reason, we think it's the best OLED TV available, as well as the best LG TV right now for balancing price and image quality. OLED provides deep contrast levels, and the CX is especially good at controlling the image in dark scenes, making this excellent for HDR, whether you're producing it or just watching it. The only downside is that, like all OLED TVs, it can't go very bright – you'll need a controlled viewing environment (meaning: no direct sunlight) to get the most from it.

The LG CX is also the best TV for gaming, thanks to including HDMI 2.1 features on every single HDMI port. That includes 4K at 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode support, making it ideal the perfect TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X. It has these on all HDMI ports, so no matter how much stuff you need to plug in and use, you're always good to go. There's also HDMI eARC support for high-res output to external sound systems.

Finally, it's also one of the best TVs for streaming, thanks to a comprehensive and easy to use smart TV system. The only downside apart from brightness is that it's possible for OLED TVs to suffer from burn-in, where showing something with a static logo for long periods may cause the image to hang around even when you're watching something else.

Best TVs: Samsung Q950TS

(Image credit: Samsung)

02. Samsung Q950TS

The best 8K TV, with mind-blowing HDR

Specifications
Sizes: 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 8K
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Screen type: Full Array QLED LCD
Reasons to buy
+Awesome 8K upscaling+Stunning HDR brightness
Reasons to avoid
-OLED better with dark areas-Very expensive

Wondering why people want 8K TVs when there's barely anything to watch? This Samsung TV reveals why: it upscales 4K video to something that looks incredibly close to 8K, meaning it really does offer extra detail over what you get from a 4K screen at the same size. For getting lost in something that looks like the real world, it's hard to beat.

This is also one of the brightest TVs available, which means it's a knockout when it comes to HDR. In most modes, it's around twice as bright as the average OLED TV, which gives highlights incredible punch, and helps it to be more visible in brightly lit spaces. In its Dynamic mode, it can actually double that brightness again for HDR peaks.

The downside is that this QLED LCD TV can't control dark areas as finely as an OLED TV can, which means you get some light leaking from lighter areas into darker ones if they're next to each other. This set is better at controlling those leaks than than almost anything else on the market, but it's still means contrast is less precise. Oh, and it's comes at a high price, and only comes in larger sizes – but those might not be problems for you anyway. If you want the current peak of HDR and resolution, or just need the best 8K screen possible for testing images, this is it.

Best TVs: Vizio OLED-H1

(Image credit: Vizio)

03. Vizio OLED55-H1

The best budget OLED TV

Specifications
Screen size: 55, 65 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG
Screen type: OLED
Reasons to buy
+Amazing price for OLED+Support for Dolby Vision & HDR10+
Reasons to avoid
-Processing not as strong as LG-Chance of OLED burn-in

The Vizio OLED-H1 is one of the best-value TVs around in this price range – it gives you the legendary HDR and contrast of OLED, but for much less than the LG we've mentioned. And as an added bonus, unlike the LG this supports every current form of HDR, including both Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Even better is that it still supports 4K at 120fps over HDMI, plus Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode for next-gen gaming. It's a hell of a package.

Of course, cutting the price means cutting corners somewhere. This just isn't quite as capable as the LG when it comes to fine detail, motion handling and general picture quality. Early users also said that its support for VRR and 120Hz didn't work very well, but a big update in January 2021 aimed to fix this.

Most importantly, what you get here is sharp 4K with the ultra-rich and cinematic contrast and colours of OLED. If you want a taste of high-end quality for a mid-range price, it's unbeatable. It only comes in 55-inch or 65-inch sizes, though.

Best TVs: Sony XH9505

(Image credit: Sony)

04. Sony X950H

The best LCD TV under £1000

Specifications
Screen size: 49, 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Screen type: Full Array LED LCD
Reasons to buy
+Incredible image quality for the price+Excellent HDR and processing
Reasons to avoid
-Contrast can't match OLED-No HDMI 2.1 features

Available in a great range of sizes that make it ideal for all kinds of spaces, the Sony XH9505 offers some of the best bang-for-buck you can get in the TV world right now. It's especially great in the 49-inch model, because there's not much else offering the same image quality below 55 inches at all, let alone at this price.

Sony's image processing is famously great, and that gives this set amazing detail at 4K, top-quality handling of motion (making fast-moving things look clear without adding the dreaded 'soap opera' look), unbelievably good upscaling from HD to 4K, and even the ability to make non-HDR video look a lot more like HDR than competitors.

That HDR looks especially strong thanks to great brightness levels for the money – when it comes to sheer light output, it can even beat the LG CX OLED TV – though its control of dark areas isn't a patch on OLED (but is still very good for the price). One notable downside is a lack of HDMI 2.1 features, including 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode – surprising, given that Sony's PS5 is due to support all of these features following an update. Sony does make a great TV with all these features, though: the Sony X900H. This is technically the cheaper version of this set, with not as strong image quality, but it includes these shiny features.

Best TVs: TCL R635

(Image credit: TCL)

05. TCL R635

The best TV for accuracy on a budget

Specifications
Screen size: 55, 65, 75 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Screen type: Mini-LED QLED LCD
Reasons to buy
+Killer colour and contrast for the price+Great Roku smart platform
Reasons to avoid
-No smaller sizes-Mini-LED tech still improving

This is a weirdly cutting-edge set considering its affordable price. Mini-LED is the TV tech of 2021 – you'll see it in sets from Samsung, LG and more, including new versions of it from TCL. Mini-LED is exactly what it sounds like: smaller LEDs are used in the backlight behind the pixels. Smaller LEDs means you can have more of them. This means you can push the TV brighter, and also have more fine-grained control over dimming the light where it's needed. Genius!

Oh, and then you combine that with QLED tech (the same kind used by Samsung) for a great range of colours, and you're looking at a TV that's pretty much made for making HDR look good. The icing on the big flat cake is the Roku TV smart platform, which is really easy to use, and is packed with streaming services.

As you might guess from its price, this tech isn't magic – in its early form, it makes this TV punch well above its weight when it comes to image quality for the cost, but the higher-end TVs offer better pictures overall. But if you're looking to get the most from 4K HDR video in fairly cinematic sizes, without breaking the bank, TCL absolutely has you covered here.

Best TVs: Samsung TU7000

(Image credit: Samsung)

06. Samsung TU7000

The best TV you can get for this low a price, in a huge range of sizes

Specifications
Screen size: 43, 50, 55, 58, 65, 70, 75 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+
Screen type: Edge Lit LED LCD
Reasons to buy
+Great colours and contrast for the price+Impressive upscaling
Reasons to avoid
-Budget brightness and contrast-Not the best sound

Samsung's lowest-price TV gives you so much real estate for the money at larger sizes, without throwing image quality or features out the window – while also remembering to offer some smaller sizes too, for the office or bedroom. The smart platform is essentially the same as Samsung's higher-end models, which means a well-stocked range of streaming apps, plus Apple AirPlay 2. Even the upscaling from HD to 4K is way better than the price suggests, and it makes sure that native 4K looks detailed and natural.

Inevitably, coming down the price range means less advanced screen tech, and though Samsung's done an really good job of making sure that you get accurate pictures with stable contrast and good, rich black tones, it can't go anywhere near as bright as the other sets here, and offers a lower level of contrast between dark and light areas. Again, it does well for the price, but while it has good HDR support, the effect is slightly diminished when it comes to dynamic range – though you'll still enjoy the wider colour range. 

It's also not so hot when it comes to sound – you can tell it's a low-price model there, but the overall build quality doesn't feel cheap, we have to say. There's a lot of competition in this kind of price range, and they all have the same restrictions on how much the image quality can shine, but Samsung made sure this set has it where it counts, and made sure it's easy to use, too.

Best TVs in 2021: UK

LG CX

(Image credit: LG)

01. LG CX

The best TV for most people is LG's OLED blockbuster

Specifications
Sizes: 48, 55, 65, 77 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Screen type: OLED
Reasons to buy
+Excellent OLED image quality+Packed with future-proofed features
Reasons to avoid
-Possibility of image burn-in-Limited brightness

This is the best all-rounder TV available right now. It's the best LG TV as well as the best OLED TV for most people, thanks to an ideal balance of image quality, processing and price. OLED provides deep contrast levels, and LG is especially good at controlling the image in dark scenes, making this excellent for HDR, whether you're producing it or just watching it. The only downside is that, like all OLED TVs, it's not especially bright – you'll want a controlled viewing environment (ie, no direct sunlight) to get the most from it.

It's also the best TV for gaming, thanks to support for HDMI 2.1 features, including 4K at 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode support, making it ideal the perfect TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X. It has these on all HDMI ports, so no matter how much stuff you need to plug in and use, you're always good to go. There's also HDMI eARC support for high-res output to external sound systems.

Finally, it's also one of the best TVs for streaming, thanks to a comprehensive and easy to use smart TV system. The only downside apart from brightness is that it's possible for OLED TVs to suffer from burn-in, where showing something with a static logo may cause the image to hang around even when you're watching something else. So this isn't the ideal option for displaying anything with static elements for really long periods.

Best TVs: Samsung Q950TS

(Image credit: Samsung)

02. Samsung Q950TS

The best 8K TV, with truly stunning HDR brightness

Specifications
Sizes: 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 8K
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Screen type: Full Array QLED LCD
Reasons to buy
+Incredible 8K upscaling+High brightness for HDR
Reasons to avoid
-Limited contrast compared to OLED-Very high price, and only large sizes

This Samsung TV shows what 8K can do – it's equipped with an HDMI 2.1 input for 8K sources, but also upscales 4K video to something that looks incredibly close to 8K, meaning it really does offer extra detail over what you get from a 4K screen at the same size. For getting lost in something that looks like the real world, it's hard to beat.

This is also one of the most dazzling TVs for brightness, which means it's a stunner for HDR. In most modes, it's around twice as bright as the average OLED TV, which gives highlights incredible punch, and helps it to be more visible in brightly lit spaces. In its Dynamic mode, it can actually double its brightness again in HDR peaks.

The downside is that this QLED LCD TV can't control dark areas as finely as an OLED TV can, which means you get some light leaking from lighter areas into darker ones if they're next to each other. This set controls that leak better than almost anything else on the market, but it still means contrast is less precise. Oh, and it's very expensive, and only comes in larger sizes – these may or may not be problems for you. Still, it's an astounding TV, and the best LCD on the planet (so far).

Best TVs: Panasonic HZ2000

(Image credit: Panasonic)

03. Panasonic HZ2000

The best TV with support for every HDR standard

Specifications
Screen size: 55, 65 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG
Screen type: OLED
Reasons to buy
+Brighter than other OLED TVs+Support for Dolby Vision & HDR10+
Reasons to avoid
-Limited size range-Chance of OLED burn-in

The Panasonic HZ2000 is the brightest OLED TV available today, thanks to some clever heat dissipating engineering so that the panel can be pushed harder than the competition. When you combine that with Panasonic's obsession for accuracy – these sets are tuned in conjunction with Hollywood colourists, and are even used as pro monitors in some cases as a result – plus the (rare) complete HDR format support and OLED's unmatched quality for dark levels makes this probably the best TV for mastering that isn't a pro monitor.

It's pricey, it only comes in two sizes, and sadly it's not available in the US, so it may not be for everyone. It also doesn't support 120Hz video, including no HDMI 2.1 support at all, so it's not ideal for gaming in particular. It does have a good built-in sound system, though, including upfiring Dolby Atmos speakers on top.

Best TVs: Sony XH9505

(Image credit: Sony)

04. Sony XH9505

The best TV under £1000

Specifications
Screen size: 49, 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Screen type: Full Array LED LCD
Reasons to buy
+Incredible image quality for the price+Excellent HDR and processing
Reasons to avoid
-Contrast can't match OLED-No HDMI 2.1 features

Available in a generous range of sizes that make it ideal for all kinds of spaces, the smaller sizes of the Sony XH9505 are some of the best bang-for-buck you can get in the TV world right now, particularly with the smaller sizes bringing the price down to three figures.

Sony's image processing is famously excellent, and that gives this set impeccable detail at 4K, excellent handling of motion (making fast-moving things look clear without adding an 'artificial' look), fantastic upscaling from HD to 4K, and even the ability to make non-HDR video look a lot more like HDR than competitors.

That HDR looks especially excellent thanks to a high level of brightness for the money – when it comes to dazzle, it can even beat more expensive OLED sets here – though its control of dark areas isn't a patch on OLED, alas (though is still very good for the price). One notable downside is a lack of HDMI 2.1 features, including 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode – surprising, given that Sony's PS5 is due to support all of these features following an update. Sony does make a great TV with all these features, though: the Sony XH9005. As you might guess from the name, this is the little sibling to this model: it's slightly cheaper (despite having these extra features), but image quality isn't quite as strong.

Best TVs: Panasonic HX800

(Image credit: Panasonic)

05. Panasonic HX800

The best TV for accuracy on a budget

Specifications
Screen size: 40, 50, 58, 65 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10+
Screen type: Edge Lit LED LCD
Reasons to buy
+Tuned, precise images for the money+Complete HDR support
Reasons to avoid
-Not very bright-No options larger than 65-inch

The Panasonic HX800's sweet spot is the 58-inch model – it offers a noticeable amount of extra canvas than a 55-inch model, but the difference in actual size is negligible. This size is set to become more and more popular soon, and is perfectly suited to the budget cinematic aspirations of this set. When it comes to accuracy and detail of the image, it beats everything else in the price range – it's so rich and filmic. That's helped by support for every type of HDR, including both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision dynamic HDR formats, which help this set to overcome its limited brightness.

Being a very mid-range LCD set, its control of contrast doesn't match what high-end sets can do, but remains among the best of its kind. There's no HDMI 2.1 or serious gaming support, but if what you want is just the most cinematic screen around for the best price, look no further. There's a useful range of sizes, though it's a shame there's nothing bigger than 65 inches.

Best TVs: Samsung TU7000

(Image credit: Samsung)

06. Samsung TU7000

The best TV you can get for under £500

Specifications
Screen size: 43, 50, 55, 58, 65, 70, 75 inches
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+
Screen type: Edge Lit LED LCD
Reasons to buy
+Solid colours and contrast for the price+Great upscaling
Reasons to avoid
-Limited brightness and contrast-Not great sound

Samsung's budget set gets you a lot of screen size for its money, without throwing image quality or features out the window. It uses essentially the same software as Samsung's higher-end models, which means a great range of streaming apps, plus Apple AirPlay 2. Even elements such as the processing are impressive, and it does a really solid job of upscaling HD to 4K, as well as making sure that native 4K looks detailed and natural.

Inevitably, coming down the price range means less advanced panel tech, and though Samsung's done an impressive job of making sure that you get accurate pictures with stable contrast and good, rich blacks, it can't go anywhere near as bright as the other sets here, and offers a lower level of contrast between dark and light areas. Again, it does well for the price, but while it has good HDR support, the effect is slightly diminished when it comes to dynamic range – though you'll still enjoy the wider colour range. It's also not up to much when it comes to sound, though the overall build quality doesn't feel cheap. 

There's a lot of competition in this kind of price range, and they all have the same restrictions on how much the image quality can dazzle, but Samsung made sure this set has it where it counts, and made sure it's easy to use, too.

What to consider when buying a TV

The biggest decision when buying a TV these days (apart from size and budget) is whether you'll go with OLED or LCD screens (the latter of which includes Samsung's QLED TVs). OLED is a technology where each pixel is self-emissive, meaning it generates its own light. This means it has total control over its brightness and colour, making for an incredibly precise and lifelike picture. LCD screens, as they have for years, use a backlight behind the pixels to create the actual light, with the pixels filtering the colours. LCD screens are much cheaper to produce, but can't control light in quite the same precise way, though they can have other advantages, as we'll come to in our list.

There's also the question of whether to go 4K or 8K. 8K is pretty limited right now, and in terms of being broadly affordable, you're looking mostly to Samsung and LG, though Sony is making some stunning sets too. 8K generally means going LCD – OLED 8K TVs exist, and are truly astounding… as are their prices, at least when you're considering them for the home. Don't forget to look at our list of the best 8K monitors, if what you need is just the resolution and not everything else that a TV comes with, because those are much less expensive.

Following that, one of the key decisions right now is whether you want a TV with HDMI 2.1 connectivity. This adds the ability to view 4K video at 120Hz and to use Variable Refresh Rate tech – these are big for next-gen games consoles. If you're not planning to use a TV for this purpose, then you probably don't need to worry about it, but it's a useful future-proofing option to have.

The last, more subtle consideration, is HDR support. All the TVs here support basic HDR (known as HDR10) as well as Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), which is used for live broadcast HDR. But there are two more advanced forms of HDR: Dolby Vision and HDR10+. If you're creating HDR videos and want a TV to test footage on, odds are you're not using these formats anyway, so it makes no odds which a TV has. But for viewing more generally, Dolby Vision is the more preferable of the two, because it has more widespread support. Support for both is sadly limited.

When it comes to cinematic screens, you might also want to look at our picks of the best ultrawide monitors – if you're making movies wider than 16:9, they can be ideal ways to watch it back without taking up 50+ inches of wall or desk space.

Read more:

Matt has been testing technology for over a decade, working in specialist Apple publications as well general technology and creative journalism. By day, you can find him covering TV, audio, smart home gear and more at T3.com, as Home Tech Editor. By night, he's probably updating or pairing or installing some new piece of technology in the quest for the perfect setup.

Topics