Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.
It's a question as old as time: "What TV should I buy?" Not a day goes by that I'm not asked this question by a reader either in the comments or via email, but it does become a more frequent question this time of year.
On the surface, it's a simple enough question; however, in reality the answer can depend on your specific needs. I'm going to attempt to break it all down simply (and quickly) so that you can cut through the clutter and have a new TV setup and ready to go by the time the Big Game airs.
To expedite things, I'll be breaking down my recommendations into three categories; good, better, and best. I won't be separating LED-backlit displays from OLED, or QLED from LED, but rather opting to keep things simple and just outright recommending one or two displays in each category regardless of their makeup. Finally, this is not a winners and losers list. Let's face it: most TVs nowadays are pretty fantastic.
Good Value TVs for the Big Game
In the good value category, I have two favorites, starting with Hisense's H8F Series (reviewed here). The H8F is an Android powered smart TV that can be had in 55- and 65-inch models. It is a full-array LED-backlit LCD that punches way above its weight class. Capable of amazing post-calibration picture accuracy rivaling displays costing multiples more, the Hisense H8F was the breakout TV of 2019, and continues to get my vote in 2020. Plus, it's hard to say no to such a full-featured Ultra HD display costing less than $600 for a 65-inch model.
The other display I would put in this category is LG's Nano 9 Series. It's no secret that I love LG's Ultra HD displays, be it LED or OLED, but their 9 Series is an absolute stunner--and a surprisingly good value. Retailing for around $1,000 for a 65-inch Ultra HD model and currently less than $1,800 for the 75-incher, the 9 Series boasts excellent color fidelity and grayscale accuracy out of the box.
It too is a full-array local-dimming display powered by LG's latest processor and features all the smart tech, including Alexa and Google Assistant support built-in as standard. It really is a terrific centerpiece to any living or media room, and a no-brainer in making this list of great display options.
Mid-Level 4K UHD TVs That Will Crush It on Super Bowl Sunday
In the "better" category I have two picks, the first being Vizio's P Series Quantum X (reviewed here). Retailing for $1,500 for a 65-inch model, the P-Series Quantum X is one of the brightest displays on the market today and a true stunner through and through. While I don't care for its built-in OS, it nevertheless makes this list for its sheer reference-grade performance, features set, and, again, supreme brightness. If you're a fan of HDR, the P Series Quantum X is likely the best TV on the market right now for watching HDR programming because of its superb light output and terrific local dimming. Plus, HD content looks positively brilliant upscaled to Ultra HD/4K via this display, which is bound to please sports fans.
My next pick is Sony's excellent X950G (reviewed here). This is arguably all the smart TV this reviewer would ever want or need, and the fact that it can be had in sizes up to 85 inches makes it one of the better picks for those looking for a truly immersive big-screen experience. Retailing for around $1,400 for a 65-inch model (the 85 inch is just under $4,000), the X950G is a truly reference-caliber display that can hang with the best of the best.
Its picture accuracy in terms of color and grayscale is near as makes no difference to perfect, post-calibration, and even out of the box it's 98 percent there. Its smart TV functionality renders the need for third-party streaming devices practically obsolete, and its wireless audio capabilities are unmatched at this time.
If you want to build a 2.0/2.1 channel media room or home theater around the X950G via wireless Bluetooth connected loudspeakers with zero hiccups or delays, this is likely the only TV that will allow you to do so right out of the box. Aside from the Hisense, the Sony X950G is one of my favorite TVs and a breakout star of 2019 and will continue to impress into 2020 despite Sony announcing an updated model, the X950H, just weeks ago.
4K TVs So Good They'll Make Your Guests Drop Their Nachos on the Floor
In the "performance is everything category," there are really two options that stand out to me right now: Samsung's QLED Q90R and LG's E9 OLED.
The Samsung QLED lineup of Ultra HD smart TVs runs the gamut in terms of price and performance. You can get a one for as little as $1,000, but the Q90R is the brand's flagship effort and carries with it a price tag of $2,599 for a 65-inch model. The Q90R can be had in sizes up to 82-inches diagonally, albeit for a price ($4,999), which makes it another ideal pick for those wanting a more theater-like experience from a direct-view display.
The Q90R is a fabulous looking TV both in terms of its design as well as performance. It boasts Vizio-like brightness but with even better backlight control and a wider viewing angle, which is perfect for when your friends come over to watch the game. Moreover, it features some of the best SD/HD to Ultra HD upscaling I've ever seen, another feather in the cap for those who watch a lot of broadcast content that, let's face it, isn't always the best in terms of picture quality. I love the minimalist aesthetic of the Q90R as much as its picture quality, and think it is one of the best displays on the market today, though it does come at a bit of a premium.
Speaking of premium, no display technology does it for me more than OLED, and LG's newest effort, the E9 Series, is the cream of the crop. Retailing for $3,299 for a 65-inch model, the E9 from LG truly gives the viewer a sense of being there. That is to say that amongst all the displays that have made this list, none appear more natural, organic, and otherwise true-to-life than the E9 in all its size classes.
In its Cinema preset, the E9 is near perfect in terms of color and grayscale accuracy out of the box, and because its OLED, its contrast and refresh rates are unimpeachable. Plus, the E9 features NVIDA's G-Sync technology built-in (among other features), which is a huge boon for gamers.
While the E9 isn't as bright as some of the other displays on this list, it's bright enough for 95 percent of everyday viewing, though do be wary of placing it in a bright room or near windows, as its all-glass front panel is prone to showing a fair amount of reflections. Still, that minor quibble aside, the E9 OLED from LG may be the single best Ultra HD TV you can buy today.
That wraps up my picks for displays you should consider if doing a bit of last-minute shopping before the Big Game. What displays would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
• Read HomeTheaterReview's AV Receiver Buyer's Guide (Fall 2019 Update)
• Read HomeTheaterReview's Home Video Projector Buyer's Guide