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The 10 Best 4K TVs for a Great Viewing Experience

Popular Mechanics Logo By Terri Williams of Popular Mechanics | Slide 1 of 11: If you’re looking for a new TV, most experts agree that you should get a 4K model. First of all, most of the TVs you find will probably be 4K anyway. If you’re thinking of purchasing an older model (and good luck finding an older anything after the COVID-19 buying frenzy), you lose out on not only resolution, but also compatibility with some streaming devices, apps, and other convenient features—and the cost savings is typically minimal. If you can, get a 4K. If the idea of choosing the right 4K TV seems overwhelming, it’s not as hard as you might think—if you know what to look for, according to Carl Prouty, technologist at Abt Electronics in Glenview, Illinois.Best 4k TVsBest Overall 4K TV: LG OLED C1 4K Smart TV Best Budget 4K TV: TCL 5-Series 4K QLED Roku Smart TV Best LED 4K TV: Sony X85J 4K Ultra HD LED Smart TVBest 4K TV for Gamers: Samsung Q70A Series 4K Smart TVBest Value 4K Quantum Series Android: Hisense ULED U8G Quantum Series Android 4K Smart TVBest 4K OLED TV: Vizio OLED 4K SmartCastTVBest Outdoor 4K TV: Furrion Aurora Full Shade 4K LED Outdoor TVBest 4K QLED TV: Samsung QN90A Neo QLED 4K Smart TVMost Discreet 4K TV: LG GXP Gallery Design Smart 4k TVBest Premium 4K TV: Sony A90J Bravia XR OLED 4K UHD Smart Google TVWhat to Consider For starters, you’ll want to be sure the TV you pick is HDR (high dynamic range) compatible. Why is that important? “HDR content offers more details in bright and dark scenes and is available from a variety of sources like YouTube, Netflix, and on Blu-ray discs,” says Prouty. To obtain the most effective HDR results, look at specific types of 4K TVs. The best options are LED TVs that have full-array backlight dimming, or TVs that use organic light-emitting diodes, otherwise known as OLED TVs. “LED and OLED TVs allow different parts of the screen to be dimmed and brightened more effectively, providing a much better viewing experience, “Prouty says. Think of these features as the technical equivalent of adding color boosters to your laundry to keep your clothes from looking dull and faded. Instead, the whites are bright white, and the dark colors are deep and rich. Another factor that you’ll need to consider: where the TV is going to be installed. 4K LED TVs tend to offer a brighter picture and work in rooms with a lot of ambient light. OLED TVs are better for darker rooms or ones with wider seating arrangements. “They show a great picture even when viewed off-center,” Prouty says.What Size 4K TV Do You Need4K TVs are available in a variety of sizes. According to Joel Worthington, president of Mr. Electric, which installs televisions, you should choose a screen size based on room size and distance. “A good rule of thumb is that you should sit at a distance from the TV that is 1.5 times the screen height for 4K Ultra HD,” he says.And if you plan on mounting your TV on the wall, he suggests going up to the next TV size. The increased distance between seating and TV makes the screen appear smaller. In addition, Worthington warns that many TVs don’t ship with wall mounts included. “Look for a TV with a wall mount screw positions compatible with the VESA industry standard,” he says. And to avoid the maze of wires and cords, he recommends adding receptacles (electrical outlets) wherever you end up mounting the TV. Worthington provides three final tips: Plan to invest in a soundbar since speakers are worse on thinner TVs Consider installing ambient lighting (like LED light strips) to enhance viewing and the mood of the viewing room Consider installing a whole house surge protector, which protects electronics against lightning strikes or downed power linesHow We SelectedI’ve tested and written about TVs, tech, and entertainment products for a variety of digital publications, including Tom’s Guide, Bob Vila, The Spruce, Realtor.com, Apartment Therapy, and The Daily Beast. This list includes 4K TVs that I’ve tested, as well as those highly recommended by the experts I interviewed. I also researched consumer reviews and other trusted sources to make sure I found top options across a range of prices, styles, and sizes. I then selected the models below based on their design, performance, and value.

If you’re looking for a new TV, most experts agree that you should get a 4K model. First of all, most of the TVs you find will probably be 4K anyway. If you’re thinking of purchasing an older model (and good luck finding an older anything after the COVID-19 buying frenzy), you lose out on not only resolution, but also compatibility with some streaming devices, apps, and other convenient features—and the cost savings is typically minimal. If you can, get a 4K.

If the idea of choosing the right 4K TV seems overwhelming, it’s not as hard as you might think—if you know what to look for, according to Carl Prouty, technologist at Abt Electronics in Glenview, Illinois.

Best 4k TVs

What to Consider

For starters, you’ll want to be sure the TV you pick is HDR (high dynamic range) compatible. Why is that important? “HDR content offers more details in bright and dark scenes and is available from a variety of sources like YouTube, Netflix, and on Blu-ray discs,” says Prouty.

To obtain the most effective HDR results, look at specific types of 4K TVs. The best options are LED TVs that have full-array backlight dimming, or TVs that use organic light-emitting diodes, otherwise known as OLED TVs. “LED and OLED TVs allow different parts of the screen to be dimmed and brightened more effectively, providing a much better viewing experience, “Prouty says.

Think of these features as the technical equivalent of adding color boosters to your laundry to keep your clothes from looking dull and faded. Instead, the whites are bright white, and the dark colors are deep and rich.

Another factor that you’ll need to consider: where the TV is going to be installed. 4K LED TVs tend to offer a brighter picture and work in rooms with a lot of ambient light. OLED TVs are better for darker rooms or ones with wider seating arrangements. “They show a great picture even when viewed off-center,” Prouty says.

What Size 4K TV Do You Need

4K TVs are available in a variety of sizes. According to Joel Worthington, president of Mr. Electric, which installs televisions, you should choose a screen size based on room size and distance. “A good rule of thumb is that you should sit at a distance from the TV that is 1.5 times the screen height for 4K Ultra HD,” he says.

And if you plan on mounting your TV on the wall, he suggests going up to the next TV size. The increased distance between seating and TV makes the screen appear smaller. In addition, Worthington warns that many TVs don’t ship with wall mounts included. “Look for a TV with a wall mount screw positions compatible with the VESA industry standard,” he says. And to avoid the maze of wires and cords, he recommends adding receptacles (electrical outlets) wherever you end up mounting the TV.

Worthington provides three final tips:

  • Plan to invest in a soundbar since speakers are worse on thinner TVs
  • Consider installing ambient lighting (like LED light strips) to enhance viewing and the mood of the viewing room
  • Consider installing a whole house surge protector, which protects electronics against lightning strikes or downed power lines

How We Selected

I’ve tested and written about TVs, tech, and entertainment products for a variety of digital publications, including Tom’s Guide, Bob Vila, The Spruce, Realtor.com, Apartment Therapy, and The Daily Beast. This list includes 4K TVs that I’ve tested, as well as those highly recommended by the experts I interviewed. I also researched consumer reviews and other trusted sources to make sure I found top options across a range of prices, styles, and sizes. I then selected the models below based on their design, performance, and value.

© Staff, Courtesy of Sony

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