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Best picture quality LED TVs - Spring 2017
Reviews

LED TVs can't achieve as good a picture quality as OLED TVs (check out our article about OLED vs LED)  but they still generally offer much better value. You get more choices for sizes and brands (only LG and Sony sell OLEDs in the United States, and in a small range of sizes). Because of that, most of the TVs we review are LED LCD TVs. Without further ado, here are our recommendations for the best LED TVs for the first few months of 2017.

Best LED TV

Usage Ratings
8.3Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
8.4Movies
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What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.9TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
8.0Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
8.5Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
Score components:
8.6HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.8HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.0PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
55" 65"

If its price doesn't phase you, the Sony X930E is the best 4k LED TV for most people. It has a great contrast ratio and handles motion very well, and it is by far the brightest we've tested.

Picture quality on the X930E is excellent. At 1442 cd/min a real scene, it is simply a massive step ahead of any other TV tested. The X930E is staggeringly bright, and its ability to light up highlights that bright allows it to produce an excellent HDR picture. It's not only good for HDR; motion and input lag are also great, so sports and video games are crisp and clear on this TV.

It has a few downsides: its viewing angle is particularly narrow, but that's expected of VA Type LED TVs. It also doesn't reach quite as high of a color gamut as competing TVs, but this is overall minor and doesn't stop this TV from being our top pick for an LED TV. However, since it's just been released, it still quite expensive.

See our review

Runners-up

49" 55" 65" 75"

For a more reasonably priced TV, the X930E's little brother, the Sony X900E, is a fair bit cheaper. It doesn't get quite as bright and doesn't have as nice of a design, but it otherwise performs similarly and should please most buyers looking for a high-end LED TV.

See our review

50" 55" 65" 75"

For an even better value in the high-end, look for the Vizio P Series 2016. It doesn't get quite as bright, but it still has a very comparable picture quality thanks to its excellent local dimming feature. Movie watchers will be pleased with this TV, and it performs best in a dimly lit environment.

See our review

Best Mid-Range LED TV

Usage Ratings
7.9Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
8.2Movies
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What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.1TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.4Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
8.8Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
Score components:
7.8HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
8.1HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
7.9PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
50" 55" 60" 65" 70" 80"

Minus the limited HDR performance, the Vizio M is very similar to the higher end Vizio P, so at its price point, it is quite a bargain for the picture quality you get.

It has a very similar local dimming feature that greatly enhances the picture quality of most content, and it has a very good handling of motion and low input lag, so it's also an excellent choice for gamers. However, it has the same downsides, so don't expect to enjoy watching it from a steep angle. Overall, it is still an excellent LCD TV for the money that will please more budget conscious buyers.

See our review

Runners-up

43" 49"

It can only be found in a limited set of sizes, but if you're looking for something more HDR focused, you should get the Sony X800D. It cannot get much brighter than the Vizio, but it is capable of displaying 10 bits of color depth as well as a much wider color gamut.

See our review

49" 55"

If you're not interested in HDR, get the X700D instead of the X800D. It's limited in functionality in that aspect, but it's an excellent LED TV for sports and our most recommended IPS TV. It doesn't lose much picture quality at an angle and gets quite bright, so it won't have any issues being watched in bright living rooms. It can technically only be found in 49" and 55" sizes, but the X750D at 65" is practically the same TV.

See our review

Best Budget LED TV

Usage Ratings
7.4Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
7.0Movies
Show Help
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
7.1TV Shows
Show Help
What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
7.4Sports
Show Help
What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
8.2Video Games
Show Help
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
Score components:
7.2HDR Movies
Show Help
What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Score components:
7.5HDR Gaming
Show Help
What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
5.9PC Monitor
Show Help
What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
50" 55"

If you can still find it, the Hisense H8C is the best budget LED TV you can buy. It doesn’t look as good physically as our top choices, but the picture quality is quite similar to the Samsung KU6300. It has very good contrast and better than average handling of motion, and it sports a slew of features, including some basic HDR support. It doesn't have a very wide viewing angle, but most people looking for a less expensive 4k TV will be more than pleased with the H8C.

See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best LED TVs to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

A few examples of LCD TVs that didn't make the cut:

  • Samsung KS8000. Almost out of stock everywhere now, very good TV if you can find it. See our review
  • LG UH8500. Great TV and an improvement over the equivalent model from last year, but priced too high for what it is. See our review

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of LED LCD TVs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them. 

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Questions & Answers

6 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
30
Is it possible to review the Insignia NS-55DR420NA16 please? Thanks!
We currently don't have anything planned for that one, but if we get enough requests, we might schedule a review.
22
Will you be reviewing the Panasonic CX850U?
We don't currently have any plans to do so, but maybe if we get enough requests for it and if Best Buy or Amazon start selling it.
11
I too am hoping you'll add the Insignia NS-55DR420NA16 from Best Buy. It has hundreds of user reviews on the Best Buy site and Consumer Reports has now reviewed it. However I find your reviews/tests to be the best and most thorough.
Unfortunately, we have no plan to review it at the moment.
3
Hi. Will you be reviewing the new Vizio D-series? Do you have any intel on that model? I was looking to buy the latest one, since they were improving over the last couple of series. Thanks.
We will be reviewing the UHD version of the D-series within the next couple of weeks.
2
Lost my owner's manual for my Samsung 5/5201 32 inch TV and I need to re-do it's setup. Any suggestions?
Since it is basically the same TV as the H5203 we reviewed, you can try our settings. You can also find the user manual here.
2
I hung my 55" Samsung TV on the wall in my bedroom. It was hung quite high with 15 degree angle. The viewing angle seems to have improved the picture quality. Is this possible?
From an objective standpoint, we doubt it, as vertical angles weaken contrast and desaturate colors. But it's entirely possible that your personal preferences are better met by putting the TV up high. If you like the look, don't overthink it. Just enjoy your TV.
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