Our guide for the best 4k UHD TVs has been updated to reflect the new summer 2016 models, based on all the 4k TVs we reviewed. While all of our recommendations are 2016 models, some of last year's models can still be found at a discount price and can be a good deal. A lot of UHD TVs also support HDR (see our best HDR TVs article), so it might be worth considering that feature.
Best high-end 4k UHD TVs
The best 4k TV for most people is the LG B6 OLED TV. It’s matched by its OLED siblings, the C6 and E6, but without any perceivable difference in picture quality between them. Because it’s a totally different technology (Learn about it here), it comes with an expensive price tag – usually about twice as much as our second place recommendations.
OLED takes care of most downfalls that LCD type displays would have. Blacks are pure and contrast is essentially infinite, without wide viewing angles coming at a cost. There is also no motion blur, so it’s also great for sports. To add to that, LG also has our favorite smart platform this year, so that aspect shouldn’t disappoint either.
If money is no object, this is the best TV for most people available today.
If OLED is simply too expensive, or if you’d prefer getting an LED TV, the Samsung KS8000 is an excellent UHD TV that should please most people thanks to its versatility. It has some of the best picture quality available and reaches high peaks of brightness (some other Samsung KS models scored ever so slightly higher, but not a difference big enough to warrant the expense). The KS8000 does well with HDR, including games since it doesn’t suffer from any additional input lag while displaying HDR content.
It’s not perfect, though, you do get fairly narrow viewing angles. The build quality also isn’t stellar, it doesn’t compare to competing Sony or LG TVs for example. Most users will be quite pleased, however, and it is definitely a safe purchase. If you can't find it, the KS8500 offers the same thing but curved.
If you're going to be watching movies in a dim environment, the Vizio P Series 2016 performs even better than the Samsung KS8000. It has a full array local dimming backlight, which produces even better blacks in the dark.
Unfortunately, the Vizio P 2016 cannot get as bright as the KS8000, especially in HDR content. Cable TV also looks a little bit softer. In the living room, the Vizio P 2016 produces more reflections than the KS8000 and its picture deteriorates faster when watched at an angle. While the Vizio P does have excellent input lag for gaming, it cannot be used in conjunction with HDR, so it isn't a good choice for HDR gaming.
In the end, it isn't as versatile than the KS8000 but comes close.
Best mid-range 4k UHD TVs
Mid-range 4k TVs are close to the high-end ones, except they don't perform as well for HDR content. For normal content though, they will look great.
If you’re looking for a TV to watch movies in a dark room, the Vizio M series 2016 is essentially the same as the Vizio P but without the HDR related features. You get excellent contrast and local dimming. It doesn’t have a TV tuner, and it doesn’t display lower resolution images like a cable TV signal as sharp as its competition. It doesn’t have much input lag (as long as you’re not planning to play with HDR), so it’s quite good for gaming.
The Sony X800D is a very capable TV that excels at HDR compared to competing TVs in this price range. It has good picture quality, handles motion well and doesn’t have much input lag, even with HDR. It upscales lower resolution content like live TV better than the Vizio and gets a bit brighter, so it works well for daytime television.
All this makes for quite a versatile TV that doesn’t have many flaws. However, it’s quite limited in its sizes, and is only available in smaller 43 and 49 inch.
If you’re looking for different sizes, the Samsung KU6300 covers almost all of them available. It gets quite bright and upscaling is good unlike the Vizio M 2016. If you need something to put in a bright living room, this is a good choice. It also does quite good in games, and the input lag isn’t affected much with HDR.
While it is not the best at anything, it performs evenly across a wide range of usages. It is a good versatile TV, especially considering the price.
Best budget 4k UHD TVs
There is a drop in overall picture quality when opting for a budget UHD TV. Nonetheless, some are great value for the money, and even though they are not the best, you will still be satisfied with them if your budget is limited.
The best budget 4k UHD TV is the Hisense H8C, It performs quite similarly to the Samsung KU6300, but is quite a bit cheaper.
It has similar contrast and blacks, and grey uniformity on our unit was a bit better. It doesn't have as good input lag, but response time is quite a bit better on the Hisense. It also recently received an update that enabled it to support HDR10, which helps make it a bit more versatile.
For even better smart features, the TCL US5800 is a superior option. It offers one of the best smart platform around with tons of available apps. Low resolution content even looks sharper than on the Vizio D 4k 2016.
Unfortunately, the TCL US5800 isn't as bright, has a little more blur on action scenes like for sports and has an average-high input lag of 46.3 ms. For smart features though, there is no better option for the price.
Our recommendations above are what we think is currently the best 4k TV 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 really 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 4k TVs that didn't make the cut:
- Samsung KS9500. The price difference with the Samsung KS8000 is not worth it, even if the picture quality is slightly better. 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
- Sony X930D. Great TV, but the Samsung KS8000 is better in almost all aspects. See our review
- Samsung JS8500. Almost out of stock everywhere now, or priced too high. See our review
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here are the list of all our reviews of TVs that have UHD screen. Be careful to not 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.
Questions & Answers
Update: The review is now published here.
Seems to me your reviews raise enough question to consider waiting until the HDR standard and resulting new Tvs are released. I'm concerned software updates as a solution to new standards will not be reliable enough to justify a purchase now.
If you had a choice, would you wait for the next round of improved TVs? Again, thanks for your support.
If you want/need a new TV now, you should go for it. If you'd prefer something that does true HDR, then waiting for that spec to be finalized will be best.
I would be using the TV in my living room, with a viewing distance of 10 feet. Mostly for movies, sports, and occasionally for gaming.
Thanks for your help!
You might also get the JS9000. It has better picture quality than both of those TVs, and the same extra features as the JS9500 (though it isn't quite as good for them).
I have been searching for months and haven't found a set that comes close to its picture clarity. Is it just me, or is it the plasma in my veins? Any suggestions for newer 4k sets that can meet this clarity standard?
Viewing distance is 7 1/2'. I'm looking at the 50-60" range for the new TV.
OLED TVs are much closer to the quality you got from plasma, and we have our first OLED TV review coming up on September 10. Like plasma TVs, OLED TVs have true blacks and very wide viewing angles. They also have very little blur on fast movement. If you're willing to pay a bit extra, an OLED TV would be the best way to get picture similar to that of plasma.
In addition, the sound is miserable and there seems to be no way to add speakers or a soundbar and still utilize the TV's volume control.
For sound, if you enable 'Anynet+' and connect the TV to a speaker system or soundbar via HDMI ARC (make sure you choose a system that supports both CEC and HDMI ARC), you'll be able to control the volume with your TV's remote.
If you're looking for a TV right now, take a look at our list of the best 60" models, which includes sets that are the best bang for your buck.
The JS9000 has less input lag than the JS8500, but the 8500 is still a very good TV for gaming. If you need the absolute least lag, get the 9000. Most people won't have any issues with the 8500, though.
I am one of those plasma addicts whose eyes don't accept the shortcomings of most LCDs. Is there anything out there I'll be satisfied with?
The best TV we've seen at that size is the Samsung UN40JU7500. It has very good blacks and not much blur, and the rest of the elements of its picture are quite good, too. The main downside is that its picture quality isn't great when it is viewed at an angle. It won't match what you get with plasma, but it's as good as LED TVs get at 40".
The contrast enhancing features are software based only on this TV. It doesn't change the real native contrast of the TV. Instead, if you enable 'Dynamic Contrast', it crushes the shadows, but without changing the luminosity of a pure black.
LG's LED TVs aren't very good, but they also have OLED sets, which are really great high-end models.
So yes, some brands are better than others in some categories, but there is no brand that we review that is truly awful all across the board, or that is always best.
If you're mostly interested in getting the most detail from a 4k image, get the UN65JS8500. If you're okay with only getting some of the extra detail, and are more interested in OLED's several picture advantages, get the 55EF9500.
If it helps, picture quality is my top concern. I have a home theater setup, so I could care less about sound. I am a heavy gamer, Blu-ray movie watcher, streamer (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.), and also use a cable box for sports/and other content (my cable box highest resolutions are 1080i or 720p, and I always stick with 720p).
I am deciding primarily between the Samsung JU6500 (65"), Sony X810C (65"), and the new LG I mentioned above, but I am open to any set that is 4k enabled for both Netflix and Amazon (and preferably YouTube as well), and has excellent picture quality and minimal lag, judder, and blur.
Thanks for all your helps guys. I really appreciate it!
Of the TVs you mentioned, the Samsung JU6500 is likely the best choice, thanks to its dark blacks, good uniformity, and good motion handling. The 65" Sony X810C has an IPS panel (like the LG TV), which means weak contrast and poor black uniformity, so it's not as good.
The one issue with the JU6500 is that it has a type of judder specific to 24p movies. If you're concerned about this, take a look at the video here and see if it bothers you. If it doesn't, you should get the JU6500. If it does, you should consider getting a different model, like the Sony X850C or the Samsung JU7100.
Thanks for pointing this error. The review should have said second best LED, not simply TV. It has been fixed.
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