Shopping for a new TV can be challenging; with so many different models out there, it can be hard to know where to start. To further complicate things, new brands have dramatically increased in popularity in recent years. Some of these new brands have started releasing models that match or even outperform far more expensive models from the established brands.
From smart features to design, each brand has its way of doing things. So how do they stack up? Continue to find out our take on the best brands for smart TVs in the U.S. Also, see our recommendations for the best smart TVs, the best budget TVs, and the best 4k TVs.
Samsung is one of the biggest electronics companies worldwide, and besides producing TVs, you can easily find Samsung phones, soundbars, monitors, home appliances, and other products. Even though they've started producing OLED mobile phones, they have yet to make any OLED TVs, but their QLED TVs are a great alternative for people who don't like the risk of permanent burn-in associated with OLEDs. The Quantum Dot layer on these QLEDs improves their color gamut, and most of their TVs use VA panels, which normally have an excellent contrast ratio and mediocre viewing angles. In 2019, they added an 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer on the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED, Samsung Q90/Q90R QLED, and the Samsung Q900/Q900R 8k QLED to improve their viewing angles at the cost of their native contrast.
Samsung has made improvements in terms of gaming performance for their TVs in the last few years. They normally have low input lag, and their higher-end models have a 120Hz refresh rate with FreeSync variable refresh rate support to reduce screen tearing, which should please serious gamers. Samsung uses TizenOS as their smart interface, which is user-friendly and has a ton of apps available to download. Their TVs normally have great out-of-the-box color accuracy, but issues come up sometimes when you first get them, so Samsung releases regular updates to fix any issues. They've even introduced new features to their TVs after their release, like AirPlay, so you can update your TV and keep it future-proofed with the latest features, as long as the hardware supports it.
See the best Samsung TVs here.
LG was one of the first companies to produce OLED TVs, which are revolutionary because they're different from classic LED TVs. OLEDs can individually turn off pixels, so they're able to display a perfect contrast ratio and black uniformity, and subtitles are displayed perfectly, too. OLED TVs have a near-instant response time and most of LG's higher-end, newer OLED TVs, like the LG CX OLED, also come equipped with support for HDMI Forum VRR, which helps reduce screen tearing. The major downside to OLEDs is that they have the risk of permanent burn-in, but this shouldn't be a problem if you watch varied content and it only poses a threat to your TV if you watch content with static displays, such as the news. LG has a few features to mitigate this issue, such as a Pixel Refresher and Logo Luminance Adjustment option, and their OLED TVs don't get very bright, either.
Besides LG's flagship OLED TVs, they also produce cheaper LED TVs in their Nano Cell series. Most of these TVs have IPS panels, which have wide viewing angles at the cost of its contrast ratio. Still, the LG NANO85 and the LG SM9500 have some of the best native contrast we've seen on an IPS TV so far. These TVs are ideal for wide seating arrangements, or if you need to place them in a conference room, and they're available in a wide variety of sizes. LG TVs use WebOS as its operating software, which is easy to use, and LG's app store has a great selection of apps available. All of LG's newer TVs come with the Magic Remote, which you can use as a point-and-press remote, like a mouse, or use it with the typical navigation buttons, which is very convenient.
See the best LG TVs here.
Sony is one of the most well-known electronic companies worldwide, and their products aren't just limited to TVs. They make cameras, soundbars, headphones, Blu-ray players, and PlayStations, to name a few. Even though their TVs are a bit more expensive than their competitors, Sony TVs are generally well-built and they have exceptional quality control too, so you know that what you order shouldn't have any issues. They have a few OLED TVs and they make TVs with both VA and IPS panels. Sony started implementing the 'X-Wide Angle' technology on their VA panel TVs, such as the 75 and 85 inch models of 2019's Sony X950G, which slightly improves the viewing angles at the cost of its contrast ratio. It's also added onto the Sony X950H, except for the 49 inch model, which doesn't have it.
Sony TVs are known for their color accuracy, as even their lower-end TVs, like the Sony X800H, have excellent color accuracy out-of-the-box. For many years, Sony has been behind Samsung in terms of gaming performance, as their TVs' input lag is a bit too high and they don't have support for any VRR technology just yet. The Sony X900H should be getting FreeSync support in a future firmware update, which should please serious gamers. Sony TVs have built-in Android TV, which is fairly easy to use and has a massive selection of apps available to download, although there are ads and suggested content on the home page. Higher-end Sony TVs are also generally a good choice to place in bright rooms, as the Sony A8H OLED has outstanding reflection handling. Overall, if you want a TV with great picture quality and don't use it so much for gaming, you can't go wrong with a Sony.
See the best Sony TVs here.
Vizio is a growing American company that's relatively young compared to some of the other big-name companies, as it was founded in 2002. They went from making budget TVs to higher-end models to compete with Sony, LG, and Samsung, and the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 is one of the better TVs on the market. Since TVs are Vizio's main product, they can focus on improving them, but they've expanded into making soundbars and speakers. Vizio favors using VA panels for their TVs, so naturally, they have better dark room performance at the cost of good viewing angles. As most of their TVs have outstanding contrast ratio and great overall picture quality, they're usually a good choice for watching movies, especially in dark rooms.
Like Samsung, Vizio TVs use Quantum Dot technology, but they're not officially marketed as QLED TVs. Vizio TVs usually have a 'Low Latency' setting to deliver low input lag for gaming, but none of their TVs have any variable refresh rate technology, which might disappoint more serious gamers. Despite making great TVs, Vizio lags behind in terms of smart features. The SmartCast OS isn't user-friendly as it feels laggy and not very smooth to use. It comes with a few pre-installed apps, and you can't download anymore, but luckily, you can cast whatever you like from your phone. Their TVs also don't have digital assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant, but if you prefer a TV with great picture quality, you can't go wrong with a Vizio.
See the best Vizio TVs here.
TCL is a Chinese electronics company that makes TVs, mobile phones, air conditioners, and other electronics products. They haven't been making TVs for very long and they have quite a limited lineup, but their TVs are good budget-friendly choices. In the United States, their TVs come with built-in Roku operating system, which is easy to use and has a great selection of apps available to download. However, they also sell Android TV versions in Europe, mainly to compete with Hisense, which is another budget-friendly company that has Roku and Android options. TCL entered the QLED market in 2019 with the TCL 8 Series 2019/Q825 QLED, which delivers impressive picture quality, but it's expensive. Instead, the TCL 6 Series/R625 2019 is generally a good choice for people on a budget.
Most of TCL's TVs are 4k, although their lower-end models, like TCL 3 Series 2019, has a 1080p resolution. Their TVs usually have VA panels, which produces deep blacks and has narrow viewing angles, so it's best to watch TV while sitting directly in front of it. Although TCL has started to produce AMOLED mobile phones, they have yet to make an OLED TV. Their TVs are okay for casual gamers as they have a low input lag, but besides the 8 Series, they're all limited to 60Hz, which may disappoint more serious gamers. Their TVs normally have sub-par out-of-the-box color accuracy and they also have uniformity issues. If these aren't an issue for you, and you want to save some money, then a TCL TV is a good choice for you.
See the best TCL TVs here.
Hisense is a big electronics company in its home country of China, and they've only recently expanded into the United States. They produce more than just TVs, such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. Their lineup isn't as big as other companies, like Samsung or LG, and they mainly focus on 4k LED TVs, but they've started expanding into the QLED market. Most of their TVs are budget-friendly options, but they punch above their weight in terms of performance. They deliver good overall picture quality, and most of them have VA panels, so they're able to produce deep blacks.
The Hisense H8G is one of the best budget TVs we've seen so far. It has features found on other high-end TVs, such as full-array local dimming, a motion interpolation feature, and the ability to remove judder from any source. It can also pass Dolby Digital and DTS audio signals through HDMI-ARC and an optical connection, but it doesn't support eARC. Unfortunately, most of the TVs we've tested so far have uniformity issues, as the edges of the screen are darker, and there's visible dirty screen effect. On the upside, their TVs are sold either with Roku or Android TV built-in as their operating systems, which are both easy to use, and each has a wide selection of apps available.
07/14/2020: Replaced the picks for LG, Samsung, Hisense, and Sony to reflect their 2020 models. Updated the text for clarity.
11/20/2019: Replaced the Vizio P Series Quantum 2018 with the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019.
10/16/2019: Added Hisense.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best brands for smart TVs and the best TVs available for most people in each price range, from the 6 biggest TV brands to buy in the U.S.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our TV reviews. 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.