When choosing a TV for movie watching, you should first consider your TV room's lighting conditions. You'll generally have a better experience if you watch movies in a dark room. You should be looking for a TV that can deliver deep blacks, has rich colors, and has bright highlights, especially in HDR content.
We've tested more than 70 TVs in the last two years, and below are our recommendations for the best TVs for home theater and movies you can buy in 2020. See also our recommendations for the best TVs for TV shows and the best TVs for sports.
The best TV for movies we've tested so far is the Sony A8G. Just like all OLED TVs, it displays perfect blacks thanks to its emissive technology and this enhances dark room performance. Watching movies on the Sony is a remarkable experience regardless of if you're sitting straight in front or looking from the side, as the image remains accurate at an angle. The TV has outstanding reflection handling and can get decently bright, so it's suitable for most rooms. Fast-moving objects look great, due to the nearly-instantaneous response time, which, however, results in more stutter that's noticeable in movies. The TV incorporates advanced motion handling features like motion interpolation, black frame insertion, and judder removal.
Unfortunately, this TV has the risk of temporary image retention or permanent burn-in, just like any other OLED. We don't expect this to be an issue for most people that watch normal, varied content on their TV. Finally, the input lag is low, great for most casual gaming, but it's not suitable for competitive gamers.
Overall, this is the best TV for movies, but it also delivers excellent performance in other uses.
If you want something cheaper than the Sony A8G OLED, check out the LG B9. This is an OLED TV that delivers an equally outstanding picture quality as the Sony. Watching movies remains an outstanding experience and the differences are fairly minor. This is a more future-proof model, as it supports HDMI 2.1 and has more gaming features than the Sony. As a downside, it lacks the Sony's pre-calibration accuracy, and our unit had slightly worse gray uniformity than our Sony unit, although this varies from panel to panel.
Overall, for the absolute best quality and if money isn't an issue, get the Sony; otherwise, the LG is very similar and costs less.
If you're concerned about the risk of burn-in on the Sony A8G OLED or the LG B9 OLED, the best LED TV for watching movies is the Samsung Q70R/Q70. You won't have the perfect blacks found on the OLEDs, but it can get very bright and deliver an excellent movie-watching experience in a dark room thanks to its deep blacks and effective local dimming support. It can get much brighter, so it's also suitable for daytime viewing in a bright room. For those who enjoy gaming, this TV comes equipped with a lot of gaming goodies.
If perfect blacks are what you're looking for, then get the Sony or the LG, but if you're too concerned about the possibility of burn-in and don't need perfect blacks, the Samsung will serve you well for watching movies and also has some gaming perks.
If you don't plan on calibrating your TV and care about color accuracy, the Sony X950G has the best color accuracy out-of-the-box from the TVs we've tested so far. It has great picture quality and delivers deep blacks in a dark room thanks to its excellent native contrast ratio and decent local dimming support. This TV displays lively HDR content with saturated colors and bright highlights thanks to its wide color gamut and bright HDR peak brightness. It has outstanding color accuracy, with only a few adjustments to its settings. This TV has a nearly instantaneous response time that delivers clear motion, with very little blur trail behind fast-moving objects, and supports motion interpolation as high as 120Hz, which is great for people that enjoy the soap opera effect.
Unfortunately, the viewing angles on this TV aren't good since the image deteriorates quickly when viewed from the side. The larger models have the new 'X-Wide Angle' technology that improves viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio.
Overall, this is a great 4k TV that'll keep you happy.
If you want something less expensive than the Sony X950G, check out the Vizio P Series 2018. You won't get the Sony's excellent reflection handling, and you might experience some judder when watching movies from 60Hz sources like a cable box. On the upside, this is an impressive TV with excellent dark room performance and deep blacks, thanks to its high native contrast ratio and great local dimming support. It also has excellent motion handling and a very low input lag for those who love sports or want to play video games. Watching movies on this TV is a remarkable experience.
If color accuracy is more important, the Sony is the better choice, but if you want to save some cash and still get an excellent movie-watching experience and don't mind compromising on reflection handling, try to find the Vizio while it's still available.
The best budget TV for watching movies is the Hisense H9F. This is truly an impressive TV, despite its budget price. It has an outstanding contrast ratio, decent black uniformity, and a full array local dimming to produce deep uniform blacks, suitable for dark room viewing. Response time is exceptionally low and it has an optional black frame insertion feature to further reduce motion blur, giving you a crisp image with minimal blur trail behind fast-moving objects.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this TV is its HDR performance. Thanks to its impressive peak brightness and great color gamut, HDR content looks incredible, with vibrant colors and highlights that pop. Furthermore, it supports HDR10 as well as Dolby Vision. Sadly, like most VA panels, viewing angles are disappointing, so it may not be a good choice if you have a large room or a wide seating arrangement. This TV has some gaming chops, too, as input lag is remarkably low, but it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology, and the TV can only display a 60Hz signal, even though it has a 120Hz panel.
Overall, if you want the best movie-watching experience without breaking the bank, this TV is a very good choice.
If the Hisense H9F doesn't quite fit into your budget, there's a cheaper alternative: the Hisense H8F. It performs similarly to its big brother, but with a few notable differences. It has a lower peak brightness, which affects HDR performance, and it has a slower response time, leading to more blur in fast-moving scenes. Surprisingly, this TV's black frame insertion feature is much more effective at reducing motion blur and it has a significantly better black uniformity than its sibling.
Overall, the H9F provides a better movie-watching experience, especially in HDR content, but if you want to save some money, the H8F will perform nearly as well with very few compromises.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs to watch movies 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).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of 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.
01/27/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
12/03/2019: Replaced the Sony A8F OLED with the Sony A8G OLED and the LG B8 OLED with the LG B9 OLED. Made minor changes to text for clarity.