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 watching movies we've tested so far is the Sony A8G OLED. It's an excellent TV for any type of use, and an outstanding choice for watching movies thanks to its deep, inky blacks. Like any other OLED TV, the contrast ratio and black uniformity are perfect, so dark room performance is outstanding. With a near-instant response time, fast-moving content looks fantastic, but that means some 24p content appears to stutter; however, there's a black frame insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. It can also remove judder from all sources and can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps, which is known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'.
You can also enjoy movies with family or friends thanks to the amazing viewing angles. In bright rooms, it handles reflections really well, but only has decent peak brightness to combat glare. Unfortunately, as is the case with all OLED TVs, it has the risk of permanent burn-in, but this shouldn't be a problem with varied content in movies. If you want to watch movies with HDR content, it supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision and displays a very wide color gamut, but sadly since it can't get very bright in HDR, it doesn't bring out highlights and vivid colors the way they should be.
Although the Sony A9G is a higher-end version of this TV, it only has better gaming features for a higher price, making the A8G the best TV for watching movies we've tested so far.
If you want something cheaper than the Sony A8G OLED, check out the LG B9 OLED. 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 TV for home theater use and if money isn't an issue, look into 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 Q70/Q70R QLED. 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 look into the Sony, 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 outstanding 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, making it the best color accuracy TV for watching movies we've tested so far.
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 60p 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 you're looking to save even more money on a budget TV for watching movies, then look into the Hisense H8F. It doesn't have a great response time and can't remove judder from all sources like the Hisense H9F, but it has much better black uniformity, so the dark room performance is marginally better. Unfortunately, like most VA panels, the viewing angles are poor and you'll lose image accuracy when viewed from the side. Like the other Hisense, it supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It displays a very wide color gamut and has an alright color volume, so it can display a good range of colors in HDR. Fast-moving objects look blurry on this TV, but fortunately there's a black frame insertion feature to help reduce motion blur.
If you're looking for the best budget TV for home theater use, the H9F is a great choice. However, if you don't mind losing some features and just care about dark room performance for a cheaper price, consider the H8F.
03/27/2020: Minor changes to text for clarity.
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.
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.