In recent years, manufacturers have focused their efforts on releasing models that will keep sports fans happy. When looking for a sports TV, one must look for brightness, uniformity (to avoid screen shade clouding, also known as dirty screen effect), fast motion handling, and wide viewing angles to accommodate your friends when watching the big game together.
We've tested more than 80 TVs in the last two years, and below are our recommendations for the best TVs for sports to buy. See our recommendations for the best 4k TVs, the best budget TVs, and the best TVs for outdoor settings.
The best TV for sports with an OLED panel that we've tested is the LG CX. It's an excellent all-around model with amazing picture quality. It has all the features most sports fans need, including very wide viewing angles, which is ideal if you're going to have a large group of friends over to watch the big game. It doesn't get very bright, but thankfully, it handles reflections incredibly well, so you shouldn't have any problems with visibility in most lighting conditions.
It has amazing motion handling thanks to its near-instantaneous response time, so fast-moving content looks clear with no motion blur. It also has a Black Frame Insertion feature to further improve clarity, and it can interpolate content up to 120Hz to make motion appear smoother. Our unit has impressive gray uniformity, with hardly any dirty screen effect, although this may vary between individual units. Lastly, it upscales lower-resolution content, like from cable boxes, without any issues.
Unfortunately, like any OLED, it has the risk of permanent burn-in. Burn-in is only an issue with constant static elements, and even if you watch sports for endless hours, most broadcasts have enough commercials and replays that it shouldn't pose too much of a threat with the static elements. Also, the built-in WebOS is easy to use, and you can easily download your sports streaming apps on it. All in all, this is the best TV for sports that we've tested.
The best TV for watching sports with an LED panel that we've tested is the Hisense H9G. Unlike the LG CX OLED, you won't have to worry about potential burn-in after exposure to static elements, like from the broadcast, because LED TVs appear to be immune to it. It has built-in Android TV as its operating system, so you can easily find your favorite streaming apps through the Google Play Store.
It performs very well in bright lighting conditions, like if you watch sports during the day. It easily gets bright enough to combat glare and has excellent reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be an issue even in the brightest of rooms. Fast-moving content looks extremely smooth thanks to its amazing response time, and it has other features to try to improve the appearance of motion, like Black Frame Insertion and motion interpolation features. Lastly, it doesn't have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content, like from cable boxes.
Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, so it's not a good choice if you want to watch the game with a large group of people as you lose image accuracy when viewing from the side. It also has mediocre out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you may need to calibrate it to enjoy it to the fullest, but this also may vary between units. Regardless of these small issues, this is one of the best TVs for sports that we've tested.
If you prefer something with wider viewing angles, then look into the Sony X950H. It has a slower response time than the Hisense H9G, but for the most part, motion still looks smooth on it. However, it has Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' technology to slightly improve the viewing angles, and even though they're not as wide as an OLED, it should be good enough for watching the game with a few friends. Take note that the 49 inch model doesn't have this technology. Like the Hisense, this TV gets bright enough to combat glare and has outstanding reflection handling. It also has excellent out-of-the-box accuracy, which is typical of Sony models. Sadly, it has some uniformity issues as the edges of the screen are darker, but this can also vary between units.
If you want the best TV for watching sports, you can't go wrong with the Hisense, but if you have a wide seating area, you should enjoy the Sony.
The Hisense H8G is the best 4k TV for sports in the budget category that we've tested. It's a more wallet-friendly option of the Hisense H9G. It's decently well-built, and like its bigger sibling, it has a simple design that should fit easily into most settings. It also uses a VA panel, which means it has a high contrast ratio but narrow viewing angles, so it's not the best option for wide seating areas.
It upscales lower resolution content, like cable sports, well and without any artifacts. It has good response times to deliver clear motion and a Black Frame Insertion to further reduce motion blur. The built-in speakers get very loud, which is great when watching with a big group of people. However, there are some compression artifacts and distortion at max volume, so it's best to get a dedicated soundbar with a subwoofer if you want better sound quality.
Unfortunately, while it gets impressively bright to combat glare, its reflection handling is only decent as it struggles with direct reflections. You shouldn't have any problems with visibility in most lighting conditions, but it isn't recommended to place the TV opposite windows or bright lights. It runs on Android TV, which is fairly easy to use, and has tons of apps through the Google Play Store. So, if you're shopping for a good TV on a tight budget, this is the one to get.
If you need a TV with better reflection handling, then check out the LG UN7300. It's quite different from the Hisense H8G because it uses an IPS panel. It doesn't get as bright overall, but its reflection handling is significantly better. Also, it has much wider viewing angles, so the image doesn't look washed out when viewed from the side. The response times are decent, but sadly, it doesn't have a Black Frame Insertion feature, and its 120Hz backlight flicker causes some image duplication. It's not the best for dark room viewing due to its low contrast ratio, and it can't display a wide color gamut for HDR content. On the upside, its WebOS interface is much more user-friendly.
Overall, the Hisense delivers better picture quality because it has a better contrast ratio and higher peak brightness, and its faster response times result in a clearer image in fast-moving scenes. However, if you need a TV with better reflection handling, the LG is a decent choice.
Apr 22, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.
Feb 23, 2021: To remain consistent with other reviews, we renamed the LG CX to 'Best OLED'; moved the Samsung Q80T to its own category, 'Best LED', and added the Hisense H9G as Brighter Alternative; removed the Samsung Q90T as 'Best for Outdoors'.
Jan 04, 2021: Removed Sony X950H and LG NANO85. Added Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED.
Nov 03, 2020: Swapped the Samsung Q80T for the Sony X950H and vice versa; added the LG NANO85.
Sep 04, 2020: Replaced the LG B9 OLED and Vizio P Series Quantum X with CX OLED and Sony X950H; replaced the Hisense H9F with the H9G and moved to main pick; replaced the LG UM7300 with the UN7300 and moved to alternative pick.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs to watch sports 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.