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 60 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, best budget TVs, and best TVs for outdoor settings.
The best TV for sports that we've tested in 2020 is the LG CX OLED. It's an excellent all-around TV 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 has a near-instant response time, so fast-moving content looks amazing with no motion blur. Our unit has impressive gray uniformity, with hardly any dirty screen effect, but this may vary between units. If you watch games in bright rooms, it gets fairly bright, but it's still not the brightest TV out on the market. Luckily, it has outstanding reflection handling, so you shouldn't have any issues placing it in a moderately-lit room. Its OLED technology can individually turn off pixels, resulting in perfect blacks, which is great if you watch sports at night. Lastly, it upscales lower-resolution content, such as from cable boxes, without any issues.
Unfortunately, like any OLED TV, it has the risk of permanent burn-in. Burn-in is only an issue with constant static elements, and even if you watch football for nine hours every Sunday with its static displays, like the scoreboard, there are enough varied elements (replays, commercials, etc.) that it shouldn't pose too much of a threat. Also, the built-in WebOS is easy-to-use, and you can easily download your sports streaming apps on it. All in all, the LG is the best TV for sports that we've tested so far.
If you're worried about the risk of permanent burn-in, then check out the Sony X950H. It doesn't have wide viewing angles like the LG CX OLED, so it's better-suited for moderately-sized seating arrangements. However, the Sony gets much brighter, and it also has outstanding reflection handling, so it's an ideal choice if you watch sports in a room with direct sunlight. This TV has a quick response time, so most fast-moving content looks great. It upscales lower-resolution content without any issues, and the Android TV smart system has an excellent choice of apps you can download. Unfortunately, our unit has some dirty screen effect in the center, which may be distracting. Luckily, this TV has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you likely won't need to get it calibrated to watch your favorite sports.
Overall, if you simply want the best TV for sports, you can't go wrong with the LG; however, if you want an LED TV that gets brighter, look into the Sony.
The best TV for watching sports with cable is the Samsung Q80T QLED. It's an upper-mid-range model from Samsung's QLED lineup that has impressive performance for any type of content. It has a VA panel with a high contrast ratio, which is further improved by its full-array local dimming, allowing it to produce deep blacks.
Its peak brightness is high enough to easily overcome glare, and it has exceptional reflection handling. Its viewing angles are decent thanks to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, so you can get good picture quality no matter where you sit. The response time is excellent, and there's an optional Black Frame Insertion feature to further reduce the appearance of motion blur, which is great for fast-action sports. It has a 120Hz panel and can interpolate lower frame rate content for fans of the 'Soap Opera Effect'.
Unfortunately, there's a bit of a dirty screen effect; however, this can vary per unit. It upscales lower-resolution content such as cable sports well, and the speakers can get very loud, making it a good choice for watching the game with a big group of people. It runs on Samsung's Tizen OS, which is a user-friendly platform with plenty of streaming services available. All in all, this is the best TV for sports if you watch cable sports that we've tested.
The best TV for sports in the budget category that we've tested so far is the Hisense H8G. It's an upper-mid-range model in Hisense's 2020 lineup, and it doesn't cost you much to get a good overall TV. It's fairly well-built and has a nice look to it for a budget TV.
It has a good response time, but some people may notice motion blur behind fast-moving objects. If that bothers you, it has a Black Frame Insertion feature that reduces its backlight's flicker to 60Hz, and it helps with the appearance of motion. It gets bright enough to combat glare, but if you place this TV in a room with direct sunlight, the reflection may become too distracting. It upscales lower-resolution content well, so 720p content from cable boxes looks great.
Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, which is typical of a VA panel, so it's not ideal for wide seating arrangements. On the upside, that means it displays deep blacks, great for watching sports or any other content in a dark room. If you don't watch sports from a cable box, you can easily find the apps you need on the built-in Android TV. If you're on a budget and like watching sports, this is a great option.
If you prefer a TV with better reflection handling, check out the LG UN7300. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense H8G, but it performs well in moderately-lit rooms due to the excellent reflection handling. It also has an IPS panel with fairly wide viewing angles, but it's still not the most ideal for very wide seating arrangements. It has a decent response time, but due to the TV's 120Hz flicker, you may notice a duplication in motion with 60Hz content, and sadly, it doesn't have a Black Frame Insertion feature. Fortunately, it upscales 720p and 1080p content, so you can enjoy watching HD sports on this TV.
All in all, the Hisense is the best 4k TV for sports available for a low cost, but if viewing angles and reflection handling is important to you, look into the LG.
09/04/2020: 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.
07/07/2020: Minor text and structure changes, replaced Sony X950G with Samsung Q80T, removed Sony X850G.
05/08/2020: Replaced the LG B8 OLED by the B9, switched the Hisense and LG budget picks, added notable mentions.
11/08/2019: Replaced the LG SM9000 with the Sony X850G, and the Vizio P Series Quantum 2018 with the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019.
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.