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 70 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 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 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 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, 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.
If you're worried about the long-term burn-in risk that may happen with static elements in a sports broadcast, then check out the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED. This LED model doesn't have as wide viewing angles as the LG CX OLED, but thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer added, it still has fairly wide viewing angles, so you can enjoy the big game with a few friends. It has an excellent response time, so fast-moving objects look great, and it has a Black Frame Insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. It gets bright enough to combat glare and has outstanding reflection handling for those well-lit rooms. Our unit has some dirty screen effect in the center, which could get distracting during sports, but this may vary between units. It also has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you may not need to get it calibrated to enjoy it to the fullest.
If you want one of the best TVs for sports, you can't go wrong with the LG, but if you prefer something with an LED panel, then check out the Samsung.
If you want to watch the game on the patio outside, the best TV for watching sports outdoors that we've tested is the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED. Although it isn't specifically designed for outdoor use like the Samsung The Terrace, it has exceptional reflection handling and gets more than bright enough to overcome glare, giving you good visibility even on sunny days. Also, it has Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, which greatly improves viewing angles, so images remain accurate when viewed from the side, making it ideal for wide seating areas.
Fast-moving scenes look incredibly clear thanks to its fast response time and Black Frame Insertion feature. It has a 120Hz refresh rate, and it can interpolate lower frame rate content to make motion appear smoother for fans of the 'Soap Opera' effect. It has very low input lag if you want to play some video games, and it supports variable refresh rate to reduce screen tearing. Additionally, it has HDMI 2.1 ports, great for those with consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
The internal speakers sound okay. They're fairly well-balanced for dialogue, but there's a noticeable lack of low-bass, so they can't produce a deep, rumbling sound. That said, they get very loud and don't distort much at max volume. If you're watching at night, you should know that it has an excellent contrast ratio and a great full-array local dimming feature to produce deep blacks. Overall, it's an excellent TV that should please most people.
The best TV for sports in the budget category that we've tested 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 model. It's fairly well-built and has a nice look to it for a budget option.
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 it 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 its 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.
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.
01/04/2021: Removed Sony X950H and LG NANO85. Added Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED.
11/03/2020: Swapped the Samsung Q80T for the Sony X950H and vice versa; added the LG NANO85.
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 with the B9, switched the Hisense and LG budget picks, added Notable Mentions.
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.