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 Super Bowl 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 TV for watching sports we've tested so far is the LG B9 OLED. Like most OLED TVs, it delivers excellent picture quality with its infinite contrast ratio, producing deep and inky blacks. It gets bright enough for use in well-lit rooms and it handles reflections exceptionally well. Its wide viewing angles ensure that images remain accurate when viewed from the side, making it a good choice for watching a big game with a group of friends. Also, its gray uniformity is excellent, so you won't get distracted by any dirty screen effects.
The response time on this TV is near-instantaneous, which results in clear motion with almost no visible blur trail in fast-moving scenes. There's also an optional black frame insertion feature to improve motion clarity, and it can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120Hz to make motion look silky smooth. If you want to do some gaming on the side, the input lag is excellent and it supports FreeSync and G-SYNC for a nearly tear-free gaming experience.
Unfortunately, there's a risk of permanent burn-in with all OLED TVs. It can result from constant exposure to static displays, such as a display scoreboard or the logo of a particular channel. That said, it shouldn't be an issue if you watch varied content. HDR is supported, but the overall experience is a bit middling due to its mediocre HDR peak brightness. Nonetheless, this is an all-around excellent TV that should satisfy most sports fans.
If you have a bright room or find that you're too concerned about the possibility of burn-in on the LG B9 OLED, then the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 is a great choice. This LED TV is one of the brightest TVs we've tested and has excellent reflection handling, so it can fight the glare of any room. It can't deliver the perfect blacks found on OLED TVs, but nonetheless, the dark room performance is exceptional thanks to the low contrast ratio and the great local dimming support. It has a fast response time and displays fast-moving content with minimal blur. The input lag is low, and if you also game, you'll enjoy responsive gaming sessions. Unfortunately, the image degrades at an angle, and you're better off sitting straight in front.
If you want the best quality TV for watching sports, consider the LG. Otherwise, if you're too concerned about the risk of burn-in, then the Vizio is an excellent LED alternative.
The best LED TV for watching cable sports is the Samsung Q80T. It's a mid-range TV 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 it can interpolate lower frame rate content for fans of the 'Soap Opera Effect'. Unfortunately, there's a bit of 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.
On top of being a great TV for watching sports, it can deliver a good HDR experience and is excellent for gaming. It has an extremely low input lag and it supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing. It runs on Samsung's Tizen OS, which is a user-friendly platform with plenty of streaming services available. All in all, this is a great TV regardless of the content that you watch.
The best budget TV for watching sports we've tested so far is the LG UM7300. It's a TV that delivers good picture quality for a wallet-friendly price. It has an IPS panel with decent viewing angles, so the image doesn't degrade too much if you're viewing from the side. It has great reflection handling, but its peak brightness is just okay and may not be able to fight glare in very bright environments.
This TV has a good response time that results in very little blur trail behind fast-moving objects. However, there's some duplication of the image, which is caused by the backlight's 120Hz flicker frequency. The refresh rate is limited to 60Hz and there's no black frame insertion feature to improve motion clarity. Unfortunately, it doesn't perform all that well in dark rooms, as it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish.
There's HDR support on this TV, but the overall experience is rather sub-par. It can't display a wide color gamut, it doesn't have local dimming, and it can't get nearly bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR content. It has an excellent low input lag if you want to game on the side, but sadly, there's no VRR support of any kind. It does have an 'Auto Low Latency Mode', though, so you don't have to change the picture mode each time to get the lowest input lag. On the whole, it's an overall decent TV that won't break the bank.
If you want a brighter TV to combat glare in bright rooms, the Hisense H9F is a great choice. It's a great TV and one of the best budget TVs we've tested, but the viewing angles don't make it as good for watching sports as the LG UM7300. Regardless, it has excellent peak brightness, which is important if you're watching football on a Sunday afternoon and there's direct sunlight on the TV. It has an outstanding response time so motion looks clear, but unfortunately, it has some uniformity issues, which might be distracting during sports.
If you're looking for the best budget TV for watching sports, the LG is a good choice, but if you prefer a brighter TV, consider the Hisense.
If you want a bigger TV than the 65 inch LG UM7300, the Vizio E Series 2018 is available in 70 and 75 inch models. The Vizio can't upscale 720p content as well as the Hisense H9F, but it still has a great response and a black frame insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion. It has good out-of-box color accuracy and good reflection handling if you want to put it in a room with moderate lighting. Unfortunately, with a VA panel, it has poor viewing angles, so you'll lose image accuracy unless you're sitting directly in front of it, but that means it has an outstanding contrast ratio and black uniformity for great dark room performance.
If you want the best budget TV for watching sports, the LG is a great choice; if you want a larger TV, the Vizio is a good alternative.
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.