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 70 TVs in the last two years, and below are our recommendations for the best TVs for sports to buy in 2020.
The best TV for watching sports is the LG B8 OLED. Just like all OLEDs, it has exceptional wide viewing angles and is great for watching the big game with a group of friends, since everyone will experience the same accurate image no matter where they sit. Fast-action sports look great with almost no blur trail behind the ball thanks to the nearly instantaneous response time. Also, the very good uniformity and very little dirty screen effect ensure that what you see on your screen is how the real field looks, without TV-created artificial shades or spots.
Unfortunately, like most OLEDs, this TV can't get very bright, so it's not a great choice for a very bright room. Also, as an OLED TV, it has the risk of experiencing permanent burn-in or temporary image retention, although we don't expect this to be an issue for most people.
If you have a bright room or find that you're too concerned about the possibility of burn-in on the LG B8 OLED, then get the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019. 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 gamers will 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, get the LG; otherwise, if you're too concerned about the risk of burn-in, then the Vizio is an excellent LED alternative.
The Sony X950G is the best LED TV if you enjoy watching sports on cable. You won't get the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019's brightness or great local dimming, but you'll be getting a TV with great picture quality and a nearly flicker-free backlight, which is great, and an optional black frame insertion feature to make motion even clearer. Also, most cable sports channels broadcast in 720p, and the Sony does a better job than the Vizio with lower resolution content. It offers more control over upscaling and motion processing features, so you can enjoy your favorite sports without issue.
Unfortunately, just like most VA panel TVs, the image degrades when viewed from the side, so it isn't the best choice for watching the big game with a large group of people. On the upside, VA panels offer much better black levels than TVs with IPS screens, which is better for watching movies.
Overall, this is one of the best TVs, and is great for watching sports. It's the Sony X900F's replacement, which was one of our favorite TVs of 2018, and is a good option to consider as well as it can often be found for considerably cheaper and offers only marginally lower performance than its replacement.
If you find that the viewing angles on the Sony X950G aren't good enough for watching your favorite games with a group of friends, then consider getting the Sony X850G instead. It's an IPS panel TV and can't deliver the dark room performance found on other Sony, as blacks tend to look more like gray in a dark room due to the low contrast ratio and the lack of local dimming. On the upside, this is a good TV overall. The image remains accurate when watching from the side and the TV's a good choice for enjoying the big game with a group of friends. Fast action, like sports, looks crisp thanks to the fast response time and gamers will enjoy a very low input lag, better than any other Sony TV we've tested so far.
If you like to watch movies in a dark room and sit straight in front of the TV, get the X950G; otherwise, if you often watch from the side, the X850G is a better choice.
If you want the best TV for sports that won't break the bank, the best budget sports TV that we've tested so far is the Hisense H9F. It has a very fast response time so you don't get blur behind fast-moving objects, and its high peak brightness will help fight glare in bright rooms. It also has an optional black frame insertion feature which can help improve the appearance of motion even more.
Unfortunately, like most TVs that use VA panels, the image degrades when viewed from the side, which may be an issue if you often watch sports with a large group of people. There's also some noticeable dirty screen effect, which may be distracting. On the upside, this TV is also an excellent choice for video games, and does an impressive job with HDR content, making it the best budget 4k TV that we've tested so far.
Overall, if you want a great TV for not only watching sports, but for movies, and games as well, the Hisense is a very good option that provides a fantastic price-to-performance ratio. It offers only marginally lower performance than our top pick, the Sony X950G, but at a fraction of the cost.
If you want a budget TV for watching sports but often watch with a large group of people and need something with wider viewing angles, get the LG UM7300. It doesn't handle motion quite as well as the Hisense H9F, and it can't get nearly as bright, but it has a much wide viewing angle thanks to its IPS panel. While it will perform fairly similarly for sports, unfortunately, the LG isn't as versatile as the Hisense due to its sub-par contrast and HDR performance.
Overall, the Hisense is a better and more versatile TV, but if you're only using the TV for watching sports and need something with wider viewing angles, go with the LG.
If you want a larger TV in the budget category without overspending, consider getting the Vizio E Series 2018 E75-F1. You won't get the Hisense H9F's excellent response time, and upscaling to 720p might be more of an issue. On the upside, this is a TV with decent picture quality, low input lag, and good motion that will perform well in most uses, including sports.
If you want the best budget TV for watching sports, get the Hisense; otherwise, if you don't mind compromising on response time, the Vizio is a larger and less expensive alternative with close sports performance, and one of the best TVs for sports.
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.
01/09/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks. Removed some notable mentions due to availability.
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. Made small changes to text for clarity.