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 under the latest test bench, 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 C1 OLED. It's a premium TV that has wide viewing angles, making it a great choice for watching the big game with a large group of people, as everyone will still see an accurate image. It's very well-built and is available in a wide range of sizes, so you can get the one you prefer.
Fast-moving content looks very smooth because OLEDs have a near-instantaneous response time, so you shouldn't notice any motion blur. It has fantastic reflection handling if you want to use it in a well-lit room, and although its peak brightness is just okay, visibility shouldn't be an issue in most rooms. It doesn't have any problems upscaling lower-resolution content from cable boxes, and if you want to stream sports, the built-in webOS has a ton of apps available to download.
Unfortunately, our unit has bad out-of-the-box accuracy, so you may need to get it calibrated to enjoy it to the fullest, but this can also vary between units. OLEDs also have the risk of permanent burn-in, which could be problematic with static displays from sports broadcasts, but we don't expect it to be an issue for most people. If you want to watch it in a dark room, it has a near-infinite contrast ratio thanks to its ability to turn off individual pixels. All in all, it's one of the best TVs for sports.
The best TV for watching sports with an LED panel is the Samsung QN85A QLED. The main advantage of getting an LED TV instead of an OLED is that you won't have to worry about damaging the screen if exposed to static elements for long periods. It's a very thin TV that should look great when wall-mounted. It uses an IPS-like panel with wide viewing angles, so once again, it's another good choice to use in a wide seating arrangement.
It uses Mini LED backlighting, allowing it to get extremely bright, and combined with its outstanding reflection handling, you shouldn't have any problems using it in the brightest of environments. It has fantastic out-of-the-box accuracy, and there aren't any upscaling issues with lower-resolution content. The quick response time means that motion looks good, and there's a black frame insertion feature to try to reduce persistence blur, but it causes the screen to get dimmer.
Unfortunately, due to its IPS panel, it has a low contrast ratio, and despite having a full-array local dimming feature, there's blooming around bright objects. This shouldn't be a problem for watching most sports but could get distracting if you're watching content with dark scenes in a dark room. It also has some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, but this can vary between units. All things considered, if you want an LED TV for sports, you should be happy with this one.
If you want something cheaper, then look into the Hisense U8G. It uses a different panel type than the Samsung QN85A QLED, so it doesn't have as wide viewing angles, but it has better contrast and less blooming around bright objects. It's also a good choice to use in well-lit environments because it has excellent peak brightness and amazing reflection handling, but with a semi-gloss finish, it may be best to avoid placing it opposite a window with direct sunlight. Motion looks smooth thanks to its quick response time, and the Android TV interface has a ton of apps available to download. Sadly, like the Samsung, it has uniformity issues and the dirty screen effect can get distracting during sports.
If you want the best 4k TV for sports in the LED category, you can't go wrong with the Samsung, but if you don't want to spend a ton of money and don't need wide viewing angles, then look into the Hisense.
The best TV for sports in the budget category is the Hisense U6G. It's a new 4k TV in Hisense's 2021 lineup, offering great value for its price, and most people should be happy with it. It performs well in bright rooms because it gets bright enough to combat glare and has excellent reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be an issue. It's well-built, and the premium style should look nice in any setting.
Fast-moving content in sports, like balls and players, looks great because it has a quick response time, and even though the backlight flickers, it's at such a high frequency that it shouldn't bother most people. The Android TV interface has a ton of apps available to download, so you'll easily find your streaming app to watch your favorite team. If you want to connect your cable box, this TV doesn't have any trouble upscaling lower-resolution content. Our unit has good gray uniformity, which is good for watching sports, but this can also vary between units.
Unfortunately, it has a VA panel with narrow viewing angles, so the image degrades as you move off to the side, and it's not ideal for watching the big game with a large group of people. Its built-in speakers aren't anything special, so you'll need a soundbar or surround sound setup for the best sound experience possible. All in all, if you're on a budget, it's the best TV for sports.
If you have a wide seating area, then check out the LG UP8000. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense U6G and has worse reflection handling, so it's not as good of a choice for well-lit rooms, but it has wide viewing angles so the screen looks the same no matter where you sit. The LG webOS interface is user-friendly and it comes with the Magic Remote, which you can use its point-and-press feature, like a Wii remote, making it easier to navigate through the menu and stream your game. Like the Hisense, it doesn't have any issues displaying 720p content from a cable box. It has a quick response time, but you may notice some image duplication due to the backlight's 120Hz flicker.
If you're in the market for the best 4k TV for sports and you're on a tight budget, you can't go wrong with the Hisense, but if viewing angles are important to you, then check out the LG.
Aug 20, 2021: Replaced the Hisense H8G with the newer Hisense U6G; added the LG A1, LG G1, Sony A90J, TCL R745, and Hisense U7G to Notable Mentions.
Jun 21, 2021: Replaced the LG CX and LG UN7300 with the newer LG C1 and LG UP8000 and renamed budget alternative to 'Alternative With Wide Viewing Angles'; removed the Hisense H9G and Sony X950H and added the Samsung QN85A and the Hisense U8G as 'Cheaper Alternative'; updated Notable Mentions.
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.
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.