Sometimes, the best way to watch your favorite sports team is in the living room with a few friends, snacks, and the game streaming live on your TV. Although manufacturers don't focus on making their TVs only for sports, many modern 4k TVs have good performance, making them suitable for watching sports. When looking for the best 4k TV for sports, there are four criteria to consider:
SDR Peak Brightness and Reflection Handling
While some sports content is now in HDR, most of it is still in SDR. Thus, you want a TV that can get as bright as possible in SDR to counteract any glare from bright lights or windows. Even if your TV can get very bright, it must handle reflections well for a good viewing experience. Great reflection handling minimizes the size of reflections, making them less intrusive when watching the TV. Inversely, poor reflection handling makes for bigger, more diffuse reflections. While OLEDs have relatively low SDR brightness compared to LED TVs, they tend to have fantastic reflection handling.
Response time is the time it takes for a pixel to change from one color to the next, typically measured from a fully black pixel to a fully white one or from one shade of gray (either dark or bright gray) to the opposite shade of gray. A slow response time is noticeable when watching sports, as fast-moving objects on screen, like pucks, balls, or even players, leave blurry trails behind them. OLEDs are the uncontested best TVs regarding response time, as their pixel transitions are nearly instantaneous. But the best LED TVs also have very fast transitions, making them great choices for watching sports.
You can also check out our article on response time if you want to know more.
Gray uniformity defines the way a TV can display a single uniform color on the screen. Having a TV with good uniformity is important for watching content like sports, as sports broadcasts tend to have large areas of bright colors, like a hockey rink, basketball court, or football field. You may notice uniformity issues when the edges are darker or if the center of the screen looks dirty, known as the dirty screen effect. These are most noticeable with hockey because most of the screen will be white, so you'll see which areas are darker. OLED TVs tend to have the best overall gray uniformity, but the best LED TVs are now very close.
Read more about this topic in our article on gray uniformity.
Bright room content, like sports, is often watched from multiple angles rather than always directly from the front. You might have a large living room or friends over to watch a big sports event, with them seated around the TV. Thus, having a great viewing angle is important, as you want to ensure everyone has a satisfactory viewing experience. Furthermore, you want to be able to move around the TV without the image constantly shifting colors or becoming dimmer. OLEDs have uncontestably the widest viewing angle.
Look up our article on viewing angles for more information on this topic.
We've bought and tested more than 420 TVs, and below are our recommendations for the best TVs for sports to buy. See our picks for the best 4k TVs, the best budget TVs, and the best outdoor TVs, or vote on which ones you want us to buy and test. To learn more about the 2023 models, check out our 2023 TV lineup page.
The best TV for sports that we've tested is the Samsung S90C OLED. It has an incredibly wide viewing angle, making it a perfect choice for watching the big game with a large group of friends in a wide seating arrangement, as everyone will have a good experience; no more fighting over the best spot on the couch, as the image remains consistent even at a very wide angle. In addition to the wide viewing angle, the TV has a near-instantaneous response time, so fast-moving players and balls are crystal-clear, with no distracting motion blur behind them. It has superb reflection handling, so you don't have to worry too much about glare on a sunny day. However, it's still not that bright in SDR, so glare can be distracting in a bright living room. It upscales lower-resolution content well, which is great as most sporting events are broadcast at a lower resolution. If you don't have cable, the Tizen OS interface has a great selection of streaming apps, and you can easily find your favorite sports channels.
This TV has a higher-end model, the Samsung S95C OLED. It's brighter in SDR, so it's an interesting option for people who want an OLED and like to watch sports in extremely bright rooms. However, the S90C is significantly cheaper and easily bright enough for almost everyone, so it's the best overall value.
If you're not in a dark room, a premium TV with an LED backlight like the Sony X93L/X93CL is a better choice than the Samsung S90C OLED, making it the best TV for watching sports in a bright room. It gets significantly brighter than the Samsung, so it's a better choice in a bright living room or outdoors. It also has an acceptable viewing angle, making it a good choice for watching the big game with friends, although it's not nearly as good as the Samsung OLED. It also doesn't have the OLED's super deep blacks, but they're still quite good on this TV. The user-friendly Google TV platform has a large selection of streaming apps, including the most popular sports apps, so you can stream the big game without an external streaming box. It also upscales lower-resolution content, like from cable boxes, extremely well, with no noticeable issues. It has an excellent response time, ensuring you can clearly see the action, and it has good gray uniformity, with just a bit of dirty screen effect in the center.
For those with deep pockets, the Sony X95L is the best LED TV on the market and is especially enticing if you have access to its smaller sizes. Still, as amazing as it is for sports, it's not worth the price increase over the X93L for most people. You could also save some money by going with the step-down Sony X90L/X90CL, although it has a narrower viewing angle, much worse reflection handling, and slightly slower response time than the more expensive Sony TVs.
If you'd like an OLED but find the Samsung S90C OLED too expensive, the Sony A75L OLED is a great mid-range TV and can serve as an excellent entry point into the OLED market. The TV has even more features than the more expensive Samsung OLED but is much dimmer and less vibrant due to it having a WOLED panel versus the QD-OLED in the more expensive Samsung. It still delivers outstanding picture quality when watching sports, especially in a moderately-lit or dark room, with its near-infinite contrast ratio delivering deep, inky blacks with no distracting blooming. It's also bright enough to look good in a bright room with its fantastic reflection handling. The TV is available in a narrower range of sizes than the more expensive Samsung or Sony X93L: you only get it in a 55- and 65-inch format.
This OLED TV has a near-instantaneous response time, leading to a nearly blur-free viewing experience even when watching the most hectic sports. Like all OLEDs, it has a superbly wide viewing angle and excellent gray uniformity, so it's truly a standout TV to watch sports on. If you're disappointed in this TV's narrow choice of sizes, consider the extremely similar but slightly more expensive Sony A80L OLED. It's built slightly better than the A75L but is otherwise almost identical.
If you want high-end performance but don't want to spend high-end prices, or if you watch sports in mostly bright rooms, check out the Hisense U7K. It's cheaper than anything recommended up to this point but delivers picture quality that is almost as good as the Sony X93L/X93CL. It has a great Mini LED backlight, letting it simultaneously provide incredibly bright highlights and deep blacks, with barely any blooming around bright objects in dark scenes. Sports look great, and the TV's fantastic reflection handling lets it look its best even in very bright rooms. The U7K has very good image processing overall, so sports from streaming platforms are mostly free of compression artifacts, and the TV upscales sports very well.
Unfortunately, its viewing angle is sub-par, making it a bad choice for a wide seating arrangement. It runs the Google TV interface, which is fast and easy to use, and it has a great selection of streaming features, so you're sure to find your favorite sports. It's available in four sizes: 55, 65, 75, and 85 inches. If you want a brighter TV, go for the higher-tier Hisense U8/U8K. The U8K is incredibly bright but has the same features as the U7K.
The best budget TV for watching sports is the Hisense U6/U6K. It's a decent TV for watching sports, with good picture quality and high peak brightness in SDR. It can handle moderate glare in a bright room but has worse reflection handling than the Hisense U8/U8K, so it's not as good in that context. Uniform areas like the playing field look good thanks to its decent gray uniformity, and it has a quick response time, so fast-moving objects (like the players) are clear and easy to make out. While a good product overall, it's a significant step down from the more expensive models, and it doesn't upscale lower-resolution content nearly as well as the TVs above it. It struggles with smoothing out digital artifacts from streaming content.
Still, it's significantly cheaper, is very colorful for such a cheap TV, and even has a functional local dimming solution to make it look good in a dark room. It runs the same great Google TV interface, and it supports hands-free voice control through either Google Assistant or Alexa to quickly open your favorite apps or search for content.
The Sony X80K/X80CK is the best budget TV for sports if you have a wide seating area. Outside of the OLED, it has the widest viewing angle on this list, as all of its sizes use an ADS panel, which has a wider viewing angle than the VA panels used in the other LED options. It makes it a better choice for watching the big game with a large group of people, as you don't have to fight over the best spot in the house. As is typical of Sony TVs, it has good low-resolution upscaling, so content from cable boxes looks fine, although it's not nearly as good at cleaning compression artifacts from streaming apps. It has decent reflection handling and gets bright enough for a pleasant viewing experience in a bright room, but it looks its best in a moderately lit room.
It once again comes with the easy-to-use Google TV interface, making it easy to watch your favorite sports in just a few seconds. It has decent motion handling thanks to the satisfactory response time and a motion interpolation feature to smooth out low-frame-rate content. As usual, motion interpolation doesn't work as well with fast-moving sports, as it creates artifacts. The cherry on top is the TV's flicker-free backlight at any brightness level, so it won't give you any headaches during a sports-watching marathon. You could also opt for the extremely similar Sony X75K; they're almost identical and equally good for sports, so get the cheapest one.
Dec 07, 2023: Replaced the Hisense U8K with the Sony A75L OLED as the 'Best Mid-Range TV For Watching Sports'; it's much better for watching sports overall. Also added the Hisense U7K as our 'Best Lower Mid-Range TV For Watching Sports', and expanded the introduction.
Oct 27, 2023: Replaced the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED with the slightly better Sony X93L/X93CL as our Best Bright Room TV for Watching Sports. Otherwise, due to availability issues, we replaced the Hisense U8/U8H, the TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED, and the LG UP8000 with the more widely available Hisense U8/U8K, Hisense U6/U6K, and Sony X80K/X80CK respectively.
Jun 29, 2023: Moved the Samsung S95C OLED from the Notable Mentions to a mention in the 'Best TV For Watching Sports' pick. Added the Samsung S90C OLED, LG G3 OLED, and LG C2 OLED to the Notable Mentions and refreshed the text for accuracy and consistency.
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.