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 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-instant 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 OLEDs 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 there are dark scenes and you're watching it 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, the U8G 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 Hisense H8G is the best 4k TV for sports in the budget category that we've tested. It's a more wallet-friendly option of the Hisense U8G. It's decently well-built, and like the other higher-end Hisense, it has a simple design that should fit easily into most settings. It also uses a VA panel, which means it has a high contrast ratio but narrow viewing angles, so it's not the best option for wide seating areas.
It upscales lower resolution content, like cable sports, well and without any artifacts. It has a good response time to deliver clear motion and a Black Frame Insertion to further reduce motion blur. The built-in speakers get very loud, which is great when watching with a big group of people. However, there are some compression artifacts and distortion at max volume, so it's best to get a dedicated soundbar with a subwoofer if you want better sound quality.
Unfortunately, while it gets impressively bright to combat glare, its reflection handling is only decent as it struggles with direct reflections. You shouldn't have any problems with visibility in most lighting conditions, but it isn't recommended to place the TV opposite windows or bright lights. It runs on Android TV, which is fairly easy to use and has tons of apps through the Google Play Store. So, if you're shopping for a good TV on a tight budget, this is the one to get.
If you have a wide seating arrangement, then check out the LG UP8000. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense H8G, but it has an IPS-like panel with wider viewing angles, so the image should look the same if you're viewing it from the side. Keep in mind that the 50, 60, and 70 inch models have a different panel type, so they perform differently than the 65 inch model we tested. Reflection handling is still good if you want to use it in a room with a few lights, and it has a quick response time with only a bit of motion blur. 720p content, like from cable boxes, looks good. Sadly, this TV isn't very versatile for other uses as it has a low contrast ratio and can't display a wide color gamut for HDR content.
If you're on a budget and want the best TV for sports, you should be happy with the Hisense, but if viewing angles are important to you, look into the LG.
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.
Nov 03, 2020: Swapped the Samsung Q80T for the Sony X950H and vice versa; added the LG NANO85.
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.