If you watch a lot of TV shows, you should purchase a TV that has excellent reflection handling, good brightness levels, and wide viewing angles to accommodate for multiple viewing positions. It should be able to properly display 1080p and 720p resolutions, which is what most cable TV shows are produced at.
We've tested more than 70 TVs in the last two years, and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy in 2020 for watching TV shows. See also our recommendations for the best TVs for watching movies and the best TVs for watching sports.
The best TV for bright rooms and watching TV shows that we've tested so far is the LG B9 OLED. This TV looks and feels very premium, with thin bezels and a simple and straight-forward design. It provides excellent picture quality with perfect blacks thanks to its OLED panel. It can get bright enough to be able to handle reflections from a bright room without issue, and its great viewing angles means everyone will get the same great image regardless of where in the room they're watching from.
Unfortunately, just like all OLED TVs, it has the risk of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in, though this is unlikely with normal varied content, and is only a concern if you watch static images for long periods, like if you watch CNN all day, every day. Its color accuracy is also sub-par out-of-the-box, so you'll likely have to play with the settings a bit to get it looking more natural. On the upside, if you watch TV shows through a streaming service like Netflix, this TV is outstanding for HDR content and colors will pop the way the director intended.
While the screen can get very bright for both SDR and HDR content, unfortunately, its Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL) is quite aggressive, and it dims the screen significantly when large areas get bright, which can be distracting. On the upside, you can turn this off in the settings, which is nice. Overall, this is an outstanding TV that offers fantastic picture quality and can easily handle anything you throw at it, from TV shows, to movies, sports, or video games.
If you're concerned about the burn-in risk on the LG B8 OLED and want a TV that's excellent for watching TV in a bright room, then get the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED. This TV can't deliver perfect blacks like the LG and doesn't have the same wide viewing angles. On the upside, it's an excellent TV that has a remarkable performance for TV shows. It has excellent reflection handling and good upscaling of cable content. You can easily place it in a bright room, as it can get very bright to fight glare. It's equipped with the new 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer that helps the image remain accurate for wider viewing angles, at the expense of contrast ratio.
Overall, if you want the best picture quality you can get, as well as wide viewing angles, get the LG, but if you're concerned about burn-in and would rather go with an LED TV, the Samsung can get brighter and still provides excellent picture quality.
If you want the best TV for watching TV shows that has the most accurate colors, get the Sony X900F. Unlike our top pick, the LG B9 OLED, which has disappointing color accuracy out-of-the-box, this TV looks superb without any calibration. While this TV was part of Sony's 2018 line, they've kept it around due to its popularity, and you can still find it at a good price. It gets bright enough to be able to fight reflections in a bright room, though it still may not be ideal for direct sunlight.
Unfortunately, unlike OLEDs or TVs that use an IPS panel, its viewing angles are poor, so it may not be the best choice if you watch a lot of TV shows or sports events with a large group of people, as you'll want to be directly in front to get an accurate image. On the upside, its high peak brightness and wide color gamut make it a great choice for watching HDR content, which is good if you watch a lot of streaming services like Netflix or Disney+.
If you own a PS4 or Xbox, this is an excellent TV for gaming as well, thanks to its low input lag and excellent motion handling. Overall, this is an excellent TV that offers great picture quality and represents great value thanks to its relatively low price point.
If you often watch TV with a large group of people and need something with wider viewing angles, get the LG SM9000. It doesn't perform as well in a dark room as the Sony X900F, and its colors aren't as accurate out-of-the-box, but its image maintains accuracy when viewed at an angle. While it can't get quite as bright as the Sony, its reflection handling is still great, and it should be able to fight the glare of most rooms. LG's smart platform is also easier to use than Sony's Android TV, and has access to a wide range of apps.
If you want a brighter TV with more accurate colors, get the Sony, but if your TV room has a wide seating arrangement or you often walk around while watching the TV, go with the LG.
The best TV for watching TV shows in the budget category that we've tested so far is the LG UM7300. This IPS TV can get decently bright, and its excellent reflection handling should be good enough for most rooms. It does a great job at upscaling SD and HD content, and its extremely low input lag makes it a great choice for video games as well.
Due to its IPS panel, its viewing angles are decent, but unfortunately, this comes at the expense of black levels and uniformity, which are only okay. Its great motion handling makes it great for watching sports, and LG's smart interface is easy to use, with a ton of available apps. Unfortunately, this TV isn't the best option for HDR content, though this will be fine if you only watch cable TV, as you'll only find HDR TV shows through streaming services.
Overall, while you won't get as good of a movie-watching experience as with more expensive options, if you want a budget TV that's great for watching TV shows from cable, this one is a great choice that won't hurt your wallet.
If you usually watch your favorite TV shows at night and you sit straight in front of the TV, then check out the Hisense H8F. You won't get the wide viewing angles or the excellent reflection handling of the LG UM7300, but the dark room performance of this TV is much better thanks to the deep uniform blacks. This TV also has a wide color gamut, which is important if you watch a lot of TV shows on streaming services like Netflix or Apple TV+. It can also get fairly bright if you decide to place it in a room with plenty of ambient light, but don't forget that you have to sit right in front if you want to experience the most accurate image.
Overall, if you watch TV with a large group of people in a bright room, go with the LG, but if you sit directly in front of your TV and want something that performs better in a dark room, get the Hisense.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs to watch shows 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.
02/14/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
12/17/2019: Replaced the LB B8 OLED with the LG B9 OLED and the LG SK9000 with the LG SM9000. Made small changes to text for clarity.
10/18/2019: Updated picks and changed some text for clarity.