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The 7 Best 4k TVs for watching TV shows - December 2018
Reviews

Best Shows TVs
206 Televisions Tested
  • Store-bought TVs; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

For TV shows, you should purchase a TV that has excellent reflection handling, good brightness levels, and wide viewing angles to accommodate for the multiple viewing positions. It should be able to display well 1080p and 720p resolutions at which most shows are produced. 

We've tested 80 TVs and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy.

Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot at the end of the year and especially after Black Friday.

  1. Best TV for Watching TV Shows: LG B8

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    8.4
    TV Shows
    What it is: TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    Type : OLED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    WRGB
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65"

    The best TV for watching TV shows we've tested so far is the LG OLED B8. It has excellent reflection handling and good brightness levels to overcome the glare of an average bright room. It also has wide viewing angles to accommodate for a wide seating arrangement or allow you to move around while watching your favorite show, without losing picture quality. It has good upscaling capabilities, so 1080p and 720p content will look good. It has good gray uniformity and is equipped with motion enhancement features like motion interpolation and black frame insertion. It runs LG's smart platform with many pre-installed apps and you can always download more at LG's content store.

    Unfortunately, the LG B8 is an OLED TV and has the risk of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in if you display static images over a prolonged period. However, we expect that most people will not experience that with normal use.

    Overall, the LG B8 is an excellent TV that performs very well.

    See our review

  2. Cheaper and Brighter Alternative: Samsung Q7FN

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65" 75"

    If you want a cheaper and brighter TV than the LG B8, then get the Samsung Q7FN (the Samsung Q8FN and the Samsung Q9FN are even better but are not worth the extra cash just for watching TV shows). The Q7FN (or the Q7CN which is identical to it but with a curve profile) does not have the perfect blacks or the wide viewing angles of the LG B8. On the upside, it is a very good TV for watching TV shows. It has good upscaling and you can place in a bright room where it will easily fight glare and handle reflections in an excellent manner. Overall, it will perform well in any usage and certainly in TV shows.  

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range TV for Watching TV Shows: Sony X900F

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    8.2
    TV Shows
    What it is: TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 49" 55" 65" 75" 85"

    If you find the LG B8 too expensive, the best mid-range TV for watching TV shows is the Sony X900F. The Sony does not have the perfect blacks or the wide viewing angles of the LG.

    On the upside, the Sony X900F, just like last year’s X900E (which is just as good but very hard to find), comes with a great picture quality. It can get very bright and can overcome the glare of a bright room. It has good reflection handling and is a great TV for watching TV shows. The fans of the soap opera effect will enjoy the motion interpolation feature and its low input lag will make it a hit with the gamers of the house.

    Overall, the X900F is a great TV for watching TV shows and will keep you happy in most other usages. 

    See our review

  4. Alternative with Wide Viewing Angle: LG SK9000

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    IPS
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65"

    If you find the lack of wide viewing angles on the Sony X900F disturbing, get the LG SK9000. It cannot produce the deep blacks the X900F can. This TV is suitable for large, bright rooms as it can get bright enough and its good viewing angles allow you to watch from the side without experiencing a degrade in picture quality. Just like the LG B8, the SK9000 also runs LG's smart platform with several pre-installed apps to help you find the one that has your favorite TV show.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget TV for Watching TV Shows: LG UK7700

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    8.1
    TV Shows
    What it is: TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    IPS
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65"

    If you find the Sony X900F too expensive, the best budget TV for watching TV shows is the LG UK7700. It does not have the great picture quality of the Sony.

    However, the UK7700 has an IPS panel with a decent picture quality and can get bright enough for brighter rooms. It has excellent reflection handling (better than more expensive models like the Sony X930E), decent viewing angles and can be placed in a room where you can watch it from multiple viewing positions without issue. It has a very low input lag to keep gamers happy and can interpolate content up to 60Hz for those who are fans of the soap opera effect.

    Overall, it is a very good TV for brighter rooms and will perform well when watching TV shows.

    See our review

  6. Cheaper Alternative: TCL S405

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 43" 49" 55" 65"

    If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the LG UK7700, get the TCL S series (S405 or the newer S425 which only has cosmetic improvements). The TCL 405/425 has a VA panel and thus it does not have the good viewing angles of the LG. It can’t get as bright, but it is much cheaper, and it will perform decently. The S405/S425 has deeper blacks than the LG, which is good for dark rooms and it comes equipped with a very low input lag to please gamers.

    See our review

  7. Cheaper alternative with wide viewing angles: Sony X720E

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    IPS
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 43" 49" 55"

    If you are looking for a cheaper TV than the LG UK7700, get the Sony X720E. It doesn't have the excellent reflections handling or the local dimming found on the LG. On the other hand, the Sony is cheaper, can get brighter than the LG, is flicker-free, and has better viewing angles. This makes it a good choice if you wish to place it in a bright room and watch from multiple positions. 

    The Sony X730E is becoming hard to find.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Sony X940E. An alternative to the X900F available only in 75' with better reflection handling, but overall similar performance. See our review
  • Sony Z9F. An excellent TV for watching TV shows, but much more expensive than the Q7FN for little improvement. See our review
  • Samsung MU6290. Worse performance than the Sony X720E for a similar price range. See our review
  • TCL R617. Very good 4k TV, overall better than the SonyX720E, but with worse viewing angles. See our review
  • Samsung NU8000. Cheaper than the Sony X900E but worse picture quality. See our review
  • TCL S517. Decent versatile 4k TV, similar performance to the S405/S425, get this if you can't find the S405/S425. See our review

All Reviews

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. 

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