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 straightforward 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. 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.
The best TV for watching TV shows that has the most accurate color reproduction is the Sony X900F. This TV has a simple and minimalist design that fits into any setting, with thin bezels and a sturdy build. It has a VA panel that handles reflections very well and it has good uniformity, with only some vignetting around the corners. Contrast ratio is excellent and it has a full-array local dimming to improve it further, producing deep and inky blacks. However, like most VA panels, it has narrow viewing angles, making the image look washed out when viewed from the side.
This TV can get exceptionally bright, both in SDR and HDR mode. This is great for overcoming glare in bright rooms and also to deliver a fantastic HDR experience, with bright highlights that pop. Out of the box, this TV's color accuracy is near perfect and you likely won't need to calibrate it. Fast-moving scenes look crisp due to its fast response time and it can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120Hz to make motion look smooth. The TV's input lag is very low if you want to do some casual gaming, but it may be a tad too high for competitive gamers, and there are no advanced gaming features like FreeSync.
If you get most of your content through streaming, you shouldn't have any issues finding what you need from the Google Play Store. Android TV is fairly user-friendly, although it tends to be somewhat laggy. Overall, though, if you care about color accuracy when watching TV shows, you should get this one.
If you tend to walk around while watching TV, you should go with the LG SM9500, as it has an IPS panel with much wider viewing angles. Like the Sony X900F, it has an excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy. The main downside is that this TV is only available in a 65 inch size. It has an excellent peak brightness and impressive reflection handling, which is great for watching in a bright room during the day. However, it isn't ideal for dark room viewing due to its low contrast ratio and poor black uniformity. Additionally, there's some dirty screen effect that can be distracting, especially when watching sports. On the bright side, this TV has outstanding motion handling and low input lag if you want to do some gaming as well.
If you want the best color accuracy, go with the Sony, but if you need good viewing angles and you can fit in a 65 inch TV, then the LG is a better choice.
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.
04/14/2020: Minor text and structure changes; replaced LG SM9000 with LG SM9500.
02/14/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
12/17/2019: Replaced the LG 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.
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.