If you're planning on buying a new TV in the near future, chances are it's a flat screen. Modern flat screens have gotten thinner and bigger, and many of them are designed to look like pieces of art when wall mounted. There are still some curved TVs available, but they are slowly disappearing from the markets.
Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot at the beginning of the year. Since the beginning of the year, most manufacturers have started releasing replacements for their TV lines. Usually, these TVs tend to launch at very high prices and it is unlikely that these newer models will become reasonable choices until the latter half of the year, thus keeping the 2018 models in our recommendations for a few more months.
The best flat screen TV we've tested so far is the LG B8. It has an excellent picture quality with perfect blacks, and an impressive dark room performance due to the emissive technology of its OLED panel that allows to turn off individual pixels. It has an outstanding HDR performance full of rich, saturated colors and highlights that pop. Motion is crisp due to the almost instantaneous response time. This, however, can cause stutter in some older content or lower fps movies, but you can minimize it using the motion interpolation option. It has a low input lag that makes it very responsive which is great for gamers. Just like all of the latest TVs from LG, the B8 runs WebOS 4.0. It is a fast and very intuitive OS with one of the widest selections of apps in the market.
Unfortunately, the LG B8, just like all OLED TVs, can develop temporary image retention or even permanent burn-in. However, we expect that with varied normal content, this not to be an issue for most people.
Overall, the B8 is an outstanding TV that will keep most of those who choose it happy.
If you like the performance of the LG B8, but are concerned about burn-in and would prefer an LED TV, check out the Samsung Q8FN. Although the Q8FN doesn't have the same outstanding dark room performance of the OLED B8, it performs admirably thanks to the excellent native contrast ratio and decent full array local dimming. It also doesn't have as much stutter as the B8, which is great for movie buffs. The Q8FN also has some great gaming features if you have an Xbox One or an AMD graphics card, including FreeSync variable refresh rate support, auto game mode, and low latency motion interpolation for gaming.
The Vizio P Series Quantum is the best LED TV that we've tested so far, better even than the Samsung Q8FN, but it can be extremely difficult to find. It looks excellent in any setting. It has outstanding dark room performance thanks to excellent native contrast and a great local dimming feature. It is also one of the brightest TVs we've ever reviewed. Unfortunately, the Vizio Quantum has a rather limited smart interface that, while very well-designed, lacks the capability to add additional apps. It is also only available in one size, 65".
The best mid-range flat screen TV that we've tested so far is the Sony X900F. It has an excellent modern design suitable for any room, a 4k UHD resolution, and you can find it in a variety of sizes ranging from 49" all the way to a whopping 85".
The X900F has great picture quality with deep blacks that look great in a dark room thanks to the high native contrast ratio and local dimming support. It can also get very bright to overcome glare and has a wide color gamut so HDR content looks great full of rich saturated colors and highlights that pop. Motion handling is excellent due to the fast response time, and the image looks crisp with only a little blur in fast-moving content. If you are a casual gamer, the X900F's low input lag will not let you down, but serious gamers might find it limiting.
Unfortunately, the X900F has narrow viewing angles, just like most VA panels, and you should take that into consideration if you have a room with a wide seating arrangement. Overall, however, the X900F is a great 4k TV that will keep most people happy.
If you want a TV that has more gaming goodies than the Sony X900F, then get the Samsung NU8000. It does not have the dark room performance of the Sony as it lacks full array local dimming, nor does it have as fast a response time as the Sony. Nonetheless, it is a very good TV that can deliver a good picture quality with deep blacks in a dark room.
Its main advantage over the X900F are the lower input lag and the gaming goodies that are packed into this TV. It supports FreeSync Variable Refresh Rate, which ensures a tear-free gaming experience if you use an Xbox One X/S or a PC with a compatible graphics card. The NU8000 automatically switches to gaming mode when it detects that you are playing a game. If you want to use motion interpolation to smooth out low frame rate games, you can do so without worrying that you will add significant input lag.
If you want a great budget flat screen TV, check out the TCL 6 Series (R617/R615/R613). The TCL R617 is a very good 4k TV that delivers very good picture quality and good motion handling. It has excellent low input lag, great for gaming or for a responsive PC monitor. It also has great smart features, including a massive collection of streaming apps covering any need.
The TCL R617 delivers great picture quality. It looks good in a dark room, thanks to an excellent native contrast ratio, but unfortunately, it has a mediocre local dimming feature. In a bright room, it can easily get bright enough to overcome glare, and it has good reflections handling. HDR content looks amazing, thanks to the wide color gamut and excellent HDR peak brightness.
Unfortunately, the image degrades on the TCL 6 Series when viewed at an angle. It also has mediocre gray uniformity, which may disappoint sports fans. Overall, it is a great budget TV that should please most people.
If you find the TCL R617 a little expensive and would prefer something a bit cheaper, then get Vizio E Series 2018. It does not get as bright as the TCL and thus can not deliver the same good HDR experience. On the upside, it is cheaper than the TCL and still delivers a decent picture quality with an excellent native contrast ratio. Unfortunately, although it has full array local dimming, it doesn't perform so well. Overall, it is a good TV that will not disappoint you in any usage.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best flat screen TVs available to buy for most people in each price range.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our TV reviews. 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.