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.
We've reviewed more than 70 TVs in the last 2 years, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best flat screen TVs available for purchase. See also our recommendations for the best TVs, the best 4k TVs, and the best smart TVs.
The LG B9 OLED is the best flat screen TV we've tested so far. This is an excellent TV that delivers stunning picture quality and an outstanding choice for those who like to watch in the dark. It can achieve perfect blacks without any uniformity issues like backlight bleeding or clouding, which can be rather distracting. It's suitable for any type of room configuration thanks to its wide viewing angles, and it has a good peak brightness and exceptional reflection handling for viewing in bright rooms.
Response time on this TV is near-instantaneous, resulting in a clear image with almost no motion blur. It performs remarkably well for gaming with its 120Hz refresh rate and low input lag, and it even supports FreeSync for a nearly tear-free gaming experience. Sadly, this leads to the subject of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in, as it can happen with static content, such as the user interface of a video game or a channel logo being displayed at the same place for an extended period. That said, it shouldn't be a problem for most people who watch varied content.
Out-of-the-box, this TV's color accuracy is pretty poor, but on the bright side, it has an excellent gray uniformity, which is great if you like watching sports. There's support for HDR10 as well as Dolby Vision, and it supports eARC so you can enjoy high-quality uncompressed audio like Dolby Atmos via TrueHD with a simple HDMI connection. All in all, this is a feature-packed TV that performs well for any use.
If you worry about the risks of permanent burn-in on the LG B9 OLED, then check out the Samsung Q80/Q80R. This TV uses a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio and it has a full-array local dimming, resulting in deep and inky blacks for an exceptional dark room viewing experience. It has an outstanding peak brightness in HDR mode to make highlights pop, and its motion handling is superb, with very little blur trail behind fast-moving objects. Gamers should be happy with its 120Hz refresh rate and FreeSync support, and its 'Automatic Low Latency Mode' makes it easy to jump into a game on a compatible console like the Xbox One, without having to change the picture mode each time.
For the best picture quality, the LG is a better choice, but if the possibility of burn-in concerns you, then go with the Samsung.
If you find the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED expensive and are looking for something cheaper with only a few compromises in performance, get the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019. It doesn't have the LG B9 OLED's great smart interface, and the Vizio doesn't have any of the Samsung's gaming features. On the upside, it's an excellent TV that delivers great picture quality and performs very well in most uses. It can get very bright and is suitable for any room.
If you want the absolute best flat screen TV, get the LG. However, if you want to save some cash, the Vizio is a great alternative with excellent overall performance.
If you care about color accuracy, the flat screen TV with the best pre-calibration color accuracy is the Sony X950G. It's an impressive TV that delivers great picture quality. You won't have the perfect blacks you'll get on an OLED, but the TV can display deep blacks in a dark room thanks to the high native contrast ratio and the good local dimming support. It's a TV with excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, which might save you the calibration cost other TVs might require. You can easily place it in any room as it can get very bright and will fight glare with ease. Motion looks great on the Sony thanks to the fast response time that only leaves a small blur trail behind fast-moving content.
Unfortunately, on the smaller variants, the image degrades at an angle, just like with most VA panel TVs. The larger variants incorporate the 'X-Wide Angle' layer that improves viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio. Finally, the input lag is low enough to please most gamers but the most competitive ones might want something even lower.
Overall, this is an impressive TV with excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy that will please most people.
If you want a TV for gaming that performs almost as well as the Sony X950G, then get the Samsung Q70R/Q70 QLED. You won't get the Sony's excellent reflection handling or brightness levels, but this is a great TV that can deliver a very good picture quality with deep blacks in a dark room. It has a very low input lag, supports FreeSync for nearly tear-free gaming, and supports low input lag with motion interpolation. It also supports an Auto Low Latency Mode, so you don't have to switch to 'Game' mode every time you want to play a game.
Overall, if gaming is important, get the Samsung; however, if color accuracy is more important, the Sony is the way to go.
The best budget flat screen TV we've tested so far is the Hisense H9F. This is an impressive TV that performs well with any type of content. It uses a VA panel that has exceptional contrast ratio, producing deep blacks when viewed in the dark. It also has a local dimming feature that performs decently well, though there's some blooming around bright objects and subtitles. Watching HDR content is a truly enjoyable experience thanks to the TV's incredible peak brightness and great wide color gamut. Response time is outstanding, and there's an optional black frame insertion feature to help reduce motion blur; however, there's some image duplication due to the backlight's flickering.
For gamers, the input lag is exceptionally low to provide a responsive gaming experience, but there's no support for any variable refresh rate technology. Although the TV has a 120Hz panel, it can only accept a 60Hz signal. The Android TV interface is user-friendly and has an incredible selection of apps through the Google Play Store. It can also interact with the Google Assistant, making it easy to search for your favorite shows or cast content to the TV using your mobile device. Unfortunately, like most VA panels, this TV isn't well-suited for large rooms with wide seating arrangements, as it has poor viewing angles. Gray uniformity is decent, but there's some dirty screen effect as well as some vignetting around the corners.
On the whole, if you want an all-around great TV without a high price tag, consider this one.
If you find the Hisense H9F to be slightly out of your budget, take a look at its little brother, the Hisense H8F. Contrast ratio and black uniformity are both outstanding on this TV, making it a good choice for dark room viewing, but it doesn't get as bright, which may be a bit disappointing if you watch a lot of HDR content. Response time is also slower, causing more motion blur behind fast-moving objects; however, input lag remains exceptionally low for those planning to game on this TV. Like its sibling, viewing angles are poor due to the use of a VA panel, and there are some gray uniformity issues as well, which can be distracting when watching sports.
Overall, the H9F is a better TV if you can afford it, but if you're on a limited budget, the H8F is a good alternative with very few compromises.
04/17/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
12/20/2019: Replaced the Vizio P Series Quantum 2018 with the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 and made small changes to text for clarity.
10/24/2019: Replaced the LG C9 OLED with the LG B9 and the TCL R617 with the Hisense H8F.
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.