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 best flat screen TV we've tested is the LG B9 OLED. Just like all OLEDs, it delivers an outstanding picture quality with perfect blacks in a dark room thanks to its emissive technology. It has a wide color gamut and displays HDR content with vivid color and bright highlights. Sports fans will love the excellent gray uniformity and the fact that the image remains accurate for wide viewing angles, allowing them to enjoy the big game with a group of friends. It has a nearly instantaneous response time that leaves almost no blur, but unfortunately causes stutter in movies. Gamers will enjoy a very low input lag, and thanks to the support for the HDMI Forum variable refresh rate technology they can enjoy nearly tear-free gaming with Xbox One. This TV has four HDMI 2.1 ports that currently don't add much, but make the TV more future-proof.
Overall, this is an excellent TV that'll keep those who buy it happy.
If you find that the risk of burn-in on OLED TVs like the LG B9 OLED is a concern, then get the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED; this is the best QLED TV we've tested. This TV can't display perfect blacks like the LG and doesn't have the same excellent wide viewing angles. On the upside, this is a remarkable TV with impressive picture quality, suitable for any room, as it can get very bright. Its dark room performance is excellent as well, thanks to the effective local dimming and high native contrast ratio. It's loaded with gaming goodies, a low input lag, and an extremely fast response time that makes the TV an excellent choice for gamers.
Overall, if you're concerned about the possibility of burn-in, get the Samsung; otherwise, the LG is the best choice.
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, however, 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 in 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.
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.
02/18/12020: 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. Made changes to text for clarity.