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 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 market.
We've tested more than 70 TVs in the last two years, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best flat screen TVs available. Make sure to check out our recommendations for the best TVs, the best 4k TVs, and the best smart TVs.
The best flat screen TV that we've tested is the LG CX. It's an excellent overall TV with OLED technology that's able to individually turn off pixels, producing an infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity. It's available in a wide variety of sizes, including a 48 inch TV that we tested as a monitor.
It performs exceptionally well in dark rooms because of its perfect blacks. Gamers should appreciate the 120Hz refresh rate, FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support, low input lag, and near-instant response time. If you want to use it to watch HDR movies, it supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10. It also displays a really wide color gamut for HDR content and has excellent gradient handling. It performs well in bright rooms because of its outstanding reflection handling, and it gets decently bright. Lastly, it's a great choice for wide seating arrangements because it has great wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate when viewing from the side.
Unfortunately, like any OLED TV, it has the risk of permanent burn-in, which should only be a problem if you constantly watch content with static elements, like the news. It also doesn't get bright enough to truly bring out highlights in HDR. On the upside, it has impressive out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you won't need to get it calibrated unless you really want to. All in all, this is an excellent all-around option that should please most people, making it the best flat screen TV we've tested.
If you want to avoid the risk of long-term burn-in associated with OLEDs, then look into the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED. It doesn't display perfect blacks like the LG CX OLED, but it gets much brighter, making it a better choice for use in bright rooms. The Q80T has a great contrast ratio and fairly wide viewing angles thanks to its 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology, and its full-array local dimming feature helps improve any blacks. It displays a great wide color gamut for HDR and has good brightness in that mode, making highlights pop. It has an excellent response time, incredibly low input lag, VRR support, and a Black Frame Insertion feature for gaming. Sadly, it has some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, but this may vary between units. On the upside, it displays proper 4:4:4 with all common resolutions, which is great if you want to use it as a computer monitor.
The LG is the best flat screen TV we've tested in 2020, but if you prefer an LED option to avoid permanent burn-in, look into the Samsung.
The best flat screen TV for watching HDR content that we've tested is the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020. It's a premium LED TV in Vizio's 2020 lineup, and it's packed with features and performance you expect to find in a high-end option. It's well-built and has a nice design.
This is one of the brightest TVs that we've tested and it makes highlights really stand out in HDR. It displays an extremely wide color gamut and supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. It has an excellent contrast ratio thanks to its VA panel, and its good local dimming feature helps further deepen any blacks. If you want to use it for HDR gaming, it has VRR support, low input lag in HDR, and great response time, but you may notice image duplication due to the backlight's 120Hz flicker. Also, it has excellent reflection handling and gets bright enough to combat glare if you game in well-lit environments.
Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles, so the image looks washed out when viewing from the side, and it's not ideal for wide seating arrangements. The Vizio SmartCast system is laggy, and you can't download extra apps besides the ones it comes with, but you can cast whatever you want from your phone. It has trouble upscaling 480p and 720p content, so images from DVDs or cable boxes won't look the best. Overall, this is a great TV with excellent picture quality if you're watching HDR content.
If you want something cheaper, look into the Hisense. It doesn't display as wide of a color gamut as the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020, but HDR content still looks great. The Hisense gets bright enough to make highlights pop, it has remarkable black uniformity, the contrast ratio is outstanding, and the full-array local dimming feature significantly deepens any blacks. It upscales lower-resolution content without any issues and interpolates motion up to 120fps, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect.' It doesn't have VRR support for gaming, but it has low input lag and excellent response time, and because its backlight flickers at such a high frequency, you likely won't notice image duplication. It also has narrow viewing angles, but that's expected from a VA panel. The built-in Android TV isn't the most user-friendly, but it has a ton of apps available to download.
If you watch a lot of HDR content, you can't go wrong with the Vizio, but if you prefer something cheaper to save some money, look into the Hisense.
The best flat screen TV in the budget category that we've tested is the Hisense H8G. It's a higher-end TV in Hisense's lineup and offers very good performance for a low price. It competes with some higher-end TVs in terms of picture quality, but it has a limited HDR experience.
With a VA panel, this TV displays deep blacks, and it has decent black uniformity. If you watch movies in dark rooms, you should be happy to know it has an okay-performing full-array dimming feature that helps deepen any blacks. If you watch TV in bright rooms, it gets bright enough to combat glare, and it has decent reflection handling. It's also a great choice for gaming as even though it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, it has a quick response time and a very low input lag, ideal for any type of gamer. It upscales lower-resolution content well, and it removes judder from 24p sources like native apps or Blu-ray players.
Unfortunately, even though it displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, it doesn't get bright enough to bring out highlights, so HDR content doesn't look all that different from SDR content. It also has narrow viewing angles, which is expected from a VA panel. On the upside, it uses Android TV as its smart OS, which has a ton of apps available, but it isn't the easiest to use at times. Overall, this is the best flat screen TV in the budget category we've tested.
If you prefer a TV with built-in Roku TV, which is easier to use and has smoother navigation than Android TV, then the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED is a good alternative. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense H8G, so highlights in HDR don't pop how they should. However, the TCL has a much better contrast ratio and displays a much wider color gamut for HDR content. It has great out-of-the-box color accuracy, and it upscales lower-resolution content well. Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles and a noticeable dirty screen in the center, but this may vary between units. Despite being limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and no VRR support, it's great for gaming because it has incredibly low input lag and quick response time. Lastly, it removes 24p judder from any source, which is rare for a 60Hz TV.
The Hisense gets brighter, and it's the best flat screen TV we've tested in the budget category, but if you prefer a Roku option, then the TCL is a good choice.
10/16/2020: Removed the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 and moved the Samsung Q80T in its place; replaced the Sony X950H with the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020 and added the Hisense H9G; replaced the TCL 6 Series 2019 with the 5 Series 2020.
08/19/2020: Replaced the LG B9 OLED with the LG CX OLED and replaced the Sony X950G with the Sony X950H.
06/25/2020: Replaced the Hisense H9F with the Hisense H8G.
06/16/2020: Replaced the Samsung Q70R with the Q80T; replaced the Hisense H8F with the TCL 6 Series; updated notable mentions.
04/17/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
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 reviews of flat screen 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.