Picture quality has historically always been the most important characteristic for a TV. It doesn't matter if you're a movie enthusiast or a sports fan; image quality is first priority when choosing a TV. However, no home entertainment system can deliver an extraordinary experience without proper sound quality. Just like in a movie theater or in a stadium, sound plays an important role in immersing the audience in the action. Although TVs don't have the most complete sound systems, there has been significant progress in that area. Modern TVs can get loud, have decent bass, and deliver clear and intelligible dialog. If, however, you want the best sound to accompany your great TV, we suggest that you buy a dedicated sound system or a soundbar.
We've tested 48 TVs and below are our recommendations for the best sounding TVs you can buy in 2019.
Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot at this time of year as last year's models are gradually replaced by newer ones.
The best sounding TV we've tested so far is the LG E8 OLED. It's a TV with a dedicated soundbar and it can get quite loud. Its bass has a good amount of body and punch, but its sub-bass can't deliver thump and rumble to mimic a movie theater experience. Dialog is clear and intelligible even at higher volumes, which is great.
This TV has excellent picture quality. It can deliver perfect blacks thanks to its emissive technology and offers a remarkable dark room performance for outstanding movie experiences. It has a wide color gamut and HDR content is full of rich colors and bright highlights. Motion handling is excellent. The response time is almost instantaneous, and fast-moving content has very little blur trail. It has great wide viewing angles and is a great choice if you usually watch sports with a group of friends. Finally, gamers with appreciate the very low input lag, which makes it very responsive.
However, just like any other OLED TV, the LG E8 has the risk of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in. We do not expect this to be an issue with most people who watch varied content. Overall, it is an excellent TV with very good sound quality.
If you like the performance of the LG E8 OLED but would like a less expensive TV without making any compromises on picture quality, then get the LG C8 OLED. You will not get the premium design or the dedicated soundbar you would with the E8. On the upside, this is an excellent TV with outstanding picture quality and remarkable motion handling that can deliver similar overall performance. Its stand is designed to direct sound out of the front. The sound quality is decent, as the TV can get fairly loud and deliver clear dialog. Just like most TVs, this one doesn't have good sub-bass, so it will not have the thump and rumble found in movies and video game effects. Overall, however, it will keep you very happy with its performance.
If you are concerned about the burn-in risk of the OLEDs and would like the best LED TV with decent sound performance, then get the Samsung Q90R. This TV can get loud enough for most environments and can deliver decent punch and body to its bass. Dialog is clear but unfortunately, just like most TVs, it can't produce any thump or rumble in the sub-bass region. The picture quality is great. It can deliver deep blacks in a dark room, thanks to the high contrast ratio and good local dimming support. The wide color gamut and excellent brightness deliver HDR content with rich saturated colors and bright highlights.
This TV has a very fast response time and fast-moving content has very little motion blur trail. It is a great TV for gaming as it's very responsive, thanks to the very low input lag, and it supports FreeSync for a tear-free gaming experience. Gamers will also appreciate the auto low latency and the low input lag with motion interpolation.
The Q90R has one of the best viewing angles found on VA panel TVs, thanks to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology that enhances the viewing angles at the expense of lower contrast ratio. Unfortunately, our unit had some small uniformity issues at the edges. Overall, this is an excellent TV with decent sound that has a remarkable performance, no matter the usage.
If you find the Samsung Q90R expensive but still want an excellent LED TV with decent sound quality, the get the Vizio P Series Quantum. You will not get the decent viewing angles or the FreeSync support and gaming goodies found on the Samsung. On the upside, the Vizio has decent sound quality with clear dialog, and can get reasonably loud. It can't produce much bass. This TV has a great picture quality, with deep blacks that deliver an excellent dark room performance. The wide color gamut and the high brightness levels deliver HDR content full of saturated colors and highlights that pop. Motion handling is excellent and input lag is low, so this will please people looking for an excellent gaming TV. Overall, the Vizio is an excellent LED TV with decent sound quality that will keep most people happy with its performance.
If you want the best sounding TV in the budget category, then check out the Samsung NU6900. It's a decent entry-level TV with decent sound quality. It can get reasonably loud for most uses, but lacks thump or rumble in the sub-bass range and a bit of punch and body to the bass. Dialog, on the other hand, is well-balanced and clear. This TV has a decent picture quality and a high native contrast ratio that can deliver deep blacks in a dark room. It can't get very bright and does not have a wide color gamut, so HDR performance is only decent. It is very responsive thanks to the low input lag, and the fast response leaves only a small blur trail behind fast-moving objects.
Unfortunately, this TV isn't a good choice if you have a wide seating arrangement, as the viewing angles are poor. Also, it doesn't have any advanced features to improve motion handling.
Overall, the Samsung NU6900 is a decent TV for most uses which also delivers decent sound quality.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best sounding TVs to buy for most people with different tastes. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), 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 with their sound performance. 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. Keep in mind that no TV can deliver the sound quality of a dedicated sound system or a soundbar.