Picture quality has historically always been the most important characteristic of a TV. It doesn't matter if you're a movie enthusiast or a sports fan; image quality is the 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 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.
The LG E8 OLED is the TV with the best sound we've tested so far. It's a TV that can get fairly loud thanks to its dedicated soundbar. It delivers a good amount of body and punch to its bass, but the sub-bass doesn't resemble a movie theater experience as there is no thump or rumble. On the upside, the TV delivers clear and intelligible dialog even at higher volumes, which is great for large rooms.
Its picture quality is excellent. Watching movies in a dark room is a remarkable experience thanks to its perfect blacks. It displays HDR content full of rich, saturated colors and highlights that pop, thanks to the wide color gamut and good HDR peak brightness. It has a nearly instantaneous response time and motion looks crisp with very little blur trail. It has very good gray uniformity and wide viewing angles so you can watch the big game with your friends without worrying who will sit on the side. If you're a gamer, you'll enjoy the very low input lag for a responsive gaming experience.
However, this TV has the risk of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in, just like all OLED TVs. It's unlikely that this is an issue with most people who watch normal varied content. Overall, it's a remarkable 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 too many compromises on sound and no compromises on picture quality, then get the LG C8 OLED. This TV doesn't have the premium design of the E8 or the LG E9, and there's no dedicated soundbar. However, this is a remarkable TV with excellent picture quality. Its stand is designed to direct sound out of the front towards the viewer and the overall sound quality is decent. It can get fairly loud and delivers clear and well-balanced dialog. Just like most TVs, it doesn't have good sub-bass, so it won't have the thump or rumble found in movies and video game effects.
If you want the absolute best, get the LG E8; otherwise, the LG C8 is a great alternative with a less premium design that won't break the bank.
If you find that you're too concerned about the burn-in risk of the OLEDs and would like the best sounding LED TV, then get the Samsung Q80/Q80R. This TV can get fairly loud, good enough for most uses. It has decent punch and body to its bass but won't deliver any thump or rumble in the sub-bass region. It's well-balanced and will deliver clear and intelligible dialog. Regarding its performance, this TV has a great picture quality with deep blacks in a dark room, thanks to the high native contrast ratio and great local dimming support. HDR looks excellent thanks to the wide color gamut and excellent HDR peak brightness.
Motion handling is also excellent, thanks to the very fast response time which leaves just a tiny blur trail behind fast-moving content. The input lag is extremely low, and the TV is packed with gaming features that will please even the most demanding gamers. It has decent viewing angles, much better than most VA panel TVs, thanks to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology that enhances the viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio.
Overall, this is an excellent TV with decent sound and excellent performance in most uses.
If you find the Samsung Q80R expensive but still want an excellent LED TV with decent sound quality, then get the Vizio P Series Quantum 2018. You won't get the decent viewing angles or the FreeSync support and gaming goodies found on the Samsung. The sound quality on the Vizio is decent, with clear dialog, and can get reasonably loud, but can't produce much bass. The Vizio has an impressive picture quality, with deep blacks and excellent brightness, which is great for any room. HDR content looks full of saturated colors and bright highlights. Motion looks crisp and the input lag is low for responsive gaming sessions.
Overall, the Vizio is an excellent TV that will save you some cash, but otherwise, the Q80R is a superior choice with better viewing angles.
If you want the best TV for sound 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 doesn't have a wide color gamut, so HDR performance is only decent. It's 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, this 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.