We have a new top pick coming soon. The Hisense U7G Series is replacing the TCL 6-Series as our favorite LCD/LED TV. Stay tuned for the full write-up.
If you want a 4K TV that delivers the best performance for the best price, look no further than the TCL 6-Series. This 4K LCD TV offers up a fantastic image with TV shows, movies, and video games—and it outperforms many TVs that cost a lot more. The built-in Roku streaming platform makes it easy to use, and it’s packed with features you’re likely to need in the future.
The TCL 6-Series is a great-looking LCD 4K TV—and the best value out there. It checks almost all the boxes for what you need in a TV today and in the future. The 6-Series uses a Mini-LED backlighting system and a Hz panel, and the result is superb black levels and image contrast, as well as better motion quality than we’ve seen in previous versions of the 6-Series. With the TV’s ability to display over 1, nits of brightness, its use of Quantum Dot technology to produce rich colors, and its support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, 4K high dynamic range content looks fantastic. TCL has also added HDMI features, such as automatic low-latency mode and variable refresh rate, that will help improve the gaming experience on the newest consoles. (Check out TV features, defined for more explanation of the technical terms we’re using here.) The 6-Series comes in , , and inch screen sizes and includes the Roku streaming platform, which offers a wide variety of streaming services and a simple user interface. TCL even makes it easy for the average person to get a more accurate image, using the free iPQ calibration app for iOS and Android.
If you’re willing to pay a higher price to get the best of everything in your LCD TV, the Samsung QN90A is our recommendation. Like the TCL 6-Series, it has a Mini-LED backlighting system—only with more zones for even better contrast ratios and brighter HDR highlights—and it uses Quantum Dots to produce vibrant colors. It has a wide viewing angle so everyone can enjoy a good-looking image no matter where they sit in the room, and it comes in screen sizes from 50 to 85 inches. The QN90A supports all the latest HDMI features, which gamers will appreciate, and has an integrated streaming platform that supports most of the popular streaming services. We like that it features a center stand so it will fit on virtually any TV stand, and it sits high enough on the stand that you can place a soundbar in front of the TV without blocking the screen. The drawbacks are that the QN90A does not support the Dolby Vision high dynamic range format (it supports HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG), and it’s significantly more expensive than the TCL 6-Series.
If you have a wider seating area, or if you regularly watch your TV from side angles, the Sony XH uses an LCD panel specifically designed to produce a better-looking image at wider viewing angles than many 4K LCD TVs offer. (Our upgrade pick, the Samsung QN90A, uses a similarly effective wide-angle-viewing technology but costs a whole lot more.) This TV also has Sony’s superb color accuracy and video-processing capability, so it’s better than the competition at removing banding artifacts. However, that wider viewing angle comes at the expense of the TV’s black level, which isn’t as dark as that of TCL’s 6-Series or Samsung’s QN90A. Also, you don’t get HDMI features such as automatic low-latency mode to improve the gaming experience. The Sony XH is available in a variety of screen sizes—including a smaller, inch size and a gigantic, inch size.
Everything we recommend
Why you should trust us
I’ve been reviewing TVs and home theater equipment since I am an ISF Level II certified calibrator, so I am aware of what makes for a good TV image and how to get those things out of a TV. I have all of the necessary test equipment and software to provide objective measurements to back up my subjective opinions.
In addition to performing my own hands-on TV testing, I also rely on reviews from trusted colleagues. Rtings.com does a very good job of providing a large number of objective measurements for TVs and direct comparisons between models across all price ranges. Vincent Teoh of HDTVTest does superb TV reviews on his YouTube channel, and we often talk to him about TVs we are currently reviewing. Reviewed has lots of reviews, as well, but not the same depth of objective measurements that Rtings.com provides. David Katzmaier of CNET has one of the best test labs in the industry and can do side-by-side comparisons of multiple TVs.
Who should get this
This guide is aimed at the person who wants better TV performance than the average budget TV delivers but doesn’t feel the need to spend a premium to get the absolute best. In our tests, we’ve found that OLED TVs consistently deliver better-looking images than LCD TVs do, but that technology is prohibitively expensive for most people, especially at screen sizes larger than 65 inches. LCD/LED TVs can deliver a picture that looks almost as good for less money and in a wider variety of screen sizes. They can also get much brighter than OLED models, making them a better fit for a very bright viewing environment such as a living room with lots of windows.
Getting a higher-performance LCD/LED TV now prepares you for the future as more content shifts from HD to 4K. Support for technologies such as high dynamic range and wide color gamut ensures that your TV will be compatible with the best-looking 4K sources. A TV that offers an advanced local-dimming backlight improves all the content you watch but is especially beneficial for 4K HDR sources. In contrast, cheaper LCD models might offer a 4K resolution, but they usually lack features like local dimming, so the image appears flatter, and true HDR just isn’t possible. And cheaper TVs generally deliver a less accurate image out of the box, produce more blurring during fast motion because of lower refresh rates, and generate less light output to help overcome the effects of windows and reflections.
If you’re not as concerned about picture quality and you just want a TV that performs pretty well and is easy to use, check out our guide to the best budget 4K TVs.
If you plan to upgrade to one of the new gaming systems, either the Microsoft Xbox Series X or the Sony PlayStation 5, a newer TV can offer an improved gaming experience if it has the right features. These consoles will support HDMI , which allows for a 4K resolution and a Hz frame rate, along with automatic low-latency mode and variable refresh rate. Using them with a TV that also supports HDMI can produce a smoother, more dynamic image along with faster response times for a superior gaming experience.
How we picked
To be considered for this guide, an LCD/LED TV had to include the following elements (check out TV features, defined to learn more about the technical terms we use here):
- Local dimming: This feature, which allows individual sections of the screen to be lit independently, is essential to ensure that an LCD TV has a high contrast ratio that allows for the best performance with SD, HD, and UHD/HDR video.
- Support for as many HDR formats as possible: Specifically, we looked for HDR10 and Dolby Vision or HDR10+ support. Many lower-end TVs can read the HDR flags on the content and understand them, but they lack the display technology necessary to show HDR on the screen—much like an amateur violinist reading a complicated piece of sheet music that’s beyond their ability to play.
- Support for a wider color gamut: This feature is required to show the expanded colors available in Ultra HD content.
- A native Hz refresh rate: TVs with a Hz refresh rate can display both film content (which is 24 Hz) and TV content (which is 60 Hz) without introducing judder. A TV without judder has smoother, more natural-looking motion, especially on panning shots. Plus, a Hz refresh rate often allows for less motion blur when you’re watching sports or playing video games. Some TVs with 60 Hz panels have the ability to show 24 Hz content at 48 Hz; this technique avoids the issues with judder, but some people might see flicker that they wouldn’t see at Hz. In our tests, during scenes with panning shots, we could still easily see the difference between 48 Hz and Hz displays.
- Inputs that support HDMI or preferably HDMI These inputs are necessary to receive full-bandwidth 4K HDR signals from a source device. The newer HDMI specification adds features such as eARC and automatic low-latency mode.
- Integrated smart-TV services: Many people want a feature-free TV that forgoes smart-TV features because they plan to use a media streamer of their choice. Unfortunately, at this point almost any TV available without those features is lacking in other important ways. If you don’t want to use a set’s built-in smart-TV features, you don’t have to, but actively trying to avoid a smart TV will leave you with a dumb TV that has poor image quality.
Although we didn’t target a specific price range, we did keep an eye toward picture quality versus value. Sometimes barely perceptible picture improvements can cost significant amounts of money, an investment that may not be worth making for anyone but the hardcore videophile.
We focused on the popular inch and inch screens because those sizes can fit into most living rooms and offer a large, cinematic experience without overwhelming the room. But many of our picks come in other screen sizes, as well.
How we tested
Picture quality consists of many different components, including both objective elements that we can measure using test equipment and subjective elements that we can evaluate by doing side-by-side comparisons.
For the objective tests, we used Portrait Displays’s Calman software and the Murideo Seven pattern generator, along with the X-Rite i1Pro2 and SpectraCal C6 HDR meters. This let us acquire before- and after-calibration measurements for each TV to see how accurate it was out of the box and how close we could bring it in line with HDTV and UHD/HDR standards.
For subjective comparisons, we considered many performance traits. A set with darker blacks produces a better contrast ratio, which helps to create an image that seems to offer more pop than on other displays. Accurate colors that look natural are preferable to oversaturated colors that don’t look realistic at all. Wider viewing angles make it easier for groups of people to watch a TV while still enjoying a good picture. Motion clarity makes fast action look clearer, but we prefer to avoid motion interpolation, which creates extra frames and produces overly smooth motion that many people don’t like. HDR presents a whole new issue, as TVs can display highlights completely differently—and all are correct, since TV manufacturers can make the choice between preserving highlight details or preserving overall picture brightness.
We did almost all of our comparisons with the settings reset to factory defaults because very few people will spend the $ to $ to get a TV professionally calibrated. The only adjustments we made to the TVs were in the basic user-menu picture settings, using test patterns from the Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark 2nd Edition Blu-ray Disc or Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark 4K Blu-ray Disc. This basic setup is what we hope most of our readers will apply on their TVs, and we describe it in more detail in this blog post. For TCL models that support the company’s free iPQ calibration app, we used that app since most buyers will likely be able to get access to an iPhone or a compatible Android phone for five minutes to run the calibration routine.
We used a wide variety of content, including TV shows, movies, and test patterns, to compare the displays and test their abilities. An HDMI-distribution amp sent the same signal from an Ultra HD Blu-ray player or an Nvidia Shield TV to each display.
During comparison viewing, we used the SpectraCal C6 meter to get the overall brightness of the TVs to the same level so that no TV was brighter than the others (crucial for direct comparison). When evaluating HDR content, we used the maximum light output of the TV in HDR mode because higher peak output is a desirable feature here.
Additionally, we evaluated the TVs with the room’s lights on and off, and we looked at them all straight on and at angles (to see how well they worked for larger seating arrangements). We also rotated their order from left to right so that we could view each one next to different competitors to determine how that affected our preferences.
We also tested all the displays against an OLED TV, such as the inch Sony A1E OLED or LG C1, to see how they held up next to a TV that we would consider a reference display.
We weren’t too concerned about each TV’s sound quality because people interested in audio quality can easily update that with a soundbar or other equipment. Thin TVs usually have poor sound because the limited depth of the case leaves no room for decent speakers.
Our pick: TCL 6-Series
The TCL 6-Series includes the following models:
The best overall LCD/LED TV is the TCL 6-Series, thanks to its combination of great image quality, simplicity, and features that make it ready for the future—all available for an affordable price. The TV uses advanced technologies like Quantum Dots and Mini-LEDs to produce an image with rich colors, superb contrast ratios, and good HDR performance. By upgrading to a Hz LCD panel in the latest version of the 6-Series, TCL has given this TV the ability to deliver cleaner, smoother motion for TV shows, movies, and video games. And the built-in Roku interface lets you easily access almost every streaming service, with no need to add an extra streaming media device.
The 6-Series comes in , , and inch screen sizes (we tested the inch 65R, but all three models should offer similar performance), and they all use Mini-LED backlight technology for more local-dimming zones, which can produce darker blacks and improved shadow details while still allowing for brighter highlights on other areas of the screen. This technology results in higher contrast ratios that give the image more pop, which provides a more immersive experience whether you’re watching a movie or playing a video game.
With standard dynamic range (SDR) video, TCL’s Movie picture mode provided an image that was fairly accurate out of the box. The picture looked bright and colorful but not fake. (TCL offers a free app that you can use to improve the results, which we discuss later.) Even the most demanding dark scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Gravity were rendered with the full shadow details, and we didn’t see any crushing of fine black details.
But the 6-Series truly shines with high dynamic range (HDR) video. Quantum Dot technology allows the TV to cover almost the entire color gamut used in current HDR content, and the Mini-LED backlighting system can produce over 1, nits of peak brightness. Most other TVs in this price range can hit only to nits in peak brightness, so they lack the same impact in HDR video that the TCL 6-Series delivers. When we watched our favorite HDR clips from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Pan, the 65R produced bright, bold, colorful images and maintained the detail in highlights that were even brighter than what the TV could produce. The 6-Series also supports Dolby Vision HDR content, which can offer improvements in image quality over standard HDR10 material, as well as the HLG format for future HDR TV broadcasts.
Support for HDMI features such as automatic low-latency mode and variable refresh rate makes the 6-Series ready for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. The TV also supports eARC to deliver improved audio quality to compatible soundbars and receivers over the HDMI ARC port. Four inputs should be enough for most people, especially since the integrated Roku OS means you don’t need to connect a streaming video player.
Learn more about HDMI
Roku is one of our favorite integrated streaming platforms because it offers a wide selection of services and superb ease of use. Almost every major streaming service is available, and many of the services support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for the best streaming video and audio quality. Roku does a great job offering long-term support for the platform, so we’re confident that the TCL 6-Series will receive software updates and support.
One TV feature that helps put TCL ahead of other companies is its iPQ app for supported iOS and Android devices. This app lets you improve the accuracy of the TV’s grayscale—that is, its color temperature (or color of white) and its gamma (how quickly the video signal transitions from dark to light). The entire process takes under 10 minutes, and you can do it as often as you want, since TVs can sometimes drift over time. It requires a phone with a specific camera, however, so right now only iPhones and Google Pixels are supported. It’s a feature we’d love to see other companies implement; professional calibration is more extensive and accurate but costs hundreds of dollars. How much impact iPQ can make depends on how accurate your TV is to start with, but this method is definitely better than just trying to eyeball the more-advanced picture adjustments, which we don’t recommend.
TCL improved the physical design of the 6-Series in by adding integrated cable routing in the feet and giving you the option to position the feet closer together to accommodate a smaller TV stand. The TV itself is slightly thicker at the top, due to the Mini-LEDs, but still thin. It has a square, industrial-looking design with a metallic finish.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Although the 6-Series supports almost all the features of HDMI , the HDMI inputs are limited to a bandwidth of 18 Gbps, which means they can’t accept a 4K signal at Hz, only at 60 Hz. With the new gaming systems from Microsoft and Sony offering 4K video at Hz, this seems like a big oversight, but we don’t think it’s a huge concern. Even when a gaming system outputs a 4K signal at Hz, the console is likely rendering that video at only p or p, perhaps even lower, and then using a scaler to upscale it to 4K. The TCL 6-Series will do the exact same thing if you send it a p or p signal at Hz, which it can receive. There might be some games that do true 4K rendering at Hz, but we imagine these will be less common, at least for the next few years.
The video processing on the 6-Series is fine, but TCL’s tech is not as good as what companies like Sony and Samsung offer. When looking at test patterns on the 6-Series, we could see some flaws, such as banding in a gradient or blooming around a bright object when we were testing the local dimming. But in our real-world viewing tests, these flaws were mostly invisible.
Some people find the supplied Roku remote to be too basic. It has no number keys, so selecting a TV channel requires using the on-screen guide or the up and down arrows. But the same simplicity makes it very easy for you to find the button you want without needing to look down at the remote. Roku also hides some of the more advanced picture options in its app instead of the TV menus. In most cases you’ll never want to access these unless you’re a professional calibrator, but some people who do want to access them might not realize they exist because of this arrangement.
Upgrade pick: Samsung QN90A
The Samsung QN90A Series includes the following models:
The Samsung QN90A is the best-looking LCD TV we’ve tested. Using Mini-LEDs with Quantum Dots allows it to produce superb contrast ratios, very bright highlights, and rich, vibrant colors. The Mini-LED backlighting system produced highlights close to 1, nits on our inch test sample, so HDR highlights and bright outdoor scenes popped a lot more than what we saw on other LCDs, including the TCL 6-Series. Samsung’s local-dimming technology mitigates most of the blooming artifacts (or glowing around bright objects) that you see with lesser-quality local dimming. With an HDMI input that supports higher bit rates and advanced gaming features, the QN90A is also a superb TV for video games. In addition, Samsung has built in its wide-angle viewing technology, so this TV looks better than many LCDs when viewed from the far ends of the couch, and an anti-reflective screen layer does a very good job of cutting down on reflections from ambient-light sources. The QN90A comes in a wide range of sizes, from 50 inches all the way up to 85 inches, so it works for any room situation.
This is the first year that Samsung has used Mini-LEDs instead of a standard LED backlighting system in some of its higher-end TVs, and the technology allows for smaller areas of the screen to get brighter without causing as much haloing or blooming. So when you’re watching a dark scene in a movie, the moon or a flashlight, for example, will appear much brighter than before without causing other areas around it to be too bright. Samsung has done a good job of improving its local dimming in this TV to eliminate many of the issues we saw in its past LCDs, where areas of the screen would flicker in certain situations. Because the local dimming is fairly aggressive in how it prevents blooming, a torture-test scene such as a starry sky might produce stars that are dimmer than on an OLED or other LCD TV, but the background is likely to remain very black.
Use of Quantum Dots (the “Q” in Samsung’s QLED naming) allows the QN90A to offer rich, vibrant images that take full advantage of HDR, an effect that is especially noticeable in brighter, outdoor images. Some other TVs run out of color saturation in very bright scenes, so highlights can look whiter instead of having a rich color, but the QN90A maintains that color saturation well. The colors are accurate, too, so although this Samsung TV can handle those rich hues, they don’t make everything look like a neon sign in Las Vegas.
The QN90A supports full-bandwidth HDMI on only one of its inputs. This lets you play an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 at 4K Hz with VRR and ALLM enabled, but if you have more than one 4K Hz device, you need to add a receiver or a compatible HDMI switch. The TV also has three other HDMI inputs, including one with eARC for sending lossless audio from the TV and connected devices back to a soundbar or receiver. On top of all that, Samsung has built in a host of gaming features to let you control shadow and highlight details, to enable the HGiG HDR format for gaming, and to make sure your input lag is as low as possible. In our testing, input lag was right around 10 ms, which is very fast and should provide a superb gaming experience.
The QN90A has a minimalist design, with a thin bezel and a center-mount stand that positions the TV screen high enough for you to place a soundbar in front of the TV. The stand is designed to allow cable routing in the back, but my cables didn’t want to stay in place (different cables might work better). The included remote has a solar panel on the back for recharging, as well as a USB-C connection to recharge it that way.
The QN90A also has an ATSC tuner to support the newest over-the-air broadcast standards, which allow you watch local channels often in higher resolution, such as p, with less compression and with improved audio compared with prior OTA channels. ATSC support from broadcasters is still rolling out, but it’s nice that this TV is ready for the new standard. The Tizen smart-TV interface is easy enough to use, though it lacks the deep selection of apps that some other smart-TV platforms have.
Our main complaint about the Samsung QN90A is that it doesn’t support the Dolby Vision HDR standard. When we compared this TV directly with models offering Dolby Vision support, we could see slight benefits in color saturation from the Dolby Vision TVs, but the Samsung model’s performance was close. For other HDR content, including games, we found the Samsung QN90A to look better.
A more affordable option for larger spaces: Sony XH
The Sony XH Series includes the following models::
If you have a larger space where you’re likely to watch a TV at wide angles (as opposed to straight on), the Sony XH is a great option that’s available in more screen sizes than the TCL 6-Series and is more affordable than the Samsung QN90A. All LCD/LED TVs take a hit in picture quality when viewed at wide angles, but the XH maintains its color saturation and contrast ratio far better than many TVs when viewed from the sides—so larger groups see a better-looking image than they do on other LCD models. Since it’s from Sony, the XH features some of the best video processing out there, along with excellent brightness (over 1, nits), accurate colors, and superb local-dimming capabilities. But it doesn’t have any HDMI features aside from eARC, and the wide-angle technology keeps the black level from being as dark as on our TCL and Samsung picks. It’s also not as bright as the Samsung QN90A, and the screen does not cut down on ambient-light reflections.
The XH comes in , , , , and inch sizes, and all of them except the inch version use the wide-angle technology. Watching the XH off-angle, I could see that this technology works very well—it produces an image that looks great even when you view it from way off to the side, and though the black level does take a hit, it’s still much better than the black levels on in-plane switching (IPS) LCD panels, which are also designed to produce wider viewing angles. If you want to put your TV in a location where you’ll often watch from spots other than the center of the couch, the XH is likely to offer a better image than other LCD TVs.
Sony TVs have some of the best video processing available. The XH’s video processor excels at avoiding artifacts and cleaning up noise in compressed video, such as banding in streamed video content. You also get accurate colors straight from the box, in the Cinema or Custom picture mode, as well as some of the best local dimming, though this TV can’t get as dark as the TCL and Samsung models since it has fewer zones of local dimming.
The Android TV interface on the XH is very fast and responsive, with a quick-access menu that makes it easy to adjust common settings. Android TV has become a much better streaming option than it was just a few years ago, and the XH includes most of the major streaming services.
The XH’s physical design is nice, with good build quality, some cable routing, and an updated remote control that feels good in the hand. This year Sony has added audio calibration to the remote, so you can get improved audio quality for your main seating position using an automated setup routine.
For people who sit directly in front of the TV when they’re watching it, the TCL 6-Series models offer a superior value and, in most cases, a better-quality image with deeper blacks and a wider color gamut. They also have HDMI features, such as automatic low-latency mode, that the Sony lacks. But they don’t look as good as this Sony model when you’re watching off-angle. The Samsung QN90A offers the best of both worlds but costs much more than this Sony model does.
TV features, defined
Following are some of the most common features we talk about, and why they’re important to look for on a TV.
Full-array local dimming: This term refers to a TV technology in which the backlight is behind the LCD panel and has individual zones that can turn on and off depending on the content. Such TVs are usually larger and more expensive to build and design, and more zones cost more. However, TVs with full-array local dimming typically provide the best LCD picture quality by improving contrast ratios and shadow detail.
High dynamic range (HDR): High dynamic range lets a TV display much brighter highlights while retaining deep blacks, although only with special HDR content. Whereas standard dynamic range (SDR) content has a peak brightness of around nits, high-end HDR sets can have highlights that exceed 1, nits. This feature drastically improves contrast ratios and provides a more dynamic image in which bright objects (the sun, fire, a photon torpedo) really jump off the screen. HDR10 is the standard format that all HDR-capable TVs support. HDR10 content only contains metadata (or information about how the image should be presented) for the entire movie as a whole, while the more advanced HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats have metadata for each individual scene—so the TV can better optimize the image as it changes.
Wide color gamut: Ultra HD content has a wider color gamut than standard HDTV content; right now, most UHD content is mastered with the same DCI/P3 color gamut used in theatrical cinema (the ultimate goal is the even larger Rec. color gamut). This expanded color gamut allows a TV to display richer reds, blues, and greens than ever before. Some TVs use Quantum Dot technology to produce this wider color gamut.
HDMI HDMI , the most recent version of HDMI, adds support for 8K displays, automatic low-latency mode for improved gaming, eARC for better audio when you’re using Audio Return Channel, variable refresh rate for syncing the TV’s refresh rate to a gaming console to avoid stuttering, and dynamic metadata support. For more about HDMI , read our blog post.
HDCP This is the most recent version of the copy-protection standard used over HDMI, though for now it’s most important that a TV supports HDCP Without HDCP support, a TV or other HDMI device (soundbar, receiver) cannot transmit or display Ultra HD images. All of our picks support HDCP
24p: With few exceptions, movies in a theater display at 24 frames per second, abbreviated as 24p, which gives movies that “cinematic” look. All TVs now support 24p content, but some maintain that look better than others.
Judder: This term refers to a slightly jerky motion that can occur when 24p film content appears on a TV with a 60 Hz refresh rate. In such situations, to make 24 frames match up to the 60 Hz display, half of the frames appear two times and the other half appear three times. This display technique causes judder, which is most noticeable on panning shots. Some Hz displays avoid this effect by repeating each film frame five times, while some 60 Hz panels run at 48 Hz to show each frame twice.
Mini-LEDs: Every LCD TV made today currently uses LEDs to produce the light that shines through the LCD panel. Most TVs use LED lights that pass through a diffuser to light up the entire LCD screen. Mini-LEDs, used in some TCL TVs, are much smaller than traditional LEDs, so you can use more of them and thus have more zones of local dimming, which means less blooming or halos around bright objects. Mini-LEDs are completely different from MicroLEDs, an available (though very expensive) technology that uses individual red, green, and blue LEDs to produce an image without needing an LCD panel at all.
Nits: Also called candelas per square meter (cd/m2), this unit of luminance measures how much light a TV can produce. Previously, TVs could output to nits, and SDR content was graded and mastered with nits as the standard. With HDR, content is mastered with 1,, 4,, or 10, nits as the standard; so, the more nits an HDR TV can display, the more accurately it can display the highlights in HDR material without having to reduce the brightness of the highlights or clip them.
OLED: Most TVs available today are LCD (liquid crystal display). An organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, creates light inside each individual pixel without using a backlight and can dim each pixel individually all the way down to black, which LCDs can’t do. This tech gives an OLED TV an infinite contrast ratio and other benefits to help create an overall better-looking image, although at considerable additional cost.
To help you get the best performance out of our picks, we’ve added some of the optimal image settings here for you. These settings will produce as accurate an image as possible without a professional calibration or test-pattern disc. We don’t specify values for controls like brightness, contrast, color, and tint because those values can vary on a set-to-set basis, even on models that are identical and manufactured at the same time; to adjust those you need a disc of test patterns. You might also want a slightly different look, even if it’s less accurate, but these settings provide a good starting point.
- TCL 65R SDR: Movie picture mode; Backlight to your preference based on how bright the room is; Local Contrast High; Dynamic Contrast Off; Action Smoothing Off; LED Motion Clarity to your preference (inserts black frames for improved motion, but you get a darker image and possible flicker); Action Clarity to your preference. Enable Game Mode and Variable Refresh Rate for games.
- TCL 65R HDR: HDR Dark or Dolby Vision Dark modes have the correct color temperature; adjust Dynamic Contrast, Action Smoothing, and Action Clarity to match SDR. Motion Clarity should remain off, as it will drop the HDR light output too much.
- Sony XH SDR: Custom picture mode; Black Adjust Off; Advanced Contrast Enhancer Off; Reality Creation Off; Random Noise Reduction Off; Digital Noise Reduction Off; Smooth Gradation Low; Auto Local Dimming Medium. Motionflow Custom, with Smoothness and Clearness at 2, offers improved motion clarity without the “soap opera effect,” but some people may not like the resulting small drop in brightness.
- Sony XH HDR: Custom picture mode for HDR10 or Dolby Vision Dark for Dolby Vision; leave main settings alone. Black Adjust Off; Advanced Contrast Enhancer Off; Reality Creation Off; Random Noise Reduction Off; Digital Noise Reduction Off; Smooth Gradation Low.
- Samsung QN90A SDR: Filmmaker Mode will set everything up correctly but might be too dim for some rooms. For those who use the Movie picture mode, leave Contrast, Brightness, Tint, and Sharpness alone. Disable Contrast Enhancer and set Local Dimming to High. We left Gamma at default, but some people will prefer for rooms with more ambient light (to avoid shadows being washed out).
- Samsung QN90A HDR: We used Filmmaker Mode, which had accurate colors, tracked the HDR standard correctly, and disabled processing that should be disabled for ideal image quality.
For more information on picture settings and how to adjust them properly, check out our blog post:
Another important thing to consider if you’re not wall-mounting the TV and you have kids in the house is to anchor the TV. Doing so will minimize the chances of the set falling over if someone yanks on it (or if it falls over in an earthquake, if you’re in an area so prone). An anchor system is cheap (usually around $20 or so) and easy to install. This item may seem frivolous, but no matter how stable a television stand can be, a TV can still topple easily if a child pulls on it.
What to look forward to
At the CES virtual trade show, TCL announced three inch TVs: a 4-Series model for $1,, a new 85R that uses Quantum Dots, and an 8K mini-LED model (no pricing or specific release dates were given for the latter two). TCL is also going heavily into 8K, with the 6-Series moving to an 8K resolution later this year. The company also will introduce its third generation of Mini-LED technology called OD Zero later in
Sony will update its lineup and model numbers this year, with the X90J and X95J replacing the XH and XH, respectively. Both models have full-array local dimming and Sony’s new Cognitive Processor XR, and the OS will move from Android TV to Google TV. The X95J comes in , , and inch sizes, and the two larger sizes have a new anti-reflective filter in addition to the wide-angle screen. The X90J will come in , , , and inch sizes. All these TVs include full HDMI functionality with 4K Hz support, but support for ALLM and VRR might come in a firmware update after launch. Sony also introduced the X92, which comes only in a massive inch screen size and otherwise looks to be similar to the X90J.
Samsung’s QN85A has many of the same features as the QN90A but uses a different type of LCD panel with wider viewing angles but lower contrast ratios. It also uses Mini-LEDs but can’t get as bright as the QN90A and has fewer dimming zones but costs less.
LG is also using Mini-LEDs in its new QNED 4K TVs and its QNED 99 8K TVs. LG has said that the inch 8K models will have up to 2, zones of local dimming and 3, nits of brightness. Both of these numbers represent large improvements over models, and even smaller screen sizes should still offer far higher dimming zones and light output. These will be available in and inch screen sizes. The 4K QNED will also come in an inch version. Pricing and availability are still to be announced as of June
In June, Vizio announced its lineup, which included a number of changes. The high-end PQX Series gets a bump up to 3, nits of peak brightness but now comes only in an inch screen size, which makes it too large for most rooms. The PQ Series is now the PQ9 Series and comes in inch and inch sizes. The PQ9 can do up to 1, nits, according to Vizio, along with up to zones of local dimming and 84% of the Rec. color gamut, and it supports all the HDMI features we look for. The M-Series is now broken up into the MQ7 and MQ6, with the MQ6 no longer offering local dimming at all. The MQ7 can offer up to nits and 32 zones of local dimming in sizes from 50 to 75 inches. The models below the M-Series, including the V-Series and D-Series, also don’t feature any local dimming in
Our requirements for the best LCD/LED TV, including full-array local dimming and a true Hz refresh rate, mean that most TVs out there don’t qualify for testing and contention in this guide. Also, companies have started reducing the number of 4K models they have, or reducing the features in those TVs, as they focus on 8K for their most high-end displays. We don’t think 8K is worth the investment today, just as 4K wasn’t at the start, so we dismissed a number of premium TVs—but we still expect that prices on 8K TVs will come down over the next year or two, and that 8K sets will replace 4K models as our best LCD/LED TV picks.
The big-name TV manufacturers usually introduce completely new TV lines every year and gradually phase out the previous models. Here are the new TVs we’ve tested so far that did not earn a spot of our list:
The Hisense U8G improves upon the previous H9G by adding more zones of local dimming, 4K Hz support with ALLM and VRR for new video game consoles, and highlights that push past 1, nits in our measurements. But in a situation similar to last year, the Hisense hardware is let down by software that isn’t as refined as the competition’s. For SDR and HDR content, the gamma curve and EOTF, respectively, were too bright no matter what picture mode we selected, and we were unable to correct this. As a result, images looked more washed out and lacked pop compared with the competition. In SDR video, shadow areas were closer to gray than black unless we significantly lowered the backlight, and then it was too dim for many rooms. HDR images were brighter than they should be, which also caused colors to be less saturated than on the competition, so the extra brightness was wasted. Dolby Vision content looked good, since DV forces the image to be more accurate, but that doesn’t help with non-Dolby content. The video processing also fell behind, with noticeable jaggies on interlaced content like HDTV broadcasts or DVDs that none of the other tested TVs had issues with.
All of the TVs listed below were introduced and tested in or earlier:
The TCL 8 Series was the first TV with Mini-LEDs that we tested, and it offers great contrast ratios, bright HDR highlights, and an integrated Roku streaming system. It was our prior upgrade pick, but unfortunately it doesn’t support HDMI features like 4K at Hz for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and it’s not available in as many screen sizes as the Samsung QN90A. It offers a great-looking image but is due for a refresh at this point.
We tested the Hisense H9G, which is an improvement over the H8G model largely because this set has a much faster processor that makes the Android TV experience far better than it was before. The H9G also has very good local dimming that’s more precise than what we’ve seen on the TCL 6-Series. With HDR content, colors were even more vibrant and bold on the Hisense than on our top pick from TCL. However, we also noticed some color issues—for instance, a bright and cloudy sky had a yellow tint that it shouldn’t have, and skin tones looked too rosy. When we tried to correct these problems using the calibration controls, the tools introduced other artifacts that made the picture worse—so we were unable to fix those issues. Overall, although the Hisense can look better than the TCL with some content, we were concerned by the issues we couldn’t fix, and the TV lacks support for HDMI features like automatic low-latency mode and variable refresh rate.
Samsung’s cheapest 4K TV with local dimming is the Q80T. In our tests, we found that it can’t get as bright as our main picks, topping out at around nits instead of 1, Unfortunately, its local dimming isn’t as good as that of the competition, acting too aggressively to prevent blooming and in return hiding small details in Gravity and other films. The HDR mode isn’t accurate, making everything brighter than it should be with no way to easily defeat the effect. This TV works great for video games thanks to an HDMI input with VRR and ALLM, but movies and TV look better on our picks.
The Vizio P-Series Quantum lineup doesn’t come in sizes below 65 inches, which limits its audience to people who can accommodate larger screens. These TVs offer HDR highlights over 1, nits, but we found that the local-dimming effects were more noticeable here than in other TVs we tested. The streaming platform isn’t as good as those of our main picks, but the HDMI inputs have full HDMI support including 4K at Hz with VRR and ALLM.
The Sony XH is the company’s cheapest full-array local dimming TV, but it tops out at around nits of peak brightness and lacks some of the features you get on the higher-end XH. You don’t get the wide-viewing-angle screen or the same image-processing features to clean up noisy TV and streaming signals. It supports 4K at Hz (the XH doesn’t) but does so with lesser image quality than competing TVs, and we’re waiting on a promised update to add support for ALLM and VRR.
LG’s Nano90 is the least expensive LCD TV in the company’s NanoCell lineup to use a full-array LED backlight with local dimming. We did not review this TV, but Rtings.com reports that the IPS panel gives it a wide viewing angle but worse black levels and contrast ratios, and it doesn’t get bright enough to present HDR impressively. If you need a wider viewing angle, we think the Sony XH is a better choice.
We tested the Vizio M-Series MQ7-J. Based on its performance and some ongoing concerns with the Vizio smart-TV platform, we’re making the TCL 5-Series our top pick and the MQ7-J our runner-up.
We tested the Vizio M-Series MQ7-J. Based on its performance and some ongoing concerns with the Vizio smart-TV platform, we’re making the TCL 5-Series our top pick and the MQ7-J our runner-up.
It's also worth noting that, due to supply-chain issues, we're seeing price increases of $50 or more on many budget 4K TVs.
If you’re looking for a feature-packed inch TV that performs well for around $, we recommend the Vizio M-Series Quantum (model Q8). Although it doesn’t match the image contrast and brightness of the best LCD/LED TVs we’ve tested, it still has the advanced technologies necessary to deliver a great-looking 4K picture. Plus, it’s easy to use, it has a variety of streaming services built in, and it also comes in a inch version.
The Vizio M-Series Quantum (model Q8) has a high contrast ratio thanks to its full-array local-dimming LED backlight, and it supports every high-dynamic-range standard in use today (including HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HGiG) so you’ll always get the best picture quality no matter what you watch. Quantum dot technology helps it produce a colorful, bright image, and this TV even has support for all the latest HDMI gaming features, which are not often found on TVs this affordable. The integrated SmartCast platform offers most of the popular streaming services available right now, though it still has some holes (such as HBO Max), and the TV supports both AirPlay and Chromecast. Note that the M-Series Quantum lineup includes two different models, the Q7 and Q8, which can cause some confusion. (Vizio also has begun to roll out its new replacement M-Series TVs, described in What to look forward to.) Though the features are identical across the two TVs, the Q8’s improved brightness and contrast make it the better choice—but it’s available only in and inch screen sizes.
Like our top pick, TCL’s 5-Series (model ) is a 4K HDR TV that uses quantum dots and a full-array local-dimming backlight to deliver a bright, colorful picture with good contrast. In our tests, however, the image wasn’t as accurate out of the box, and the local dimming wasn’t quite as effective in producing deep blacks. TCL’s Roku streaming interface—with more services and a more customizable interface—is a step up from Vizio’s SmartCast platform. The 5-Series is also available in more screen sizes (from 50 to 75 inches). But the model has some image-processing issues that we did not see in previous versions of the 5-Series: In our tests, solid blocks of color had a noticeable dithering pattern, and images appeared over-sharpened in comparison with the results on other TVs, so the picture quality of the 5-Series isn’t quite as good as that of the M-Series Quantum.
Why you should trust us
I’ve reviewed TVs and home-theater equipment since I am an ISF Level II–certified calibrator, so I am aware of what makes for a good TV image and how to get those things out of a TV. I have all the necessary test equipment and software to provide the objective measurements to back up my subjective opinions.
Although most TV reviews involve scrutinizing one display at a time, we compare the models we’re reviewing right next to one another so that we can see exactly how they differ.
Who should get this
If your TV works and you’re happy with it, stick with what you have. If your TV is dying or has already died, or if you’re looking for something a little larger or more compatible with the latest video and gaming standards, the 4K TVs we cover in this guide offer great performance at a budget-friendly price.
Although the picks in this guide are good performers that support high-dynamic-range (HDR) video, they don’t have the outstanding contrast and high peak brightness you can find in higher-end TVs, and they seldom have a true Hz refresh rate to render smooth, crisp motion. So if picture quality is your top priority and you’re willing to pay more to get a better performer, check out our guides to the best LCD/LED TV and the best OLED TV.
The best performers
The Best LCD/LED TV
The new and improved TCL 6-Series is our favorite LCD/LED TV, thanks to its great performance, simple Roku interface, and future-proof features.
How we picked
TVs in this price range all make compromises to get the cost down, but some compromises are more noticeable than others. Our goal was to find the best to inch TV for around $ that delivers a satisfying experience with the fewest drawbacks. Producing darker blacks results in better contrast ratios and leads to an image that seems to offer more pop than on other displays. Accurate colors that look natural are preferable to unrealistic, oversaturated colors in a TV image. A wider viewing angle makes it easier for a group of people to watch the TV while still enjoying a good picture. No budget TV excels in all these areas, but we wanted something that balanced affordability with performance and user-friendliness.
Because we were looking for user-friendliness, the quality of a TV’s integrated streaming platform was more important for this category than for our best LCD/LED TV picks. For TVs in this price range, the need to buy a separate streaming device might add 10% to the overall cost, so we favored TVs with an excellent system built in.
We looked for budget TVs with HDR and wide color gamut support, as those features have now trickled down to this price range. Even full-array local dimming, which was once reserved for higher-end sets, is now available in this price range.
Gaming-friendly features such as automatic low-latency mode and variable refresh rate are starting to be available on some budget TVs, which is a plus. You can read more about these features in our guide to the best gaming TV. We did not require the inclusion of higher-bandwidth HDMI ports for our picks in this guide because most TVs in this price range do not have a true Hz refresh rate; they are 60 Hz TVs that don’t need an HDMI bandwidth higher than 18 Gbps.
To help us whittle down the list of TVs to test, we relied on reviews from sites we trust, such as Rtings.com, which does a very good job of providing a large number of objective measurements for TVs and direct comparisons between other models across all price ranges. Reviewed also has lots of reviews, but not the same depth of objective measurements that Rtings.com provides.
How we tested
The best way to compare TVs is to put them side by side and look at them using the same content, so we did just that with the budget models we tested. We also considered how they performed in relation to the more expensive TVs we tested for our best LCD/LED TV guide.
We took each TV out of the box, set it up, measured it, and calibrated it using Portrait Displays’s Calman software, along with the X-Rite i1Pro 2 and SpectraCal C6 meters in conjunction with a Murideo Seven test-pattern generator to measure color, color temperature, light output, and more. This process let us acquire before-and-after calibration measurements for each TV to assess its accuracy right out of the box and how close we could bring it in line with HDTV standards.
We recognize that someone shopping for a budget TV is highly unlikely to spend the $ (or more) it costs to get a TV professionally calibrated. As such, we did all of our side-by-side comparisons with the settings reset to factory defaults. The only adjustments we made to the TVs involved the basic user-menu picture settings, using patterns from the Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark Version 2 Blu-ray disc; for $30, this disc lets you correctly set the main controls (contrast, brightness, color, tint, and sharpness). This basic setup is what we hope most of our readers will do (see Recommended settings below). You would need calibration hardware to set more-advanced controls correctly. When we refer to how accurate a TV is in this guide, we are talking about the performance after calibration with a Blu-ray disc, not with instruments. If we found that a TV offered a self-calibration program, as TCL models are starting to do, we ran that program, as well, since such calibration can be performed for free.
During our comparison viewing, we used the C6 meter to get the backlights of the TVs to the same level so that no TV was brighter than the others.
We placed two TVs next to each other on tables of the same height. We made sure each TV was positioned so that we could look at it dead-on from our fixed viewing position; this arrangement prevented the image from looking washed-out due to changes in viewing angle. Using an HDMI distribution amp, we sent the same signal from a Blu-ray player or Nvidia Shield to each TV.
Additionally, we evaluated the TVs with the lights on and off and looked at them from wide angles (to see how well they would work for larger seating arrangements). We used a large variety of content, including TV, movies, and test patterns, to compare the displays and assess their abilities.
Our pick: Vizio M-Series Quantum (model Q8)
The Vizio M-Series Quantum (model Q8) is the best budget 4K TV thanks to its great image quality, wide range of streaming services, and advanced HDMI features. A full-array local-dimming backlight gives it an excellent contrast ratio and allows for HDR content to have a good amount of visual pop. Quantum dots allow it to produce a very wide color gamut so it can show colors in HDR video that TVs previously couldn’t produce—without making standard HD content look incorrectly vivid. The TV supports eARC to send higher-quality audio signals to a soundbar or receiver, as well as gaming-friendly features such as automatic low-latency mode and variable refresh rate. The integrated SmartCast streaming platform has most major streaming services built in, as well as AirPlay and Chromecast to stream from mobile devices.
Vizio offers two different models of the M-Series Quantum: The Q7 comes in , , and inch sizes, while the Q8 comes in inch and inch models. We reviewed both versions and found that the Q8 got around 33% brighter with HDR content and had at least three times as many zones of local dimming, which allowed for better black-level performance with less blooming (or glow) around bright objects. Although these differences in picture quality weren’t major, the price difference between the two versions is small enough that we think the Q8 is worth upgrading to. But if you want a inch screen size, the Q7 is a good choice.
The local dimming on the Q8 is effective at improving the TV’s contrast ratio but can be noticeable in some content. During our tests, in challenging dark scenes in Gravity and the final Harry Potter film, the Q8 had a better black level than many competitors, but sometimes we noticed the brightness shifts when dimming was being engaged. Overall we preferred to leave the local dimming turned on because the benefits outweighed the drawbacks, but people who find the dimming distracting can easily disable it in the Picture settings.
We also found the Vizio Q8 to offer an accurate image when we chose the Calibrated or Calibrated Dark picture mode. The only difference between the two modes is how high the backlight is set. You might find Calibrated to be too bright if you’re watching in a dark room, and you can easily switch modes based on when you watch. Both modes tracked close to what we wanted to see in an accurate image, though they did leave engaged some motion and noise-removal features that could cause the soap opera effect or reduce fine details, respectively. Disabling all of those and lowering the sharpness setting produced a picture that was clear and natural-looking. Note that this TV lacks Filmmaker Mode, a feature available in some new TVs that automatically disables undesirable features and sets the TV to look its best for movies.
This TV supports more HDR formats than competitors do. In addition to basic HDR10, the Q8 supports the more advanced HDR10+ and Dolby Vision standards—as well as HLG, the future live broadcast HDR standard, and HGiG, the video-game HDR guideline. So no matter what format your HDR content uses, it will display correctly on the Vizio M-Series Quantum. On the Q8 model, we measured around nits of brightness, which resulted in a significant difference in the brightness of HDR highlights compared with SDR content. The Q8 can’t produce the 1,plus nits that higher-end LCD TVs can, but it looks far better with HDR than anything else we’ve tested for this guide.
One reason HDR looks so good on the M-Series Quantum: The “Quantum” in the name signifies that this TV uses quantum dots to produce a wider color gamut. In our testing, we found that the Vizio was able to cover 97% of the DCI color gamut (the color standard used in theaters—remember those?) and 82% of the much larger Rec. Ultra HD color gamut, which means it can show off virtually every color in HDR content. Some other TVs incorrectly use this expanded color gamut with SDR content, but the Vizio doesn’t do that in the Calibrated picture modes, offering vivid colors only when they are called for.
For video games, no TV in this price range comes close to what the Vizio M-Series Quantum offers. It supports all the HDMI gaming features you need, including automatic low-latency mode, variable refresh rate (from 48 Hz to 60 Hz), HGiG for HDR gaming, and a low input lag of around 11 microseconds. With the newest consoles, you’ll be able to game at 4K in HDR with all the features necessary for a better gaming experience. However, because it is only a 60 Hz TV, it doesn’t match the full 4K Hz gaming experience that you get with our top picks for the best gaming TV.
The integrated SmartCast streaming platform offers a wide range of apps, though not as many as Roku and Google TV do. Popular apps such as HBO Max and Twitch are absent, while more obscure ones like Wu Tang Collection are on offer. The apps that are available load quickly, and many of them stream in full 4K HDR quality, but you can’t remove unwanted apps from the home screen—you can only rearrange them. You also can use AirPlay or Chromecast to stream content to the M-Series Quantum, but if you regularly watch an app that’s missing from the SmartCast system, you might want to add a media streamer.
The M-Series Quantum has four HDMI inputs, including one with eARC. This is plenty of inputs for most people, and eARC means you can send full-quality audio to a compatible soundbar or receiver from devices connected directly to the Vizio TV. All of these inputs support full-bandwidth HDMI and have the HDMI features we described above.
Vizio’s remote is fairly simple, with no backlighting or ability to control other devices, but it has quick-access buttons for a number of apps as well as a full number pad. Buttons such as Menu, Home, Info, and Mute are all the same shape, so you’ll have to memorize their location to tell them apart in the dark.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The build quality of the M-Series Quantum feels lackluster in comparison with other TVs we’ve tried this year. That didn’t cause any issues in our testing, but the M-Series Quantum doesn’t feel like it will stand up to abuse.
The panel has only a 60 Hz refresh rate, so motion isn’t as fluid as it can be on a Hz panel, which offers faster pixel refresh and reduced motion blur. Getting a Hz panel requires spending more on a different model.
Vizio has chosen to go with the claw-foot stand design, in which the two feet are spaced far apart, so the M-Series Quantum needs a table or stand that’s as wide as it is. We prefer a TV with a center stand, but almost every TV we looked at this year for this guide had the same type of claw-foot design.
Runner-up: TCL 5-Series (model )
The TCL 5-Series (model ) got some significant upgrades in —most notably, a full-array local-dimming backlight—and it delivers a good-looking 4K image overall. But it can’t get as bright as the Vizio M-Series Quantum (model Q8) with HDR video, and some weird image-processing problems we encountered in our tests kept it from becoming our top pick as previous versions did. The 5-Series still uses the great Roku OS streaming platform (you can read more about that in our guide to streaming media devices) and has low input lag for video games, and it comes in more screen sizes than the Vizio Q8, including a inch size.
The main issue we had with the TCL was in how it processed the image on screen. When we looked closely at solid blocks of color, they seemed to be made up of two colors dithered together, which gave them a strange appearance. The ’s image also looked over-sharpened no matter how we adjusted the sharpness control, so the image could appear a bit artificial compared with the Q8’s. Since I spend hours a day looking at TVs, these issues stood out to me quickly, but some people might not see them or be bothered by them.
It’s nice to see the addition of local dimming on the this year, but that feature isn’t as effective here as on other TVs. In our tests, with the local-dimming control set at medium, the TCL raised its black level higher than the Vizio did, but on the high setting it crushed some shadow details. Even without local dimming, though, the ’s contrast ratio was very good, and the use of quantum dots allows this TV to reproduce 95% of the DCI color gamut—that’s almost all of what HDR content typically uses. The supports the HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats, but it manages only around nits of light output for HDR highlights, which isn’t a huge gain over the output for SDR and is notably less than what the Vizio Q8 generates.
For the most accurate image with the TCL , we used the Movie picture mode. You can adjust the brightness and the amount of local dimming through the TV, but you need to access more complicated settings through the Roku app on a smartphone. TCL doesn’t offer support for Filmmaker Mode yet, either. With HDR content we found the Dark picture mode to be the best, as the other modes increased the brightness by making the colors less accurate.
The TCL has low input lag for video games, identical to that of the Vizio Q8 in game mode (though higher outside of that mode), and it supports HDMI features such as eARC and automatic low-latency mode. It has no support for variable refresh rate, but that’s a notably uncommon feature in this price range. Like the Vizio Q8, the TCL has a 60 Hz refresh rate, so motion is not as smooth and clean as on our favorite higher-end LCD TVs.
The TCL has the standard Roku TV remote, which is small and compact (though some people find it too minimalist). It has no number buttons for direct access to channels—you have to use an on-screen interface—and it can’t control another device such as a cable box. Like most TVs now, the TCL uses the wider-spaced claw-foot stand design, so you need a wide table for it, but unlike the Vizio Q8 it offers cable routing inside the feet for a cleaner look when installed.
Overall the TCL 5-Series combines a good-looking image with a strong streaming platform, but it isn’t as feature-packed as our main pick and doesn’t perform quite as well. If you can stretch your budget a bit past $, the TCL 6-Series (model ) is our top pick for the best LCD/LED TV and offers a number of improvements over both the 5-Series and Vizio M-Series Quantum. The 6-Series has more local dimming zones for better black-level performance, and it has a true Hz panel, so motion is clearer and video games can run at this faster refresh rate at p and p resolutions. It offers around 1, nits of peak brightness, too, so HDR content looks far more impactful, and it uses the same Roku interface that we like on the TCL 5-Series. You can read more about the 6-Series in our guide to the best LCD/LED TV.
TV features, defined
These are some of the most common features we talk about in our TV reviews:
Full-array local dimming: This term refers to a TV in which the backlight is behind the LCD panel and has individual zones that can turn on and off depending on the content. Such TVs are usually larger and more expensive to build and design, and more zones cost more. However, they typically provide the best LCD picture quality by improving contrast ratios and shadow detail.
High dynamic range (HDR): High dynamic range lets a TV display much brighter highlights while retaining deep blacks, although only with special HDR content. In the past, TV content had a peak brightness of around nits, but these days high-end HDR sets can have highlights that exceed 1, nits. This feature drastically improves contrast ratios and provides a more dynamic image in which bright objects (the sun, fire, a photon torpedo) really jump off the screen. HDR10 is the standard format that all HDR-capable TVs support. HDR10 content contains metadata (or information about how the image should be presented) only for the entire movie as a whole, while the more advanced HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats have metadata for each individual scene—so the TV can better optimize the image as it changes.
Wide color gamut: Ultra HD 4K content has a wider color gamut than standard HDTV content; right now, most UHD content is mastered with the same DCI/P3 color gamut used in theatrical cinema (the ultimate goal is the even larger Rec. color gamut). This expanded color gamut allows a TV to display richer reds, blues, and greens than ever before. Some TVs use quantum dot technology to produce this wider color gamut.
HDMI This is the most recent version of HDMI, adding support for 8K displays, automatic low-latency mode for improved gaming, eARC for better audio when you’re using Audio Return Channel, variable refresh rate for syncing the TV’s refresh rate to a gaming console to avoid stuttering, and dynamic metadata support. You can read more about HDMI in this post.
24p: With few exceptions, movies in the theater display at 24 frames per second (abbreviated as 24p), which gives movies that “cinematic” look. All TVs now support 24p content, but some TVs maintain that look better than others.
Judder: This term refers to a slightly jerky motion that can occur when 24p film content appears on a TV with a 60 Hz refresh rate. To make 24 frames match up to the 60 Hz display, half of the frames appear two times and the other half appear three times. This display technique causes judder, which is most noticeable on panning shots. Some Hz displays avoid this effect by repeating each film frame five times, while some 60 Hz panels run at 48 Hz to show each frame twice.
Nits: Also called candelas per square meter (cd/m2), this unit of luminance measures how much light a TV can produce. Previously, TVs could output to nits, and SDR content was graded and mastered with nits as the standard. With HDR, content is mastered with 1,, 4,, or 10, nits as the standard; as a result, the more nits an HDR TV can display, the more accurately it can display the highlights in HDR material without having to reduce the brightness of the highlights or clip them.
The most important thing you can do to get the best performance from any TV is to set it up correctly. For the Vizio M-Series Quantum, you should first set it to the Calibrated picture mode to get the most accurate image with minimal work. We recommend setting the sharpness control to zero to prevent edge-enhancement artifacts and setting the Active Full Array function to medium or high. The high setting will provide darker blacks but can overly dim certain scenes—for instance, the stars may not be visible in a dark night sky. The medium setting isn’t as dark but shows all those details. For gaming, we recommend enabling game low latency, variable refresh rate, and game HDR (HGiG) for the best performance with newer consoles.
For the TCL 5-Series, we recommend using the Movie picture mode and again reducing the sharpness control to zero. We preferred the Local Contrast control set to high, as the low and medium settings offered very little improvement (if any) over leaving it disabled. Other image-processing functions, such as Dynamic Contrast, should be disabled as they actually cause your TV to lose dynamic range. Natural Cinema should be enabled so that the TV produces motion that is accurate for TV shows and movies. You should disable all of the Auto Power options in the System Power menu.
To adjust each TV’s brightness, contrast, color, and tint, we recommend using test patterns to set them properly. You can learn more about these adjustments in this post:
Also important: If you have kids and you’re not wall-mounting the TV, be sure to consider anchoring it. Doing so minimizes the chance of the TV falling over if it’s “accidentally” yanked on (or knocked over in an earthquake, if you’re in an area so prone). An anchor system is cheap (less than $20) and easy to install.
What to look forward to
Vizio recently introduced its new – models, including an updated M-Series that is again divided into two lines: the MQ6-J and MQ7-J. There are major differences between the two. The MQ7-J should be the most similar to our current top pick, with full-array local dimming and true HDR, and it comes in sizes from 50 to 75 inches. We’ve already tested the MQ6-J and added our thoughts to The competition.
The Vizio MQ6-J, new in , has no full-array local dimming and can only produce peak highlights that measure around nits, so its picture quality is nowhere near that of our current picks. It does support variable refresh rate for compatibility with newer gaming systems, but that feature won’t matter as much on this 60 Hz panel as it will on TVs that can run at Hz. We expect that the new Vizio MQ7 Series might perform better than the MQ6, since it has a local-dimming backlight, but we haven’t tested it yet.
The Hisense H8G is the updated version of the H8F, a model we tested for this guide in The newer version has a much faster Android TV interface, which was one of the worst aspects of the prior version. It has a wider color gamut thanks to the inclusion of quantum dots and more local dimming zones, though they made almost no impact at all when we viewed or measured test patterns. Hisense also fixed issues we had with HDR video in previous models, in which the TV would crush shadow details, but this time around HDR video seemed a bit too bright. In addition, we found a couple of bugs during our initial testing of this TV (it handled only YCbCr color, not RGB, correctly, and the BT gamma option interacted incorrectly with some color temperature presets). Hisense resolved these bugs, but in doing so it introduced new ones (where the gamma control didn’t work with certain color temperatures or caused the temperature to be incorrect). Hisense also resolved those problems, but all the issues combined make us wary of the H8G and the reliability of its software.
The TCL 4-Series has built-in Roku, like its siblings, but it lacks support for Dolby Vision and a wide color gamut. Most important, its peak brightness is 50% lower than that of the 5-Series. In a darker room you aren’t likely to notice the effect, but in a living room or other bright situation, the extra brightness of the 5-Series makes that model easier to see.
The Samsung TU line comes in a wide range of sizes, from 43 inches up to 85 inches, but it doesn’t offer the local dimming or wide color gamut support that our picks do. It can’t get as bright as our picks or display the range of colors that they can, but it’s a good option for people who want a smaller or larger TV.
We tested a inch Onn Roku TV from Walmart for Black Friday, and it performed surprisingly well for the price. It doesn’t support a wider color gamut or have full-array local dimming, but it was great at what it could do.
The Sony XH is the company’s budget TV that fits our criteria, and although it has wide color gamut support, it doesn’t offer any local dimming or support HDMI features such as automatic low-latency mode, variable refresh rate, or eARC. You can get more TV for your dollar with our picks.
We didn’t test any of the budget LCDs from LG since they all use IPS-type panels, which offer a wider viewing angle but much lower contrast ratios so blacks aren’t nearly as black as on other TVs.
About your guide
Chris Heinonen is a senior staff writer reporting on TVs, projectors, and sometimes audio gear at Wirecutter. He has been covering AV since for a number of online publications and is an ISF-certified video calibrator. He used to write computer software and hopes to never do that again, and he also loves to run and test gear for running guides.
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Standing in front of a self-confident stranger with a shamelessly raised skirt, Masha was ready to sink into the ground. The owner got up from the sofa and slowly walked closer. Feeling the girl who was hiding her eyes with a gaze, he carefully took off her glasses, then reached out and lightly touched the strained nipple.
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The most popular, of course, were scenes with a blowjob, I even regretted to myself that there were only six of them (two times with one guy and four with another). Sasha's stories most of all liked the fact that I was depraved and the fact that I liked what I was doing. So three months passed, and one day Sasha said that it would be nice that something new and looked at me: I already remembered.
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