The best rated tv: QLED vs. OLED: What’s the Difference and Which TV Is Better?

QLED vs. OLED: What’s the Difference and Which TV Is Better?

Now that the 2022 holiday shopping season is here, you might be thinking of getting a new TV. Now is definitely the best time of year to take advantage of TV deals, but figuring out what TV to buy is still confusing. The best TVs advertise an alphanumeric soup of extras like HDR, 120Hz and HDMI 2.1 and many TVs include all of those features and many more, making it tough to tell the difference.

Unlike the rest of those TV tech terms, QLED and OLED are actually fundamentally different, even though they’re only one letter apart. And in our side-by-side comparison reviews, one is better than the other.

For the last few years, Samsung has been branding its TVs “QLED.” Its 2022 QLED lineup includes Neo QLED models in 4K and 8K resolution, The Frame art TV, Serif and the Sero rotating TV all bearing the ubiquitous Q. And Samsung isn’t the only one. TCL also makes QLED TVs, including the excellent 6-Series, and Amazon even has a Fire TV Omni QLED television of its own.

On the other side of the fence are OLED TVs. In the last few years LG has dominated the OLED market and its 2022 OLED TV lineup is more extensive than ever, but Sony and Vizio also sell OLED TVs in the US. And adding to the confusion, Samsung has an OLED TV of its own in 2022, meaning it sells both OLED and QLED TVs this year.

So what’s the difference between OLED and QLED? We’ll start with picture quality. In our side-by-side comparison reviews, OLED beats QLED every time. We compared last year’s Editors’ Choice OLED TV — the LG C1 series — against the best 2022 Samsung 4K QLED TV, the Samsung QN90B series. The Samsung QLED came closer than ever to the LG OLED, but the LG still won. We also pitted a TCL 8K QLED TV against the 2022 LG OLED C2. Again, the OLED TV won. 

QLED vs. OLED: Quick summary of the TV technologies

Let’s start with a quick breakdown.

  • OLED stands for “organic light-emitting diode.”
  • QLED (according to Samsung) stands for “quantum dot LED TV.
  • OLED is a fundamentally different technology from LCD, the major type of TV.
  • QLED is a variation of LED LCD, adding a quantum dot film to the LCD “sandwich.”
  • OLED is “emissive,” meaning the pixels emit their own light.
  • QLED, like LCD, is “transmissive” in its current form and relies on an LED backlight.

A QLED TV is just an LCD TV with quantum dots

The main takeaway is that QLED is closer to regular old LCD than it is to OLED, which I (and most other experts) consider a distinctly different class of television, much like plasma before it.

Watch this: What is quantum dot?

Quantum dots are microscopic molecules that, when hit by light, emit their own differently colored light. In QLED TVs, the dots are contained in a film, and the light that hits them is provided by an LED backlight. That light then travels through a few other layers inside the TV, including a liquid crystal (LCD) layer, to create the picture. The light from the LED source is transmitted through the layers to the screen’s surface, which is why we say it’s “transmissive.”

A look at the “sandwich” of layers in an LCD TV, where an LED backlight shines through a quantum dot layer (among others) and on to the LCD panel itself.

Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung has been using quantum dots to augment its LCD TVs since 2015 and debuted the QLED TV branding in 2017. Samsung says those quantum dots have evolved over time — that color and light output have improved, for example. In my experience, however, improvements caused by better quantum dots are much less evident than those caused by other image quality factors (see below).

Other TV makers also use quantum dots in LCD TVs, including Vizio and Hisense, but don’t call those sets QLED TVs.


not an LCD TV at all

LCD is the dominant technology in flat-panel TVs and has been for a long time. It’s cheaper than OLED, especially in larger sizes, and numerous panel-makers can manufacture it.

OLED TVs don’t need LED backlights so, in addition to image quality benefits, they can get amazingly thin.

Sarah Tew/CNET

OLED is different because it doesn’t use an LED backlight to produce light. Instead, light is produced by millions of individual OLED subpixels. The pixels themselves — tiny dots that compose the image — emit light, which is why it’s called an “emissive” display technology. That difference leads to all kinds of picture quality effects, some of which favor LCD (and QLED), but most of which favor OLED.

Aside from the US brands mentioned above, Panasonic, Philips, Grundig and others sell OLED TVs in Europe. All OLED TVs worldwide, including those in the US, use panels manufactured by LG Display.

That’s about to change, however. Samsung and Sony will soon debut the first OLED TVs made by Samsung Display. They promise improved color and brightness compared to current OLED TVs because they use quantum dots — just like QLED TVs. Called QD-OLED or QD Display, they’re sure to be quite expensive at first, even more than standard OLED TVs, but prices will come down eventually.  

Read more: QD-OLED TV: Samsung, Sony Take on LG With Quantum Dot Special Sauce

QLED vs. OLED image quality

Based on my reviews, here are some general comparisons I’ve made between the two.

QLED TV picture quality varies more than OLED


Samsung and TCL each have multiple QLED series and the most expensive ones perform a lot better than the cheaper ones. That’s mainly because the biggest improvements in the picture quality of QLED sets don’t have much to do with quantum dots. Instead they’re the result of mini-LED backlights, better full-array local dimming, bright highlights and better viewing angles, which help them outperform QLED (and non-QLED) TVs that lack those extras.

Meanwhile, every OLED TV I’ve reviewed has very similar image quality — all have earned a 10/10 in picture quality in my tests. There’s some variation among different OLED TVs, for example the LG A2 with its 60Hz panel compared to 120Hz on other OLED TVs, but they’re not nearly as significant as the differences between various QLED TV series.  

OLED has better contrast and black level

One of the most important image quality factors is black level, and their emissive nature means OLED TVs can turn unused pixels off completely, for literally infinite contrast. QLED/LCD TVs, even the best ones with the most effective full-array local dimming, let some light through, leading to more washed-out, grayer black levels and blooming around bright sections.

QLED is brighter

The brightest QLED and LCD TVs can get brighter than any OLED model, which is a particular advantage in bright rooms and with HDR content. In my tests, however, OLED TVs can still get plenty bright for most rooms, and their superior contrast still allows them to deliver a better overall HDR image than any QLED/LCD TV I’ve tested.

Sarah Tew/CNET

OLED has better uniformity and viewing angles

With LCD-based displays, different areas of the screen can appear brighter than others all the time, and backlight structure can also be seen in some content. Even the best LCDs also fade, lose contrast and become discolored when seen from seats other than the sweet spot directly in front of the screen. OLED TVs have almost perfectly uniform screens and maintain fidelity from all but the most extreme angles.

Resolution, color, video processing and other image quality factors are basically the same

Most QLED and OLED have the same resolution and 4K, and both can achieve 8K resolution too. Neither technology has major inherent advantages in color or video processing, although QD-OLED could deliver improved color. Check out OLED vs. LCD for more details.

QLED can get bigger and smaller (and cheaper)

New for 2022 LG will sell the largest OLED TV yet, the 97-inch G2.

Richard Peterson/CNET

There are six sizes of OLED TV on the market today and two more sizes, 42-inch and 97-inch, are new for 2022.

OLED TV sizes

  • 42-inch
  • 48-inch
  • 55-inch
  • 65-inch 
  • 77-inch
  • 83-inch 
  • 88-inch
  • 97-inch

Meanwhile, as QLED TVs are LCDs they are able to be made in a greater range of sizes. Non-QLED LCD TVs can get even smaller.

QLED TV sizes

  • 32-inch 
  • 43-inch
  • 50-inch
  • 55-inch
  • 58-inch
  • 65-inch
  • 75-inch
  • 82-inch
  • 85-inch
  • 98-inch 

One big advantage, so to speak, that QLED and LCD have over OLED is the cost of mainstream sizes over 65 inches. Large televisions are the fastest-growing segment of the market and show no signs of slowing down. 77-inch OLED TVs cost $2,500 and up, significantly more than most 75-inch QLED TVs, and in larger sizes the difference is even more drastic.

What about OLED burn-in?

Burn-in happens when a persistent part of the image — navigation buttons on a phone or a channel logo, news ticker or a scoreboard on a TV, for example — remains as a ghostly background no matter what else appears on screen. All OLED screens can burn-in, and from everything I know, they’re more susceptible than LCD displays, including QLED.

All things considered, however, burn-in shouldn’t be a problem for most people. From all of the evidence we’ve seen, burn-in is typically caused by leaving a single, static image element, like a channel logo, which appears on the screen for a long time, repeatedly. That’s an issue if you keep Fox News, ESPN or MSNBC on for multiple hours every day and don’t watch enough other programming, for example. But as long as you vary what’s displayed, chances are you’ll never experience burn-in.

Check out our guide on OLED screen burn-in for more.

Electroluminescent quantum dot prototypes, which could pave the way for direct-view quantum dot TVs.


Which is better in 2022 and beyond, QLED or OLED TVs?

As I mentioned above, when I pitted the best 2021 OLED against the best 2021 QLED, OLED still won — just like it has in previous years.

What about the future? Beyond its forthcoming QD-OLED TV, Samsung is researching direct-view quantum dot, which dispenses with the liquid crystal layers and uses quantum dots themselves as the light source. Emissive QLED TVs have the potential to match the absolute black levels and “infinite” contrast ratio of OLED, with better power efficiency, better color and more. That’s pretty exciting, but it’ll be a few years before we see emissive QLED TVs available for sale. Hopefully, by then they’ll think up a new acronym (EQLEDs?).

And then there’s MicroLED. It’s another emissive technology, once again spearheaded by Samsung but also sold by LG, that’s on sale now for the super rich — the largest examples cost more than $1 million. As you might guess from the name, it uses millions of teeny-tiny LEDs as pixels. MicroLED has the potential for the same perfect black levels as OLED, with no danger of burn-in. It can deliver higher brightness than any current display technology, wide-gamut color and doesn’t suffer the viewing angle and uniformity issues of LCD. It’s also friggin’ huge. It doesn’t involve quantum dots, at least not yet, but who knows what might happen when it comes to market. QDMLED, anyone?

For now, however, OLED rules the picture quality roost over QLED. 

More TV advice

  • New Year, New TV Tech, But Are the Claims of 2023 an Overreaction or the Real Thing?
  • QD-OLED TV: Samsung, Sony Take on LG With Quantum Dot Special Sauce
  • How to Adjust Your TV Picture Settings, No Professional, Disc or Apple TV 4K Required
  • Wall-size, Million-Dollar MicroLED TVs Point to the Future of Television
  • Best TV for 2023
  • OLED Screen Burn-in: What You Need to Know

Best TVs for 2023: Reviews and buying advice

LED-backlit LCD, quantum-dot, and OLED TV have never been better, and prices have never been lower.

High-end 4K models cost about half of what they did a few years ago, and excellent mid-range models (55- and 65-inch class) are available for much less than $1,000. We’ll give you our top picks in each category, followed by an in-depth guide to the specs and features you’ll encounter when you shop.  Even the prices for 8K TVs have dropped out of the stratosphere.

Updated June 21, 2023 to add a link to our Samsung QN900C 8K smart TV review.

LG Evo G3 — Best OLED TV


  • Excellent black levels
  • Great contrast
  • Best image processing we’ve seen in an OLED TV


  • Default reds drift slightly to the orange
  • Not cheap

We expect a lush picture from an OLED TV, and LG’s Evo G3 certainly didn’t disappoint on that front. But this TV’s image processing impressed even more, producing almost no visual artifacts. This smart TV is based on a WRGB OLED panel, with white subpixels that deliver higher overall brightness than RGB OLED panels that Samsung and Sony utilize. Those competitors’ TVs deliver more color saturation, but drive their red, green, and blue pixels harder to produce white. LG’s best-in-class image processing delivers an impressive picture.

Read our full

LG G3 Evo OLED TV review

Sony Bravia XR A95K — Best quantum-dot OLED TV


  • Fantastic image quality
  • Great sound
  • Handsome industrial design


  • Very expensive

Sony applied its image-processing prowess and high-end audio technology to Samsung’s quantum dot OLED panel to build the best 4K TV we’ve ever seen. But buying the best requires very deep pockets. You could buy an OLED from LG or Samsung and keep upwards of a grand in your pocket. On the other hand, you might find you don’t need to buy a soundbar, because the Bravia XR A95K’s audio technology is also the best the industry has to offer.

Read our full

Sony Bravia XR A95K review

Samsung S95C — Best quantum-dot OLED TV, runner-up


  • Lush color and deep blacks
  • Lots of peak brightness
  • Super thin thanks to Samsung’s One Connect technology


  • Needs a more efficient smart TV interface
  • Remote control needs more buttons
  • Image processing lags behind LG

We love the Samsung S95C’s velvety picture and richly saturated highlights–it’s a top three TV to be sure. That said, Samsung needs to up its image-processing game and rework its smart TV user interface if it wants to beat out the likes of Sony’s A95K and LG’s evo G3.

Read our full

Samsung S95C 4K OLED TV review

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED TV — Best value-priced 4K quantum-dot TV


  • Affordable
  • Accurate quantum dot color
  • Super-intuitive user interface
  • Efficient voice remote


  • Slow guide and media player thumbnail enumeration
  • So-so video processing

While its image quality is merely on par with similarly priced smart TVs, the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED’s user interface and Alexa voice remote control make for a genuinely superior user experience.

Read our full

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED TV review

Samsung QN90B — Best LED-backlit LCD TV


  • Great picture and HDR
  • All 120Hz HDMI ports
  • Excellent color acuity and saturation
  • New RF-harvesting solar remote


  • Pricey
  • No Dolby Vision support
  • Interface requires too many clicks to get anywhere

Samsung’s best 4K UHD LCD TV delivers terrific image quality, particularly when it comes to HDR, and it serves up a quartet of 120Hz-enabled HDMI ports plus a nifty remote that can be charged via RF harvesting. We were annoyed by Samsung’s convoluted Smart Hub TV interface, which requires too many clicks for our taste. That said, the QN90B is the best-looking 4K LCD TV you can buy right now.

Read our full

Samsung QN90B Neo QLED 4K Smart TV review

Samsung QN900C 8K TV — Best 8K TV


  • Fantastic detail
  • Great color and contrast
  • Upscales 4K and lower-res content
  • One Connect breakout box
  • Very thin profile


  • Wonky backlight artifacts with some test material
  • Audio lacks thump

Samsung’s latest 8K TV isn’t cheap, but it delivers fantastic image quality, whether it’s upscaling the 4K content you’re most likely to encounter in the real world to the amazing native 8K content that will blow you mind with its detail. This TV features quantum dots for accurate color and mini-LEDs for precision backlighting. And if you’re a SmartThings fan, it can be the brain of your modern smart home, too.

Read our full

Samsung QN900C 8K TV review

CRT TVs were around for more 50 years and were still being improved when they fell out of favor. LCD TVs aren’t nearly that mature, and you’ll still find the occasional entry-level models with color and contrast issues. Color and contrast have nonetheless improved drastically in the last few years, and the improvements have trickled down almost to the lowest rung on the ladder. OLED remains at the pinnacle, but remains expensive to manufacture. I’ll talk more about LED versus OLED in a bit. 

There’s also a resolution “race” in progress, though it seems to have stalled for the nonce at 8K UHD. Buying a TV with resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels remains a pricey proposition, and there’s almost no content to take advantage of it. Apart from 4K Blu-ray, most video content is still delivered in 1080p resolution, even though 4K UHD TVs with resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels rule the roost in terms of sales.

The best news, to expand on my previous point, is that top-end technology (quantum dots, mini-LED) has filtered down to the mid-range (defined as $750 to $1,250 for a 65-inch-class set). We haven’t seen one that quite puts it all together yet, but TCL’s 6-series come darn close. Too close, certainly, for the big three (LG, Samsung, and Sony) to remain comfortable. 

Even better, nearly all the high-end 4k UHD 65-inch-class TVs that cost $600 to $10,000 or more a few years ago have dropped to below $3,000. Even Samsung’s 8K UHD QN800A-series can be hand for $3,500 (65-inch class). LG’s 8K UHD OLED—the 88-inch-class model OLED88Z9PUA—is something to behold, but it costs $30,000. Ouch. Then again, if your entertainment center is big enough to require an 88- to 120-inch-class television, that price tag might worth the experience.

Resolution: While most content remains 1080p or lower resolution, the vast majority of TVs being sold now are 2160p (4K UHD, or 3840 x 2160 pixels). Unless you’re buying something for the workshop or tool shed, go 2160p. 4K streaming is now a thing. It’s heavily compressed, and it may run you over your data cap in short order, but it’s still a consideration. 

Good 2160p content looks spectacular, and most 2160p TVs will upscale lower-resolution content quite nicely. Just don’t believe any hokum about making 1080p content look like genuine 4K UHD.

That said, we’ve been incredibly impressed with just how much better both 1080p and 2160p material looks on the latest 8K UHD (7680 x 4320) TVs. More pixels, more processing power. 

Screen size: 65-inch TVs are the hot commodity these days, but only you know which size TV fits best in your living space. Personally, I prefer 43-inchers. Go figure.

You can save a lot of money—$600 to $900 on a top-of-the-line set—by downsizing to perhaps 55-inches and sitting a bit closer. How close? 1.5 times the stated size of the TV is the recommended distance.

Note that the number of backlighting zones and other technologies aren’t always exactly the same across all sizes. Read the fine print carefully (if it even exists), as a 55-inch unit might not offer quite the performance of the 65-inch sets companies like to send to reviewers.

HDR: The acronym stands for high dynamic range, and it has become the norm in better TVs. HDR simply means a larger difference in luminance between the darkest area of an image and the brightest area. It doesn’t sound like much, but a lack of contrast (a comparative washed-out appearance) in LED TVs has long been an issue, especially at the entry level.

With HDR, which is created largely by significantly increasing peak brightness, light sabers and flames, highlights in hair, water, and other details really stand out. Trust me. You want it. 

Dolby Vision HDR versus standard dynamic range. All HDR will be similar, but only Dolby Vision and HDR10+ adjust the TV in real time over the course of the movie.

So far, the TV industry has been scrupulously honest about labeling their TVs for HDR: HDR-compatible in the fine print means the set understands at least some of the HDR formats (HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HLG, etc.), but likely doesn’t have enough brightness to do anything with it. If it just says HDR, that means it can do something with it.

How much it can do depends on the TV. You need at least 700 nits peak brightness at a minimum to achieve decent HDR pop (e.g., light sabers and flames that stand out), while 1,000 nits does the trick quite nicely. Vendors don’t really list nits or brightness in meaningful ways, so you’ll need to read reviews in which it’s measured. Non-HDR TVs generally max out in the area of 300 to 400 nits.

HDR format support: One of true ironies in the TV industry is that arguably the top player, Samsung, doesn’t support Dolby Vision. Nearly nearly all the other vendors do (although not on every model). All HDR TVs support HDR10 as a baseline, but HDR10 only sends adjustment info to the TV once, at the beginning of a movie. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ relay it continuously throughout the movie, so each scene (each frame, if necessary) can be adjusted independently.

HDR10 looks good. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ look better. HDR10+ is Samsung’s baby and its latest TVs support it. Alas, while many streaming services deliver HDR in HDR10+ (HDR requires very little extra data), it hasn’t caught on with most of the company’s competitors. On the other hand, many sets support the HLG standard that is common in Europe.

Contrast: Contrast is the distance in terms of luminance between the darkest and brightest points in an image. Part of HDR is also increasing contrast. A high-contrast TV is an HDR TV, although we’ve never heard of one called that. It just doesn’t sound sexy, I suppose. Anyway, he higher the contrast, the more subtle detail the TV can deliver. 

Color: We’ve noticed a definite uptick in color acuity (realism), even in the middle of the market, with TVs from Hisense, TCL and Vizio showing much truer reds and greens (just about any TV will do blue well). This is largely due to the widespread adoption of quantum dots, but even those without them (Sony’s TVs, in particular) have increased the color acuity of their offeringss.

LED-backlit LCD versus OLED: There’s a luxuriousness to the image that OLED TVs produce that appeals to many, including myself. Because each sub-pixel is its own light source, when a pixel is switched off, you get near perfect black. LED-backlit LCD TVs bleed light around and through the LCDs, which are not perfect shutters.

Even the best LED/LCD TVs can’t match the blacks of OLED. (Mini-LED gets closer—see below). On the other hand, they can generate much higher peak brightness, which compensates with most material and really makes HDR pop.

The main drawbacks of OLED as a technology are a relatively limited lifespan, and burn-in; i.e. ghosts of previous images remaining on screen. LG claims 100,000 hours to half brightness for its TVs: That’s where 500 nits becomes 250 nits, and that number of hours is calculated based on the TV displaying standard dynamic range material. HDR content will shorten an OLED’s lifespan.

With normal use (two hours a day), those drawbacks will never bite you. Or for at least not for a very long time. Using OLEDs for signage, all-day long viewing, or for rendering static images, on the other hand, is not recommended.

Micro-LED (not to be confused with mini-LED backlighting) is a non-organic self-emitter technology that doesn’t suffer any of these issues, but it’s still so expensive as to excuse itself from this conversation.

Caveats and economics aside, OLED remains most users’ choice when simply using their eyes. Puppies on velvet!

Viewing angle: While most TVs look great when viewed head-on, not all look that great when viewed from an angle. So, if you’re planning to host Super Bowl parties or other events where people will watch from oblique angles, make sure you check into this aspect. Anti-glare coatings, as well as the type of LCDs used: IPS (In-Plane Switching), TN (Twisted Nematic), VA (Vertically Aligned), etc. , can affect the image when viewed from other than purely perpendicular. 

Use a light source with less than a quantum dot’s specific emitting frequency, and you get a pure color directly related to the size of the quantum dot. A layer of these can tremendouslyly increase a TV’s color acuity.

Quantum dots: As noted previously, more and more vendors are using quantum dots to increase color acuity. Quantum dots are tiny re-emitters that produce nearly pure colors in strict correlation to their size. If you want super-accurate color, you want quantum dots.

Backlighting: Two basic types of backlighting are used in LED-backlit LCD TVs: array and edge lit. As previously discussed, every element in an OLED (or micro-LED) panel is its own backlight.

Array backlighting is simply a grid of LEDs placed directly behind the screen. It’s an advanced type of what was once referred to as direct backlighting. Edge lighting, as you’ve probably guessed, places the light source around the edge of the display. The photons emitted by the source are redirected by various means (tunnels, light pipes, reflective materials, et al) to the filter and LCD layers of the display. Edge lighting has generally been relegated to entry-level TVs.

This image from Vizio illustrates how array backlighting with local dimming can reduce light bleed in darker areas.

Array backlighting produces better blacks than edge lighting, though how much better depends on a number of factors, such as the quality of the LCDs (some leak less light than others), the algorithms used to darken the zones (the individual lights or light groups), and the material being displayed. Array backlighting can also produce significantly more brightness than edge lighting, which comes in handy for HDR.

Mini-LED is the latest development in LED/array backlighting. TCL was first to market with it, but Samsung’s latest TVs also feature the technology. Basically, the LEDs are much smaller, there are far more of them, and they’re placed much closer to the filter and LCD layers, reducing bleed and deepening blacks while simultaneously increasing brightness. It’s not quite OLED, but it’s a lot closer than normal array or edge LED backlighting.

That said, 100,000 backlights doesn’t mean 100,000 dimming zones. Vendors are free to group them as they see fit. We’ve seen anywhere from 600 zones (Samsung’s 55-inch QN90F) to several thousand in TCL’s 8 Series.

While edge lighting is on it’s way out, it does have one advantage. It generally doesn’t suffer the odd artifacts—such as blocking (obvious dark or light squares), moiré, and shimmer—that array backlighting can produce. 

Screen uniformity: With very bright scenes, cheaper TVs will suffer cloudy areas due to either poor anti-glare coating or uneven backlighting. Poorly designed TVs might show dark areas, generally in the corners, where the backlighting doesn’t reach. These problems have been mitigated the last few years, but they’re still something you should look for—and avoid.

Motion and refresh rate: Vendors like to combine the tricks they use to smooth motion, such as flashing the backlight with the actual hardware refresh rate (the number of times per second that the entire display can be redrawn, typically 60 or 120) to come up with indicative, but confusing terms such as TruMotion, Clear Motion, and so on.  

All things being equal, you have twice as many redraws to play with on a 120Hz set as on a 60Hz set, and motion will nearly always look smoother with a higher refresh rate. Case in point: the best LED-backlit LCD sets all have 120Hz hardware refresh rates. Look for the hardware refresh rate. Or ask; it can be hard to find.

Bit depth: Most TVs these days are 10-bit (10 bits of each color, aka Deep Color), which means they’re capable of rendering just over one billion colors. There are still 8-bit (True Color) sets available, and these produce more than 16 million colors. That sounds like a lot, but you’ll still see banding. A panel with 10-bit color just about eliminates that problem.

Ports and connectivity: At a minimum, your TV should have three or four HDMI ports for connecting disc players, media streamers, and outboard audio gear (via ARC or—better yet—eARC). You can also connect legacy composite and component video equipment using adapters.

These days, HDMI 2.1—with its greater bandwidth, gaming features such as variable refresh rate, and eARC support that can deliver uncompressed surround sound in all its formats—are what you should look for. Gaming consoles can use the 120Hz modes of HDMI 2.1, so at least one port supporting that standard is recommended for gamers. 

Alternatively, many sets still offer optical digital and RCA/analog outputs for connecting older audio equipment, although those connections don’t have the bandwidth required for high-resolution audio such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio. If the TV you want doesn’t offer legacy connections, there are HDMI-to-legacy adapters available for very little cash.

You’ll also need USB ports if you want to connect a keyboard or mouse or play downloaded media from USB drives. Coax is required for an over-the-air antenna, and you’ll find one on any TV that features an integrated tuner. Vizio was making “displays” for a couple of years that didn’t have tuners, but the company added them back when cord-cutting gained traction. If you’re buying a used TV, be aware of that.

Pay attention to the type and number of ports. This is only one of two port areas on an LG TV. Many TVs offer ports nearer the side as well, for the sake of easy access.

As nearly all TVs are “smart” (using internet connectivity for browsing, streaming, gaming, and so on), you need a network connection. The majority have both hardwired ethernet and Wi-Fi, but it pays to check.

Bluetooth can be used for peripherals and remotes, but implementations vary. Note that even low-latency Bluetooth has a lag of 40 milliseconds, so while you can connect Bluetooth speakers and/or headphones, you’ll notice a time lapse between lip movements and words. HDMI ARC/eARC, optical, or analog audio outputs are preferable for listening along with video. 

Apps and IQ: Just how “smart” your TV is depends greatly on which operating system it uses. Sony, and some Hisense models, use Android TV; LG uses WebOS, although it also offers the Roku OS to compete with budget-builder TCL; Samsung uses its own proprietary OS. (To give credit where credit is due, all of those operating systems are based on Linux.)

Most of the recent TV operating systems support one or another of the popular digital assistants: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby, and so on. If they don’t recognize speech natively (via a mic in the remote), you can usually control them with a smart speaker (Amazon Echo, Google Home, or the like). 

The number and type of apps available varies wildly from one smart TV to the next, with some providing just the essentials for local and networked media playback and browsing, with others support the biggest streaming services (e.g., Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, et al). Smart TVs based on Android TV and Roku tend to have the broadest ecosystems. If there’s something special you’re looking for—HBO Max or Showtime, for instance—make sure it’s there to be had.

At least one IDG employee found Sony’s integrated channel guide to be a key attraction. Some TVs lack this simple, but very handy feature (LG has a strong guide, too). Channel guides are particularly useful for cord-cutters who take advantage of over-the-air television broadcasts.

Smart TV remote control and user interface

While picture quality is king of the shopping criteria, the synergy and efficiency of the remote and user interface (how quickly they get you from point A to point B) can have a great impact on how much you enjoy your TV.

All the operating systems are attractive, but after having lived with them all non-stop for the last few years, I can honestly say that Roku gets my vote as easiest, followed by LG’s WebOS, Android TV, and then Samsung’s Smart Hub. And I rate Roku number one despite Roku not supporting Bluetooth audio gear in favor of their own proprietary stuff—a marketing-driven decision I truly despise. 

LG’s Magic Remote and interface use a free-moving cursor (the pink plectrum) so you don’t need to step through lists to select things. It’s an absolute joy to use.

As far as the remotes on their own, LG’s Magic Remote is the gold standard, with an honorable mention to the Roku remote. I love the look and feel of Samsung’s One Remote and its clever rocker channel and volume buttons, but too many common functions are off-loaded to the onscreen interface. It requires a lot more clicks than the others.

Energy consumption: You know those yellow stickers on the TVs that estimate yearly power consumption? Unless you adjust your set to ECO mode or something similar (which hardly anyone does, because you won’t get the best picture quality), those stats are pure fantasy. Note that 4K UHD sets use more power than 1080p sets, and 8K UHD sets use more power than 4K UHD sets, though not as much more as you might think. 

Everything else: There are a few other factors you’ll want to consider, ranging from I/O breakout boxes, to bezel thickness, to the stand and what it will fit on, to how the TV looks mounted on the wall. But you should shop image first, and then worry about the bells and whistles.

Tips for testing TV picture quality

While I’ve described the features you should look for in a TV, as I said before, image quality is the biggest part of the equation, and that you largely judge with your eyes. That said, there are some handy, cheap, color- and brightness-measuring apps for smartphones these days. Even if they’re not 100-percent accurate, you can compare the results to spot differences.

The questions you should be asking yourself when you judge are:

  • How accurate is the color? Are reds orangish? Is there too much yellow in the green?
  • Is there good contrast between light and dark when next to each other?
  • Do details in dark areas stand out?
  • Are the blacks black, or charcoal gray?
  • How bright are the brightest spots?
  • Is there banding in subtle color transitions, such as sky shots?
  • Is there bleeding from the backlight in dark areas?
  • Is there blooming around bright objects on dark backgrounds? (Some is normal and is created by the fluid in your eyes)
  • Are motion scenes jerky? (Judder)
  • While being panned or moved, do detailed areas shimmer or create ugly patterns? (Shimmer, moiré)
  • Are there cloudy areas on a white screen?

I’m sorry to say it, but even the best TVs will have issues—just fewer of them and less severe. The closest I’ve seen to perfect processing came courtesy of Samsung’s Q900 8K UHD smart TV. As I’ve already said, having all those extra pixels and subpixels to play with apparently helps. 

Again, you’ll also appreciate a 120Hz hardware refresh rate if you can afford it, as well as a faster processor. Vendors are loathe to discuss CPU details, though the better it is, the fancier or higher-ranking the name will be. You can safely assume that the more expensive the TV from a given vendor, the better the image processing will be.

One issue you’ll run into when shopping (unless you’re just going by online reviews and opinions) is that most of the on-TV demos you’ll see running are designed to make that particular TV look good. Or, at the very least—not make it look bad. To accurately assess a TV’s capabilities, you might bring your own material on a USB stick. (It’s what I do.) What material is that? 

For your convenience, we’ve placed several screens for you to download below (right-click on each rectangle and save it as a picture).

Use pure red, green, and blue to test color accuracy.

Reds should not appear orangish, or pinkish.

Look for too much yellow in the greens.

LED backlights are heavily skewed towards the blue range of the spectrum, so most TVs will do well on this test. This image should not be tinged with any green. 

Blues are nearly always pretty accurate, but look for greens with too much yellow, and reds that are orangish rather than pure red. The black with a dark gray rectangle will reveal light leakage. (The gray is to keep the TV from shutting off the backlight completely.)

The dark gray rectangle in the center of this otherwise black image should force the TV to keep its backlight on, so you can pick out light leakage. 

The white image below (it’s there, right-click) allows you to look for uneven coatings and dark spots where the backlight coverage is spotty. You’ll most often see that in the corners.

Use this solid white image to look for cloudiness or dark areas in corners. You will see some with nearly all LED-backlit LCD TVs, but it should be minimal.

You can search the web for 4K UHD HDR demos, and finding suitable ones, load them on your USB stick. Sony’s Contrast Demos are particularly useful to test blacks and backlighting. Beyond that, highly detailed scenes such as cityscapes, fine patterns, and forest scenes are handy for spotting shimmer and moiré. Quick pans over large patterns and car chases can be good for spotting jerky motion.

YouTube is also a good source for HDR, 4K UHD, and even 8K UHD content to test TVs with. It’s often highly compressed, but generally indicative. There are even “zone counters” for counting the number of zones in the array backlighting. Watch the small white block move along the edge of a black screen and each time it dims (or brightens—your choice) it has traveled over a new zone.

If you really want to go to town, you can buy the Spears & Munsil test disc, though obviously that will require an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc player.

For an even deeper dive into TV terminology, don’t miss our four-part series: TV tech terms demystified

KP top 10 rating

KP top 10 rating

1. Samsung QE55Q9FNA

Samsung QE55Q9FNA. Photo: Samsung

This model is brighter and more colorful than the “big brother” of last year. But there are some peculiarities: local dimming, rather than side-lit LED lighting, makes the picture brighter and more colorful.

Plus, you can add technologies such as HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax, which Samsung considers the latest in high dynamic range display.

Pros and cons

Breathtaking HDR picture quality, balanced sound

Limited viewing angles

2. LG OLED55C8

LG OLED55C8. Photo: LG

The model is available in both 55 and 65-inch versions. A good picture, an extensive feature set, an attractive design, but most importantly, an impressive intelligent platform.

Pros and cons

Superior image quality, powerful intelligent platform

No HDR10+ support


Samsung QE65Q900RAU

Samsung QE65Q900RAU. Photo: Samsung

Most providers are just getting started with 4K, and Samsung has already unveiled the world’s first true 8K TV. Thus ushered in a new era of TV picture quality.

But it’s important to consider that this is a TV for the future – given the lack of real 8K content today.

Pros and cons

8K support, incredible brightness and color reproduction

4. Sony KD-55AF9

Sony KD-55AF9. Photo: Sony

Sony OLED TV is packed with all sorts of innovations. For example, Pixel Contrast Booster technology improves contrast and delivers impressive brightness. Thanks to the Acoustic Surface Audio+ function, the sound is reproduced from different points, just like in a concert hall. And Triluminos Display technology is capable of reproducing a wide gamut of vibrant colors for more realistic tones and hues on screen.

Pros and cons

Great sound system, smart Android Oreo platform

High power consumption



LG OLED55E8. Photo: LG

In addition to its ultra-slim design, it features Dolby Atmos for powerful, moving sound, and Dolby Vision for crisp images. The TV supports most HDR formats, including Technicolor’s Advanced HDR, HDR10 Pro, and HLG Pro.

A α9 Intelligent Processor(Alpha9) optimized specifically for LG OLED TVs. With it, the image becomes more detailed and saturated.

Pros and cons

Excellent operating system, beautiful design

Not the brightest

6. Samsung QE55Q9FNA

Samsung QE55Q9FNA. Photo: Samsung

Although the Q8FN is clearly inferior to the Samsung Q9FN, it’s still a fantastic TV. Bright, colorful and ultra-sharp.

It’s worth noting that this is an HDR TV, as its direct lighting system is capable of generating a whopping 2,100 filaments of light from a 10% HDR window.

Pros and cons

Extremely bright HDR picture, good Smart TV system

Limited viewing angles


Sony KD-75XF9005

Sony KD-75XF9005. Photo: Sony

The model stands out with superb 4K image clarity, powerful SDR to HDR remastering and smooth direct LED backlighting. Other pluses are the amazing vibrancy of its wide color gamut panel and decent HDR.

Pros and cons

Excellent image quality, elegant design

8. TCL L55P6US

TCL L55P6US. Photo: TCL

In addition to the attractive price, TCL L55P6US stands out for its excellent support for 4K images. A high-performance 64-bit processor is responsible for its processing, which automatically analyzes and converts the picture and sound. And the video image standard allows you to view movies and computer graphics at a resolution of 3840 × 2160.

Pros and cons

Bright, colorful HDR, price

Limited settings


LG OLED65W7V. Photo: LG

The LG OLED65W7V blends seamlessly into the wall with its seamless mounting and slim bezels. The device is equipped with a soundbar, which can be installed separately from the display. The webOS operating system adapts to the user’s preferences and offers him the most interesting content on the Internet.

In addition, the TV can share high-quality multimedia with other devices that support WiDi, DLNA and Miracast.

Pros and cons

Beautiful colors, design

10. Samsung QE55Q7FNA

Samsung QE55Q7FNA. Photo: Samsung

The Samsung Q7FN QLED TV has everything that makes the Q9FN the best in its class: its quantum dots help to create a color, but not oversaturated image, and dimming is just good. However, limited viewing angles are still a problem, and motion handling isn’t as good as on the similarly priced X900F BRAVIA.

But overall, the Q7FN is a good compromise between price and performance: a bright screen, HDR, and incredibly accurate colors.

Pros and cons

Bright screen, excellent for daytime viewing

Limited viewing angles

How to choose a TV for digital TV

The best TVs for digital TV come from many manufacturers. Sometimes it is very difficult to choose exactly what you need. We tell you what you need to pay attention to when choosing the best TV for digital TV in 2023.

Ignore most specifications

Typically, vendors and manufacturers literally bombard the user with confusing terms and numbers in an attempt to get them to buy the more expensive version. Much of this information can simply be ignored.

First determine the size and weight of the device. Next, look at HDR, Smart TV and a handy remote control. The set of other functions and parameters, most likely, will be approximately the same for all TVs for digital television in the same price category.

Bigger is better

Our recommendation is a screen size of at least 40 inches for the bedroom and at least 55 inches for the living room. Nobody ever complains their TV is too big. But the complaint that the screen is too small is a very common one.

4K and HDR

4K TVs, also known as UHD (Ultra High Definition) TVs, have four times the pixels of standard 1080p TVs. It sounds like a big improvement, but at first glance it’s very hard to tell the difference between a 4K TV and a good old-fashioned HDTV.

Most 4K TVs this year also have HDR compatibility. HDR provides better contrast and color, so unlike 4K, it’s likely you can actually see an improvement over regular HDTV.

What is the result? All the best 4K TVs are HDR TVs. If a user buys a medium or larger TV, they will probably get 4K anyway, and most likely with HDR as well.

How to choose the best TV for gaming

Game consoles • TVs

11 years ago

by Gooosha

What characteristics should a modern TV bought as a display for game consoles have. Several models are presented, the image quality of which fully meets the requirements imposed on them by gamers.

Looking for a good gaming TV but don’t know which one to choose? Then this article is for you. When it comes to buying a TV, most people think the bigger the screen, the better. However, choosing a large TV isn’t easy if you’re going to be using it for video games. If you’re buying a cheap flat screen for gaming, the picture may be blurry and fuzzy in fast action games like Call of Duty.

Choosing a TV for gaming: LED, LCD or plasma TV?

There are two main types of displays when choosing a TV for gaming – LCD/LED and plasma.
LCD TVs are the most common today. LED simply adds direct and angled backlighting to an LCD TV. Thanks to LED backlighting, LED TVs have better contrast than LCD TVs. Also, LED TVs are equipped with modern features that can be useful during gameplay, such as 100MHz modes.

Plasma TVs offer smoother motion than most LCD and LED TVs. Although expensive LCD TVs with a 200 MHz panel are almost as good at reproducing smooth motion on the screen as plasma ones.

Image blur and clarity

If you plan to use your TV for gaming, it should have good image sharpness with minimal blur. This is where finding the best TV for gaming gets a little tricky. LCD and LED TVs can produce crisp images that make video games look better, but fast-paced action games like Call of Duty tend to get blurry.

The picture quality of plasma TVs is not as crisp as LCD and LED TVs, but plasma cells respond much faster during fast-paced scenes. As a result, you won’t see motion blur when playing on a plasma TV. So when you’re looking for a good TV for gaming, you’ll have to decide whether you want a TV with a sharper picture or a TV without motion blur.
If you want a clearer picture, then take an LCD or LED TV. If you don’t like blurry images when playing games, a plasma TV is your best bet. The best TV for gaming is the one that gives you a sharp picture and minimal blur during gameplay.

The best TVs for video games

According to professional gamers, there are four gaming TVs on the market today: Philips 58PFL9955H, Samsung UE55D8000, Panasonic TX-L32X20B, and Sony Bravia KDL-40NX703. These models have sharp images, high contrast levels, and minimal blurring in fast-paced video games.