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The Best TVs of 2019

Last updated on April 22, 2019 

The envelope please...

Remember the huge leap forward from flip-phones to iPhones in 2007? Well, it’s the same all over again, but this time with TVs… and the new ones are game-changers.

Two big differences: 1) Unlike smart phones, TVs have come down in price, and drastically so, making today’s amazing new TV technology affordable for all, and 2) Of the many TV manufacturers out there, three clearly rise above: LG, Sony, and Samsung. (“The Big Three.”)

Each brand offers models that excel in certain areas (e.g. “this one’s best in a bright room” or “this one sounds best right out of the box”), but bottom line? Though it’s pretty hard to buy anything short of a wonderful TV from one of the Big Three, you can still hone your choice based on your own personal taste, your particular room, and what you like to watch. And that’s what this is all about: our experts picking the best of the best – by category.

(Psssst… before diving in, you can get up to speed with our new “TV Buying Guide.” It’s very consumer friendly and offers a fair lay of the land.)

1. The Best Budget TV on the Planet Right Now.

The Samsung NU8000. And yes, we’re positive.

Samsung NU8000 TV

Brand & model: Samsung  NU8000
Sizes available: 55”65”82”
Reg. Price: Starts at $1,449.99
Key features: 4K Ultra HD / HDR 10+ • Edge-Lit LED • Smart TV • Wi-Fi • Bluetooth Headset Support • 4 HDMI Ports • 2 USB Ports

Our case

As of this writing, you can buy a brand new Samsung 49-inch 4K/HDR LED TV for less than a grand. Even better: the 82-inch version of the same thing is currently going for less than four grand. And to understand just how big an 82-inch TV really is, go grab a tape measure, pull out 82 inches, and place it diagonally against your wall. (WOW, right? Especially at this price point.)

The big story here: Samsung’s new NU8000 series TVs – all 4K / HDR and loaded with smart features – may just be the TV industry’s biggest bargain ever. One reason: Samsung’s NU8000 TVs use edge-lit LED picture technology, which costs less to produce than back-lit LED picture technology. And though backlit LED TVs are, technically, superior (better blacks, more uniform illumination), this is still a fabulous picture for the money. (We should add: edge-lit TVs are typically thinner than fully backlit LED TVs.)

Had we included a “Best Man Cave TV for the money,” the 82-inch version would have won that, too. Hands-down.

What else?

Download Samsung’s “SmartThings” app, and you can use your TV as a hub to monitor all your connected devices. Check the baby, see what’s in the fridge, get notified when the wash is done, even summon Samsung’s robot POWERbot® Robot Vacuum to clean up.

All Samsung NU8000 TVs come with “Bixby,” Samsung’s intelligent voice assistant, so you can talk to your TV or your remote and tell Bixby what you want to watch.

2. The Most Beautiful TV. (Even when it’s off.)

The Frame TV by Samsung.

Samsung Frame TV

Brand & model: Samsung The Frame TV
Sizes available: 43” 
• 55”  65”   
Reg. Price: Starts at $1,699
Key features: 4K Ultra HD HDR • LED • Smart TV with Bixby Voice • Wi-Fi • Bluetooth •  4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports • No gap wall mount • Custom floorstanding easel optional •  Select from 100 different fine art choices in 10 categories • Frame options available

Our case

Samsung’s Frame TV doesn’t just resemble real framed artwork, it’s virtually indistinguishable from real framed artwork. To do it, the Frame TV uses sensors to detect ambient light, and then automatically adjusts the display to reflect what real art would look like under the same conditions. The result is persuasive – so much so that textures appear tactile, fooling even seasoned artists from across the room. Bottom line: this isn’t a gimmick – this is next level stuff.

You can choose one of three layout options: Shadow Box, Modern or No Matte. From there, select any fine art you’d like to display, or your own art or photos if you prefer. Samsung even offers an art easel as an optional way to display your TV, as well as additional frame bezels if you want to swap out the charcoal gray frame it comes with (available for 43", 55", and 65" models). The end effect is totally convincing.

As for the Frame TV’s technical prowess, you get over 1 billion colors, 4K UHD resolution, and a deeper High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture than most other TVs at this price point. Plus, it comes with a quad-core processor for apps, games, web browsing, mobile-to-TV mirroring, and voice control. And in the latest model includes Samsung's voice assistant, Bixby, so you can control everything by simply telling it what to do.

For more info (like where do the wires go?), check out our review: The Samsung Frame TV: Part Art, Part Television.

What else?

Samsung’s No Gap Wall Mount (which ships with the TV) sits almost flush to the wall, hugging it just like a frame. (Our installation experts say customers love this.) Even with the wall mount, the TV does allow for slight tilting (downward, top to bottom, and 6° left or right) for optimal viewing. Meaning: you can center your Renoir during parties, and then tilt the Knicks game towards your favorite chair when everyone’s gone.

LED Samsung TVs come with a separate media box, so all of you DIYers out there can easily mount The Frame to the wall. Your TV, sound bar, etc., all plug into the media box, leaving you with a clean setup.

3. The Best Bang For Your Buck TV.

LG brings it with the OLED C8. Big time.

LG OLED C8 TV

Brand & modelLG OLED C8 
Sizes available: 55”  65" 77"     
Reg. Price: Starts at $2,999.99
Key features: 4K Ultra HD / HDR • OLED • Smart TV • Wi-Fi • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports • Slim wall mount

Our case

There’s no debating the best picture technology: it’s OLED. (See our TV Buying Guide re: LED vs. OLED.) The only drawback: Although OLEDs deliver the best picture possible, they are pricier. The good news: LG offers the world an OLED 4K UHD / HDR Smart TV with its C8 series, which replaces last year’s C7 model. (And in case you missed it, Consumer Reports rated the C7 “among the best TVs we’ve tested so far in 2017… with an excellent high-definition picture, excellent UHD performance, and excellent sound.” The C7 also shared the #2 spot with Sony's A1E, which costs $800 more.)

So what’s different about the C8? In addition to the favorite standouts everyone loved about the C7 (perfect black, active High Dynamic Range, and Dolby Vision) here are some callouts, in a nutshell:

  • Better picture quality (higher contrast, clarity, and color), thanks to LG’s new A9 processor

  • 4K cinema and Dolby Atmos support

  • Updated Smart features. The C8 (along with other LG OLED TVs) now feature artificial intelligence built-in. With just a hit of a button on the remote, you can use voice commands to go from watching "Game of Thrones" to "Jessica Jones," adjust the volume, and control smart home devices.

What else?

OLED TVs look great from any angle, and this one from LG also lets you zoom in on scenes via the remote.

4. The Best TV for Sunny / Bright Rooms. (A tie.)

Sony XBR Z9F TV

Brand & model: Sony XBR-Z9F 
Sizes available: 65”75”
Reg. Price: Starts at $3,498
Key features: LCD Display • 4K HDR • Android TV • X1 Ultimate Picture Processor • X-Wide Angle  Direct LED Backlight • Local Dimming  Wi-Fi • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports

Our case

The press loved Sony’s X900E series TVs (2017's models), with one caveat: some found it too dim overall. So Sony did some re-tooling, and their new MASTER series = the results. The biggest change: Sony incorporated their X1 Ultimate Picture Processor and added a new picture technology to ensure an incredible, vibrant view of the action from every angle in the room.

The biggest reason we chose the Z9F for “best in a bright room": Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range PRO technology, which delivers up to 12x’s the contrast of most LED TVs. When watching a film like The Dark Knight, everything was significantly brighter, sharper and more vivid, making it an ideal choice for Florida rooms, sunny rooms, operating rooms – any bright room really.

What else?

  • All Sony Z9F TVs come with Google’s Voice Assistant built-in, as well as the Android Smart TV app. If Alexa’s more your type, she’ll work with the Z9F, too. Simply connect any Alexa-enabled device to your TV, and you’ll be changing channels, adjusting the volume, and more with simple voice commands in no time.

  • Everyone in the room is guaranteed to have a great view of the action, thanks to Sony’s wide angle technology.

  • The Z9F is beautifully narrow to keep your focus on what’s on screen, but it does have unusually big feet. Some may find them a bit much, but if you're not mounting the TV on the wall, the feet do leave room for a nice sound bar. (And make it look like the TV is walking towards you, or asking for a hug.)

Samsung Q90R

Brand & Model: Samsung Q90R
Sizes available65"• 75"• 82"
Reg. Price: Starts at $3497.99

Key features: 4K Ultra HD / HDR • QLED • Smart TV • Wi-Fi • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports• 3 "One Connect" Box

Our case

Lest anyone think Samsung is now all about 8K after their surprise unveiling at this year’s CES, check out their new and improved Q90R / 4K lineup. And by “improved,” we’re highlighting one advancement that’s fairly newsworthy, given it fixes the one drawback associated with all-things LCD: poor viewing angles. In short: an LCD TV is great if you’re sitting directly in front of it… but off to the side, not so much. Samsung solves that issue with the Q90R, which now affords viewing angles in excess of 60 degrees – while maintaining vivid color and contrast. 

To be clear, Samsung’s QLED technology requires LED backlighting, versus OLED technology where every single pixel emits its own light. So though QLED can never truly equal OLED, the Q90R series is still worth a look. It costs less than similarly featured OLED TVs, it’s gorgeous, (Samsung’s “One Connect Box” houses and hides power and port connections) and with or without an OLED nearby for comparison, the picture is full-bodied and incredibly bright – with remarkable detail. Kudos to Samsung for not resting on their laurels. 

What else? 

  • For those who still prefer old-fashioned / uncomplicated remotes, Samsung’s old-school approach will make your day. 
  • Samsung’s Bixby 2.0 voice control platform comes built-in with a robust AI. But if you prefer Alexa and/or Google Assistant, the Q90R line works with both. (Unlike last years models.) 
  • Samsung’s own “Smart Things” platform let’s you control any number of smart devices via the remote, or by voice. 

5. The Coolest / So-Thin-It’s-Hard-To-Believe TV.

LG OLED Wallpaper TV. A few credit cards thin. Like hanging a 3mm decal.

LG Wallpaper TV

Brand & Model: LG OLED W8 
Sizes available:  65”  77"   
Reg. Price: Call for pricing (available in-store only)
Key features:  4K Ultra HD / HDR • OLED • Smart TV • Wi-Fi • 4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports • Magnet flush-to-the-wall mounting system

Our case

Give it to the marketing folks, they got it right with the name “Wallpaper TV.” With its freaky thin profile (think sticker, or wall decal), The Wallpaper TV is an optical illusion come to life, literally appearing to be part of the wall when attached with its 4 small magnets. Bottom line: If you want stunning — something equally at home in a modern art exhibit — you cannot do better than The Wallpaper TV.

Add to its amazing design, the Wallpaper TV is a full-on 4K HDR OLED TV, which at 65 inches = a breathtaking picture, and no sacrificing function for form. The W8 model (which builds upon last year's W7) features LG's latest A9 processor, which means even better picture quality than ever before. So if you’re the type who hates the look of any TV, oh happy day – this is the one you want.

What else?

Where do the wires go? And the controls, and the inputs, and outputs? And where do speakers go? Read about LG’s ingenious workaround right here in our LG Wallpaper TV review.

6. The Best TV for Both Picture and Sound Quality (Out of the Box).

Sony XBR-A9F Series, which brings the magic.

Sony A9F TV

Brand & model: Sony OLED XBR-A9F
Sizes available:   55” •  65”
Reg. Price: Starts at $3,498
Key features: OLED 4K UHD / HDR •  X1 Ultimate Picture Processor • Dolby Vision  • Android TV • Wi-Fi • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Inputs • 3 USB Inputs • Acoustic Surface Audio 

Our case

Any time Sony adds that “XBR” prefix to one of their TVs, heads turn and the industry takes note, us included. (Maybe XBR = Xtra Big-Time Remarkable?) Last year, the XBR A1E won our “best-sounding-out-of-the-box” award, and we should note: Many respected tech reviewers put the XBR-A1E at the very top of their “best picture” list as well.

The XBR-A9F is part of Sony’s MASTER Series line (just like the Sony Z9F above), and it comes with a few new incredible bells and whistles. The most noteworthy: Sony’s highly-anticipated X1 Ultimate picture processor and pixel contrast booster for a picture that is even more vibrant, rich, and lifelike than ever before. And you can read all about Sony’s ingenious picture processing tech, or how Sony takes HDR to new levels, but this award is for sound, so let’s talk sound.

Truth is, the speakers that came in our 1990s boxy tube sets and consoles were better because they were bigger. You can’t really fit a decent speaker inside what’s essentially a pane of glass – an incredibly slim OLED TV. But Sony did just that, by turning the entire picture screen into an acoustic surface, so the entire screen – whether 55 or 65 inches – IS the speaker. And surprise: it packs a punch and sounds awesome. Does it replace real theater surround sound? No. Is it better than a high-end sound bar? Not quite. But if you’re really pressed for space and have no room for extra gear or speakers, boom, the Sony XBR-A9F wins.

What else?

We gave ourselves one rule: we wouldn’t say any one TV is “the” best TV of all. But if pressed and asked “which TV would we take home for ourselves?,” it might just be this one for the great OLED picture and sound. No, the Sony A9F can’t morph into a gorgeous framed painting or photo like Samsung’s Frame TV, and no, it can’t match LG’s knock-your-socks-off, coolest design Wallpaper TV, but in every other respect… Sony’s A9F rocks. Not to mention, the 65-inch A9F took home the "King of TV" award in this year's Value Electronic's annual TV shootout. Pretty cool.

On a budget? Check out Sony’s XBR-A8F, which has the same technology as the A1E, comes with a stand and mounting arrangement similar to the A9F (takes up less space), but starts at only $2,999 for the 55-inch model.

7. The Best Sounding TV (Out of the Box).

The Sony XBRX950G. A TV only Sony could build.

Sony xbr65x950g tv

Brand & model: Sony XBR65X950G Series.
Sizes available: 55”65”75” • 85”
Price Range: Starts at $1,398
Quick Overview: 4k / HDR / Ultra HD • X1 Ultimate processor • LED • Smart TV • WIFI • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports • HDCP2.2
 

Our case

The X950G is not your everyday 4K / Ultra HD / Smart TV, not by a long shot. We saw it introduced at CES 2019 and we came away once again reminded: no one innovates like Sony. For one, it’s a monster –  the 65-inch version is thicker than most other flatscreens and weighs a little over 100 pounds with its feet attached. But there’s good reason: Sony filled it with quality speakers, including three on each side: an 18mm tweeter, an 80mm magnetic fluid midrange and an 80mm subwoofer. The result: audio every bit as good as most soundbars, but neatly hidden away. 

As for picture quality, Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor is considered the industry’s best, and Sony improves on LCD viewing angles with a VA panel and X-Wide Angle technology. Color and detail are exceptional, and the X950G does everything any good, fully featured smart TV will do – and then some. True, the X950G isn’t equal to Sony’s highest-end OLED TVs, but it’s still miles ahead of other LCDs at the same price point. For more, hit our product page for a full list of specs and capabilities.

What else?

  • Look close, and you’ll find a Skype-ready camera hidden in the upper left corner – a great idea conference rooms, boardrooms, and chats with Nana and Pop-Pop.
  • Works with both Alexa and Google Assistant. 
  • IMAX Enhanced Mode, the X950G replicates the high-quality color and clarity of IMAX content. In Netflix Calibrated Mode, the X950G faithfully reproduces Netflix original content with the same studio quality as the Netflix studio master.

8. The Best Is-This-Real-Life 8K TV.

The Samsung 85” Class Q900R with an industry first.

samsung 8K TV

Brand & model: Samsung QN85Q900R
Sizes available: 85”
Reg. Price: $14,997.99
Key features: 8K HDR • 8K AI upscaling • QLED • Quantum Processor 8K •  Smart TV • Wi-Fi • 100% color volume • Ambient Mode • Dolby Digital Plus • Bixby voice technology • HDMI connectivity • 1 ARC

Our case

We saw it at CES 2019, and like everyone – we were immediately and sufficiently blown away.

And no, that’s not a typo in the headline, this is an actual, bona-fide 8K TV from Samsung. The new Q900 is big, 85-inches big and with a big price to match ($15K). And 8K means it comes with 33 million independent pixels, or 4 times more pixels than 4K.

But wait a minute… is 8K content even available? Excellent question and the answer is no, not yet, but 8K is indeed coming. So, why buy one now? In short: Samsung’s 8K Quantum processor uses artificial intelligence to remaster and upscale HD and 4K content to 8K content by adding high-quality pixels that look like they’re part of the original picture. (See our Q900 review for details.) The result: HD and 4K content on the Samsung Q900 is remarkably better / brighter / crisper. Think “4K on steroids.”

For the moment, Samsung’s Q900 is the most future-proofed, smart TV in the world at any price. Which makes it a smart investment, given 8K content providers are already hard at work.

What else?

Three things: 1) Samsung’s HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology now offers a maximum brightness 10X higher than even Samsung’s own conventional 4K TVs. 2) The Q900’s QLED 8K processor analyzes every audio channel in real time as a way to optimize sound and punch up pin-drop-like subtleties – even in sonic chaos. And 3) does an 85-inch / 8K screen (that’s incredibly bright and beautiful) usurp the need for a projector and screen? Hmmm. (And can you imagine “Battlefield 1” or “Alien Isolation” on this thing???)

P.S. For now, the 85-inch version is the only size available in the U.S. Abroad, other sizes are available.

Check out our full review, here!

9. The Best 4k TV Under $1,000: Samsung’s RU8000 Series 55inch TV

And... The Best 65 Inch TV Under $1,500: Samsung’s RU8000 65Inch 4K TV

Samsung UN65RU8000

Brand & model: UN65RU8000 Series / QLED 4K TV.
Sizes available: 55”65”75”82”
Price Range: Starts at $997.99
Quick Overview: 4k / HDR / Ultra HD • LED • Smart TV • WIFI • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 2 USB Ports 

Our case

So you want a quality bedroom TV for visiting in-laws at a great price. Or you just want to play Battlefield V on a TV big enough to handle the entire Western Front. Or you want to impress clients with a state-of-the-art flatscreen in the office conference room. All good reasons to check out Samsung's RU8000 series for 2019, a line of fully featured 4k / UHD TVs that do it all (in four sizes: 55, 65 , 75, and 82 inches) – and at a price that’s “fell-off-the-truck” low. (Check it out. And keep in mind, this is Samsung – not Vizio. Big difference.) 

Samsung gets more out of backlit LED / LCD picture technology than anyone, and though this model isn’t QLED, Samsung’s 4k / UHD processor keeps even the fastest moving content from tearing and stuttering. Color is rich, and vibrant, blacks are excellent, and the RU8000 comes ready to connect to your Alexa-enabled devices… so you can change channels, lower the volume and more by simply asking. 

What else? 

  • We love the minimal design: 99.9% picture with only a very thin black bezeled edge. 
  • Tired of too many remotes? Use your phone. And control all your smart devices with the built-in dashboard. 
  • The RU8000 will soon support AirPlay 2 and the Apple iTunes app in an upcoming firmware update. 
  • Just for gamers: excellent low input lag, auto low latency, and motion interpolation in gaming mode. 

One more thing...

Once you pick out your TV, a last word of advice: buy it from a trusted dealer, and the more experience / longer the track record, the better. A good dealer will take care of you in the event anything happens.

Speaking of trusted dealers…

World Wide Stereo is home to some 90+ industry-leading audio/video professionals who love what they do, and talking about it,too. We opened our doors in 1979, gained a small yet diehard following, won a slew of national awards for everything from killer car audio installations to customer service, grew the business online… and today we enjoy a faithful following of like-minded TV-watching, music-listening, gear-loving defenders of fun for the whole family. Our only rule: no one leaves unhappy. We’re brutally honest when it come to this stuff. Want to know if something is as good as advertised? Even if you're shopping somewhere else? Call us or stop by one of our showrooms — we’ll give it to you straight. We love what we do, and we love sharing that love.

With us, you get our guarantee, which includes perks like free shipping, 60-day returns, and support even years after the sale — always. Hence our rule: "no one leaves unhappy." Ever. 

1 Comment

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  • CB

    The comparison of the Sony Z9F to the Samsung Q9FN didn’t include wide angle comparison and therefore did not adequately address the weakness and modern strengths of these LCD TVs. The Sony Z9F performs so well on wide angle viewing, relatively speaking, it breaks the tie with the Q9FN.

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