The Best TVs of 2019
Last updated on August 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 smartphones, 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.)
Best TVs featured in this roundup: 1. Best Budget TV: Samsung RU8000 2. Most Beautiful TV: Samsung The Frame 3. Best Bang for Your Buck TV: LG OLED C9 4. Best TVs for Sunny/Bright Rooms: Sony Z9F & Samsung Q90R 5. Coolest TV: LG W9 Wallpaper 6. Best TV for Both Picture and Sound Quality: Sony A9G 7. Best Sounding TV: Sony XBRX950G 8. Best "Is-This-Real-Life" TV: Samsung 8K Q900R 9. The Best Hidden TV: The LG R9 Rollable TV
Brand & model: UN65RU8000 Series / QLED 4K TV.
Sizes available: 55” • 65” • 75” • 82”
Price Range: Starts at $797.99
Quick Overview: 4k / HDR / Ultra HD • LED • Smart TV • WIFI • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 2 USB Ports
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.
- 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.
2. The Most Beautiful TV. (Even when it’s off.)
Sizes available: 43"• 49”• 55” • 65”
Reg. Price: Starts at $1,197.99
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, choose 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, and you can swap out the charcoal gray frame it comes with for white, black, or a light brown or dark brown wood finish. The end effect is totally convincing.
As for technical prowess, the 2019 version of the Frame TV now features Samsung’s QLED panel technology which offers a deeper, more vibrant High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture. (QLED is short for “Quantum Dot LED” – not the same as OLED.) And like everything in this price range, the Frame TV is loaded with smart features, including a quad-core processor for apps, games, web browsing, mobile-to-TV mirroring and voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Samsung’s own “Bixby”voice helper.
more info (like where do the wires go?) check our latest blog post on the Frame
TV right here.
Samsung’s No Gap Wall Mount (which ships with the TV) allows for slight tilting (downward, top to bottom, and/or 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.
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.
Brand & model: LG OLED C9
Sizes available: 55” • 65"• 77"
Reg. Price: Starts at $2,196.99
Key features: 4K Ultra HD / HDR • OLED • Smart TV • Wi-Fi • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports • HDMI 2.1 • Slim wall mount
There’s no debating the best picture technology: it’s OLED. (See our TV Buying Guide, re: LED vs. OLED.) The only drawback: OLEDs are pricey. The good news - LG offers the world an OLED 4k, UHD / HDR Smart TV with its “C” series that, according to Consumer Reports, is “among the best TVs we’ve tested so far… with an excellent high-definition picture, excellent UHD performance, and excellent sound.” (Last year’s C8 model shared the #2 spot with Sony's A1E, which costs upwards of $800 more.)
For 2019 and its newest C9 series, LG includes a full spec HDMI 2.1 connection – an industry first – and something many big screen / 4K gamers have been begging for. For the rest of us, especially those who don’t like fiddling with remotes, the new C9 incorporates AI (artificial intelligence) on everything, including picture processing. Add to that: perfect black, Active HDR with Dolby Vision, WISA wireless speaker compatibility, and our experts were totally unanimous: LG’s C9 is, without question, the best picture vs. money compromise, or the “best-bang-for-your-buck.”
OLED TVs look great from any angle, and this one from LG also lets you zoom in on scenes via the remote. LG also slimmed down the stand on the C9.
4. The Best TV for Sunny / Bright Rooms. (A tie.)
Sizes available: 65” • 75”
Reg. Price: Starts at $2,998
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
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.
- 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.)
Key features: 4K Ultra HD / HDR • QLED • Smart TV • Wi-Fi • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports• 3 "One Connect" Box
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.
- 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.
Brand & Model: LG OLED W9
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 • eARC (HDMI 2) • 3 USB Ports • Magnet flush-to-the-wall mounting system
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.
2019 marks the Wallpaper TV’s third iteration, with the biggest improvement coming by way of LG’s Alpha 9 Gen 2 Processor, which LG calls “the best AI processor ever put inside a TV.” Sony might have something to say about that, but three things are indeed true. 1) LG’s Gen 2 processor allows for a litany of advanced features not available on past Wallpaper TVs, not to mention a better picture and better sound. 2) LG promises HDMI 2.1 is soon to arrive (maybe even by the time this article is published). And 3) like the first Wallpaper TV, the 2019 version is a full-on 4k / HDR / OLED TV, which at 65 or 77 inches = a best-case-scenario picture. (Every single pixel in an 8,294,000 pixel OLED TV is a tiny independent TV unto itself, where no pixels bleed or spill over into other pixels.)
If you’re the type who loves TV but hates the look of any TV, oh happy day. And if you’re wondering: where do the wires go? And the controls, and the inputs and outputs? And what about speakers? Read about LG’s ingenious workaround right here in our review.
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).
Brand & model: Sony OLED XBR-A9G
Sizes available: 55” • 65”
Reg. Price: Starts at $2,798
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
Sony’s Master Series A9G was all the talk at this year’s CES, winning a CES Editor’s Choice Award as well as “Best of CES 2019” according to AVS Forum. No doubt: this is a magnificent television and not all that different from last year’s version. (“If it ain’t broke…”) That said, the 2019 A9G is a bit thinner and now stands at a perfect 90 degrees, no longer tilting back. Everything else remains best-in-class, or what you’d expect from an ultra-premium OLED TV. And yes, it’s pricey, but if you like watching TV and you appreciate great production values, it’s hard to beat the A9G.
Onboard: Sony’s powerful Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate, which is insanely good at detecting and enhancing even the smallest details – adding brightness, contrast and natural color where needed. On a more molecular level, Sony’s Pixel Contrast Booster™ reveals even the finest details or textures. (For a full list of specs, see this.)
The A9G also over-achieves when it comes to flat-panel sound with something Sony calls “Acoustic Surface Audio+™” – two speakers and two subwoofers built-in behind the screen that deliver remarkably clear, crisp audio. Some use the A9G as the center speaker in a home theater set-up, and others like it because it does what a sound bar does – but it’s invisible. Really, it’s hard to believe anything so thin can sound so good, but it does. (If you’re near one of out stores, come in and hear for yourself!)
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 A9G 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 A9G rocks.
7. The Best Sounding TV (Out of the Box).
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
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.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
9. The Best Hidden TV.
Brand & model: The SLG R9 Rollable TV: OLED65R9PUA
Sizes available: 55 • 65” • 77”
Reg. Price: TBA
Key features: 4k / HDR / Ultra HD • LED • Smart TV • WIFI • Bluetooth • 4 HDMI Ports • 3 USB Ports
This is very cool. As in: “stand-up-and-slow-clap cool.” Give it up for LG and the “LG Signature OLED TV R” – a gorgeous TV worthy of the Bat Cave, Interstellar starships and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. When off, the OLED TV R looks like a low profile bench or sofa table… totally innocuous and aesthetically clean: no hint of a TV at all. Turn it on, and the center opens to roll up (yes: roll) a thin, 65-inch TV with every possible smart feature – not to mention industry-best OLED picture technology.
Behind the natural wool grill, the brushed aluminum base cabinet also hides a front-firing speaker with Dolby Atmos for placing certain sounds in the air throughout the room… for a totally immersive experience. The feature set is, as you’d expect, all-encompassing: LG’s own AI is state-of-the-art and their a9 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor rivals Sony’s best. You can raise the screen only partially for different modes, such as clock mode, art mode, photo mode, weather mode and so on. The OLED TV R also works with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, and the OLED panel offers three viewing modes (full, line view and zero view.)
For designers, interior decorators and/or anyone who doesn’t want a TV always taking center stage, LG’s new OLED R is a truly breathtaking solution. LG says the R in “OLED TV R” stand for Revolution. As far as we’re concerned, that’s not hype.
Check out LG's video overview for the R9 here.
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.
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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