Pumpkin-flavored hot beverages, a chill in the air, and ads for pending holiday sales mean the end of the year is creeping up on me, so this sounds like a good time for our yearly Best-Of list! I’m taking a slightly different approach this year, focusing on the top TVs in each of the major technology types: traditional LED-backlit LCD, QLED, NanoCell IPS, OLED, and a separate focus on the lifestyle category. So, without further ado, let’s get to the list!
LED: Samsung TU8000 50" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart LED TV
The Samsung TU8000 stands out from the rest of the traditional LED models with a few new bells and whistles over the previous generation, particularly the new Crystal Processor 4K, which enhances detail and upscales non-4K signals to near-UHD quality. Gaming features like ALLM, which optimizes the image and reduces input lag for a smoother gaming experience, make it a top choice for gamers, while smart features like Apple AirPlay 2, TV Plus, and compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Samsung Bixby allow for integration into nearly any smart home ecosystem. It supports the HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG HDR formats, providing vibrant color and enhanced contrast to compatible media.
OLED: LG CXPUA 55" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart OLED TV
Since the inception of OLED technology, two brands have led the pack; one of them is LG, who’s represented on this list with its CXPUA series. The nature of OLED technology virtually guarantees better black levels and enhanced contrast, which creates the effect of higher brightness and more vibrant colors. This is enhanced with support for the HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision HDR formats, and Dolby Vision content is improved further with Dolby Vision IQ technology, which adjusts DV picture settings based on the content’s ambient lighting and genre. Filmmaker Mode helps the TV authentically replicate the director’s cinematic vision, so you can see each detail the way the director intended. The Sports Alert feature keeps you up to date on your favorite teams, start times, and scores, even when you’re watching other content, and supports the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Premier League, and more. The CXPUA has Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant built in.
Another OLED: Sony A8H 65" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart OLED TV
The other brand leading the pack of OLED TVs in the US market is Sony, and while each other tech only gets one mention on this list, I felt like the two brands offer significantly different features, catering to completely different tastes, so one of each needed to be mentioned. Sony’s representative on this list is its A8H series, which supports the same HDR formats as the LG…but when comparing to the LG, the video quality shouldn’t be the focus. The main difference here is Sony’s Actuator Surface Audio technology, which uses two actuators to vibrate the screen discreetly, so your media’s audio comes directly from the screen, rather than speakers that point downward or away from you. This helps create a more immersive multimedia experience, because it will seem as if the sound is coming from the on-screen source, be it a character, vehicle, explosion, or other sound effect.
Sony also touts its Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, which enhances the panel’s contrast ratio for pure blacks, peak brightness, and natural colors. Object-based HDR remastering also detects on-screen objects and upscales everything you watch to near-4K HDR quality. Voice control is provided by the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa and, with Chromecast built in, you can cast a variety of apps directly from your phone. As of this writing, Apple HomeKit, AirPlay 2, and Siri are scheduled to be supported following a future firmware update.
QLED: Samsung Q60T 58" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart QLED TV
QLED technology uses a layer of quantum dots to enhance color quality by producing 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, but on top of that, the Samsung Q60T series uses two different LED backlight arrays—one warm and one cool—to adjust the contrast and color tone to match the content and the creator’s vision more closely. The onboard Quantum Processor 4K Lite helps optimize color and contrast for the QLED panel and provides near-4K upscaling. Samsung Bixby and Amazon Alexa are built in, so have your choice of voice assistants, and SmartThings compatibility allows for simple integration into an existing compatible smart home ecosystem.
NanoCell IPS: LG NANO81 55" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart NanoCell IPS LED TV
The second LG TV on this list, the NANO81 series, uses IPS technology, which enhances traditional LCD panel technology with a wider viewing angle and NanoCell technology to provide more vibrant color. Local dimming helps the TV provide balanced backlighting, boosting the contrast ratio. Smart features include the ThinQ AI operating system with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built in, compatibility with Apple AirPlay 2 & HomeKit, and Sports Alert. Gamers will like ALLM and, after a future firmware update, HGiG.
Lifestyle: Samsung The Frame LS03T 55" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart QLED TV
This model is unique among the rest in that it is specially designed to display your choice of artwork—even your own pictures—with built-in digital filters and matte layout options in various colors for a true art gallery feel when it’s not in use as a traditional TV. The Frame features a built-in motion sensor that will disable the display when the room is empty to conserve power, and Adaptive Picture technology analyzes the picture and the room’s lighting conditions for an optimal viewing experience. Ambient Mode+ enables the TV to mimic the wall behind it or the room’s décor, or show weather reports, headlines, and more instead of artwork. You can even change the look of The Frame with the white metal Customizable Frame.
Quantum: VIZIO M-Series Quantum 65” Class HDR 4K Smart LED TV
Balancing affordability with an impressive array of features, VIZIO’s M-Series Quantum wants to get an awesome home entertainment experience into everyone’s home. It has an expanded color gamut and can hit a peak brightness of 800 nits. Though some of the real benefit comes from an Active Full Array backlight with 90 local dimming zones for outstanding contrast. Next-gen gaming is also on the table with the ProGaming Engine for smoother graphics running at up to 4K at 60Hz with HDR tone mapping, variable refresh rate, AMD FreeSync, and Dolby Vision HDR. And, it’s a quality smart TV with tons of built-in apps to get you streaming right away.
Lots to Choose From
Any of these TVs would be a good choice, and they’re each available in different sizes. Each brand also has similar models, each with more or less features, to meet your needs. As always, if you need help choosing a TV, speak to our friendly, knowledgeable salespeople over the phone at 800-606-6969, or via chat or email, or come into the SuperStore to see what we have on display. If you have any questions or comments, please use the Comments section, below. We always appreciate hearing from our readers.