Top 10 Best
4k TVs for Sale Reviews of 4k Smart, Curved, LED & Flat Screen TV – Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio & More.
We tested all the top rated 4k TVs available for sale. Below you will find a list of the best rated models we’ve examined as well as detailed Reviews of most of them and where they’re available at the most affordable possible prices!
The Best Premium and Mid-range 4K TVs Today as Reviewed by 4K.com
The following are the 10 best 4K TVs that 4K.com has reviewed to-date. For the most part, the models below are 2016 televisions with some 2017 models already include and many more soon to follow. In other words, this list will be updated as regularly as new television models get reviewed by us and we will be soon adding in our selections among the 2017 4K HDR TVs that are only now on the verge of being released for public retail. So, keep checking back every so often and bear in mind that we’ve selected the following models based on how much value each offers when both pricing and overall display performance specs are balanced against each other.
The following are far from budget 4K TVs for the most part (that listing can be found further down this page) but their rankings definitely take quality per dollar spent into consideration. For this reason, a few notably superb and famous flagship models from major brands like LG, Sony and Samsung are excluded below because we believe that much more affordable “lower-ranking” models offer performance that’s almost as good as that of the flagships but for much better prices. All of the following 4K TVs deliver a native refresh rate of 120Hz and they all offer full support for judder-free playback of 24p movie content from all sources unless otherwise stated in their specific descriptions.
- LG Electronics E6 Flat 55 / 65 Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED HDR TV (2016 Model)
The LG E6 OLED TV is easily the best 4K HDR television we’ve seen so far among the 2016 models. Lacking the extreme price of its flagship cousin the OLED G6, the E6 delivers essentially the exact same performance as the G6 while only lacking a few minor audio and design features that reduce its price. Then of course there’s the stunning picture-on-glass display design of the E6. This too is identical to that of the 2016 flagship G6 in all details except for a slightly greater panel thickness.
Bottom line for the E6: It will absolutely blow you away with the quality of its display performance while at the same time saving you a hefty chunk of money from what you’d pay for its flagship cousin. This particular OLED TV model, like all of the 2016 OLEDs, also offers the full range of HDR specs for OLED display. It’s compatible with HDR10, Dolby Vision HDR and meets all UHD Alliance requirements for premium HDR.
- LG Electronics B6 Flat 55 / 65 Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED HDR TV (2016 Model)
LG’s B6 only misses being given our number 1 ranking as the best 4K TV of the 2016 or older models due to its lack of robust speaker power and the absence of 3D technology in this model. In all other display performance metrics, the B6 is just as good as the LG E6 and in fact even beats the pricier cousin at peak brightness performance. Like the E6, the B6 also offers full support for all HDR formats (Dolby Vision and HDR10) and is certified Ultra HD Premium for the high quality of its high dynamic range. Then of course there’s also the OLED display panel technology of this TV, which is far superior to LCD/LED TV display in certain key ways and guarantees local dimming that’s precise down to the level of a single pixel.
Best of all, the B6 is the single most affordable premium OLED HDR 4K TV model being sold today, with the 55 inch model costing less than $2000, which is indeed cheap as hell by OLED standards.
- Samsung KS9000 SUHD 4k Ultra HD HDR TV (2016 Model)
Samsung’s KS9000 SUHD 4K HDR TV is probably the single best piece of overall LCD TV value we saw among the 2016 TVs. It lacks the full-array LED backlighting of TVs like the flagship 2016 Samsung KS9800 and the Sony Z9D flagship TV models and because of this its local diming isn’t the best we’ve seen but in all other regards this is a phenomenal 4K HDR TV with superb high dynamic range, stunning 1450 nit peak brightness and some truly fantastic black level performance. We can’t recommend the KS9000 enough due to these specs and its amazingly vibrant quantum dot HDR color performance. Best of all, this model manages to offer all of these specs for a price that’s much more reasonable than those of the KS9800 and Sony Z9D flagship TVs. For this reason, we consider the KS9000 to be the single best overall LCD 4K HDR TV performer of all the 2016 models we’ve reviewed so far.
Samsung also sells the KS9500 curved version of the KS9000, which is absolutely identical in all of its display and other specifications but we recommend the flat-screen KS9000 simply because curved display panels slightly ruin picture quality while often adding to a TV’s retail price tag. Their flat cousins are almost always better choices.
- Samsung KS8000 SUHD 4K Ultra HD HDR TV (2016 Model)
The Samsung KS8000 is almost as good as the KS9000 but delivered very slightly inferior peak brightness and color performance in our review testing. For pretty much these reasons alone we rank it below the KS9000 but promise you that this TV will deliver a level of display performance that’s almost indistinguishable from that of its pricier KS9000 cousin to the naked eye. Best of all, as the “lower tier” TV of the two, the KS8000 is priced considerably more cheaply while still being a full premium HDR 4K TV with all the best technologies of the KS9000. It too is fully certified by the UHD Alliance for Ultra HD Premium HDR delivery and fully delivers on HDR10 high dynamic range specs. The performance of the KS8000 on motion handling is essentially perfect and this model, like all newer Samsung 4K TVs we’ve reviewed so far, is a superb performer as a console gaming TV, especially for gaming at 4K resolution or with HDR enabled.
- Sony X930D / X940D 4K HDR Ultra HD TV (2016 Model)
Sony’s X930D TVs in the 55 and 65 inch range and the full-array LED backlit 75 inch monster X940D special edition model are probably the best Sony HDR models we’ve seen so far besides the insanely expensive ultra-premium Z9D 4K HDR TV from the company, or possibly its 2017 OLED TV, the A1E. That said, the X930D and X940D offer stunningly good display performance and possibly some of the best color rendering of any 2016 4K HDR TVs, even Samsung’s models. These televisions don’t quite offer the peak brightness of their Samsung SUHD competitors but they’re still impressive as hell at delivering high quality high dynamic range. The X940D in particular is a fully certified TV for Ultra HD Premium by the UHD Alliance and delivers peak brightness levels of well above 1000 nits. The black performance of the X930D and X940D is weaker than that of the Samsung SUHD TVs but only by a slight margin.
These models deliver superb motion handing, full judder-control and are very decent console gaming 4K TVs.
- Vizio P65-C1 P-Series 2016 4K HDR TV (65 inch model)
Vizio’s 2016 P-Series 4K TVs are easily some of the best HDR televisions on the market and the best we’ve ever seen from the brand. The 65 inch model is a fantastic example of this across the board. It’s a bit on the pricey side but this TV delivers some truly spectacular color performance, supports HDR in both the HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats and offers up virtually perfect motion handling. It’s also a TV with some of the best contrast ratios and black levels we’ve yet seen from any 2016 LCD 4K TV by any brand at all. (yes including Samsung). The only reason we don’t rank the 65 inch P-Series higher is due to its rather steep price and the fact that it’s peak brightness doesn’t quite match up to those of Sony’s and Samsung’s HDR TV models. On the brighter side (literally) the P-Series offers full-array LED backlighting and as such delivers fantastic local dimming control. On this front it outshines any Samsung or Sony TV except for their absolute most expensive flagship TVs.
We can’t recommend the P-Series enough.
- Sony XBR65X850D 65-Inch 4K HDR Ultra HD TV (2016 model)
Sony’s X850D HDR TV in the 65 inch size range is probably the single best mid-range 4K HDR TV that Sony has yet produced. It’s also remarkably well priced, with even this large 65 inch model selling for less than $1400 (as of this last update) on Amazon.com. For a TV this good, that’s a superb price. The X850D delivers fantastic 4K display performance, superb, complete HDR color specs and some remarkably decent contrast levels for an IPS model. On the other hand the X850D is only edge-lit and doesn’t support local dimming technology. Despite this however, it’s a generally excellent performer at contrast precision and we absolutely love its motion handling, which is usually superb for almost all Sony 4K TVs. Given its very low price and richness of premium display specifications, we can’t recommend the X850D enough as a mid-range/semi-premium model.
- Samsung KU7000 4K Ultra HD HDR Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
You can’t really go wrong with Samsung’s 55 inch, 60 inch and 65 inch KU7000 television models if generally great display performance and a decent level of HDR quality are what you want at prices that we’d consider to be mostly decent. What we love about the KU7000 is its superb contrast ratio, excellent black performance (a crucial spec of display quality) and mostly strong motion handling despite this being a native 60Hz refresh rate model. This 4K TV also offers full HDR color performance with both wide color gamut and 10-bit color support for all HDR10 content sources. On the other hand, it doesn’t offer the best level of peak brightness and completely lacks quantum dot color like Samsung’s premium SUHD and 2017 QLED TV models. Furthermore, the KU7000 doesn’t come with judder-free content playback, and lacks motion dimming. That said, the KU7000 is a mostly fantastic 4K TV for the vast majority of TV, streaming and movie content and even for HDR movies and programming, it performs decently.
The only reason we rank the KU7000 lower than Sony’s X850D is due to its steeper price and lack of 120Hz refresh. Its motion handling is also weaker than that of the X850D, with the aforementioned lack of judder-free 24p content playback as a major detriment.
- LG UH8500 4K “Super UHD” Smart LCD HDR TV (2016 Model)
For all the stunning, guaranteed winner quality of LG’s OLED 4K TVs, we’ve never been major fans of the company’s LCD 4K HDR TVs or even less their older 4K SDR TV models with LCD display. It’s generally always seemed as if LG neglects its LCD lines of TVs due to the sheer brilliance they’ve put into their world-class OLEDs. With the LG UH8500, we see a 4K TV that finally breaks this reputation mold to a large extent and manages to shine as its own quality LCD TV model. We think that Samsung’s LCD lineup, Vizio’s 4K TVs and Sony’s models are all better TVs but the UH8500 is still quite robust.
For starters, this particular TV offers up stunningly good HDR color vibrancy with full support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range mastering. Secondly, it works wonderfully at delivering smooth motion handling and its native 120Hz refresh rate, support for 24p content playback without judder and motion interpolation technologies are all nearly perfect performers. This is also a smart TV with the fantastic WebOS 3.0 smart platform that all of LG’s newer TVs come with. We consider it to be the most user-friendly, fluid smart TV OS on today’s market. On the other hand, there are two main issues with the UH8500 that cause us to reduce its ranking to this level. For one thing, all versions of it come with IPS display technology, causing them to offer relatively poor contrast and weak black level performance. Furthermore, the TV’s peak brightness is rather low, making those slightly washed out blacks look even worse. Finally, the UH8500 comes with a serious image retention problem which makes itself visible for a few minutes as change content types or shift from TV viewing to gaming.
- Samsung UN65KU6300 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
Samsung’s KU6300 is probably one of the best budget 4K TVs on sale today in terms of its overall specs, and if it wasn’t for this model’s slightly steep price in the 65 inch range and its lack of any real strong HDR support, we’d rank it higher. That said, the KU6300 delivers some truly superb qualities as a 4K TV for the majority of ordinary non-HDR content and for sources of upscaled HD video. It also supports sources of HDR10 mastered high dynamic range video though it won’t display them with the same sort of vibrancy and rich dynamic range you’d see in any SUHD TV, Sony’s X850D (which is much more affordable than this model at the same size) or even Samsung’s KU7000.
Furthermore, the KU6300 only offers a native 60Hz refresh rate, lacks local dimming and doesn’t come with judder-free 24p content support. However, as an owner of one of these particular TVs (for in the bedroom), this writer can say that for the vast majority of content, the KU6300 is great at the price it sells for. It also offers very decent levels of peak brightness and some truly excellent black level performance.
Looking for Quality on a Budget? Our Picks of the Best 4K TVs for Less Than $1000
After the mostly premium 4K TV models above which generally sell for well over $1000, we now come down to what we consider to be the absolute best 4K UHD TVs at the largest possible display size for less than $1000. All of these models offer some sort of HDR specs and at least one offers full premium HDR display of the best kind. Furthermore, all of these TVs promise an excellent home theater experience despite their lack of certain key premium specs like quantum dots, full HDR color and higher levels of peak brightness. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for the highest possible display performance on a budget, you can’t go wrong with any of these TVs depending on your brand and display size preference.
- VIZIO P Series 2016 4K Ultra HD HDR TV 50 inch model
Once again we come to the Vizio P-Series 2016 HDR TVs, now with the 50 inch model that in our opinion offers the best overall performance of any TV at its price of just a nick under $1000. This TV offers all of the same superb specs as its giant 65 inch cousin mentioned above and lacks only the same quantity of local dimming zones as a minor defect. It does however still offer full-array LED backlighting and is the only 4K TV you’ll find anywhere at this price and size range to come with that technology. The 2016 50 inch P-Series is a fantastic HDR 4K TV and a superb 4K TV all around in all regards. Its motion handling is also simply superb. Let you consider upgrading to the slightly pricier and larger 55 inch model, we don’t recommend it nearly as much due to its IPS panel display which weakens its black levels considerably. All of the other P-Series models, including the 50 inch, come with extremely good black performance.
- Sony XBR55X850D 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV (2016 model)
Sony’s 55 inch X850D TV offers the same specs as the 65 inch version mentioned in our premium TV rankings above. It’s only difference is a considerably smaller 55 inch display size and for this reason, it’s priced at an excellent level of just under $1000. The X850D is a TV we can’t recommend enough at this price. It offers full HDR color support, excellent motion handling, with support for judder-free 24p content playback and contrast/black levels that are surprisingly good for those of an IPS television. It also comes with a native refresh rate of 120Hz, which is rare for newer model 4K TVs at this model’s price range.
- Samsung KU7000 49 inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LCD TV (2016 Model)
The 49 inch KU7000 is a bit on the smaller size end but it delivers all of the same specs as its larger 65 inch and 55 inch cousins we mentioned above. It’s also priced wonderfully at well below $1000, costing less than $900 even in some cases or when available on sale. The HDR support in this model is a bit limited compared to that of the X850D and Vizio models above but it does offer wide color gamut and 10-bit color display.
- Samsung UN55KU6300 4K Ultra HD smart LCD TV (2016 model)
The 55 inch KU6300 offers up excellent general displays specs and makes for a wonderful overall 4K starter TV. It also does a fine job of presenting upscaled HD content as well as both SDR and HDR 4K content sources. This model may lack some of the premium specs found in the other 4K TVs on this budget list but it’s worth its remarkably low price tag of less than $800. For other details about the KU6300, check out our larger description in the premium and mid-range TV rankings above or look at our detailed review of this 4K TV.
- Sony 43 inch X800D 4K UHD HDR TV (2016 model)
Sony’s X800D may be one very small 4K TV with its 43 inch display but despite that size, it packs a lot of punch, enough in fact to make it one of the best 4K HDR TVs in this size range and its less-than $700 price available today. The 43 inch X800D comes with superb black level performance, excellent contrast ratios and a peak brightness level that’s decent enough and actually superior to that of the Samsung KU7000. Additionally, this 4K TV offers full HDR color support (wide color gamut and 10-bit color) and some of the best motion handling you’ll find in any 4K TV at its price. Motion blur control is great, motion interpolation works remarkably well and the X800D even comes with a limited form of judder control for some sources of 24p content.
- Vizio E-Series 4K UHD HDR TV 55 inch model (2017)
The Vizio E-Series 2017 edition isn’t a 4K TV that we’ve yet reviewed as of this writing but we’ve managed to get a brief look at it and what we’ve seen looks extremely promising. This TV delivers some great colors, solid black levels and very smooth motion handling. It also supports HDR10 high dynamic range and with a price tag of just $550 for the 55 inch model is one of the cheapest 55 inch HDR 4K TVs we’ve yet seen. It’s definitely worth a further look and should perform much better than the lackluster 2016 Vizio E-series model.
4K TV: Everything you Need to Know
4K UHD is the latest buzzword in the entertainment display industry, but in this case the buzz isn’t simply hollow jargon. Why? Because 4K UHD really seems to be the near future of video display technology.
Given this potential trend and all the resulting buzz, you’re probably curious about what 4K TV is really all about.
Well, look no further for an explanation. We’re about to cover all the essentials of what 4K TV technology refers to and give you some solid advice on making a buying decision.
What Exactly Is 4K TV?
4K TV is a title used to describe any TV display technology that offers a total pixel count which offers 4 times the final resolution that you’d find in ordinary Full HD TVs. A 4K TV doesn’t exactly need to have 4,000+ pixels in horizontal pixilation. Instead, with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 (as most 4K TVs have, it already offers 4 times the resolution of 1920 x 1080p typical Full HD displays; though some 4K TV models do indeed offer even more than 4,000p horizontal resolution. Some TVs come with a flat screen while others might be curved, here is a great guide on the Pros & Cons of a curved TV.
Furthermore, 4K televisions aren’t just about their massively augmented pixel count. They also offer a whole plethora of other technological enhancements that leave many conventional HD TVs in the dust. These include much better frame rates than normal HD TV, the ability to upscale regular HD video, far superior wide color gamut color palettes and HDR contrast ratios along with extras like full 3D TV capacity in most cases.
What’s the Difference Between 4K and UHD?
In practical terms as far as branding is concerned, there is no difference between UHD and 4K. In most cases, TV manufacturers use the two terms interchangeably to describe the same 4K technology. However, if we’re speaking strictly, 4K is different in the sense that it has to consist of display resolution at least four times greater than that of normal 1080p HD and by its own industry standard it is specifically defined as 4096 x 2160 pixels (at a 1.9:1 aspect ratio).
UHD, on the other hand, can be used to describe any resolution range that’s considerably larger than normal 1920 x 1080 Full HD.
So for example, any type of TV resolution that doesn’t reach 4K levels but does give you say twice the pixel count of 1920 x 1080p would also be considered UHD, and furthermore, any resolution that goes way beyond even 4K TV, such as say 8K technology at 7680×4320 pixels would also be considered UHD.
In fact, there are also several types of informally defined 4K resolutions such as those with pixel counts of 4096 × 2160p or 3996 × 2160p. The bottom line is that 4K is a format which outstrips pretty much anything else currently commercially available for the consumer market.
What about High Dynamic Range?
The biggest technology to yet come along for home entertainment is high dynamic range, and 4K TVs are right at ground zero of this new trend because at least so far, HDR has been applied exclusively to 4K displays and 4K UHD content without shifting over to Full HD video as well. This first became broadly evident in the premium ultra HD TVs of 2015 but in 2016 it has expanded much further to cover all mid-range and premium television models from pretty much every single brand. Even many low-cost 4K UHD TVs include HDR color and dynamic range specs as part of their core package of features. This includes the mid-range Vizio M-Series models of 2016, Sony’s low-priced X800D and X750D/X700D 4K TVs and some of Samsung’s 2016 non-SUHD 4K televisions. LG has also included HDR color and dynamic range levels in the majority of its 2016 Super UHD televisions like the UH9500, UH8500 and UH7700 LCD models.
As for what HDR itself does to TV display quality, well we can’t understate the value of the technology. Unlike 4K resolution, which only really makes a visual impact in larger TVs viewed at closer distances, the picture quality improvements in color, contrast and realism are immediately visible in even the smallest TV sets viewed from almost any normal distance. This is because with this technology, color range, color depth and contrast precision are all dramatically enhanced in content which has been formatted to display in HDR on a TV with a compatible display. Currently, the two dominant HDR standards in the consumer market are HDR10 and Dolby Vision. At least one of these and now more frequently both are available in all HDR TVs currently being sold.
Basically, HDR is turning into a technology with even more importance than 4K resolution itself and it’s definitely here to stay and get refined further down the road. All of the genuinely high quality 4K TVs of 2016 come with HDR and if you’re just now thinking of buying a new 4K TV, high dynamic range is one of the core features you absolutely should make sure to see included in your model of choice regardless of your budget. Doing so will offer the benefit of future-proofing your TV for new content and other standards during a longer period of time than would be the case if you simply went for a basic SDR 4K model.
Fortunately, HDR is no longer expensive either. The price of TVs with the technology has dropped even faster than did the prices of 4K TVs in general since they first started being sold to consumers. Thus, today, with the near universality of high dynamic range in all major 2016 TV models and brands, very decent HDR sets in the 40 to 55 inch range are available for well below $2000 and many 4K HDR TVs even sell for less than $1000 –with some smaller models retailing for less than $800 even.
For much more detail on how dynamic range works and the benefits it brings to home entertainment, check out our comprehensive HDR guide here.
4K TV and Home Theater Costs
Though these gadgets make some truly superb home theater setups, they aren’t cheap yet. On average, a decent 50 inch TV or more from any one of the major high end brands that make them (such as Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio) will cost you a highly affordable minimum of $600 USD new and decent 55” inch to 65 inch models go for nearly twice that price but many models in these size ranges can cost well below $2000 towards the $1000 end. Great examples would be Vizio’s superb 2016 HDR 4K TVs in the P-Series and M-Series. 85” inch and above TVs nearly cost $10,000!.
However, prices are indeed dropping and at a steady pace. In comparison to what the first mass produced 4K TVs cost back in late 2012, todays models are not only more feature rich but also considerably cheaper for it. Furthermore, even the big brands like Samsung, Sony 4K TV and LG now have a number of smaller models with screens at or below the 50″ inch size level which sometimes sell for less than $1000. These are very small 4K UHD TVs but at least they offer some truly superb visual technologies and will only continue to offer more display features as things like quantum dots and HDR mature and proliferate in 4K televisions of all sizes and prices.
The bottom line for 4K UHD TV pricing is that it’s dropping and like a stone. At the same time, the overall quality of these 4K TVs is expanding enormously with new specs, new features and other new technologies which are pretty much exclusive to 4K TVs and also happen to make them superb investments. For one thing, you’ll be buying a TV that’s future ready and can handle the content that will increasingly fill the Ultra HD market in the next 3 to 5 years and secondly, many 4K TV models such as any of Samsung’s excellent 4k UHD TV SUHD editions come with design and warranty features that make them very easy to upgrade as new advancements come along.
4K Content and Regular Content
For the moment, actual native 4K content for your would be UHD TV is still in the minority among content choices but its range is growing quickly and now includes a much wider than ever selection of 4K streaming offerings, VOD 4K movies and shows, download 4K content and even live broadcast sports and other movies from a number of services. You can check all of these out here on our movies page for plenty of details on what to get and from which source. Keep in mind however that for streaming 4K entertainment from the major sources like Vudu, Amazon Prime and Netflix among others, a fast internet connection of at least 20Mbs is essential. Furthermore, with the advent of 4K HDR TVs, the content available in high dynamic range and 4K resolution is also expanding in scope. Netflix, Amazon and Vudu are two particular sources of HDR ultra HD programming and if you have one of the HDR 4K TVs that have emerged in 2015 and 2016 so far, these are definitely worth checking out for a truly stunning home theater experience. On top of these options, there is also the growing body of 4K ultra HD Blu-ray disc media that’s on sale with new release and remastered classic movies being sold for consumers who own a 4K TV and a 4K UHD Blu-ray media player. To date, nothing quite beats 4K HDR Blu-ray in terms of sheer picture quality, at least from what we’ve seen so far when viewing this type of content on TVs with high dynamic range.
However, for now, most of your enjoyment will probably come from seeing the enhancements your TV offers to conventional HD content, which according to some users are definitely noticeable (though others disagree on this). At the very least, having your TV, you’ll be ready to enjoy any new UHD content that will almost certainly be emerging at an accelerated pace over the next couple of years.
One of the crucial aspects of deciding which 4K television to buy revolves around the connectivity specs your TV is going to come with. In this area, you need to pay careful attention to making sure the TV you buy comes with the right specs so that you can enjoy ultra HD content in the widest possible variety at the best possible level of quality.
There are several key connections and connectivity specs any 4K TV worth its salt must have if you want to be up to date with the latest and best content delivery technology.
For starters, any 4K TV worth its salt must have at least 1 and preferably several HDMI 2.0a ports built into it. Ideally, at least one of these ports should also be HDCP 2.2 enabled. Thus, with these in place, you will get access to the widest range of 4K content from set-top boxes, external media players, Blu-ray players and other potential sources. Furthermore, because HDMI 2.0a is uniquely capable of delivering 4K HDR content at a much smoother refresh rate of 60 frames per second, you’ll be able to enjoy your entertainment on the screen much more smoothly.
Second a DisplayPort 1.2 connection built into your 4K TV would be ideal though this isn’t a common feature or much of a requirement in 4K TVs. DisplayPort is in fact much more common and needed in UHD PC monitors for easy connectivity to the graphics cards which are needed for gaming in UHD and other resolutions.
An Important Note on Smart TV Technology
Smart TV is an integral part of any decent 4K TV setup and all of the major brands include Smart functionality as a fundamental feature of their ultra HD TV models. In fact, a very large part of what 4K TVs are all about revolves around their Smart platforms, and there are many to choose from indeed.
First of all, just to cover the essentials of Smart TV as a whole, we need to briefly describe what all such platforms have in common.
In the most basic terms, a Smart TV is any television, HD or 4K, that is capable of connecting to the web and runs with its own internal operating system with interactive technology and access to streaming media apps and other software systems.
Thus, most modern smart TVs come with their own different operating systems depending on which brand you’re dealing with and in all of these different platforms, you’ll find essential features like a web browsing platform, a central apps navigation and search menu, a series of interactive controls for TV display and configuration options and access to things like on-demand video rental apps, internet music streaming platforms, and the media player software for running all of these. All Smart TV platforms connect to the internet connection in a home via either a wired Ethernet connection or through the powerful WiFi that virtually all 4K TVs have built into them.
Some of the major brands use their own natively developed Smart TV operating systems while others install major adaptations of third party platforms. Some notable examples of the former are LG 4k TV with its native (and excellent) WebOS 2.0 and some highly effective examples of the second include the Android TV platform for 4K that’s found on Sony’s latest 4k UHD TVs, or the Firefox TV OS found in select Panasonic 4K TVs.
Because smart TV platforms are essentially computing platforms very similar to those found in a PC, their online connectivity also means that they can be updated remotely as new apps come along and new features for their different software features. These updates are often automatic and include better software, new games and all sorts of other constantly developing technologies and entertainment mediums.
Some of the best rates smart TV systems in existence today are the webOS 3.0 platform found in LG’s latest 4K TVs and its OLED 4K models, the Android TV platform of Sony’s 2016 4K TVs and the native Tizen operating system of Samsung’s 2016 Ultra HD TV models and the company’s SUHD 4K TVs in particular. Then there is also Vizio’s highly innovative mobile device-based SmartCast smart TV application which instead of being controlled from the TV display, has its UI on the mobile device the app is downloaded to. This is an entirely new take on smart TV technology and one we might see emulated in more brands down the road.
Finally, many Smart TV platforms also include content recommendation engines, voice or gesture control features and video conferencing software like Skype for 4K TVs built into them.
What’s the Bottom Line, Is 4K TV Sticking Around and Should I buy One?
That 4K will stick around and keep growing in importance is almost without question. Major broadcasters, TV makers and content producers are all investing ever more heavily in the technology. Furthermore, professional film cameras are increasingly switching over to UHD resolutions and they are absolutely going to want to show their shooting off to audiences.
Addtionally, the bottom line is that 4K Televsions are the new mass market premium TVs that Full HD models were a few years ago. Thus, it is 4K TV models which get all of the best connectivity specs, the most innovative new display technologies (like the HDR covered above) and assorted other features. In essence, the best and brightest of quality home entertainment is almost entirely geared towards the sort of technologies found in today’s 4K UHD TVs. What this obviously means is that if you want access to the cutting edge of home entertainment, a 4K TV and particularly a newer HDR 4K TV is basically becoming an essential purchase.
As to whether or not you should buy one of these TVs, well that’s a very personal decision that depends a lot on your finances and love of truly superior home entertainment systems. However, if you really want to be ready for the inevitable rise of 4K resolution as a replacement of 1080p HD, then at least one of the more affordable 4K TV screens would make for a great investment, especially now that 4K televisions become the de facto top-shelf models form all the major brands, meaning that they are the TVs in which the best and latest display technologies like high dynamic range and wide color gamut get included.
What sort of 4K TV is right for me?
This is another rather subjective issue for would-be 4K TV buyers but a few key considerations are going to simplify your own decision making process here. First of all, as a general rule, bigger is indeed better with 4K TVs. This isn’t to say that a larger TV is always better than a smaller TV –because some smaller models offer much better display specs than other larger-issue models– but larger screens of 55 inches or more generally deliver a much better appreciation of native ultra HD resolution and upscaled non-4K video as well. The arrival of HDR in numerous different 4K TVs of all dimensions has definitely made size less of a factor in display quality than it was before but even here, a larger screen with UHD resolution definitely shows off HDR color and contrast much more impressively than a small screen does.
What we can definitely say is that you should buy the largest and best possible 4K TV your budget allows you to get your hands on while also not stretching yourself too far for something which offers only a bit more screen real estate but leaves you too broke to really appreciate your television. Thus, if a 55 inch model from a major brand costs several hundred dollars less than a 65 inch version of the same TV, the 55 incher will probably be more than good enough if your budget is a bit tight.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many 4K TV specs and manufacturer touted features often mean very little or nothing when it comes to actual performance in a 4K television. Looking at specs sheets is great for knowing if a TV has the right sort of connectivity, or if it has certain basic smart TV features or not, or if there is HDR and 3D technology in the model but beyond these sorts of things, manufacturer-described benefits like “great color”, “contrast enhancement engines” and motion interpolation technologies can be either misleading or outright false. Instead, pay attention to real third party review descriptions of key performance metrics or best of all, see if you can observe a model you’re interested in a showroom as it performs in the flesh.
Below we’ve selected several of the 4K UHD TVs for 2015 and 2016 which we consider to be the best on the market today, either based on their sheer quality or on a combination of very decent quality and affordable pricing. These models cover both the budget end of the spectrum and the ultra premium end but all of them have something great to offer in terms of home entertainment for their given price range. Below the following select 4K TVs, we’ve also listed links to our 4K TV size guides, which cover all the best currently reviewed 4 TVs we’ve covered so far by different size categories.
For some well researched listings on the best 4K TVs by size range, check out our own guides to the best 4K TVs on sale today in all the different sizes ranging from a compact 40 inches up to a gigantic 80+ inches. The following links will take you to each guide, and we updates these guides regularly.