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!
We should also strongly note here that the following TV rankings are made with both quality and price taken into consideration. Essentially, we’ve at least partly ranked these models in terms of their quality and value per dollar spent so that we could demonstrate what the best TVs are for the lowest possible prices in their category. The rankings below are of course also split into one for 4K TVs of all types and a second list of exclusively budget 4K UHD models that cost less than $1000, but for our top 10 4K HDR televisions of the year, below, quality per dollar spent is a major factor.
The 10 Best Premium and Mid-range 4K TVs of 2017 / 2018 as Reviewed by 4K.com
The following are the 10 best 4K TVs that 4K.com has reviewed or thoroughly covered to-date. The following models are mostly 2017 4K HDR TVs that we have reviewed so far or are certain of their rankings and a very few 2016 models which we still think are stunning enough to compete with newer editions and deliver a superb level of performance relative to their price or in absolute terms. In other words, this list will be updated as regularly as new television models get reviewed or thoroughly vetted by us. In other words you should check back regularly to see how we’ve updated our rankings of models based on new releases and reviews. Also, 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 more premium 4K TVs for the most part (the budget listings 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.
Of all the 4K HDR TV ratings we’ve so far done for the 2017 lineup of 4K TVs, the C7 offers the single best combination of superb performance and excellent value in terms of price of all the new models and when compared to older 2016 4K HDR TVs. As you’ll note, the 2016 E6 OLED from the same brand is right below this model but costs more than the newer C7 and this is only part of the reason why we’ve ranked the 2017 OLED in our top spot. It’s peak brightness is at a level that has never before been seen in OLED 4K TVs and its color space coverage is second to none among all the OLED TV models. Additionally, LG has given the C7 a superior new smart TV platform and better than ever connectivity for gaming and other uses. In addition to this, you get all the best features of previous OLED TVs such as virtually perfect motion handling, literally perfect local dimming and black levels and the perceived improvement of all of these due to this model’s excellent levels of peak brightness. Best of all, the C7 performs as well as even the priciest of LG’s 2017 4K HDR OLED TVs while costing only about $400 more than its 2016 counterpart the C6. This means that you’ll get the best visual specs that LG’s groundbreaking OLED TVs for 2017 have to offer without needing to pay the 8,000+ price tags of the company’s amazingly designed but practically equal-performing W7, G7 and E7 OLED 4K HDR models. We almost can’t recommend the C7 enough. Check out our review of it below:
In all major display performance metrics, the LG B7 OLED HDR TV is just the same and just as good as the C7 above. It comes with slightly weaker native speakers and doesn’t support Dolby Atmos sound inside its sound system (though it does support Dolby Atmos pass-through for other Dolby-friendly speakers). Besides these two differences, the performance of the B7 puts it exactly on par with the performance of LG’s’s most expensive and premium 4K OLED HDR TVs such as the awesomely cool looking flagship W7. For this reason, the B7 model takes our second place sport as one of the best 4K HDR televisions you could buy for this year. Getting this much premium quality at what is the cheapest price ever seen for a top-shelf OLED model definitely makes this one a killer for quality home entertainment.
Sony’s 2017 XBR-E Series 4K TVs are some of this year’s best 4K LCD HDR televsions and even manage to beat their Samsung QLED competitors in some ways. This is an impressive improvement over what we saw last year where, despite decent performance, the XBR-D TVs notably underwhelmed compared to many rival models from brands like Vizio and Samsung in particular. The 2017 X940E however is a complete stunner of a 4K HDR TV and especially by LCD TV standards. It delivers downright stunning color performance, the absolute best contrast ratios and black levels we’ve ever seen in any 4K TV outside of OLED technology and best of all, this model gets stunningly bright, much brighter than its 2016 counterpart and almost as bright as even the best of Samsung’s SUHD or 2017 QLED TVs. Additional strong points in the X940E include an amazing level of motion handling for all types of content and some downright great gaming connectivity, a feature which was weak in the 2016 models.
Sony’s X930E is almost identical to the company’s X940E model except that it comes in two smaller sizes and doesn’t include full-array LED backlighting. Despite this absent feature, this television provides some of the best LCD 4K HDR television display brightness on the 2017 market and comes with the capacity to create astonishingly high, rich levels of contrast for both HDR and regular movies, shows. Topping all of these specs off is a combination of beautifully vibrant color performance (some of the best we’ve ever seen in any Sony TV) and superb motion handling for all your fast-paced content needs. You literally can’t go wrong with Sony’s X930E model and its support for multiple HDR formats (including Dolby Vision) makes it a real winner. With this model, Sony has dramatically improved on its 2016 X900D model’s performance and the X930E definitely beats any Samsung QLED TV in terms of overall quality and cost. We’d safely call it one of the best non-OLED 4K TVs in existence today. For a bit of perpsective, Sony’s X940E is the single best LCD 4K HDR TV of 2017, and the X930E is only ranked lower than it because it lacks the same full-array LED backlighting, in all other regards the two are identically good, making this model a real value proposition.
This is it, Samsung’s absolute best and most powerful 4K HDR LCD TV of 2017. The Q9 is one spectacular performer, offering what is possibly the best color and wide color gamut performance we’ve ever seen in a 4K TV and coupling this with some truly impressive motion handling, fantastic contrast levels and superb content display vibrancy. Your favorite Netflix, Amazon or 4K HDR Blu-ray content on this TV will simply look stunning when viewed on this flagship Samsung television model and while the Q9 isn’t by any means a cheap 4K TV model, it’s definitely the best that Samsung has to offer so far. We’ve ranked it a bit lower because Sony’s X940E outperforms the Q9 in several key regards while costing slightly less. However, if Samsung is a brannd you’re particularly fond of, the Q9 is as good as it gets so far.
The Sony X900E 4K HDR TV is just one step down from the company’s X930E model and lacks a couple of smaller aspects of the former, such as Dolby Vision HDR support and some of the X930E’s peak brightness power. However, this model is still not only one of Sony’s premium 2017 4K televisions, it’s also one fantastically good 4K HDR LCD model among the 2017 editions from all major brands. This is why we’re ranking it here among the 10 best 4K HDR TVs on the market today. We absolutely consider he X900e to be better than its 2016 X900D version and quite frankly, it also performs better than even the 2016 X930D model did. The black levels, color performance, motion handling and connectivity (especially for gaming) features of this model are all superb and we describe exactly why we say this in our review of the model, which you can click to above with the blue button. Best of all, Sony’s X900E is priced more affordably than the company’s X930E model while offering almost all of the same essential specs and levels of display performance. We thus recommend it slightly more than we recommend the X930E mainly for this reason.
The Samsung Q7F 4K HDR LCD TV is the most affordable of Samsung’s new 2017 QLED 4K HDR TVs and deliver some of the best color display performance we’ve ever seen in any LCD 4K high dynamic range television to-date. Samsung delivered nicely on its promises of fantastic color performance in this first and most affordable of its 2017 ultra-premium QLED televisions. The Q7F is a great overall 4K HDR TV with the full range of high dynamic range color and contrast specs and also happens to be a downright fantastic TV for console and PC gamers, with excellent motion handling specs to boot, for both gaming and a wide range of movie/TV content types. In other words, we love it. However, where the Q7F does disappoint slightly is in the area of its peak brightness and contrast specs. These are crucial aspects of HDR TV display performance and the Q7F falls far short of the 2016 SUHD TVs from this same brand in these metrics of visual performance. It also loses out to Sony’s 2017 premium 4K HDR TVs such as the X930E, X940E and even the X900E, which is why we ranked it lower than these models, since they perform equally well in almost all other display metrics.
That said, if you’re a fan of Samsung 4K TVs and want some of the best color performance we’ve ever seen in an LCD HDR television, you can’t go wrong with the extremely stylish looking Q7F
Rating: > Pricing:
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’s MU9000 is the very best of the brand’s 2017 4K HDR TVs, which come after the entire flagship, ultra-premium QLED lineup. However, despite this this particular television is light years ahead of any of the 2016 mid-range KU-Series models we reviewed last year. In other words, the MU9000 is much closer to a 2016 SUHD premium TV in its performance. And the MU9000 absolutely delivers some great picture quality. This particular Samsung TV in all of its size ranges offers the same stunning display specs. These include a remarkably high quality of local dimming, fantastic contrast ratios, superb, full HDR color performance and some remarkably fine peak brightness. This model is a full-blown HDR TV and its motion handling is also superb across the board, with a native 120Hz display panel (something that all of the 2016 KU-Series Samsung TVs lacked.)
The MU9000 is also one downright excellent 4K HDR television for console gamers. It’s one “weakness” is that it lacks the high 1000 nit+ levels of peak brightness found in its QLED and 2016 SUHD cousins. However, this is a minor detail and the MU9000 is still insanely bright while being extremely high quality in all other display performance and content handling specs. This television is slightly on the pricey side but definitely offers solid value.
10. Sony XBR65X850E 65-Inch 4K HDR Ultra HD TV (2017 model)
Sony’s X850E 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 X850E delivers fantastic 4K display performance, superb, complete HDR color specs and some remarkably good contrast levels due to the VA panel display Sony gave it, instead of the IPS we saw in the 2016 X850D version. On the other hand the X850E 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 X850E enough as a mid-range/semi-premium model.
The 6 Best 4K HDR 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.
4K HDR TVs this good don’t get cheaper than this. The new 2017 TCL P-Series P607 model comes in only one size, 55 inches, but what that relatively compact 4K HDR TV offers is truly premium in so many ways. At well below $700, not only is the P-Series priced at an amazing level, it’s also one of the best 4K HDR TVs we know of for less than $1000. In fact, if you combine its price with its overall premium specs, this model beats even Vizio’s otherwise superb P-Series and M-Series models on raw performance and value. So, what makes the TCL P607 so special? For this insanely low price you get your hands on one of the best smart TV packages in existence in the form of Roku TV and with it access to literally thousands of hours of 4K HDR content and hundreds of thousands of hours of other types of 4K and HD movies, shows, documentaries, highly specialized niche content apps and all the major big streaming media platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu and so forth. To make things so much better though, the P607 comes with display technology that even many premium 4K HDR TVs can’t quite match. This includes hgih density full-array LED backlighting, full, robust local dimming technology, stunning HDR contrast and black levels, some really good display brightness and a fantastically good wide color gamut for full expression of HDR color palettes. The P607 also supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range formats. You won’t find all of that for such a low price in any other 2017 television model.
2. Sony XBR-X900E 4K HDR LCD TV 50 and 55 inch Editions
We covered the Sony X900E in the premium and pricier TV ratings above and we mention it here yet again due to the price of its 55 inch and 50 inch versions having gone down to below $1000. All of the same excellent reasons we have for liking the X900E in our description above apply for these smaller 50 inch and 55 inch models but with the wonderful added bonus of an incredibly good low price tag that has only recently become the case. The X900E is quite frankly one of the best name brand 4K HDR TVs of 2017 in terms of pure quality and particularly if you measure quality against dollars spent. Not only does it come with high end HDR color and contrast performance, it augments these display capabilities even further with advanced local dimming technology and some of the best wide color gamut quality you’ll find today in any 4K TV, premium or otherwise. We love the X900E in general and we especially love it at prices of $998 or less for the 55 inch model and a wonderfully cheap $899 or less for the 50 inch version. These might deacrese even further as the year progresses so check out the latest Amazon offering for both versions of the XBR X900E below.
3. Samsung MU7000 4K HDR LCD TV (2017 Model): $897 for 55 inch model
Samsung’s MU7000 is more decent 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 MU7000 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 X850E or even Vizio’s 2017 M-Series.
Furthermore, the MU7000 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 MU7000 is great at the price it sells for. It also offers very decent levels of peak brightness and some truly excellent black level performance.
4. Sony X800E 4K HDR LCD TV (2017 Model)
Sony makes even its low-end budget 4K TVs damn good. This at least is what you get with the Sony X800E model. It offers solid display specs, superb color vibrancy, some very good motion handling specs for all your favorite action movies and sportscasts, and it’s extremely compatible for high speed console gaming connectivity or for use as a PC monitor (especially for gamers as well). We don’t entirely like the IPS display panel of the X800E 55 inch model but it does provided decent contrast and some excellent viewing angles. Most importantly, the all-around solid 4K HDR TV offers wide color gamut and a great smart TV platform for a price of well below $900. Not too bad for a 55 inch high dynamic range name brand television.
5. Samsung MU6300 4K HDR LCD TV (2017 model)
Samsung’s MU6300 is one of the brand’s lowest priced 2017 mid-range MU-Series 4K highy dynamic range TVs and it’s physically identical to the 2016 KU6300. However, in the 2017 model, color, contrast and motion handling definitely feel sharper, and the smart TV platform has undergone some nice little improvements. Additionally, we love the inclusion of voice control in the TV’s smart remote. Overall, the MU6300 is a fantastic 4K starter TV that will leave most users really pleased with how well it handles HDR and SDR content or movies from nearly any source. It’s easy to use, wonderfully bright and delivers some really deep, rich contrast. Even if you’re looking for a much more premium-level home theater TV, the MU6300 makes an excellent bedroom model. On a final note, for console gamers who want to do their gaming in 4K resolution, this is one superb performer when connected to any game console such as the Microsoft Xbox One S or the powerful Xbox One X 4K HDR platform.
6. Vizio E-Series 4K UHD HDR TV (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 and 2017 it 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 TCL P-Series models of 2017, Sony’s low-priced X800E televisions and pretty much all of Samsung’s 4K TV lineup for 2016 and 2017. LG has also included HDR color and dynamic range levels in all of its newer 4K HDR OLED and LCD TV models. In basic terms, 4K TVs today all come with some degree of HDR display performance, though the premium and flagship TVs from each major brand (such as those listed as our Best Picks at the top of this page) offer what could truly be called comprehensive and stunning HDR display.
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 three main HDR standards in the consumer market are HDR10, Dolby Vision and for some types of broadcast content, HLG. 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 and 2017 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 2016/2017 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 65” inch to 75 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 2017 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 from 2015 onward, 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 rated smart TV systems in existence today are the webOS 3.5 platform found in LG’s latest 4K TVs and its OLED 4K models, the Android TV platform of Sony’s 2017 4K TVs and the native Tizen operating system of Samsung’s 2017 Ultra HD TV models and the company’s QLED 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, if your own 4K TV’s smart platform isn’t something you’re happy with, there are numerous plug-and-play streaming media platforms available online or in stores with their own, often much better internal smart platforms and content apps. We go into deep detail on these and just how affordable and easy to install they are in our “Streaming and Gaming Media Devices” page, here.
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 2017 and 2018 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.