While flashier, Godzilla-sized 8K TVs with gaudier specs pop up on your newsfeeds, there’s currently very little rational argument to stretch for anything beyond 4K Ultra HD. Unless you’re planning on purchasing a display larger than 90 inches, which is the alleged minimum screen size for the human eye to discern the next-level detail offered by 8K, a 4K display’s 8.3 million pixels is plenty. Add the fact that no one is even remotely close to broadcasting in 8K resolution, nor will be anytime soon, and 4K is the logical choice.
These six 4K Ultra HD options are currently the best on the market, and all come packaged with the latest tech, including High Dynamic Range (HDR), Hands-free Voice Control, Alexa, Apple Airplay2, Dolby Vision and advanced processors that upscale lower 1080p content into optics that resemble 4K resolution, or as close as technically possible, at least. And, at this time in particular, they all offer a brighter perspective when it comes to staying home.
Samsung: The Terrace 75-inch 4K QLED
With the latest offering in its “Lifestyle TV Portfolio” recently announced, Samsung is literally taking its game outside. The new $6,500 Terrace TV was specifically engineered for outdoor usage, adapting Samsung’s top-of-the-line 4K QLED technology and complementing it with a soundbar developed for the elements (dust-proof and water-resistant).
The Terrace combines 2,000 nits of brightness, an anti-reflective coating to minimize glare and the QLED’s MR240 high motion rate to present the ideal option for watching sports outdoors—even during the peak sun of summer pool days. Plus, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth mean you can connect it to any patio sound-system. It’s also available in 55-inch and 65-inch models.
Samsung: Q90T 85-inch 4K QLED
At $5,000, the 85-inch Q90T is the top-of-the-line offering in Samsung’s 4K segment, which means it comes loaded with all of the Korean leader’s best tech—from foundational core architecture to design advancements to entertaining bells and whistles. Samsung’s new Quantum 4K processor uses artificial intelligence to upscale lower-res content by reducing image noise, restoring lost detail and defining finer edges around objects so that non-4K content looks vastly improved.
As far as design, its Infinity Screen almost eliminates the Q90T’s bezel, offering an industry-best screen-to-body ratio of nearly 99 percent (any further than 10 feet away and the bezel appears to vanish). It also comes with over 100 channels of streaming content via Samsung TV Plus, all free and right out of the box. One timely addition is Samsung Health, a fitness and wellness program that brings the gym, yoga class and kickboxing studio right to your living room.
LG: WX “Wallpaper” 65-inch OLED TV
LG offers two top-of-the-line options in the world of 4K, and the optimal solution depends on your particular needs. From a spec and features standpoint, the company’s GX and WX series are nearly identical. What makes them shine, however, is what they do best in the worlds of design, dimensions and weight, and how that translates into ease-of-mounting.
Abandoning in-board sound for an external soundbar (60W output and 4.2 channel audio) allows the 65-inch WX “Wallpaper” Series, priced at $4,500, an unbelievably svelte beltline (0.15-inch thick and only 40.1 pounds), meaning not only does the WX look terrific but it can be easily mounted nearly anywhere.
LG: GX “Gallery” 77-inch OLED TV
LG’s 77-inch GX Series, priced at $5,500, differs from its WX sibling in that it features built-in speakers. As with the WX, it also has 60W output with 4.2 channel audio, but the two models also vary in how they direct sound. The WX fires the sound forward while the GX sends it downward, which becomes a matter of taste for audiophiles. The GX offers a much larger display than the WX while also maintaining a very thin bezel, with no gap from screen to wall (hence the hanging art–inspired “Gallery” moniker).
In addition, the GX is impressively thin, just under an inch thick, although weighing more than twice as much as the WX—a hefty 86.9 pounds. Of course, both feature LG’s leading OLED technology, meaning their self-emissive pixels light independently for superb HDR, and can be completely turned off for inky blacks, offering over a billion rich colors and infinite contrast. If size matters most, then opt for the GX (also available in 65-inch and 55-inch models), otherwise the dimensional convenience of the WX is tough to beat.
SONY: The 77-Inch Master Series A9G 4K OLED TV
Sony has yet to unveil its 2020 models, so we have to go with the 2019 Master Series, but that is still widely considered among the best 4K TV models on the market. Sony’s X1 Ultimate is the same processor the Japanese electronics giant utilizes to power its superb 8K displays which feature 66-million pixels, or eight times that of a 4K TV. That’s a bit like shoehorning a Ferrari V-12 into a Mustang.
The $5,000 Master Series A9G also uses a cool sonic trick the others lack: Sony’s proprietary Sound-from-Picture Reality system. The setup creates audio directionality via subwoofers and dual actuators behind the screen, so sound effects sound like they’re originating from where the action is actually taking place on the screen.
TCL: 8-Series 75-Inch 4K QLED
TCL’s more affordable 6-Series is considered by many to be the best value in the 4K segment, but its 8-Series takes that excellent value and adds innovative tech to enhance visual quality. The big breakthrough is something TCL is dubbing Quantum Contrast, which means the display is illuminated via more than 25,000 densely-packed mini-LED backlights.
It’s the world’s first television utilizing this newly developed system, boosting the number of contrast-enhancing, full-array local-dimming zones to almost 1,000 (up from 160 zones in TCL’s 6 Series TV of the same size). This results in far superior contrast, although not as good as the more expensive OLEDs. Packaged in a futuristic brushed metal design, the $3,000 8-Series is probably the best value on this list.