With 8K TVs already available (but with little content), the best 4K TVs are more abundant and affordable than ever. Now, virtually everything from our favorite shows to live sporting events are streamed in 4K. And once you experience 4K quality on a TV built for it, it’s difficult to go back.
But 4K isn’t necessarily new — in fact, 4K TVs have been around since around 2013. It was just hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on a 4K TV when in reality, there just wasn’t much, if any, 4K content around. Now that 4K content has finally caught up, right as 8K is starting to creep into the picture, it’s dropped the price of 4Ks. On top of that, brands like Samsung and Sony have already released 2020 models of their most popular flatscreen TVs. That means consumers can choose from a premium 2020 model or save a few hundred dollars on the 2019 model, many of which are still on the cutting edge of high definition video.
For all these reasons, the summer of 2020 is actually the perfect time to buy the best 4K TVs.
Before we leap into our recommendations, we’ll cover:
- What is 4K?
- What is HDR?
- Are 8K TVs worth it?
- The best 4K TVs for sale in 2020
What Does 4K Mean, Anyway?
The easiest way to explain: 4K has four times the pixels as a 1080p screen, which ultimately means a better much better resolution. Cool. So, what’s a pixel? A single pixel is a digital representation of an image. Have you ever seen those mosaic pictures that are made up of tiny little pictures?
Look at this photograph:
That 311 album cover is a crude example of what is happening inside of your television — a bunch of individual pixels making up a larger picture. In a 1080p TV, there are two million of those pixels making up the imagery. Since there are four times as many pixels in a 4K TV compared to 1080p (4 x 2,000,000), there are eight million of those tiny little things jam-packed inside of your display.
And as you can see in the 311 album cover above, with relatively large pixels, the overall image is a little blurry. When you introduce more pixels, your image becomes sharper, hence why 4K has better image quality than 1080p.
What Is HDR?
When you venture into the world of 4K TVs, you’re bound to run into HDR. HDR stands for high dynamic range, and although is a little more tricky to define, it works in tandem with 4K. In the most consumer-friendly definition possible, HDR is essentially the range of colors each pixel can display.
Let’s say a company has two accountants. Bob the accountant rounds all expenses to whole dollar amounts — $10.11 becomes $10, $12.87 becomes $13, so on and so forth (not great, Bob!). Jenny the accountant doesn’t do that, and uses the actual values to input expenses. At the end of the month, Jenny’s accounts will paint a more accurate picture than Bob’s of the company’s expenses, because she was using more specified dollar amounts. Bob will also probably get fired.
That analogy is essentially how HDR works. Standard dynamic range uses a limited amount of the color gamut to display colors (like whole dollar amounts). HDR uses more finite precision ($10.11) to display a more accurate color representation. Because more of the color gamut is available in HDR, totaled with better resolution, the picture quality is more vibrant and sharp.
Are 8K TVs Worth It?
The short answer is, no. If you apply that same math from 1080p to 4K, now from 4K to 8K, we end up with four times the resolution of 4K. Wow, seems great, right? But the same problem occurs with 8K as it did with 4K in the past — there just isn’t much 8K content yet. And to stream 8K content, you need a ton of bandwidth and HDMI cables that can handle that sort of information load. Even though there are 8K TVs out now, they are expensive. Some, like the LG Signature Series 88” are crazy expensive. If you want to future proof with an 8K TV, we recommend waiting a few more years. More content will be out and TVs will surely become more affordable, much like the journey of 4K TVs.
The Best 4K TVs for Sale in 2020
Now that you’re up to speed on the technology inside of the best 4K TVs, it’s time to go out and get one. And now is the perfect time to upgrade, with 4K being more affordable than ever. Plus, with all the streaming and live 4K content available today, watching TV in 1080P almost feels primitive at this point. Do yourself a favor and upgrade to a 4K TV if you haven’t already.
Below you’ll find our recommendations for the best 4K TVs for sale.
1. LG C9 OLED TV
OLED TVs are the cream of the crop, so it’s no surprise that this is the best 4K TV right now. The picture quality is unmatched with the ability to achieve essentially true black. That contrast helps the picture pop off the screen. Going beyond the picture quality is the elegantly slim design. It’s about as slim as your iPhone and will fit flush against your wall (if you mount it). On top that, it’s compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Finally, it’s a few thousand dollars cheaper than most 65-inch OLED TVs. For all these reasons, it’s the best 4K TV to buy right now.
2. Sony A9G
The only reason to drop the Sony A9G 4K TV below the LG C9 is the price. It’s one of the most expensive 4K TVs, but wow, it looks incredible. Thanks to the X1 picture processor, which helps boost individual pixels to brighten the color and enhance detail, the picture quality is nothing short of “stunning.” And that’s the word Amazon users describe in their respective views. No wonder it has a 4.7 rating. If you have the money, you won’t be disappointed.
3. Samsung Q90 4K TV (2019 Model)
It’s not an OLED, but the picture quality is on par. Clever use of local dimming as well as a new Ultra Black Elite filter helps remove unwanted light and deepens the contrast. The result is stunning picture quality that you could easily mistake for OLED quality. Beyond the contrast, HDR makes images vivid and vibrant. If we haven’t got the point across that this 4K has incredible picture quality — this TV has incredible picture quality.
4. Samsung Q70 Series (2020 Model)
GREAT MID-RANGE PICK
The Q70 Series is one of Samsung’s most successful and popular 4K TVs, and we’ve featured last year’s Q70R in previous stories before. Like the 2019 model, the new Q70t is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a mid-range 4K tv. Some of the best 4K TVs from Sony and LG can cost more than $3,000, but you can get a 65-inch QLED Q70t for just $1,200. In addition to the incredible picture quality of standard 4K TVs, Samsung’s 4K Quantum processor automatically optimizes your media to reduce image noise and more clearly define edges. Like the best 4K TVs, the Q70 series features a super-thin design that will look great mounted on the wall or on an entertainment center.
And if that doesn’t do it for you, you can take a look at some of our other 65-inch TVs here.
5. TCL 55” Class 6-Series
BEST BUDGET OPTION
The 6-series might be listed as a budget TV, but the performance says otherwise. The TV gets plenty bright with vivid picture quality. And when it comes to the Roku platform, there are few that are easier to navigate. You don’t have to spend over $1000 for a quality 4K TV. Hell, you don’t have spend over $600 for this “more than just a budget TV” option.
6. Vizio P-Series Quantum X 65 4K TV
The P-Series is the top of the line from Vizio, and truth be told, an all-around solid 4K TV option. The display has a tiny bezel, making your screen look bigger than advertised. The 384 local dimming zones do wonders to help increase contrast for eye-popping picture quality. And if you want to sync up your home entertainment system with the rest of your smart home, it is compatible with Apple HomeKit. It can really pay to save a few bucks on the Vizio P-Series.
7. LG B9
The B9 is a little older, but if you are looking for an affordable way to get an OLED TV in your home, this is one of the cheapest ways to do it. But don’t think the B9 isn’t worth your consideration. The OLED technology in this TV is absolutely on par with the likes of the C9, and provides plenty of connectivity and voice control with Apple Airplay and Alexa compatibilities.
8. Hisense 65H8G
GREAT BUDGET PICK
Beyond the TCL Series-6 TV, the Hisense 65H8G brings great picture quality at an affordable price. Boasting both Dolby Vision HDR picture and Dolby Atmos sound, you’re getting top-tier picture quality you would from the heavy hitters in an affordable Hiesense TV. There’s even a gaming mode that reduces lag-time for smooth gameplay. For $700, this is one of the best 4K TVs for sale in 2020. Plus, unlike most affordable flatscreen TVs, you can enjoy crystal clear audio without paying extra for a soundbar.
9. Samsung Curved 4K TV
BEST CURVED OPTION
Curved TVs had their moment in the sun, albeit, a brief one, but curved TVs still have their place. When you sit front and center, and in a dark room, the viewing experience is actually pretty great. If that describes the way you like to watch TV, the Samsung Curved TV is more affordable than our two other budget recommendations and has the ability to upscale TV content that isn’t quite 4K. We know curved TVs aren’t for everyone, but night owls that like to submerged themselves into gaming or TV, this might be your best and most affordable 4K TV option.