Best TV 2020: the best 4K and 8K big-screen televisions to buy

Meet the very best 4K and 8K smart TVS, with OLED, QLED and LED LCD panels, mind-blowing HDR, and next-gen AI image processing

Best TV 2020: best OLED TV, best QLED TV, best big screen TV
(Image credit: Panasonic)

Right now is a very good time to buy yourself a new 4K or 8K TV. Some of the best TVs from 2019 are now getting big price cuts in anticipation of 2020 models arriving in the next few months, but the coming models aren't as a big a leap forward as we've seen in previous years, so if you keep an eye on the best TV deals for the sets we're featuring here, you can get some astoundingly good sets for remarkable prices.

4K resolution is now the expectation for TVs. The market has fully transitioned from HD, and the best 8K TVs are already laying claiming the high end. 

Helpfully, there’s there’s no shortage of 4K content to make the most of your eight million pixels. All the key streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, Apple TV and Rakuten offer a healthy selection. Sky, BT and Virgin Media also have 4K channels available on their respective pay TV platforms. There’s a wide library of 4K Blu-ray discs available too, and is well-established in gaming (with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X taking that to the next level this year).

So whatever Ultra HD set you opt for, you’ll not be short of stuff to watch on it that takes full advantage of the resolution, and all the sets are fantastic at upscaling HD video to look great at 4K.

Of course, not all Ultra HD tellies are created equal. There’s a world of difference between competing sets and the different technologies used – check out our guide to OLED vs QLED to have these two TV types explained in plain English,

Of course, most of the very best sets here are quite expensive, but we also have top options from our Best TVs Under £1000 guide and our Best TVs under £500 guide. and that’s without unpicking the differences between LED, OLED and QLED screen technologies, the various flavours of HDR and the nascent attractions of 8K.

Best TV 2020: which is the top TV?

For viewing in a bright room, our current top choice is the phenomenal Samsung Q950TS. This 8K QLED screen combines high vibrancy with class-leading HDR performance and sensational colour reproduction, plus its upscaling really does make 4K video look close to 8K – it genuinely makes 4K look better than it would normally, which is great at bigger screen sizes.

Thanks to an innovative full-array backlight, it not only delivers convincing shiny highlights, but also does a fine job managing deep black levels. In every sense, it’s a peerless performer.

It is, however, very expensive. If you want a 4K screen that's very nearly as good, with all the HDR and brightness advantages, we recommend the Samsung Q95T/Q90T – the tech is very similar, in a slightly cut-back form – but still a cut above the competition.

If OLED is more your style, because you prefer to watch movies in low light where OLED’s superior near-black performance really comes into its own, our pick would be the Panasonic GZ2000. Not only does this model offer sensational cinematic imagery, but it also sports the best integrated Dolby Atmos sound system we’ve ever heard, complete with convincing up-firing height speakers. It’s the AV enthusiast’s screen of choice.

Head down to our full list to read more about these TVs, and see the prices for all sizes.

How to buy the best TV for you

Shortlisting your next television can be a complicated business, but a few simple rules of thumb will help.

As we move from HD to 4K and ultimately 8K, screen size becomes a key consideration. To see incremental differences in resolution, you’ll probably need to buy a bigger screen than you had previously, or move your seating closer. Long story short: think big, then buy bigger.

Counter intuitive it may well be, but ultra-large 8K screens are perfect for smaller rooms, if you want to really see every drop of detail. Everything you think you know about viewing distances is changing…

Then there’s viewing environment. If you tend to watch in high ambient lighting, or during daytime, an LED or QLED screen will typically serve you better. If you prefer to view with low or no lighting, an OLED will deliver greater subjective contrast and shadow detail. 

Smart platforms are no longer a decisive reason to buy. All TVs are smart these days, and the choice of apps ubiquitous – focus on image quality, price and any other features you're keen on.

Best TV 2020: why you should upgrade your TV now

We tend to say this all the time, but now really is a great time to invest in a new TV!

2160p 4K resolution opens the door to more detail without any obvious onscreen pixel structure, while wide colour gamut panels and high brightness panels make for vibrant, colour rich images, even when viewing regular HD TV channels.

The quality of HD upscaling has also never been better, as the power of image processors grows exponentially. All the main TV brands are now fast tracking image processing which utilise advanced AI with Deep Learning and Machine Learning, for better picture clarity.

With high dynamic range (HDR), images enjoy a greater sense of realism. HDR is basically a technology that enables TVs to show a broader range of colours and brightness, closer to what the eye is capable of seeing. Bright highlights, such as reflections and fireworks, glint and glow more realistically. HDR also allows for greater subtle shadow detail, adding extra depth. 

There is a caveat though. Cheaper LED screens may claim HDR support, but they often lack the inherent brightness to actually do much with it. At the high end, the dynamics will always be more pronounced.

HDR comes in a variety of flavours. Static HDR, aka HDR10, is the standard. It’s used on UHD Blu-ray and by streaming services. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are dynamic HDR variants, able to optimise HDR characteristics on a scene-by-scene basis, thanks to the use of dynamic metadata. 

Dolby Vision is the more widely used of the two. It’s favoured by Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV/iTunes and UHD Blu-ray. HDR10+ appears on some discs, but is more commonly used by Amazon Prime. Most manufactures support one or the other; a few (Panasonic, Philips) favour both.

HLG is a live broadcast HDR standard, still largely undergoing trials – support is widespread.

Audio is often a key differentiator between models. Flagship 4K TVs tend to have enhanced sound systems, often with support for Dolby Atmos, the immersive 3D sound format. Not only is Dolby Atmos good for your ears, having it in a TV can represent a big saving on additional external audio systems.

OK, now that we’ve set the scene, let’s reveal T3's best TV buys of 2020.

Best TVs 2020: the list

Best TVs: Samsung Q950TS

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung 75Q950TS

The best TV on the planet, elevating 4K video close to 8K's immense detail

Specifications
Screen size: 75 inches
Other sizes available: 65, 85 inches
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Dimensions: 1655x1010x307mm
Reasons to buy
+Incredible contrast from local dimming +Huge brightness for the best HDR in the business+Remarkable thin and bezel-less design+Great smart platform
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision HDR support 

• Read our full Samsung Q950TS review

The flagship TV in Samsung's 2020 range is our new pick for the best TV you can buy thanks to the way it takes 4K video and boosts it to really make use of its 8K resolution, even though 8K content is non-existent at this point.

The AI-based upscaling does an incredible job of filling the 33 million pixels with images that still look natural and pristine – not like they've been processed. Given that this TV only comes in at bigger screen sizes, this could not be more welcome. It's the best way to watch 4K, put simply – and the job it does of upscaling regular ol' HD is highly commendable as well, with only a few tiny processing imperfections slipping in that aren't much different to what you see when upscaling on 4K TVs.

Even more luxurious is the HDR performance, thanks to a powerful direct full array backlight, producing massively bright images beyond almost anything we've seen before. But with 480 areas of local dimming for turning that backlight down when needed, it's also capable of colossal contrast, even in bright and dark areas right next to each other. This kind of thing used to be OLED's main strength, but this can go several times brighter than the best OLED TVs, and almost matches it for black level performance – it's just astounding.

It feels like a premium product too – it's stunningly thing and sleek, but more noticeable is that lack of bezels on three sides, so it looks like the image is just suspended in the air. To really complete that effect, all of its ports are housed in an external box, called the One Connect, which connects to the TV over a single cable, making it ideal for tidy living rooms.

Add to that an excellent smart platform that makes it easy to watch any streaming or catch-up services you want, and you have a more-than-complete package. You have the best TV money can buy right now… but it does cost a lot of money.

It comes in 65-inch, 75-inch and 85-inch sizes, which are all available in the UK, though only the 85-inch version is available in the US. The good news is that there's a variant of this TV called the Q900T, which ditches the One Connect box and puts the ports on the TV itself (making it thicker), but is otherwise exactly the same… except for being significantly cheaper.

• Read our full guide to Samsung's 2020 TV range

Best TV 2020: Panasonic GZ2000

(Image credit: Panasonic)

2. Panasonic TX-55GZ2000

The best OLED of 2020 is a Hollywood action hero

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes available: 65 inches
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision HDR10+, HLG
Dimensions: 1225x761x78mm
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class OLED performance+Universal HDR support+Integrated Dolby Atmos sound system
Reasons to avoid
-Over specified if you already have a home cinema -Expensive

• Read our full Panasonic GZ2000 review

Featuring a Professional Edition OLED panel able to run brighter than rivals (despite the fact that all OLED TVs use essentially the same panel), this advanced OLED TV is a home cinema solution AV fans will be lusting over.

Designed from the ground-up for home cinema, it features built-in upfiring Dolby Atmos enabled speakers on the rear of the panel. Not that you can tell looking square on. The bezel is wafer thin, distinguished by a subtle forward-facing speaker bar.

Providing the smarts is Panasonic’s My Home Screen 4.0, which courtesy of Freeview Play, offers a full suite of Catch-up TV services, plus Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video.

Image quality, via the brand’s HCX Pro Intelligent picture processor, is dazzling. In part that’s down to the fact that this Pro Edition panel incorporates heat management techniques first developed for plasma TVs. The result is that the average picture level is boosted by around 30 per cent, which translates to better colour accuracy and brighter images. And the panel has been tuned with Hollywood colourists, to get it as close to what they use when creating the films as possible, so what you're seeing is what the director intended.

HDR performance is first rate. We measured peak brightness above 950 nits. View on the Dynamic setting, and the set edges past 1000 nits – easily the class leader for OLED in this regard.

That Dolby Atmos sound system is optimised using a Space Tuning routine, which takes your room into account as well as your relative viewing position.  

Dolby Atmos TV shows have enhanced scale and drama, while Atmos-encoded sporting events really put you in the action, casting crowd noise high and wide. The end result is a real cinematic viewing experience.

Best TV: LG CX

(Image credit: LG)

3. LG OLED65CX

The best OLED TV for most people

Specifications
Screen size: 65 inches
Other sizes available: 48, 55, 77 inches
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Dimensions: 1449x830x467mm
Reasons to buy
+Stunning image quality+Excellent gaming features+More affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+-Not as bright as some screens here

The LG CX is the blockbuster of LG's 2020 range: it's got the same image quality at TVs double its price, but delivers them at a price more people can afford, especially now that there's a new 48-inch size that's even less expensive, alongside the 55-inch, 65-inch and 77-inch models.

There's no big leap forward for OLED technology here – the developments in picture quality here are down to improvements in processing, making better-than-ever use of OLED's ability to bring out detail and subtlety in dark areas of the screen.

Brightness peaks at around 750 nits, which is normal for quality OLEDs, but because this handles the breadth of its contrast range better than almost any TV we've seen, it certainly feels brighter than that, and OLED's ability to but bright pixels right next to dark ones continues to look stunning.

The new image processing here also helps with making detail and skin tones more realistic, making the overall image a notable improvement – especially when you're watching something richly cinematic in a room with the right lighting (though the inclusion of Dolby Vision IQ means it will tweak what the screen shows to match the light levels in the rooms without harming contrast).

This is also the perfect TV for those looking at buying a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X – or to use with a PC – thanks to its excellent gaming features. We've measured incredibly low lag of just over 13ms in its gaming mode, which is almost as good as it gets – but the gaming mode keeps an impressive amount of image optimisation still going on, so it looks glorious.

On top of that, it supports Auto Low-Latency Mode, Variable Refresh Rates and 4K video at 120 frames per second – all major features in the next-gen consoles. It also includes Nvidia G-Sync support, for PC gaming with an Nvidia graphics card.

Best TVs: Samsung Q95T

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung QE65Q95T/Q90T

The best 4K LED TV of 2020, thanks to its QLED tech and smart backlight

Specifications
Screen size: 65 inches
Other sizes available: 55, 75, 85 inches
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Dimensions: 1447x828x35mm
Reasons to buy
+Bright, colourful images+Excellent 4K detail+Impressive contrast
Reasons to avoid
-Does handle dark as well as OLED-No Dolby Vision

• Read our full Samsung Q95T/Q90T review

Why have we mentioned two models – the Q95T and the Q90T – here? Because they're essentially the same TV, but with a small practical difference. The Q95T has an external box to house all of its connections, which connects to the panel over a single tiny cable; the Q90T has its connections on the TV unit itself, and so is slightly thicker as a result. The Q90T is also notably cheaper in countries where both versions are sold, but note that in some places, you'll only be offered one of them anyway.

With that out of the way, we can talk about the think you really need to know about both the Q95T and the Q90T: the fantastic HDR images you get from the QLED panel. The key thing here is the brightness of over 2000 nits – double what you get from even the brightest OLED sets, and easily four times brighter than your average budget TV. This is thanks to a full array backlight, much like the 8K Samsung Q950TS above, and combined with the wide, rich colours of an OLED panel, it looks just incredible. It's so vibrant and lush, but still maintains realism for people's skin tones and grittier scenes.

Localised dimming means it can give you pretty good depth of contrast too – while it can't match the OLED screens for the nuance of detail in dark scenes, it is able to put bright and dark elements next to each other with a very limited about of backlight bleeding between then.

The AI-based upscaling is massively impressive too, so both HD and 4K sources look magnificent. And it's well-suited to gaming, thanks to low input lag and a load of future-proofed features for next-gen consoles.

It's a premium-priced 4K screen, there's no doubt, but you can see where your investment has gone – it's bold and beautiful.

Best TV 2020: LG C9

(Image credit: LG)

5. LG OLED55C9

Beautiful OLED 4K images for a surprisingly reasonable price

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes available: 65, 77 inches
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
HDMI: 4
USB: 3
Dimensions: 1228x738x47mm
Reasons to buy
+Superb picture performance+Excellent value for money+Great gaming features 
Reasons to avoid
-No support for HDR10+-HDR upscaling of SDR unconvincing

• Read our full LG C9 review

The LG C9 is probably the best bang-for-buck TV on the market right now. It offer high-end OLED image quality and processing, but without a high-end price tag. And it's still packed with other features.

It offers four HDMI inputs, and supports VRR (Variable Frame Rate) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) for serious gaming – the next-gen consoles will make great use of these. 

Freeview Play brings with it a full complement of catch-up services for the UK, while streaming apps include NOW TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, BBC iPlayer, ITV hub, All 4, Demand 5 and Rakuten TV. LG’s webOS smart platform has had a tidy up, giving a cleaner user experience. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are also built in. 

Image quality is excellent, with pin-sharp detail and vibrant colours. Being OLED, dynamics are pronounced. 

The TV uses LG’s second generation Alpha 9 intelligent picture processor, along with Deep Learning AI picture management, which allows the panel to better display shadow detail by reacting to viewing light levels and adjusting accordingly. 

HDR support covers standard HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG.  We measured HDR peak brightness at around 800 nits. Black level and near-black shadow performance is close to faultless.

The set’s HDR Effect, which boosts SDR content to theoretically look HDR, is a bit hit or miss though. We’d opt not to use it.

While Dolby Atmos decoding is on board, the TV can't do much with the format. To make the most of Atmos sources, you’ll need to bitstream out to an Atmos soundbar or home cinema system. Its own speaker are fine, but nothing to get excited over.

Best TV 2020: Philips OLED+984

(Image credit: Philips)

6. Philips 65OLED984

A quality OLED TV that packs in a premium Bowers & Wilkins speaker system too

Specifications
Screen size: 65 inches
Other sizes available: None
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HLG
HDMI: 4
USB: 3
Dimensions: 1448x1338x142mm
Reasons to buy
+Universal HDR support+Bold, bright OLED screen+Bowers & Wilkins speaker system+Four-sided Ambilight 
Reasons to avoid
-Speakers aren't Dolby Atmos-Large, imposing design

Part high-end OLED, part high-end loudspeaker, Philips OLED+984 screen is an inspired co-production between Philips and hi-fi specialist Bowers & Wilkins. 

Physically a beast, it stands 1.33m tall, so you’ll need to clear a space in your fancy loft apartment to accommodate it. 

This audio system, wrapped in acoustically transparent Kvadrat cloth, is a three-channel design with left, centre, right drivers. Tweeters are mounted strategically at either edge of the cabinet, to produce a wide stereophonic soundstage. The centre channel warrants that classic Bowers decoupled tweeter-on-top treatment, familiar from its high-end loudspeakers.

The set’s panel performance is in line with Philips other current 4K OLED offerings, which for the most part means superb definition, excellent contrast and vibrant hues, courtesy of a third-gen, dual-chip iteration of Philips P5 image processor. The icing on the cake is Ambilight mood lighting, which we're big fans of.

HDR support is comprehensive, with HDR, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision all catered for. Peak brightness and colour saturation are extremely inviting. No one does televisual eye candy quite like Philips – some will prefer a more naturalist approach, but we're more than happy with it.

If Dolby Atmos isn’t a prerequisite, and you have the space to accommodate this techy tower, then the 984 is quite the audiovisual setup.

Best TV 2020: Sony KD-65AG9

7. Sony KD-65AG9

A beautiful panel, and gives new life to non-HDR footage

Specifications
Screen size: 65 inches
Other sizes available: 55-inch, 77-inch
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
HDMI: 4
USB: 3
Dimensions: 1447x834x40mm
Reasons to buy
+Acoustic Surface+ Audio system+Best in class HD SDR up-conversion
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+ support

Sony’s current Master Series OLED hero may just be a minor revision of the previous AF9, but it’s still a major temptation when it comes to our best screens of the year shortlist. 

Beautifully designed, with a slightly smaller footprint than its predecessor, its wafer-thin bezel rests on the central pedestal stand. There are no obvious loudspeakers, because this model uses Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ sound system, which employs vibrating acoustic transducers placed on the rear of the panel, meaning that the front of the TV itself is vibrating to create a big, full sound, though a couple of rear-facing woofers help too.

This innovative approach allows the TV to double as the centre channel speaker in a multichannel (3.1 or larger) audio system. A pair of stereo spring clip terminals on the rear allows the AG9 to go into centre speaker mode. 

Image quality is superb. Sony’s X1 Ultimate image processor does a fabulous job upscaling HD SDR content, while native 4K is super sharp and contrasty. Object-Based Super Resolution technology boosts contrast, detail and colour at an onscreen object level, while a Pixel Contrast Booster enhances colour and contrast in bright areas. For the kind of programmes you watch every day, no other set fares as well.

The screen’s HDR performance is admirable, and looks particularly naturalistic with Dolby Vision content from Netflix. We found that the Peak Luminance setting is best enjoyed High for HDR, and Medium for SDR, while the Advanced Contrast Enhancer and Black Adjust are ideal on Medium.  

HDR support covers HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+. Deep black and shadow detail performance are refined.

Providing requisite smarts is the Android TV OS, with Chromecast built-in. There’s support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice control.

Best TV 2020: Sony ZG9

(Image credit: Sony)

8. Sony KD-85ZG9

The best 8K TV is a giant-screened marvel of detail and HDR

Specifications
Screen size: 85 inches
Other sizes available: 98 inches
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
HDMI: 4
USB: 2
Dimensions: 1913x1141x120mm
Reasons to buy
+Superlative 8K performance+Impressive upscaling from 4K to 8K
Reasons to avoid
-Frighteningly expensive-Will it even fit in the door?

If you’re going to buy 8K, it clearly pays to supersize, and there’s currently no better 8K HDR experience to be had than from Sony’s epic 85-inch ZG9. It combines unmatched image clarity and HDR vibrancy with a brilliantly efficient sound system.

Also available as an improbable 98-incher (a snip at £84,999), the ZG9 achieves its astounding HDR brightness courtesy of a highly effective Full Array Backlight Master Drive, which uses a backdrop of precisely calibrated LED lights, allied to 8K X-tended Dynamic Range PRO picture processing. Contrast and HDR punch are sensationally good.

The screen accommodates this hefty backlight with a so-called blade architecture design. The panel sits atop a wider frame, which also provides a place to hide four forward-facing speakers.

This Acoustic Multi-Audio sound system is inspired by (but unrelated to) Sony’s OLED Acoustic Surface Audio technology, and we like how it sounds. The quad speaker arrangement is particularly effective when it comes to steering dialogue and effects around the (big) screen.  

Like other Sony high-end displays, the set employs the Android TV smart OS, the interface of which looks comically huge on this massive display. It also has integrated Google Assistant.  

Handling the 8K heavy lifting is the latest iteration of Sony’s X1 Ultimate image engine, which feels like it's finally being let off the leash here. 

HDR support covers standard HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision. However, there’s no compatibility with HDR10+, the dynamic metadata rival to Dolby Vision. 

While there’s zero 8K content around so far (though there may be as soon as this summer) test footage from Sony has left us hungry to see more. The good news is that 4K upscaling also looks jaw-droppingly fine. Sony’s 8K X-Reality Pro upscaling, which uses a new, dedicated 8K image reference database, is clearly doing a stonking job.

This Master Series monster hints at the future of TV. You don’t need it, but you’ll probably still want it.

Best TV 2020: LG 65OLEDB9

(Image credit: LG)

9. LG 65OLEDB9

The best-value big-screen OLED available

Specifications
Screen size: 65 inches
Other sizes available: 55 inches
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
HDMI: x4
USB: x3
Dimensions: 1449x830x47mm
Reasons to buy
+More OLED inches for your buck+Glorious picture quality+Strong webOS smart platform
Reasons to avoid
-Unimpressive sound-Image not quite as strong as C9

• Read our full LG B9 review

Shhh, don't let the secret out, but there's really very little difference in the panel or picture processing technology between this and the LG C9 above (or indeed, the much more expensive G9 or W9 models).

The C9's screen is generally measured as a little brighter at its peak than the B9, so if you want the best picture, it still has a slight edge, but the gap between them really isn't big at all. That's party down to the fact that the B9 has all the same electronics powering it, including the same strong upscaling and motion handling, plus 120Hz support, and variable refresh rates, and all the connections you could want.

There's no drop in HDR support either, so you get the dynamic images of Dolby Vision support, plus the webOS operating system has plenty of apps that support this, including Netflix and Apple TV. Other UK catch-up services are present, as is Freeview Play and Amazon Prime Video, though the HDR10+ support of the latter can't be used, because the TV itself doesn't support it.

However, the sound has definitely been skimped on in this TV, to save money. But that's fine – you don't have to spend much at all on one of the best soundbars to compensate.

The 55-inch version of this TV has occasionally to just over the £1,000 mark, which is superb value for a future-proof set. But we've picked the 65-inch version because it's the best-value big OLED we've seen so far – it's often available for £1,699, which just about edges out other budget OLEDs at the time of writing.

Best TV 2020: Panasonic TX-58GX800

(Image credit: Panasonic)

10. Panasonic TX-58GX800

A great 4K OLED TV for cinematic performance

Specifications
Screen size: 58 inches
Other sizes available: 40, 50, 65 inches
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10+
HDMI: 4
USB: 2
Dimensions: 1300x820x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Great size screen for the cash+Detailed and sharp 4K images+Full HDR support
Reasons to avoid
-A bit weak at upscaling

This is one of Panasonic's more budget-focused TVs, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince anyone who sees it of that. Not only does it offer colourful, precise visuals from 4K sources, it has every HDR base covered, so it's always eking the most out of every shot.

Of course, being a less expensive LED TV, you won't hit the spectacular bright highs on offer from the likes of the Samsung Q90R that tops our list, but what you see is still rich and exciting.

Processing is strong for motion control, which makes this an especially good buy for sports fans, though upscaling from HD isn't its strongest suit (though it certainly isn't bad), so there are other options at a similar price range that are better for that – our list of the best TVs under £1000 goes into more detail.

58 inches isn't a very common size at the moment, but expect to see it become more common in the future – it's only a little physically larger than 55 inches, but feels like a nice extra size upgrade. And here, it gives you a superb amount of real estate for the money.

Best TV 2020: Samsung UE43RU7020

(Image credit: Samsung)

10. Samsung UE43RU7020

The best TV you can get for under £500

Specifications
Screen size: 43 inches
Other sizes available: 50, 55, 65, 70, 75 inches
HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+
HDMI: x3
USB: x2
Dimensions: 970x560x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Strong upscaling+Good colour and contrast for the price+Great software
Reasons to avoid
-Not great sound

Though this is as affordable as Samsung TVs get, you won't feel like it's been neglected in any way – the plastic build feels perfectly premium, there's support for HDR10+ advanced HDR, and the software is essentially the same as that on higher-end models, including wide support for streaming and catch-up services, including Netflix, Apple TV (with AirPlay 2), Amazon Prime Video, and loads more.

And, crucially, the image quality also surpasses what you'd expect for the price – everything looks sharp and detailed, and it even does a damn good job of upscaling from HD, so if you tend to rely on watching non-4K stuff (which is most of it still, after all), you really won't feel like you got a budget TV here.

As an added bonus, it has a tiny 10ms response time, which means it's a great choice for gaming.

T3's TV buying tips

So you've read your rundown of the best TVs to buy and you've hopefully settled on a choice. But perhaps you have a few more questions? Our in-depth guide to buying a TV should have all the answers you need, or you can peruse the truncated version below…

Should I upgrade my HD TV to a 4K TV?

Yes, definitely (although, to be fair, if you buy a new TV that’s what you’re going to get whether you like it or not).

The resolution of 4K/Ultra HD is four times higher than Full HD, at 3840x2160. It means a far more detailed picture, with content requiring a lot more bandwidth and storage space. 4K TVs tend to be good at upscaling HD video to Ultra HD, and native 4K content is now widely available from a variety of sources.

Our advice? Replace your HD screen with a larger 4K UHD model to really enjoy the resolution benefit.  Similarly, buy a larger 8K TV than your 4K screen, if you’re stepping up again. 

What types of TV display can I choose from?

OLED TV

The lighting on OLED (organic light emitting diode) TVs is achieved by passing an electric current through an emissive, electroluminescent film. This technique produces beautiful colour and high contrast and also enables screens to be extremely thin and flexible. LG Display is the only supplier of 4K OLED screens to mainstream TV manufacturers, meaning they all use the same panels, but picture processors and implementation all vary, so you can still expect differences between brands.

Quantum Dot/QLED

Samsung is the leading exponent of QLED, a variant of LED LCD display technology that uses a highly efficient Quantum Dot filter that increases brightness and colour volume. QLED screens with a full array backlight offer the best performance when it comes to HDR peak brightness and LCD black level control.

LED TV: Direct LED

Sometimes called FALD (Full Array Local Dimming), these displays are backlit by an array of LEDs (light emitting diodes) directly behind the screen. This enables localised dimming – meaning immediately adjacent areas of brightness and darkness can be displayed more effectively – and greatly improves contrast.

LED TV: Edge LED

With these Edge LED TVs, the LEDs of the backlight are mounted along the edges of the panel. This arrangement enables radically slender displays, but can't achieve the same picture quality as directly lit LED sets. However, Edge LED displays do come in far cheaper which is why the more budget LED TVs out there use this technology.

What should I look for when I'm buying a TV?

Here are some of the things we look for when we review a TV screen, so you should, too...

Contrast: Bright whites shouldn't have any signs of green, pink or blue in them, while blacks should look solid and not washed out, grey, green or blue.

Colours: Look at how bright and solid they are; how noiseless their edges are; how 'dotty' richly saturated areas are and how natural skin looks, especially in dim scenes.

Fine detail: How much texture does the screen give? Does a tree look like a green lump, or can you see the individual leaves?

Edges: Check for ghosting, bright halos and jaggedness, especially around curves.

Motion: Check moving objects and quick camera pans for smearing or blurring, trailing, jerkiness and fizzing dotty noise.

Image artefacts: Look for blockiness, colour bands, grain, smearing, dot crawl: anything that looks like it's added by the TV’s picture processing engine.

What about TV sound?

To provide the best audio to complement the pictures, your TV should be hooked up to a separate audio system, be it soundbar or home cinema separates, but this isn't always an option. So, here's what we listen for when testing a TV's speakers:

Bass: Deep, rounded rumbles that don't cause the set to rattle or speakers to distort cramp or overwhelm the rest of the sound; but that expand when needed.

Vocals: Voices should sound open, rich and clear, not boxed in, nasal or thin.

Trebles: Treble effects should sound clean, rounded and smooth in loud scenes and shouldn't dominate the soundstage.

Soundstage width/depth: A good TV should throw the sound away from the TV, to the sides, forward and back, to give an extra dimension to what's on screen, without losing any coherence.

How many HDMI sockets do you need?

For a living room TV you should be looking for a minimum of three HDMI inputs, but ideally four if you want to attach a set-top box as well as games consoles, Blu-ray player and media streamer.

Do you want to hang your TV on the wall?

Most flatscreens adhere to the VESA mounting standard, so finding a wall mount that fits should be straightforward. Ensure that the wall in question is strong enough for your large flatscreen. Don’t make the mistake of fixing your wall mount too high (above a fireplace is usually a bad idea). The panel should be in your eye line when sitting at seat or sofa level. Watched from an angle, screens can appear to lose contrast and colour.