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Best TV: OLED, QLED, 4K and 8K sets to enhance your movie nights

The best TVs that promise to modernize your viewing experience, from Samsung, Sony and more

best tv: Samsung QLED Q950TS
(Image credit: Samsung)

With more opportunities for nights in front of the TV of late, you may have been convinced that your lounge is due an upgrade. With new televisions with updated technology and design being released all of the time, there's always something new to experience, but it can also get a little overwhelming.

The best TVs in 2021 generally come with a choice between 4K and 8K resolution, with the former by the far the most established. You also need to decide whether you want OLED or QLED, which relates to how your TV is lit.

To help with your decision, we have assembled some of the best TVs available right now, ranking them based on picture quality, audio, sizes and how they might look in your space. And if you are also looking for a better sound system, take a look at our guide to the best soundbars.

Keep scrolling to see how we rated the latest televisions.

The best TVs 2021

best tv: Sony A90J Series

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony Bravia A90J Series (2021)

Best OLED TV

Specifications
Display: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR: HDR 10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Surround sound: DTS Digital Surround
Smart TV: Google TV
Sizes: 55", 65", 83"
Reasons to buy
+Works with Alexa and Google Assistant+Fantastic picture quality+Good sound
Reasons to avoid
-As pricey as you'd expect

Our top pick from the latest releases in 2021, the Sony A90J is a beauty to behold with a gorgeous minimalist design and cutting edge specs. XR OLED Contrast Pro offers Sony's brightest images to date, and ultimate blacks create a truly immersive experience with accurate colors and 4K upscaling.

The A90J is also fantastic for sports and gaming, with motion processing keeping things from every getting blurry. There's also a dedicated game mode that activates a better frame rate and limits input lag. Google Assistant is built into the TV and you can hook it up to your existing Alexa or Apple smart home.

The design of the TV is particularly interesting when it comes to its feet. Arriving in its 'low profile' setting, if you have a soundbar you can raise it slightly higher (as pictured). It will also sit flush to wall if you prefer to mount it.

best tv: Sony A9G Master OLEDH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony A9G Master OLED (2019)

Best sounding TV

Specifications
Display: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG
Smart TV: Android TV
Surround sound: DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus
Sizes: 55", 65", 77"
Reasons to buy
+Good value+Google Assistant built-in+Dedicated game mode+Acoustic Surface Audio+ sound
Reasons to avoid
-No Alexa included

The Sony A9G Master OLED may be an earlier model than others on this list, but it still very much holds its own against the 2020 and 2021 crop. The 4K HDR X1 Ultimate processor allows for rendered based on objects on the screen, which means everything is upscaled as close to 4K as possible.

In addition to all of this, the Sony A9G sounds fantastic with Dolby Atmos and Acoustic Surface Audio+ allowing audio to flow from the panel around the room, instead of simply from the front-facing speakers like with other models. The TV lacks built-in Alexa capabilities, but it does come with Google Assistant. 

Homes & Gardens rating: 5 out of 5 stars

best tv: Samsung QLED Q950TS

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung QLED Q950TS (2020)

Best 8K TV

Specifications
Display: QLED
Resolution: 8K
HDR: HLG, HDR 10+
Surround sound: Dolby Digital Plus
Smart TV: Tizen
Sizes: 85"
Reasons to buy
+Incredible resolution+Full Array Local Dimming+Alexa and Google Assistant built-in
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Only available in 85"-Not much content available in 8K

8K TVs are officially here, and they're becoming more than a curiosity. While there really isn't too much content to consume in 8K at the moment, purchasing a television that's capable of showing future films, sports and TV at its full potential (as well as at 85") is a move towards future-proofing your home theater set up. 

And the Samsung QLED Q950TS promises to intelligently upscale existing content to 8K resolution, meaning your Netflix binges will never be the same. The slim television also sits flush to the wall and has been designed to look great from any angle, so you don't need to worry about sitting directly in front.

best tv: Sony Z8H Series

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony Z8H Series (2020)

Best standard LED TV

Specifications
Display: LED
Resolution: 8K
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG
Surround sound: Dolby Digital, DTS
Smart TV: Tizen
Sizes: 75"
Reasons to buy
+Incredible resolution+Full Array Local dimming
Reasons to avoid
-Only available in 75"-Not much content available in 8K-No smart assistants built-in

Another great example of 8K, the Sony Z8H can be purchased in a slightly smaller size and is significantly less expensive than the Samsung QLED Q950TS. Using 8K X-Reality Pro technology, it also promises to upscale as much content as possible to crystal clear 4320p.

Acoustic Multi-Surface Audio creates better sound than you might be expecting, with a tweeter in the frame and subwoofer at the TV's rear to add base. Colors also look fantastic thanks to Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, which works to make images more immersive and close to life.

best tv: LG GX Series

(Image credit: LG)

5. LG GX Series (2020)

Best gallery-design TV

Specifications
Display: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG
Surround sound: Dolby Atmos, OLED Surround
Smart TV: webOS
Sizes: 55", 65", 77"
Reasons to buy
+Good value+Alexa and Google Assistant built-in+Gapless mounting+Gallery mode
Reasons to avoid
-No stand included

Designed to blend seamlessly into your décor, once the LG GX Series is mounted to the wall you'll be hard-pressed to differentiate it from any nearby artwork. With close to no gap between the screen and the wall you'll be able to enjoy movie nights and TV binges and then activate gallery mode when you're not watching.

Dolby Atmos speakers means you'll get the impact of surround sound straight from the TV without needing a separate soundbar, and Dolby Vision IQ will adjust the picture based on ambient lighting in your space and the kind of content you're watching at the time.

LG GX Series mounted to wall in art mode with woman viewed from behind

(Image credit: LG)

What is the difference between OLED and QLED?

You may be confused about what exactly the difference between OLED and QLED screens is, and why you should choose one over the other.

OLED

OLED, which stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, has been around the longest and refers to TVs where the pixels in the screen are self-lighting. This means they can be turned on and off one at a time, creating a more detailed color palette and eliminating the danger of bleeding between pixels.

QLED

QLED stands for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode, which is an upgrade on standard LED screen introduced by Samsung back in 2017. The technology uses its quantum dots to enhance the quality of a picture passed through a backlight, allowing for more vibrant colors.

What size TV should I buy?

The smallest TV on this list is 55", but mainstream brands are producing excellent televisions as small as 32" or 40". If you want a cinematic experience, we'd recommend not going too low. 

Whether you want a 75" or 85" inch screen is a different matter, and the answer to this will depend very much on the space you have. Do you want a TV that will be the focal point of a large room? Or something for a smaller office or bedroom? You also need to consider whether you want to place your TV on a stand or mount it to the wall. Larger TVs can look better mounted, as they take up less real estate.

Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has worked with the Homes and Gardens team since the start of 2021, bringing her background in technology with her. She’s passionate about incorporating smart devices into the home without compromising on style, and her own interior design style has evolved over the years to reflect this.