The Best TVs for Watching Whatever’s On TV
Yes, this is a golden age of TV. Fortunately, it’s also the golden age of TVs.
A Set with Serious Curves – Samsung UHD HU9000
Go ahead and stare: The gentle, end-to-end curve of the 65-inch Samsung UHD HU9000 (previous page) is meant to draw eyes. Yet the 4K set’s bold contours are designed for more than mere aesthetics—they wrap you in its ultra-resolution picture, ridding your pupils of peripheral distractions and providing an Imax-like level of immersion. In terms of picture quality, the HU9000 is rich and well balanced, thanks in part to built-in sensors that buff up contrast and color.
Screen Enhancement: One big problem with 4K TVs? There’s not that much high-res content apart from a few movies and Netflix streams. The HU9000 has the best upscaling we’ve seen in a next-gen set, adding detail and pixels to regular HD content to make it look almost 4K-like. [$6,000; samsung.com]
The Budget Set to Buy – Vizio E-Series
The Vizio E-Series is by far the best mix of performance and price available. No, the 60-inch set doesn’t have 4K resolution, 3-D support, or a fancy remote. But it does have features typically found only in much more expensive TVs, including local LED dimming for better black levels and configuration settings rarely seen at this price. Think full color management, motion-blur reduction, and grayscale control. All of that makes it an incredible bargain.
Connection: No need to buy a separate media box: Thanks to its built-in wi-fi, the Vizio comes equipped with a selection of streaming apps, including Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube. [$900; vizio.com]
The Hyper-Real Television – Sony X900B
It’s not about how many pixels you have; it’s how you use them. And the X900B employs all eight million to generate the hands-down best picture of any ultra-res set around. Credit goes to its local dimming tech, which maximizes the contrast between the bright and dark elements in the picture. Everything from playoff football to Proactiv commercials appears fully rendered and complete. Katy Perry’s pores never looked so stunning.
Sound Design: Most TVs can barely play the Price Is Right soundtrack without distortion. The X900B brings the noise: Its six speakers, which tuck seamlessly into the slim design, kick out 65 watts of combined power. They’re loud enough to replace a soundbar.[$4,000; store.sony.com]
The Most Intelligent Smart TV – LG 55LB7200
Most smart TVs are really pretty dumb, offering a suite of connected apps but a clogged interface. This wi-fi-connected55-incher is the rare exception. In addition to its beautiful picture and extrawide viewing angle, its webOS system is efficient and smooth, with an interface that pops up as a scrolling line of subtle, colorful tiles. It strings your most recent apps and features along the left of the timeline-like row of cards, predicts the apps you’re most likely to want to use next, and suggests content based on your viewing habits.
Ultimate Control: The included magic remote works via voice commands and allows you simply to aim it, laser-pointer-style, at any tile or button on-screen to trigger it. [$1,600; lg.com]
Photos by Rony Shram