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Updated Apr 15, 2022 7:08 PM

Step in front of the giant wall of TVs at your local big box store and the OLED TVs will likely stand out. Their poppy color and abundant contrast give these high-end panels an edge over much of their competition. And while technologies like Mini LED and Micro LED may eventually challenge OLED’s image quality crown, it hasn’t happened yet. We’ve collected this list of the best OLED TVs across a range of brands and price points. 

While you shouldn’t expect to find a truly budget OLED TV, we have reached a point where there are strong options at affordable, if high-end prices. Sony debuted the first OLED TV back in 2007. It had an 11-inch screen with a 960 x 540 resolution for a tidy sum of $2,500. Spend that much now and you can get a massive OLED display with some of the best picture quality and color reproduction around. 

How we picked the best OLED TVs

I have been writing about consumer electronics and home theater technology for nearly two decades, including a stint as the digital editor for venerable A/V publication, Sound + Vision. This list is a result of a combination of research and real-world impressions, as well as data sourced from user and editorial reviews across the web.

In order to choose our picks, we focused on emphasizing a solid mix of performance and price. All but one of the entries here includes HDMI 2.1 ports, which we think will be important for some users now (particularly gamers) and others down the road. Obviously, LG is well-represented on the list as it’s the only company that physically manufactures OLED panels, which gives it an inherent edge that we can’t deny.

What is OLED and how does it work?

Before we get into our search for the best OLED TVs, it’s worth taking a step back to explain how these displays actually work and what makes them different from the rest of the TVs on the wall at the store. 

In an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, each pixel is an LED that emits its own light. When content requires dark or black areas on the screen, the display can simply turn those pixels off to create a “true” black that most other backlight technologies can’t match. The difference often becomes especially apparent in areas where bright objects butt up against darkness, which can cause light to spill where it shouldn’t go.

Typical LED backlit TVs rely on an array of LEDs sitting behind an LCD panel that controls how much light to let through. This is the same basic idea that has powered almost every flat-screen TV since the technology’s inception and it comes with a few drawbacks. The primary issue arises when the LCD panel can’t block all of the light coming from behind it: The excess light distorts black and even darker colors, making them look gray or washed out. Depending on the arrangement of the LEDs in the backlight, it can also result in a picture with unnatural banding or patchiness, especially around the edges. If you’ve ever noticed light leaking from the top, bottom or sides of your TV screen during a dark scene, OLED fixes that problem. 

While OLEDs are fantastic, they aren’t perfect. They’re still often pricier than their QLED competition at the same size. They also aren’t as bright and instead rely on their super-dark black levels to create a punchy, vibrant image. If you’re planning to watch TV in a super sunny room all day, then OLED probably isn’t your best bet. Otherwise, it’s hard to beat. 

Things to consider when buying an OLED TV

Before you take the plunge into OLED, here are some factors you should consider:

Size

Dig into the OLED offerings and you’ll find that most manufacturers hover around the 55- to 65-inch sweet spots for their most popular models. If you’re in the market for a small TV, OLED probably isn’t the right choice for you. In 2021, LG’s smallest OLED TV checks in at 48 inches. The company announced a new 42-inch model at CES 2022 but that isn’t available yet.

As with all big-screen TV, expect a noticeable price jump when you go above 65 inches. Manufacturers commonly offer 77-inch and even 88-inch displays, but they command a huge premium for all that real estate. 

Connectivity

Since you’re spending considerable cash on a new TV, you want it to last a while, which makes paying attention to the ports important for futureproofing. This is especially true if you’re planning to use your new panel with a fancy next-gen gaming console. 

Ideally, you’ll want a set with multiple HDMI 2.1 ports so you’re ready for anything you may hook up in the future. HDMI 2.1 represents the most recent iteration of the familiar connector. The extra bandwidth HDMI 2.1 provides allows compatible cables and devices to display high resolutions and fast frame rates, both of which will be increasingly important as streaming and gaming tech advance in the next few years. Right now, it’s only really relevant if you’re using a PS5 or Xbox Series X, but more devices will be able to take advantage down the road.

You’ll often find that TVs have a mixture of HDMI 2.1 and HDMI 2.0 ports, so just make sure you have enough high-performance connectivity to connect the devices you plan to use. 

Frame rate

High TV frame rates earned themselves a bad reputation early on when “motion smoothing” technology made our favorite movies look like cheesy soap operas. Many TVs still offer 60Hz refresh rates, which means the TV redraws the on-screen image 60 times each second. Higher-end TVs, however, support 120Hz refresh rates, which doubles the redraw frequency and creates smoother on-screen motion. While it’s still not going to drastically improve movies and TV shows, it can make sports and video games look noticeably better. 

Some TV manufacturers have also started to support variable refresh rate technologies like Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. These gaming-focused features can reduce instances of stuttering and other weirdness that can ruin your experience. Check out our round-up of the best TVs for gaming for a more in-depth take on these features.

Resolution

If you’re buying a current-generation OLED TV, it’s almost certainly going to offer 4K resolution. This has been the standard for several years now and it’s where you want to be. Technically, 8K is an option, but it’s wildly impractical for most people. Right now, there’s a nearly complete dearth of 8K content to watch on those fancy TVs. Even newer game consoles like the Xbox Series X and PS5, which technically support 8K gaming, lack any native 8K games or content. Upgrade to 8K if you want the bragging rights. Otherwise, 4K is plenty for now. 

Smart TV features

While a TV’s software won’t impact your viewing experience as much as its technical specifications, it may affect how you interact with your new OLED display if you don’t use an external streaming device or game console. Most TV manufacturers have a single platform on which all of their TVs run. Since we’re talking about OLEDs, you’re very likely to end up using LG’s own WebOS platform since that brand shows up more than others. Sony often relies on Google TV software. While these services aren’t all created equal, none of them is so much better or worse than the others that they should affect your purchasing decision.

HDR

High-Dynamic Range is basically the whole sales pitch for OLED TVs. By making the dark areas and blacks basically devoid of illumination, it makes the brights seem even more brilliant. There are two HDR standards: the near-universal HDR10 and the less common Dolby Vision. Some critics suggest that Dolby Vision works better, but fewer places support the standard. Luckily there are very few TVs, if any, that support Dolby Vision, but not HDR10. Realistically, the important thing to know is that any OLED worth buying says “HDR” on the box.

The best OLED TVs: Reviews & Recommendations

Because OLEDs sit near the top of the TV heap, pretty much any model you choose will perform at least reasonably well. The differences, then, lie in the details. We’ve dug into those specs to find the displays that best fit your needs.

Best overall: LG C1

Why it made the cut: Excellent picture quality and a solid feature-set make this one of the best OLED TVs around full-stop.

Specs 

  • Sizes: 48”, 55”, 65”, 77”, 88”
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz
  • Ports: 4 HDMI 2.1, RF, 2 USB 2.0, ethernet, optical audio, headphone out
  • HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Pros

  • Impeccable picture
  • Solid mix of features and price
  • Lots of size options
  • Excellent upscaling

Cons

  • Just OK brightness

Peruse other best TV lists and you’ll likely find LG’s C1 near the top pretty frequently. LG is by far the leading OLED manufacturer and the C1 represents a sweet spot for most people looking for a balance of price and performance. 

Across all of your content consumption, the C1 provides an excellent contrast ratio thanks to its super-deep black levels. For movie watching, LG offers filmmaker mode, which turns off motion smoothing and tones down the vibrance and brightness to make the picture look more like what you’d expect at the theater. 

The C1 supports all the most popular flavors of HDR, as well as the two dominant variable refresh rate technologies, G-Sync and FreeSync, which gamers will appreciate. In fact, the C1 has a lot to offer gamers. All four HDMI ports support HDMI 2.1, giving you enough to hook up a PS5 and Xbox Series X for 4K/120fps gameplay. Plus, it boasts a 1-millisecond response time in gaming mode, which cuts down potentially game-ruining lag. 

It’s not the brightest TV around, but that’s also one of the few drawbacks that come with OLED TVs across the board. Aside from that quibble, the C1 has just about anything anyone could ask for and it won’t require ill-gotten crypto funds to afford it.

Best budget: LG A1

Why it made the cut: Get the great picture quality you expect from an OLED and drop some features you may not miss. 

Specs 

  • Sizes: 48”, 55”, 65”, 77”
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Ports: 3 HDMI 2.0, RF, ethernet, minijack, optical audio
  • HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Pros

  • Outstanding picture quality
  • Relatively large size range
  • Solid AI-powered upscaling

Cons

  • No HDMI 2.1
  • Only 60Hz refresh rate

If you’re just looking for a beautiful display on which you can watch TV and movies, you may not even notice the compromises that come with LG’s entry-level A1 OLED. 

The A1 goes all the way up to 77 inches at the high-end and promises basically the same punchy, vivid picture you’d expect from our top pick. It lacks some of the high-end bells and whistles, like HDMI 2.1 and a 120Hz refresh rate, but those specs are typically more relevant to gamers with current-gen consoles than people looking to stream movies and TV shows. The A1 does include LG’s game optimizer technology, which relies on software to try and create the smoothest possible gaming experience for this hardware. 

Despite the step down in price, LG has included some of its popular features, like Bluetooth for attaching satellite surround sound speakers and Filmmaker Mode, which optimizes the on-screen image for movies by removing the smoothing and adjusting the color to a natural level. 

The A7 processor inside powers LG’s AI-driven image processing algorithm, which automatically adjusts both picture and sound performance to match the content you’re currently watching. That processor also enables its 4K upscaling tech, which takes standard HD content (or even lower-res content like DVDs) and makes it look polished on the 4K  display. 

Best Sony: BRAVIA XR A90J

Why it made the cut: Sony’s powerful image and sound processing technology makes any content look and sound better with help from AI. 

Specs 

  • Sizes: 44”, 65”, and 83”
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz
  • Adaptive sync: VRR
  • Ports: 4 HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, Composite, RF, Headphone jack, 3 USB 2.0
  • HDR: HDR10

Pros

  • Excellent picture
  • Image processing automatically adapts to on-screen content
  • Built-in Chromecast and AirPlay
  • Clever screen-speaker technology

Cons

  • Expensive

The OLED panel inside Sony’s A90J comes from LG, but Sony gooses its performance with a healthy dose of AI optimization. The company’s XR image processor analyzes both the on-screen image and the audio in order to optimize its performance. Rather than simply looking at the colors and shapes on the screen, however, the XR cross-checks the picture against a database of content in order to try and identify exactly what kind of content you’re watching. It then identifies the area you’re most likely to look at and enhances that spot with augmented brightness and contrast. 

The XR employs a similar strategy when it comes to audio. By identifying what the most important audio element is in a scene, it can emphasize those specific sounds. So, the dialog doesn’t get buried and explosions sound extra … explodey. 

In addition to its basic performance, Sony has included a few nice touches that make the TV appealing. It runs on Google’s TV operating system, so it has built-in Chromecast functionality in addition to Apple AirPlay. The Google integration also grants baked-in access to the Google Assistant, which enables voice controls. 

The price is a bit higher than some of its direct competition, but it’s an excellent performer all around.

Best Vizio: Vizio OLED

Why it made the cut: Vizio only makes one OLED model in two sizes, but it’s a solid performer for the price.

Specs

  • Sizes: 55”, 65”
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz
  • Ports: 4 HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, RF, 1 USB 2.0
  • HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10+

Pros

  • Affordable for the performance
  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports
  • 120Hz refresh rate

Cons

  • No audio return channel
  • Only two size options

Vizio only dabbles in OLED TVs, but the one option the company does offer sets the bar relatively high for affordable options. Whether you choose the 55-inch or 65-inch options, both come with a quartet of HDMI 2.1 ports, one of which is on the side and the other three on the bottom. It has a 120Hz refresh rate to go with those high-bandwidth connections, which makes it appealing to gamers who spent too much of their cash on a PS5 from a reseller. 

It has built-in Bluetooth, supports all the popular HDR standards, and has its own AI-powered upscaling engine to make content from every level look as good as it can on the 4K display. It has a few slightly odd omissions—it doesn’t have an audio return channel, which some sound systems like the Sonos Beam prefer. That won’t matter for some users, though. 

 If you’re looking to expand your entire setup, this TV ties in nicely with Vizio’s impressive lineup of audio products like surround systems and soundbars. The seamless integration is nice if you don’t mind committing to one manufacturer.

Best LG: LG G1

Why it made the cut: If you have a little extra cash, the G1 offers a few small improvements over the excellent C1.

Specs

  • Sizes: 55”, 65”, 77”
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz
  • Ports: 4 HDMI 2.1, eARC, 3 USB 2.0, RF, Ethernet, optical audio, headphone jack
  • HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Pros

  • Super-flat design sits flush against the wall
  • LG’s latest panel adds extra brightness
  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports

Cons

  • Needs wall-mounting
  • Feet instead of a sturdy stand

Like any other consumer electronic, TVs degrade as you use them. OLEDs slowly deteriorate as electricity flows through them. In order to increase longevity, manufacturers limit the current going through the diodes, which has an impact on the overall brightness. In its new Evo panels (like the one found in the G1 TVs), LG has opted for deuterium-based blue OLEDs instead of hydrogen-based models in order to improve lifecycle. It also allows LG to pump more current through the diodes. At the same time, LG has also added an extra layer of diodes (they’re green) to provide extra backlight. Both of these improvements translate into a panel that can be up to 20 percent brighter than an older model without wearing down the TV faster than needed. 

Beyond the new Evo panel, the G1 TV is very similar to the excellent C1, at least when it comes to components. It offers four HDMI 2.1 ports, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 4K resolution. The extremely thin screen looks best mounted to a wall, but it does come with feet if you want to set it on a surface. 

If your budget can accommodate the upgrade, the brighter evo panel will make a noticeable difference, especially if you watch TV in a relatively bright location. 

FAQs

Q: What are the disadvantages of OLED TV?

The primary issue with OLEDs tends to pop up as a lack of overall brightness. If you frequently watch TV in bright areas, then you’re likely better off with something like a QLED or even a typical LED display, which can achieve higher levels of overall illumination.

OLEDs can sometimes suffer from a condition called “burn in,” in which objects that stay on the screen too long can leave a permanent impression in the picture. Modern OLEDs have come a long way in fixing this, though. 

Q: Which brand of OLED TV is best?

Sony and Vizio offer popular OLED TV sets, but LG dominates the OLED market because it’s the only company that can physically manufacture the panels. 

Q: Do OLED TVs degrade over time?

All TVs degrade over time, but OLEDs will typically do so a bit faster than the competition. You’ll notice the degradation as an overall loss in brightness and contrast. However, this process takes years with normal usage. If you’re planning to keep your TV on 24 hours a day for years at a time, you might want to opt for another style of TV.

OLEDs also once suffered from burn-in, a phenomenon in which on-screen objects that stayed in one place for too long would leave permanent imprints on the display. This has become much less of an issue in recent generations, though. 

A final word word about the best OLED TVs

If you’re in the market for the best possible picture quality in a TV, OLED is still the champ for the moment. With prices on the best OLED TVs coming down in recent years, this is actually a great time to take the leap into the OLED arena while competing technologies like Mini LED and Micro LED are still relatively early in their cycles. 

While you’re generally safe picking pretty much any LG OLED, make sure that you get the features that you need to support the style of content consumption you typically do. After all, that fancy new console isn’t all that fancy if you don’t have an HDMI 2.1 port to plug it into. 

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