Seven TVs to upgrade your watching experience

Quality picture for all your entertainment.

TV in a living room
Choose the right TV for you.Loewe Technologies via Unsplash

Just a few short decades ago, we were sitting around watching ALF on our big, fat tube TVs. Now, however, we live in the age of streaming wars. Giant entertainment corporations are pumping out more gritty dramas, quirky comedies, and sci-fi epics than we could possibly watch. But, if you truly want to enjoy this glorious glut of entertainment, you need a TV that can take advantage of the contrasty, colorful streams. Unfortunately, upgrading can be confusing. So, before you take the plunge on a new panel, check out these tried-and-true options that suit almost any need. Then, fire up your favorite app, seamless a bellyful of Thai food, and let the waves of content wash over you.

Sony X series 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Sony X series 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Solid bet.Amazon

TV names are completely bananas with endless strings of nonsensical letters and numbers that make telling them apart seem impossible. If you’re looking for a great-looking, reliable TV, Sony makes an extremely solid option. It checks all the boxes you actually want like High Dynamic Range—or HDR—tech for improved color, and 4K resolution to make the most of high-quality streams. It runs on the Android TV platform instead of kludging together its own proprietary software, and a powerful processor inside helps upscale content that’s not quite ready for 4K on its own. So, if you’re clinging to that DVD of The Fifth Element you’ve had since college, it will still look pretty good.

LG OLED C9

LG OLED C9

Move up to OLED.Amazon

If you want to squeeze every bit of image quality you possibly can out of your watching experience, go with an OLED. Rather than relying on an array of lights behind the screen to illuminate the picture, each pixel in an OLED essentially lights up independently. As a result, the black areas of the picture are inky and dramatic.

LG’s OLED displays use AI to analyze the picture on the screen and tweak its settings to optimize the picture in real-time. It’s compatible with the most popular HDR formats and has AirPlay built-in so you can sling content directly from your phone to the big screen without an extra box.

Vizio P-Series Quantum

Vizio P-Series Quantum

Almost an OLED.Amazon

If you’re not quite ready to dive into flagship price points, Vizio’s P-series TVs with its Quantum tech inside do a darn good OLED impression on a smaller budget. Behind the screen, 200 light zones push a picture with roughly 15-percent more colors than a typical LCD. It’s not quite as swanky as a true OLED, but it’ll make the tones really pop when you put on The Garfield Movie again. Plus, built-in Apple HomeKit lets you control the TV with your phone when the remote gets kicked under the couch and you’re too lazy to try and dig it out.

Good for a guest room

Toshiba with Fire TV

Good for a guest room.Amazon

Houseguests can be fun until they start encroaching on your TV time. No, we don’t want to watch The Great British Baking Show, aunt Brenda, because we’ve already seen all of them. Putting a quality TV with streaming capabilities in the guest room can help avoid this kind of awkward situation. Toshiba’s Fire TV edition models start at a manageable 43-inches and tote extremely affordable price tags. They run on Amazon’s Fire TV smart platform so your guests can sign in and stream whatever they want and make requests from Alexa.

TCL 55-inch 4K with Roku

TCL 55-inch 4K with Roku

Go big, go cheap.Amazon

Rather than trusting TV manufacturers to keep their software and apps updated, you can buy a set with Roku’s excellent streaming platform built right in. TCL’s Roku TVs will get you lots of screen real estate for a small price tag and save you even more cash because they don’t require an external streaming box. Despite their low price, you still get HDR color and 4K resolution. It won’t compete with a high-end flagship, but it’s a ton of TV for the price you pay.

Sony Master Series Bravia

Sony Master Series Bravia

Ball out.Amazon

You could spend more than a luxury SUV on a TV if you want, but after a certain point, the extra cash isn’t worth it. Sony’s Master Series sets have everything you could want out of a top-tier TV. The OLED display goes up to 77-inches and boasts compatibility with the popular image certifications like IMAX Enhanced, HDR 10, and Dolby Vision HDR. It has a powerful dedicated processor inside to recognize objects as they appear on the screen and adjust to make them look their best. So, when the old lady dies in Pixar’s Up, you can totally play it off as crying about the picture’s beauty instead of the emotional toll that the movie takes on its viewers. But hey, look at all those colors!

Samsung QLED

Samsung QLED

A TV that disappears when you’re not using it.Amazon

When a TV is on, it’s a magic portal to fantastical lands full of drama and wonder. When it’s off, it’s a giant black rectangle that ruins the look of your entire room. Samsung’s Ambient Mode, however, turns the screen into a smart display that can show you artwork, photos, or passive information about your media library. Turn it on and you get everything you’d expect from a high-end display including ultra-HD resolution and Samsung’s renowned QLED color performance. Maybe use it to display a Banksy art piece so when your pals come over you can say, “Oh, that? Yeah, that’s my Banksy. It’s pretty cool,” and they’ll be impressed with your sophisticated tastes. Then throw on Rick and Morty and laugh at the fart jokes. Life is about balance.