September 23, 2020
Best 4K TV for 2020: LG, Vizio, Samsung and TCL compared

Best 4K TV for 2020: LG, Vizio, Samsung and TCL compared


4K resolution used to be an expensive step-up feature that was only available with a high-end TV. But nowadays, just about every television set with a screen size that’s 32 inches or bigger is available in 4K for prices that are basically equivalent to older, lower-resolution 1080p TVs. And if you’re shopping for a 50-inch screen or bigger, it’s hard to find any model that isn’t 4K.

The best 4K TV screen could be cheaper than you’d think. The popular TCL 4-Series, which I like a lot as an entry-level option, starts at a budget TV price of $230 for the 43-inch model. The 65-inch version has dropped to under $500.

Here’s the thing: 4K resolution on a screen doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get great picture quality. All those extra pixels — 8,294,440 to be exact — don’t have much of an impact on how good the image looks. The best-performing TVs in our reviews and the best TVs for the money excel in other areas of picture quality, such as contrast, dynamic range and HDR performance. They have 4K resolution, too, but that’s basically table stakes these days.


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The list below represents the best 4K televisions (which are, let’s face it, the best TVs, full stop) I’ve reviewed in CNET’s test lab, where I compare them side by side to see which ones are most worth buying. I, of course, considered factors like picture quality, whether the device was a smart TV, if the picture changed depending on the viewing angle and how the TV interacted with a streaming device. Here are my latest recommendations, with the following notes to keep in mind.

Sarah Tew/CNET

OLED TVs are the picture-quality kings, but they’re not cheap. A TV’s OLED display uses organic light-emitting diode technology to deliver a contrast ratio, viewing angles and a wide color gamut that no LCD TV (or QLED TV) can match. As the least expensive OLED TV from 2019, LG’s B9 is still our favorite premium OLED TV overall for high-end shoppers. This Ultra HD OLED TV fell just a bit short of the CX (below) in image quality in our tests, but the differences are minuscule — and since it’s less expensive than the CX, it’s a better value. And don’t worry about it being a year old, you’re not missing any major features.

Sizes: 55-, 65-, 77-inch.

Read our LG OLEDB9P series review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The latest version of the TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to improved color, and its well-implemented full-array local dimming helps make its viewing experience run circles around just about any other TV at this price. As if that’s not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.

Sizes: 55-, 65-inch.

Read our TCL 6-Series (2019 Roku TV) review.

David Katzmaier/CNET

What’s that, you say? You just want the best TV, money no object? Here you go. In my side-by-side tests, the 2020 LG CX is the best TV I’ve ever reviewed, barely beating the 2019 B9 (above), although the B9 is a superior value — almost as good and much less expensive. But if that “barely” matters to you, the CX might be worth the extra cash.

Sizes: 55-, 65-, 77-inch.

Read our LG OLEDCX series review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Can’t afford an OLED TV? Still willing to pay extra — but not that much extra — for a TV experience with good color and outstanding image quality? The Vizio PX is our pick for you, with superb light output no OLED can match, top-notch local dimming and all the high-contrast, high dynamic range joy that comes with it. Its closest competitor is the TCL below — but this Vizio is the superior value.

Sizes: 65-, 75-inch.

Read our Vizio P-Series Quantum X review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku is our favorite platform for viewing content with live TV streaming apps Netflix, and it’s an even better experience when it is baked into the TV. This TCL 4-Series Ultra HD TV can’t beat any of the models above on image quality — its 4K resolution and HDR compatibility don’t do anything to help the picture — but it’s perfectly fine for most people, especially at this price. 

Sizes: 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75-inch. (The price shown below is for the 43-inch size.)

Read our TCL S425 series (Roku TV) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Speaking of top-of-the-line models, this TCL Ultra HD smart TV features Mini-LED, a technology that isn’t found on any other TV currently available. The result is superb contrast and brightness that outdoes the Vizio PX by a nose, although this LED TV doesn’t quite hit OLED levels. We still consider the PX a better OLED alternative, however, because its picture quality is almost as good and it costs a lot less, especially in the 75-inch size.

Sizes: 65-, 75-inch.

Read our TCL 8-Series (2019 Roku TV) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung’s QLED TVs are basically fancy LCDs — don’t confuse them with OLEDs. The Ultra HD Q70R has an excellent picture and plenty of Samsung design and features goodies for a price that’s relatively affordable, albeit not exactly “budget.” If you’re not interested in a TCL or Vizio and don’t want to splurge for an OLED, the Q70 UHD TV is an excellent choice.

Sizes: 49-, 55-, 65-, 75-, 82-inch.

Read our Samsung Q70 series (2019) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, no TV offers this much picture for this little cash. In my comparisons, the TCL won slightly in a couple of important areas, in particular HDR brightness and contrast and black levels. I’d also recommend the TCL to streaming-centric viewers because of its superior Roku smart HDTV system. All of that said, this 4K UHD Vizio is still an excellent choice and sometimes available for less than the TCL — just make sure you’re getting the M8, not the M7. 

Sizes: 55-, 65-inch.

Read our Vizio M-Series Quantum M8 series (2019) review.

Other stuff to know about buying a new 4K TV

I’m pretty sure you’d be happy with any one of the TVs above, but a new set can be a big investment, so maybe you’re looking for a bit more information. Here’s a quick and dirty list.

  • New 2020 TV models have mostly arrived, but since TVs are generally a mature technology, the less-expensive 2019 versions are generally better values.
  • In my opinion, bigger is better. Big TVs are cheaper than ever, and your money is best spent on large screen sizes rather than a slight upgrade in image quality.
  • If you don’t like the built-in smart TV system, you can always add a media streamer. They’re cheap and easy to use, and receive updates more frequently than most smart TVs. See our picks of the best media streamers.
  • Most built-in speakers sound terrible, so it’s worthwhile to pair your new set with a soundbar or other speaker system. Good ones start at around $100. See the best soundbars.

Looking for even more info? Here’s everything to know about buying a new TV in 2020


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More guides for finding the perfect TV 

Originally published earlier. Updated periodically with our latest recommendations.



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