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Top Flatscreen TVs
The TV market has been changing a lot recently, both in terms of technology and price. New types of screens with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels and ultra high definition (UHD, or 4K) resolutions are popping up everywhere. Big, 50-plus-inch sets that once cost thousands of dollars can be had for around $500. If you want a new television, you now have more options now than ever. But which one should you buy? Here are the main points to consider when shopping for a new set, as well as the 10 best TVs we've tested.
The TV resolution question used to be between the options of 720p and 1080p (and 1080i, but that's moot at this point). Like LED and CCFL backlighting, the choice between 1080p and 720p has become irrelevant thanks to affordable 1080p screens. Even smaller budget TVs are available in 1080p, so you shouldn't settle for the significantly lower resolution of 720p.
4K, is another story. A 4K television is one that displays at least 8 million active pixels, with a minimum resolution of 3,840 by 2,160. It's become a much more affordable technology in the last few years, and you can now find a large 4K TV for under $1,500. 4K content is becoming increasingly available, and 4K Blu-ray players, like the Samsung UBD-K8500$277.99 at B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio and Microsoft Xbox One S, are just starting to hit the market. If you have a very fast Internet connection, you can watch some excellent shows on Amazon and Netflix in 4K, like Black Mirror, Fuller House, and Luke Cage. New films are also coming out digitally in 4K through various on-demand streaming services like Vudu. Thanks to HDMI 2.0 you can be pretty confident a 4K screen you buy now won't suddenly go obsolete. If you've been debating it for a while, rest assured that now is finally the time to get a 4K TV.
Almost all TVs now offer Web apps and built-in Wi-Fi. These features let you connect your television to the Internet and access online services like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV,and YouTube. Many also integrate social network services like Facebook and Twitter, and many manufacturers offer entire downloadable app ecosystems with other programs and games you can use on your TV. Roku has made connected features possible on even very inexpensive TVs, and you can find a big-screen Roku TV (a television with Roku's online services built into the menu system) from companies like Insignia and TCL for a low price.
While less common than a couple of years ago, 3D still commands a premium. It's no longer a centerpiece characteristic, however, and some high-end TVs simply incorporate it as an additional bullet point in a feature list. 3D TVs can feature active 3D, which uses battery-powered shutter glasses, or passive 3D, which uses polarized filters. Passive used to be the more economical choice by far, but now that most active 3D TVs come with a few pairs of glasses—and new pairs are usually available for $20 instead of $50 to $100—the difference is mainly academic. Of course, if you don't plan to watch 3D movies, you can skip 3D entirely and avoid the premium placed on those screens.
Your ideal TV should provide enough video connections not only for now but for the foreseeable future as well. The most important input is HDMI, which supports all major forms of digital video sources including Blu-ray players, game consoles, set-top boxes, cameras, camcorders, phones, tablets, and PCs through a single cable. Most TVs have three or four HDMI ports, but some might only have two. It's the best way to send 1080p video from your devices to your screen with one cable, and will be the main way you connect your main sources of entertainment to your TV. If you want a 4K screen, make sure at least one of the HDMI ports is HDMI 2.0. It's the latest standard that supports 4K video at 60 frames per second; older HDMI ports can only handle 4K up to 30 frames per second, at best.
Our Best Overall Winner - LG OLED65B65
Like all of LG's OLED TVs, the OLED65B6P$3,497.00 at Amazon is incredibly slim and striking. The OLED display is bordered by a 0.3-inch black frame made of the same glass that covers the screen itself, which is then ringed by a brushed metal band running around the edge of the television. The top half of the TV is just the super-thin panel, which measures 0.2 inches. The bottom half expands to a still-svelte 1.8 inches, thanks to a curved plastic enclosure that holds all of the electronics and ports. The TV sits on a flat, trapezoidal stand of brushed black plastic.
The connections sit in two recessed areas on the left side of the back of the television. Two HDMI ports and two USB 3.0 ports sit facing left in one of the areas. The other holds two more HDMI ports, a USB 2.0 port, an antenna/cable connector, an Ethernet port, 3.5mm component and composite video outputs (for use with the included adapters), and optical and coaxial audio outputs, all facing directly back.
LG continues to include its motion-sensing Magic Remote with its high-end televisions. The remote that comes with the OLED65B6P is a curved black wand with a prominent circular direction pad and clickable scroll wheel in the center. Power, volume, and channel controls sit above the circle alongside a number pad. Input, display, and color buttons sit below the navigation pad. As always, the Magic Remote can control an on-screen cursor as if it was an air mouse, simply by waving it around. This makes text input and using the built-in Web browser much easier than with just a navigation pad.
LG has made another incredible television thanks to OLED technology. The perfect blacks and wide range of colors the panel can produce give the OLEDB6P series one of the best pictures available to consumers. OLED still carries a hefty premium, but the $3,000 price tag for the 65-inch OLED65B6P is the most reasonable one we've seen for a 4K OLED TV yet. The superlative picture quality and lower price earn the series our Editors' Choice for high-end 4K TVs, replacing the OLEDG6P.
Runner Up - LG UH8500
If you can't really swing the version above, the LG's UH8500 series sells for $1,697.00 at Amazon and offers an excellent HDR-capable picture for an LCD TV and costs just over half as much as the OLEDB6P line.