Best TV 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

TVs are one of the hardest home appliances to buy, as there is such a mind-boggling array of TVs to choose from. It can be hard to keep up with the latest technologies, what they do and which is best – never mind the differences in price.

We have touched on the best TVs to buy for gaming, movies, watching sports and experiencing 4K, as well as our favourite pick for under £500. A good TV can vary wildly in price depending on size and technology, so it’s important to invest in the features that are a priority for you.

Best TVsImageBrandScreen SizeScreen ResolutionProcessing RateFeaturesPortsScreen TechnologySmart?CostAR RatingBuy Now
LG 4K Ultra HD Smart TV, 55″LG 55SJ850V reviewLG55 inches3840 x 2160 pixels (4K)100 HzHDR
WIFI
Smart Features
HDMI x 4
USB x 3
LED LCDYes£££9.0/10
Samsung UE55MU6100 55” TVsamsung UE55MU6100 reviewSamsung55 inches3840 x 21601300 PQIVoice Control
4K Ultra HD HDR
HDMI x 3LED LCDYes££8.0/10
Panasonic Viera TX-49DS500B Smart 49" LED TV3-panasonic-viera-tx-49ds500bPanasonic49 inches1920 x 1080 (Full HD)400 HzNoise reduction
Smart features
Voice guidance
HDMI x 2LED LCDYes£8.5/10
LG OLED55B7V HDR 4K 55″LG OLED55B7V reviewLG55 inches3840 x 2160 (4k Ultra HD)800 HzHDR
OLED
HDMI x 4
USB x 3
Composite x 1
OLEDYes££££9/10
Sony KD49XE7073SUUltra HD 4K Sony KD49XE7073SU reviewSony49 inches3840 x 2160 (4k Ultra HD)400 Hz 4K
X-Reality PRO
Dynamic Cntrast
HDMI x 3
USB x 3
LED LCDYes££9/10

Our Top Pick

LG 4K Ultra HD Smart TV, 55″ 

LG 55SJ850V review

The new generation of 4K viewing has hit the ground running and this LG TV has provided us with a clear picture with ultra HD. When looking to review a smart TV it’s important to take a number of elements into account, the colours, sharpness, power, compatibility and sound. This TV has ticked the boxes for all and seems to be perfect for films and especially for gaming with all its bright colours and entrancing 4K pictures.

This full-circle technology will provide you with the full home cinema experience with its built-in, immersive sound bar that makes this TV stand out from others, usually there’s a weak-link somewhere, but this entertainment product seems to have it all.

It’s the kind of product you buy when going all and looking for the best around- it has top features and is a high-end bit of entertainment innovation for those that truly appreciate a flawless picture and cinema-style designs.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Is a top of the range television with multiple features
  • Built –in Wi-Fi
  • 4K picture
  • Built-in soundbar
We Didn't Like:
  • Expensive
  • It’s more TV than a standard buyer needs
LG 55SJ850V
90 %

Our Verdict: Our favourite smart television for a crisp 4K picture.

LG 55SJ850V Rating: 9/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • It’s ultra HD with 4k viewing
  • Is a Smart TV with built-in Wi-Fi, this includes Netflix and YouTube
  • Tuner: Freeview Play, Freeview HD
  • Dimensions without stand: H70.8 x W122.9 x D5.9cm
  • 4 x HDMI slots, 3 x USB

LG 55SJ850V  user manual

Download the LG 55SJ850V  user manual here.

Best Gaming TV

Samsung UE55MU6100 55” TV

samsung UE55MU6100 reviewDespite being one of their high-tech ultra televisions it’s a lot of TV for your money. It’s a huge 55-inch, 4K television that’s perfect to watch all your favourite TV shows and films on. You’ll soon be fixated on the stunning colours of this display with its perfect contrast and dynamic picture, plus it’s got all the smart contraptions that we love.  

Not only does it deliver on quality at a great price but it also has built-in Wi-Fi, a 4K Ultra HD picture and an LED screen. The new era of technology ensures that we have everything at our fingertips and the great thing about that is the fact we can enjoy streaming our favourite shows directly from the television. Use the Smart TV feature to stream boxsets and films in Ultra HD 4K. Alternatively you can plug it into your Blu Ray Player, box or console using the 3 HDMI sockets and 2 USB ports. 

It’s not quite a budget television but what you will find it that these qualities are hard to come by at a cheaper price and when you add into the mix that it’s a Samsung product, it adds more weight to this purchase. Those who are meticulous for good sound and picture when watching films will truly appreciate the full-scale of this magnificence.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  •  4K viewing with colourful display 
  •  Easy to use 
  •  Great value 
We Didn't Like:
  • Sound is good, but doesn’t match quality of other features 
80 %

Our Verdict: One of the best value TV’s from Samsung.  

Samsung UE55MU6100 Rating: 8/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: (H)71.9 x (W)124.3 x (D)6.4 
  • Built-in Wi-Fi 
  • 2 USB input  
  • 3 HDMI ports 
  • Ultra 4K HD

Samsung UE55MU6100 user manual

Download the Samsung UE55MU6100 user manual here.

Best Budget TV Under £500

Panasonic Viera TX-49DS500B-Smart 49″ LED TV Review

Panasonic Viera TX-49DS500B Smart 49" LED TV Review

Best Budget TV for Under £500

There is really no need to sacrifice decent image quality or great features just because you’re on a budget. You don’t need to spend several hundreds or thousands on a super high-end TV if all you’re after is something to enjoy some good movies on, with a still very respectable HD picture.

This Panasonic model is Full HD and offers a variety of smart features, including social media, streaming and internet browsing. It’s very slim and modern, easy to navigate, light and quick to assemble.

A nice feature of this model is its voice guidance for those who are visually impaired and may have trouble reading the onscreen menu and instructions.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Good value for money
  • Has everything you need
  • Voice guidance
We Didn't Like:
  • Not as many HDMI ports (x2)
  • Not as futureproof as some
Panasonic Viera TX-49DS500B
85 %

Our Verdict: If you’re looking for the perfect combination of quality and value, this is it.

Panasonic Viera TX49DS500B Rating: 8.5/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Full HD 1080p
  • Access content on Netflix
  • Tuner: Freeview HD with freetime
  • Connectivity: HDMI x 2

Panasonic Viera TX-49DS500B product manual

Download the Panasonic Viera TX-49DS500B product manual here.

Best 4K Ultra HD TV

LG OLED55B7V HDR 4K 55″

LG OLED55B7V reviewThis is an entertainment product that’s high up the spectrum and is one that has attention to detail. Those that aren’t as fussed about their television needs might miss some of the finer features on this item but those film buffs that advocate a perfect picture will see just how immersive this home cinema can be. The LG OLED is another ultra HDR 4K with all the mods and cons. 

This colourful display is enough to captivate your attention and when you add that to it’s 4K crisp picture, web platform, magic remote and dynamic sound, you’re onto a winner. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that this television is rather expensive but those keen to acquire the very best for their living room will be well aware of the fine science that’s behind this ultra HD beauty. 

There’s plenty of depth to this product with it aiming for more than just streaming you dull pictures and TV shows, you can enjoy it’s Smart TV streaming, the internet and more. The devil is in the detail and one thing brandished by LG that really caught the eye is the remote, it has a scroll reel that enables you to browse seamlessly through the web. You can also use voice control and finger gestures for quick and effortless results. 

This isn’t the best choice for everybody, as it appeals for those who are serious about their home entertainment. It’s a digital cinema that you can enjoy from home with a 55-inch screen and a slim line style. If you want the best there is, then it is worth checking this product out and purchasing for your home. 

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  •  Truly amazing pictures 
  •  Great size 
  • Magic remote control 
We Didn't Like:
  • Expensive
90 %

Our Verdict: A top of the range television that’s perfect for fanatics.

LG OLED55B7V Rating: 9/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Ultra HDR 
  • 4K Picture 
  • Built-in soundbar courtesy of Dolby 
  • Built-in Wi-Fi 
  • Dimensions without stand: H70.8 x W122.9 x D4.86cm 

LG OLED55B7V user manual

Download the LG OLED55B7V user manual here.

Best TV For Sports

Sony KD49XE7073SUUltra HD 4K 

Sony KD49XE7073SU reviewThis is a great value Smart TV that is Ultra HD, has 4K viewing and all of the other features that you need. With it being a 49-inch screen it makes it a little cheaper, but by no means is that a small screen size. 

Upon our assessment of this product we noticed that it’s the perfect addition for Android users with it syncing and using the platform to stream. With that said, other phone and software users can easily use this TV to its potential with other streaming options.  

Comes equipped with Freeview, Catch-up TV and Android, the future is here and it comes in the form of LED televisions. The gripping picture quality will ensure that you can never go back, although there are some TVs on the market with superior qualities, they’re only slightly better and far more expensive. This is by far a great pick for all of your shows, movies and gaming! 

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Great value  
  • Ultra HD with 4K picture 
  • Built-in Wi-Fi 
We Didn't Like:
  •  Hasn’t got the best sound quality
Sony KD49XE7073SU
90 %

Our Verdict: If you want all of the most innovative features without having to overspend, then this is your choice.

Sony KD49XE7073SU Rating: 9/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • 49” Screen 
  • A Energy Efficiency 
  • Wi-Fi  
  • 3 USB & 4 HDMI ports 
  • Android TV Platform

Sony KD49XE7073SU user manual

Download the Sony KD49XE7073SU user manual here.

TV Buying Guide

Things to consider when making your next TV purchase

Screen Size

Believe it or not, size isn’t everything. It’s common to think that the bigger your TV the better, but actually you should aim to choose your screen size based on how far away you will sit from the screen. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Less than 1.5 m = up to 32 inches
  • 1.5-2m = 32-39 inches
  • 2-2.5m = 40-45 inches
  • 2.5-3m = 46-55 inches
  • Over 3m = Over 56 inches

Screen size is measured diagonally from top to bottom. This doesn’t include the bezel – only the screen itself. Bezels are actually far smaller and narrower now than they used to be, so a 46 inch TV today would actually be much more compact than the same size a few years ago. You may be able to go up a size if you’re upgrading.

For the average family, it will be quite unlikely that any of you will be sitting within 2 metres of your screen. If nothing else, it’s bad for your eyes! A good bet for a standard-sized living room would be a TV of between 46 and 56 inches – the largest that will fit comfortably in the space and not feel overpowering.

Picture Quality

In simple terms, screen resolution refers to the number of pixels that your TV screen is made up of. The higher the number, the better the resolution. The most common screen resolution that people go for nowadays is 1080p, which is Full HD. This is pretty much standard for a new TV; you definitely shouldn’t go lower than this. Don’t be tempted by a cheap 720p set, because it simply won’t be as good – even for a small TV.

However, with 1080p as the standard, if you want to get more from your investment then you should consider 4K, aka Ultra HD. 4k TVs have four times the resolution of an HD TV, so images appear richer and sharper.

Refresh Rate

Your TV’s refresh rate, also known as the processing rate, refers to how quickly your TV can process screen changes. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the overall picture, which is important for activities like gaming and watching sports or movies. As a general guide, don’t go for anything with a refresh rate lower than 120 Hz. A lot of TVs are much higher than this. But watch out for the phrase ‘effective refresh rate’, which actually means half the stated rate.

HDR

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and is a common feature of some of the new 4k Ultra HD TVs. Its benefits are that it offers brighter, more vivid colours and improved contrast. Don’t base your purchase decision purely on HDR, as the standard has not been settled yet – and frankly it can all get a little confusing.

If HDR is important to you, aim for a TV set with Dolby Vision, which is a stricter and more regulated version of the feature. There is also the term ‘Ultra HD Premium’, which essentially also means HDR compatible.

Sadly there is not a lot of HDR programming available right now, so you might not get the full experience – at least not straight away. Look to Blu-ray movies and streaming services, as they will be the first to make the shift.

HDMI and Connections

This may be something you hadn’t thought of – all new TVs will have HDMI ports won’t they? Likely yes, but depending on what you end up using it for it may not have enough, especially if you are a gamer with lots of consoles and devices to connect. Four HDMI ports is a good number to aim for, and if you’re buying 4k you should also check whether the ports support HDMI 2.0 – this will be important for the future as technology continues to develop.

Screen Types

There are essentially two kinds of TV screen to choose from: LED LCD and OLED. Most modern TVs are LED LCD and they are far more popular purchases as they are considerably more affordable and still offer great picture quality. By contrast, OLED screens are very expensive – but they are thinner, use less energy, and have incredible picture quality with very rich colours and contrast from all angles.

LG is currently the primary company offering OLED TVs in the larger sizes, but it will soon be followed by Panasonic and Philips. Current prices are in the range of £1600 to £4000, depending on size.

Smart-TVs

Don’t be fooled by advertisers making out that smart-TVs are some kind of big deal. Almost all new TVs are ‘smart’ nowadays – it simply means that they connect to your Wi-Fi, so you can browse applications, connect to your other devices and use streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. Just make sure that the model you buy will support all of the services that you want to use.

Audio

You may have noticed that screens are getting thinner and thinner. It’s great for aesthetics and picture, but it’s not great for sound. Most standard TV speakers are actually not that good in terms of sound quality, so if you’ve invested in a nice TV then you should probably also consider getting a soundbar to complete the home cinema experience. Soundbars can be bought for relatively little – maybe around £200 – and they make a significant improvement to the sound while being compact and easy to use and install.

FAQS

What are the best soundbars?

One of the top soundbars you can buy for great sound is this Monitor Audio ASB-2 AirStream SoundBar. It’s a single-unit system from a respected manufacturer that offers clear, precise sound quality and a good balance for TV and music. Another is this Canton DM 9 Flat Wall Mounted TV Soundbar, which has a surround sound function for movies and works well with wall-mounted TVs.

What are the best TVs to use as computer monitors?

TVs such as this Samsung UE40KU6000 Smart-TV works great as a computer monitor, as it has Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 resolution, a 1300 Picture Quality Index and 40″ LED display, which make it an excellent TV for both movies and gaming.

What are the best small TVs?

If you’re looking for a smaller TV around the 25-35” mark, you could do a lot worse than the

Samsung UE32K5500 Full HD Smart-TV or Vizio D28h-D1 Full Array LED Smart-TV: both of which are good quality, HD Smart-TVs that can be bought at a reasonable price from Amazon.

Who makes the best TVs?

There are several reputable manufacturers of excellent TVs, but the top five are undoubtedly (in no particular order): Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Toshiba.

Which TV stands out for you and why? What features do you think are most important? Let us know in the comments.

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