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 49UH850V Smart 3D 4k Ultra HD HDR 49" LED TV1-lg-49uh850vLG49 inches3840 x 2160 (4k Ultra HD)2700 HzHDR
Dolby Vision
3D ready
HDMI x 3LED LCDYes£899.999.0/10
Samsung UE55KS7500 Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR 55" Curved LED TV2-samsung-ue55ks7500Samsung55 inches3840 x 2160 (4k Ultra HD)2200 HzHDR
Quantum Dot Display
Remastering engine
HDMI x 4LED LCDYes£1,099.009.0/10
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£379.008.5/10
LG OLED55B6V Smart 3D 4k Ultra HD HDR 55" OLED TV4-lg-oled55e6vLG55 inches3840 x 2160 (4k Ultra HD)800 Hz3D ready
HDR
OLED
HDMI x 4OLEDYes£1,999.009.5/10
Sony Bravia KD49XD8305BU Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR 49" LED TV5-sony-bravia-kd49xd8305buSony49 inches3840 x 2160 (4k Ultra HD)800 Hz (MotionFlow XR)HDR
X-Reality PRO
Dynamic Cntrast
HDMI x 4LED LCDYes£699.008.5/10

Our Top Pick

LG 49UH850V-Smart 3D 4k Ultra HD HDR 49″ LED-TV Review

LG 49UH850V Smart 3D 4k Ultra HD HDR 49" LED Best TV Review

Our top pick for a great value 4k TV

This is a sleek-looking modern TV with super-clear picture, bright colour and an overall well-built design. Its sound isn’t bad either, though we’d always recommend getting a soundbar for that extra oomph. What’s great about these TVs is that it’s really easy to set up and it auto-updates for you. It’s 4k Ultra HD (like most on our list) so you get that wonderful vibrancy, but not as expensive as some.

The mouse-like remote and menus can feel a little complicated at first, but you get used to them. You can access all the 4k content you want through Netflix and Amazon Prime, and if you want to use the 3D function this is pretty cool too – though you will need a 3D Blu-ray player.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Sleek appearance
  • Ultra HD
  • 3D capability
We Didn't Like:
  • No scart adaptors for old equipment
  • Tricky menu and remote
LG 49UH850V
90 %

Our Verdict: Overall, a good all-round TV that will be futureproof and ready for many of the new technologies that are on their way in.

LG 49UH850V Rating: 9/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • 4k Ultra HD picture is up to 4 times the resolution of HD
  • HDR displays brighter colours and greater contrast
  • Access 4k content on Netflix & Amazon Prime
  • Tuner: Freeview HD & Freesat HD
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 x 3

LG 49UH850V product manual

Download the LG 49UH850V user manual here.

Best Gaming TV

Samsung UE55KS7500-Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR 55″ Curved LED TV Review

SAMSUNG UE55KS7500 Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR 55" Curved LED TV Review

One of the best TVs for gaming

With its bigger screen size and 4k HDR picture quality, this curved TV is perfect for capturing exceptional detail, bright colours and deep contrast – ideal for gaming. Its Quantum Dot display claims to depict over one billion colours, which is quite something.

These TVs enable you to access a huge array of games straight from the cloud, with a handy smart-remote that lets you quickly scroll through and select your options. Its menu layout is simple and easy to follow – no confusion there. It’s a big, sleek, glossy screenthat looks and feels very expensive, and that’s because it is.

It also has the recommended four HDMI ports for all of your connecting devices, such as consoles and speakers.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Amazing picture quality
  • Good size
  • Intuitive menu and features
We Didn't Like:
  • Expensive
Samsung UE55KS7500
90 %

Our Verdict: With this TV you get what you pay for, but it’s really worth it if fabulous luminescence and incredible contrast are important to you.

Samsung UE55KS7500 Rating: 9/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • 4k Ultra HD picture is up to 4 times the resolution of HD
  • HDR displays brighter colours and greater contrast
  • Access 4k content on Netflix & Amazon Prime
  • Tuner: Freeview HD & Freesat HD
  • Connectivity: HDMI x 4

Samsung UE55KS7500 product manual

Download the Samsung UE55KS7500 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 OLED55B6V-Smart 3D 4k Ultra HD HDR 55″ OLED TV Review

LG OLED55E6V-Smart 3D 4k Ultra HD HDR 55" OLED TV Review

One of the top TVs for experiencing 4k Ultra HD

On the flip side, if you’re after something truly stunning, top-of-the-range, boasting the latest cutting-edge technology, then this might be it. OLED technology is the new latest thing. It’s currently only available from LG and offers picture quality and clarity that is, frankly, exceptional.

This model kind of has everything. It’s big, it’s 4k, it’s a borderline digital cinema. It has 4x HDMI 2.0 ports so it’s totally ready to go, the picture is out-of-this-world and the motion is smoother than a caramel latte being handed to you in bed by the actor out of the Old Spice commercials. Though it might cost less just to hire him directly.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Incredible detail
  • Built-in 4k decoder
  • 1000x faster response speed
We Didn't Like:
  • Expensive
  • Overkill, unless you want something showstopping
LG OLED55B6V
95 %

Our Verdict: If you are obsessed with obtaining what is essentially one of the very top TVs on the market right now, then this is the TV you should get. It is, without doubt, a beautiful piece of equipment. For the love of God, make sure you get it insured.

LG OLED55B6V Rating: 9.5/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • 4k Ultra HD picture is up to 4 times the resolution of HD
  • HDR displays brighter colours and greater contrast
  • Access 4k content on Netflix & Amazon Prime
  • Tuner: Freeview HD & Freesat HD
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 x 4

LG OLED55B6V product manual

Download the LG OLED55B6V user manual here.

Best TV For Sports

Sony Bravia KD49XD8305BU-Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR 49″ LED TV Review

Sony Bravia KD49XD8305BU Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR 49" LED TV Review

Our top TV pick for watching sports

To be honest, any of the previously mentioned TVs would also be great options for watching sport. We particularly like this option as something for the mid-range buyer. It’s 4k HDR with X-Reality Pro, Dynamic Contrast and MotionFlow XR, giving amazing depth of colour, detail and movement that is ideal for sports. It’s an Android Smart-TV, therefore might be a better choice for Android rather than iOS users in terms of syncing up with your existing devices.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • High frame rate for capturing motion
  • High quality picture
  • Cutting-edge tech at a reasonable price
We Didn't Like:
  • Not as good for iOS users
Sony Bravia KD49XD8305BU
85 %

Our Verdict: With four HDMI ports and a stand designed to keep your cables nicely hidden, this is a quality TV with superb picture that won’t totally break the bank.

Sony Bravia KD49XD8305BU Rating: 8.5/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • 4k Ultra HD picture is up to 4 times the resolution of HD
  • HDR displays brighter colours and greater contrast
  • Access 4k content on Netflix & Amazon Prime
  • Tuner: Twin Freeview HD
  • Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 x 4

Sony Bravia KD49XD8305BU product manual

Download the Sony Bravia KD49XD8305BU 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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