Best TVs of 2018: Reviews and buying advice

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There’s never been a better time to buy a TV. The industry has worked most of the bugs out of LCD and OLED TVs, and today’s prices are lower than ever. In fact, high-end 4K models cost about half of what they did last year. We’ll give you our top picks, plus an in-depth guide to the specs and features you’ll encounter. 

You’ll face an alphabet soup of acronyms and phraseology when you go shopping: LED, LCD, HDR, OLED, quantum dots, and more. And manufacturers thicken that broth with their own trademarked nomenclature: Contrast EliteMax, Q Style Elite, X-tended Dynamic Range PRO? Give me a break.

The good news? You can ignore all that ad-speak and focus on just four things: color, contrast (including the quality of blacks), brightness, and realism. Technology changes, but your eyes don’t.

Here are our top recommendations in three categories. If you want a deeper understanding as to why we picked them, there’s an in-depth buyers’ guide further down that you’ll find invaluable when you go shopping. 

Updated December 5, 2018 to add our review of the Sony A9F Master Series 4K UHD OLED TV, which offers a host of premium features including outstanding sound. See the bottom of this article for links to all our TV reviews.

Best LCD TV

It’s a win-win: Samsung’s Q8FN made a better impression than the more upscale Q9F—and it costs less. The two models use slightly different LED backlighting schemes, and we thought the Q8FN’s was more effective. You might prefer the Q9FN if you intend to hang the TV on the wall, because the One Connect breakout box greatly simplifies cable management. 

Runner-up

No manufacturer does image processing better than Sony. If moiré, shimmering in detailed pans, jagged text, and backlighting blockiness drive you up a wall, this is the TV to buy. 

Best OLED TV

It’s hard to imagine a better TV than LG’s E8PUA OLED. This TV supports every HDR standard on the market, and its picture quality is stunning. LG’s Magic Remote and WebOS operating system make it a joy to use, and cord-cutters tuning into over-the-air broadcasts will dig the excellent program guide. And this being an OLED TV, you have to see the blacks to understand what you’re missing with most LED-backlit LCD TVs.



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