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The best TV for 2020: LG, TCL, Sony, Vizio and more compared

The best TV for 2020: LG, TCL, Sony, Vizio and more compared


If you’re looking for the best TV to buy right now, it’s probably been a long time since you bought your last one. That means you may be new to all of the current smart TV jargon: Ultra HD, smart LED, 4K8KOLEDQLEDHDR120Hz and HDMI 2.1. I’ve reviewed TVs for nearly 20 years, since the days of plasma and rear projection, so I know to keep it simple. My focus is on finding the best picture quality for the money, whether you’re looking for a top-of-the-line OLED TV or something a little less flashy.

The list below represents the best TVs I’ve reviewed in CNET’s test lab, where I compare their smart TV features and the viewing experience side by side to see which ones are most worth buying. I look at things like contrast ratio, local dimming, viewing angle and uniformity, gaming input lag and refresh rate, as well as how well the television supports streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus. Here are my recommendations, with the following notes to keep in mind:

  • Unless noted otherwise, all of the prices you’ll see are for 65-inch models.
  • Looking for a specific screen size? Check out: 32-inch TVs, 43-inch TVs, 55-inch TVs65-inch TVs and 75-inch TVs.
  • 2020 has been a strange year and many new TVs are shipping late. A few of the TVs on this list are still 2019 models but I expect to review more 2020 TVs soon.
  • On the other hand, since TVs are generally a mature technology, the new models may not include major upgrades over the 2019 versions. Most buyers will still be perfectly happy with a 2019 TV, especially since they’re generally cheaper.
  • This list is updated periodically.

Read more: Best 65-inch TVs for 2020

David Katzmaier/CNET

No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The 2020 TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to mini-LED tech and well-implemented full-array local dimming that helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. It’s also a solid choice for gamers with a new THX mode that combines low input lag and high contrast. As if that’s not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.

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

Read our TCL 6-Series (2020 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, with world-beating contrast, perfect off-angle viewing and excellent uniformity. If you can afford it, this is the TV to get.

Sizes: 48-, 55-, 65-, 77-inch.

Read our LG OLEDCX series review.

Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, this is the runner-up for best TV for the money. The TCL has a better picture and better smart HDTV system so it’s a superior TV overall, but it’s also a couple hundred dollars more expensive. If you can’t afford the 6-Series, this Vizio is a very good runner-up.

Sizes: 50-, 55-, 65-inch.

Read our Vizio M7-Series Quantum (2020) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you value Sony’s brand X900H is an excellent choice, with image quality on par with the TCL 6-Series and a price that’s not that much more expensive. And its suite of connections is actually better than the TCL’s. In winter 2020 it will get full 4K/120Hz HDMI input capability to maximize the potential of the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and right now it’s the cheapest TV that works with ATSC 3.0 antenna broadcasts.

Sizes: 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-inch.

Read our Sony XBR-X900H review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku is our favorite platform for a live TV streaming service like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, and it’s even better baked into the TV. This TCL 4-Series 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

TCL’s 8-Series also features mini-LED and the result is superb contrast, brightness and high dynamic range that beats the less expensive 6-Series in my side-by-side comparison. The overall image quality doesn’t quite hit OLED levels, but it comes pretty close and 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

For sizes smaller than 55 inches, and for people who value smarts over image quality, these non-4K Roku TVs make the most sense. The picture is “good enough” and the built-in smarts are superb — just enough to watch the final season of “The Office” or “Friends” content. And the price is perfect for a kids’ room or secondary room where you don’t need a massive screen.

Sizes: 28-, 32-, 40-, 43-, 49-inch. (The price shown below is for the 40-inch size.)

Read our TCL S325 series (Roku TV) review.

Other stuff to know about buying a new 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.

  • 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.
  • The sound quality of most built-in speakers is terrible, so it’s worthwhile to pair your new set with a sound bar or other speaker system. Good ones start at around $100. See the best soundbars.

Looking for even more info? 


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