Choice aid: the 10 best televisions of the moment (December 2020)

Are you going to buy a new TV? If you know which specifications, price and brand are important to you, you can determine which one is best to buy. Below we have listed 10 different TVs that we believe are among the best televisions of the moment.

Top 10 Best Televisions
  • 1. LG OLED C9
  • 2. Sony A9G
  • 3. Samsung Q90R
  • 4.Philips OLED 903
  • 5. Philips PFS5803
  • 6. Samsung RU7170
  • 7. Samsung Q950
  • 8. Samsung Q70R
  • 9. LG OLED W9
  • 10. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
Tips for your television
  • Full HD or Ultra HD 4K?
  • OLED or LCD?
  • High Dynamic Range
  • Motion sharpness
  • Smart TV
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is LED TV?
  • What is QLED?
  • What is the difference between IPS LCD and VA LCD?
  • What is the difference between Edge LED and Direct LED?
  • What is Local Dimming?
  • How does OLED work and how is it different from LCD?
  • Is burn-in a major problem on OLED?
  • Is 4K useful? And what about 8K?
  • I read that some manufacturers offer 2000 Hz refresh rate! How is that possible?
  • What is the difference between static metadata (HDR10) and dynamic metadata (HDR10+ and Dolby Vision)?

Top 10 Televisions (December 2020)

1. LG OLED C9

The best affordable OLED television 9 Score 90

+ Image quality

+ G-Sync

+ Price

+ Smart TV features

The LG OLED C9 series gives the most value for money if you are looking for an OLED television. With perfect contrast, fantastic colors and excellent brightness, this television can compete with the much more expensive competition. In addition, this is also the best buy for gamers: a high refresh rate, HDMI 2.1 and support for Nvidia G-Sync. LG's WebOS smart TV system works great and includes support for assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Read our review here.

2. Sony A9G

The ultimate OLED 10 Score 100

+ Image quality

+ Sound quality

+ Android TV

- Price

The Sony A9G televisions are possibly the best OLED models of the moment. Not only the image is excellent, the sound is also a bit better than the competition. In addition, Sony's variant of Android TV is excellent with all the functions you could wish for from a smart TV. Unfortunately, you also pay a premium price for this premium television.

3. Samsung Q90R

An excellent alternative to OLED 9 Score 90

+ Unparalleled clarity

+ Apple TV

+ FALD

- Price

The Samsung Q90 series is the best alternative to OLED. Although QLED obviously does not have perfect black values ​​and therefore no perfect contrast, Samsung compensates for this with an excellent maximum brightness. In addition, the 400 dimming zones ensure that you still get a kind of OLED feeling. Exclusive Apple TV content and other smart TV features are also reasons to consider this television. Read our review here.

4. Philips OLED 903

A greater experience through Ambilight 8 Score 80

+ HDR10+

+ Sound quality

+ Philips Ambilight

- High input lag

As we have been used to from Philips for years, the OLED 903 series is also equipped with Ambilight for a more intensive TV experience. In addition, the sound quality through the Bowers & Wilkins speakers is very good, perhaps the best on the market. The input is unfortunately too high for most gamers, but the image quality is excellent with good HDR reproduction. Read our review here.

5. Philips PFS5803

The best budget television 7 Score 70

+ Image quality

+ Price

- Slow processor

- Mediocre Smart TV functionality

The Philips PFS5803 series costs less than 300 euros for the 43-inch model, but is still an excellent television. Obviously the image quality can't keep up with the more expensive competition, but for the price it's unmatched. The savings mainly occurred in the underlying hardware and software. The television is not very fast and the functionality of the software is very poor.

6. Samsung RU7170

65-inches for next to nothing 7 Score 70

+ Price per inch

+ Image quality

- Viewing angle

- Maximum brightness

If you're looking for a large television for little money, then you don't have to look any further than the Samsung RU7170 series. The 65-inch model costs less than 700 euros, while the 55-inch model is already sold for 500 euros. The image quality is excellent, but due to the use of a VA panel, the viewing angle is moderate. The maximum brightness is also not that high, so that HDR content does not come into its own.

7. Samsung Q950

8K Ultra HD 9 Score 90

+ 8K resolution

+ Excellent HDR rendering

+ Low input lag

- Little 8K content available

Although 4K content is still in its infancy, Samsung has had 8K televisions on the market for a year now. The latest series is the Q950 with fantastic image quality. The biggest problem is the availability of 8K content, but as soon as this becomes available, this television will be prepared for it with the HDMI 2.1 ports. Compared to other QLED TVs, Samsung has also improved the viewing angle, bringing it closer and closer to OLED.

8. Samsung Q70R

Cheap FALD 7 Score 70

+ FALD

+ Price

+ Contrast

- Remote control

The Samsung Q70R series is the cheaper brother of the Q90R series discussed above. For just under 900 euros you can already get a 49-inch television with Full Array Local Dimming for an excellent HDR experience. At this price, Samsung has had to save somewhere and that is the remote control and software.

9. Sony KD-55XF9005

An excellent LCD 6 Score 60

+ Image quality

+ Connections

- Viewing angle

- Sound

A sub-topper like this Sony has a lot to offer, especially if you find it for a competitive price. The backlight is divided into a somewhat limited 40 zones, but that is enough to give the contrast a big boost. Sony also uses this segmentation to improve the sharpness of motion with excellent results. Natural color reproduction, good calibration and more than sufficient brightness and color range ensure beautiful HDR images. The device supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision. Read our review here.

10. LG OLED W9

Stylish quality 10 Score 100

+ Beautiful design with soundbar

+ Extremely thin

+ Image quality

+ Sound quality

The LG OLED W9 is a special television. LG has moved all the electronics that are normally behind the panel to a kind of large soundbar. All image processing takes place in this soundbar and the information is transferred to the television with a single thin cable. As a result, the television hangs on the wall like a kind of painting. This is LG's top model and you can see that in the image quality. The sound quality is absolutely fantastic through the use of a large soundbar and much better than what the competition has to offer.

Tips for your television

Whether you're a movie buff, sports fan, gamer or just your average TV viewer, finding the right television can sometimes seem like an impossible task. In this decision aid we guide you through the most important decisions. From OLED to QLED, from bedroom television to home cinema.

The screen size is probably one of the first choices you make. This size is indicated by the screen diagonal in inches or cm. We often hear that bigger is better, but that is not always correct. Larger screens fill a larger part of your field of view, providing a more pronounced cinematic experience. But that is not desirable in a bedroom, office or kitchen and even in the living room you do not always have to choose the largest possible size.

How do you find the ideal size for your situation? Measure the viewing distance, which is the distance between the main viewing position and the screen. Divide this distance (expressed in cm) by two. The result is the desired screen diagonal (in cm, divide by 2.54 again for inches). If you want a more relaxed viewing experience, divide the viewing distance by two and a half. Or if you are looking for more of a movie experience, divide the viewing distance by one and a half.

Full HD or Ultra HD 4K?

The more pixels on the screen, the sharper and more detailed the image can be, although there are of course limits to what still makes sense in a typical living room environment. For a long time, Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) has been the most commonly used resolution, but almost all recent models use Ultra HD 4K (3,840 x 2,160). Only the very lowest models and smaller sizes are still available in Full HD version. Unfortunately, you often leave features such as HDR, good motion sharpness and a solid smart TV operating system. Make it simple for yourself and choose an Ultra HD 4K model, unless you are really looking for a 32 inch or smaller.

OLED or LCD?

The most important choice you make is whether you opt for OLED or LCD image technology. Both have significant advantages and disadvantages.

LCD TVs are available in a wide range of sizes and prices, so that everyone, regardless of budget, can find a model that meets their specific requirements. LCD televisions provide the clearest images, which can be important for HDR (see below), but then you have to knock on the door of the top models. The main weakness of LCD is its limited contrast. However, this can be significantly improved by techniques such as Local Dimming, but you will only find that in top models. Finally, the viewing angle of LCD TVs is sometimes limited. If you are not directly in front of the screen, you may see an even worse contrast and washed out colors.

OLED technology has been on the market for over five years now, and the price has dropped significantly, but it remains reserved for the 'premium' price segment. OLED televisions are also only available in 55 inch and larger (65 and 77 inch). Thanks to their operating principle, they deliver near-perfect blacks, enormous contrast, and a very wide viewing angle. The screens are often paper thin too. The main disadvantage of OLED is that it is sensitive to burn-in, although that is only a problem in relatively exceptional cases.

How do you make the right choice? If your budget allows OLED, then it is an absolute must for film fans, especially if you watch in blackout or moderate light. If you are more inclined towards sports and gaming and/or if you often watch in a lot of ambient light, a top LCD model is probably the best choice. If your budget is limited or if you want something smaller than 55 inches, LCD is the only option anyway.

By the way, pay close attention to Samsung's QLED technology. Although the name is very similar to OLED, it is an LCD technology with increased contrast and better color reproduction.

High Dynamic Range

Sparks of fireworks, the reflection of the sun on the ocean or on a chrome bumper, but even a sun-drenched city scene… Do you also think that they look very bland on a television? The reasons are limitations of television technology and how we store image information. High Dynamic Range provides a solution for both problems. This new technology makes it possible to save images with much higher contrast, more intense light accents, richer color reproduction, and improved shadow detail.

Of course, your television must also be able to display those new images, which requires a higher peak brightness, wider color range and strong contrast. And there is often a big difference depending on the chosen model.

Top models boast brightnesses of 1,000 cd/m² and more (compared to a typical 250 cd/m² on a classic SDR TV), but mid-ranges often only achieve 400 cd/m². We see something similar in the color range and contrast, where mid-ranges are sometimes only slightly better than older SDR televisions. If you really want to experience what HDR can mean, then you have to turn to more expensive models.

HDR images use certain standards. HDR10 is the most important and is used for streaming, Ultra HD Blu-ray, and gaming. HLG will become especially important in live TV. All devices support these two standards. In addition, there are HDR10 + and Dolby Vision, two standards that use dynamic metadata and that take into account the specifications of the screen to create even better images.

Motion sharpness

You've probably noticed that objects that move quickly through the frame often have a blurred or double border. Or that fast-paced action scenes look a bit vague. Apart from artistic intent, this is caused by a too slow refresh rate. Gamers are familiar with the phenomenon, on more expensive monitors with higher refresh rates the image is sharper. This is also the case with televisions. Televisions come with 50 Hz and 100 Hz refresh rate. Different motion interpolation techniques convert the incoming image signal from 24 fps to 50 or 100 fps in the case of film or from 50 to 100 fps in the case of TV images. This way you not only see more detail in the image, but you also avoid shocks during pan images. Motion interpolation can cause certain image errors, such as halos around a moving object. In addition, the effect on image quality is not to everyone's taste.

During your purchase, keep in mind that motion sharpness is directly proportional to the price. More expensive models clearly deliver better results, something that gamers and sports enthusiasts in particular should take into account.

Smart TV

Virtually every television these days is 'Smart'. That means that it is equipped with an operating system such as Android, Tizen or WebOS. This allows the TV to run all kinds of applications. The most used are streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube and local services for delayed viewing such as NPO, NLZiet, Kijk TV, and RTL XL. Music services such as Deezer and Spotify are also popular, and all platforms also offer games, although you should not expect too much from them.

Not every system offers the same app selection, and that can also change, so if certain apps are very important to you, check that carefully. The different systems also offer varying ease of use, which you should also test yourself in the store.

We're also seeing more and more support popping up for voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. While that's useful for searches, the classic remote remains the most important way to control your TV.

Just bought a new television? Then read here how best to install it for optimal image and sound.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is LED TV?

LED TV refers to the use of LEDs as a light source in an LCD TV. In the past CCFL tubes (tube lamps) were used for this, but now all televisions use LED as a light source. An LED TV is actually just an LCD TV.

What is QLED?

QLED is not a separate screen technology but one of the many variants of LCD, with the same advantages and disadvantages. The name comes from the use of LEDs and a quantum dot film in the backlight. Those quantum dots provide a very wide color range (up to 97% DCI-P3). QLED screens can also be very bright. However, QLED is not unique in this regard. Other LCD variants (without quantum dots) can deliver comparable color range and brightness, but QLED remains the winner. Compared to OLED, QLED has a similar color range, but OLED wins on contrast and QLED on brightness.

What is the difference between IPS LCD and VA LCD?

These two names refer to the type of the LCD panel itself. IPS panels provide a better viewing angle but moderate contrast. VA panels provide better contrast but a moderate viewing angle. The best choice depends on your viewing environment. In an average living room with a lot of ambient light and seats that occupy a wide viewing angle, IPS is the better choice. If you look from a limited number of positions and in low ambient light, the better contrast of VA is not to be missed.

What is the difference between Edge LED and Direct LED?

With an Edge LED TV, the LEDs for the backlighting are located in the side of the screen. With the Direct LED televisions, the LEDs are located behind the screen. As a result, they have a somewhat thicker profile. They are also often cheaper, unless the backlight uses a lot of LEDs, those models are just more expensive. Both types can use local dimming to improve contrast.

What is Local Dimming?

Local Dimming is a technique to improve the contrast of an LCD TV. The background lighting is divided into different zones that are controlled separately. If there are too few zones (such as with an Edge LED or Direct LED with few LEDs), you risk seeing zone boundaries in the image. Local Dimming therefore works best with Direct LED TVs that use a lot of LEDs, and therefore have many zones (from 100 to about 500 zones). We call such models Full Array Local Dimming TVs (FALD).

How does OLED work and how is it different from LCD?

OLED is an emissive technology: each pixel is its own light source and when it is switched off, it does not emit any light. That is why an OLED has an almost infinite contrast. LCD, on the other hand, is a transmissive technology: a pixel may or may not allow the light from the backlight to pass through. It is unfortunately impossible to stop the light perfectly, so that the black value and, consequently, the contrast also decrease.

Is burn-in a major problem on OLED?

OLED screens can be prone to burn-in. When an image remains unchanged on the screen for a long time (channel logos, the interface of games), it is possible that you continue to see an 'after-image' in the screen after a long time. This was a problem especially with the first generations, but manufacturers build in various mechanisms to prevent this as much as possible. Tests show that only very extreme use clearly leads to permanent burn-in (television that is on almost 24/7 on the same channel, for example.) With normal daily use, the risk seems limited.

Is 4K useful? And what about 8K?

That depends on your viewing distance and screen size, but as a general guideline we can say that in an average living room and with screen sizes larger than 50 inches, you definitely benefit from a 4K model. Keep in mind that for the best result you should also use the best possible footage. Those who always watch DVD will get very little benefit from their 4K TV, regardless of viewing distance or screen size. But with real 4K content, the result is often very impressive.

The latest top models now come with 8K resolution, and the added value is very limited (and sometimes non-existent). Moreover, it will be a long wait for 8K content.

I read that some manufacturers offer 2000 Hz refresh rate! How is that possible?

In addition to the actual refresh rate of the panel (50 or 100 Hz), manufacturers use other techniques to make moving images sharper. An example is Black Frame Insertion, where the image is made black very briefly between each frame. An advanced variant is Backlight Scanning. The backlight is divided into segments that turn black very briefly when the TV puts a new frame on the screen. For example, a panel with a refresh rate of 100hz can be marketed as 1,000 Hz because it uses a 10-segment Backlight Scanning.

What is the difference between static metadata (HDR10) and dynamic metadata (HDR10+ and Dolby Vision)?

HDR footage can contain brightnesses of up to 10,000 nits. However, there is no television that can display this brightness. To accommodate this, the television performs a step in which it maps the brightness of the incoming image signal to its own maximum brightness. We call this step tone mapping. To help the TV with that step, the HDR signal at the beginning of the movie provides metadata that tells the TV what the average brightness and peak brightness are. That data is valid for the entire movie. However, if the brightness varies greatly during the movie, it can cause some images to appear too dark or highlights to be smoothed out.

To solve that, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision use dynamic metadata. This means that the metadata in the film can be different per scene or even per image. The television then has much more information to display the images as well as possible. Highlights and shadow nuances are better preserved. The importance of dynamic metadata is all the greater on mid-range televisions since the tone mapping step has to bridge a much larger gap between the incoming signal and the capabilities of the television.

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