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Whatever you’re watching, make sure your TV is up to the task
While there’s plenty of good stuff to catch up with on terrestrial channels and top streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime, what you want to do is make sure you’ve got a decent TV to watch it all on. The best tellies will bring your entertainment to life, putting you right inside Sir Alan Sugar’s boardroom with crystal-clear screens and rich sound bringing you a bit closer to the action. But before you splash out on anything expensive, you need to learn a bit more about what’s available. TV tech is getting more advanced by the year, and with top brands like Sony, LG, Samsung, TCL (among others) all releasing shiny new models throughout the year, it can all be rather confusing figuring out if you’re getting the right one.
How much room you have in your home will likely decide whether you’re willing to invest in giant displays with features like 4K Ultra HD, so take a look at our expert guide to the best TVs for 2022 to help you make up your mind.
Bigger is often better, but you need to consider the size of the space you’ll be putting it in. TVs are measured from corner to corner in inches and can be anywhere between 30-100 inches. If you’re buying one to put in a bedroom, something between 32-45 inches should be more than enough, but a living room telly can be any size, as long as you’ve got the space for it.
As a helpful guide, your sofa should be around 1.5 times the screen size away from the TV for the best experience. For example, if your sofa is two metres away from where it will be, a 50-inch model will be enough.
There are three main types of TV on the market you need to consider: OLED, QLED and LED.
OLEDs (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) will be found on TVs from major manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, and LG. They use thousands of LEDs to display bright, vibrant colours.
QLEDs (Quantum-dot Light-Emitting Diode) are found on Samsung devices and a few other brands like TCL and Hisense, using a single backlight to illuminate the TV, similar to the more affordable LED alternatives.
This method is similar to how LEDs work, though this technology is a little dated and often found on more affordable options.
The difference between the premium QLEDs and OLEDs is insignificant, particularly on the more expensive models, so we recommend basing your decision on screen size and image quality instead.
Streaming apps: The majority of new TVs are smart, which means they connect to the internet and let your TV access the main catch-up channels like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, and BritBox. And if you subscribe to Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and the like, you’ll be able to watch shows and films without the need for an extra gadget (known as a TV streaming device). However, you should watch out, as not every streaming service is available on all TV models. For example, NOW (Sky’s entertainment service) isn’t available on some older LG and Samsung models.
Voice control: Some TVs feature a voice assistant that can control the TV itself, helping you search for your favourite shows – saving you from having to type in the title You’ll find Alexa and Google Assistant (which are the more advanced systems that can link up with your Alexa smart speaker, or Google Home device) on the models below, though the Sky Glass TV uses its own Sky voice control system, and you can use Bixby on some Samsung models.
Resolution: This is how clear your TV will be able to display your favourite shows, with the basic spec offering up to 1080p (aka Full HD). We wouldn’t really recommend going for anything below this, as the image quality just isn’t good enough anymore.
If you want the best-available images and your budget allows for it, you should check out Ultra HD TVs (also called 4K). This has four times the number of pixels and gives you a much sharper image, highlighting detail that might not have been visible before, which should make this year’s Winter Olympics look particularly spectacular.
All the top streaming services offer access to HD content as a minimum and have an option to upgrade your playback to 4K, for a higher monthly fee in Netflix’s case. Some high-end TVs will also “upscale” non-4K content, so if you’re watching The Responder on the standard BBC One channel, it will improve the image to make it look clearer.
HDR: Another way to improve your shows is to look out for TVs that can display in HDR or High Dynamic Range. This option will enhance the colour reproduction and make your screen pop with vibrancy and light, perfect if you’re watching cartoons with children or for fully experiencing David Attenborough’s amazing Green Planet documentary. In the TV description, this can often be named HDR, HDR10, Dolby Vision, or HLG.
Connectivity: If you still want to add additional devices like games consoles or streaming devices, you’ll need a TV with enough HDMI ports. Most on this list have at least two, but premium models can have up to four.
The price of your telly will likely come down to a number of factors, but will largely be dictated by its size, its resolution, and its smart features. However, you can find a decent display across a range of budgets whether you want a small bedroom-sized screen or you need a larger one to complete your living room.
To make things easier, here’s a guide on what you can expect to pay depending on your priorities.
Small Full HD TVs: These TVs are affordable and often come in smaller sizes so are good choices for those on a budget or looking for something to fit in the bedroom or kitchen. Small HD TVs are between 30-50 inches and can cost between £150-£400. They often don’t have that many connectivity options, they may not be smart, and the image quality is somewhat dated by modern standards.
Larger Full HD TVs: Anything above 50 inches starts to get pricier, and you can expect to pay anywhere from £400 to upwards of £1,000 for bigger models. These living room-scale models can often be wall-mounted (which could be more expensive to install) but are still not quite on the visual level as 4K.
Small 4K TVs: The improved tech is actually more affordable now, and you can find smaller budget-friendly models under 50 inches for around £300-£750. These will also include HDR and smart features as well as additional HDMI ports which might bump up the price a little more.
Larger 4K TVs: Big 4K TVs are among the most premium models, and so can cost anywhere from just under a grand to more than £3,000. Prices can get astronomical for larger sizes, like the frankly absurd Samsung Wall, which is around £80,000. They have technically advanced screens that improve everything you watch and will come with plenty of connectivity options to hook other gear up.
Short on space in the living room? Sony’s Bravia series is described as a premium telly with a compact size, making it a good option if you want quality in a smaller room.
The display offers vibrant colours and we were impressed at how shows like The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+ looked on the 4K screen.
It also has voice control on the remote to help you hunt for your next favourite show. Despite its small size, it is still expensive (at more than £1,200), and it’s not compatible with next-gen games consoles, so it’s possibly not the best if the kids like to game in the living room.
Key specifications Type: OLED Display size: 48in Resolution: 4K HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision HDMI inputs: 4 Voice control: Yes - Google Assistant
As a cheaper alternative to the Sony above, the XH80 series is almost half the price yet still offers 4K image quality, smart features, and smaller sizes to fit into your home.
It has special software to improve the colour saturation when HDR is enabled, meaning colours will look even more realistic and will almost pop out of the screen.
If you care about audio, the TV has a better sound setup than many others on this list, pushing noise out from two side-facing speakers to fill your room.
It also has a deep, down-facing bass speaker to make sure those rumbling explosions in your favourite movies sound just right.
Key specifications Type: OLED Display size: 55, 65, 77, 85in Resolution: 4K HDR: Yes - HLG, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision HDMI inputs: 4 Voice control: Yes - Google Assistant
LG’s G1 OLED series is just below its top-spec CX model, and offers some of the best visuals we have seen from a telly. However, it's the most expensive model on our list by quite a way, so you should only consider it if you are willing to spend.
During our tests we liked how it handled fast-paced action like sports and video gaming, with dedicated settings to enhance the images depending on what you’re watching.
There are plenty of HDMI ports to hook up other gear, and we also liked that it has a dedicated “eye-care mode” that dims the blue-light levels to reduce strain when watching in the evenings.
We particularly liked the controller, which can be used as a pointer that you wave in front of the TV to select your favourite shows. Failing that, you can always use voice control to find what you’re looking for.
Key specifications Type: OLED Display size: 55, 65, 77in Resolution: 4K HDR: Yes - HLG, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision HDMI inputs: 4 Voice control: Yes - Alexa, Google Assistant
A decent 4K TV doesn’t have to be expensive, and we reckon this impressive Hisense model that offers HDR compatibility and 4K quality is a great buy for under £800 (or as low as £500 for the smaller options).
We loved the simplicity while navigating the menus (with a little help from Alexa) and the remote control has dedicated buttons that send you straight to your favourite apps quickly. We also like that the main home screen will recommend shows from various services, based on what you’ve already watched.
We tested a 55-inch model and our favourite shows looked brilliant, with rich colours that popped from the screen. If you need something cheap to put in your family living room, this one could be for you.
Key specifications Type: LED Display size: 43, 50, 55, 65, 75 in Resolution: 4K HDR: HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision HDMI inputs: 3 Voice control: Yes - Alexa and Google Assistant
If you’ve been signed up to Sky’s entertainment packages for at least eight years you can now get the Sky Glass TV, which is an Ultra HD telly that packages all your subscriptions into one price.
Removing the need for a satellite dish or annoying cables to set-top boxes, this new model connects to your wifi and lets you stream movies and shows over the internet, and comes with a wealth of connectivity options to hook up other devices.
You can pay monthly and loop in alongside your Sky Q or Sky Sports subscription or buy the whole TV outright (ranging from £649-£1049 depending on the size you go for) and then continue on with your Sky subscription on top of that.
The remote also uses Sky’s voice-control so you can demand your favourite shows by talking to the controller.
Key specifications Type: QLED Display size: 43, 55, 65in Resolution: 4K HDR: Yes - Dolby Vision HDR10, HDR10+, HLG HDMI inputs: 3 Voice control: Yes - Sky Voice
If your budget can stretch to just under £1,000, the Samsung Q70 offers top-spec features like 4K visuals and HDR capabilities without blowing your budget. Out of all TV makers, Samsung has our favourite user interface that is easy to use and intuitive.
It’s simple to log into your streaming services and find the stuff you want to watch. Siri, Bixby, and Google Assistant are also available if you want to search using your voice.
And if you have a Samsung smartphone or tablet, you can use the Smart TV app as your controller. With this, you’ll be able to use your keyboard to hunt for new shows to watch or adjust the volume.
There are plenty of screen size choices to suit any room size, though it’s not great for gamers, as it only has three HDMI cables and isn’t compatible with next-gen games consoles.
Key specifications Type: QLED Display size: 49, 55, 65, 75, 82in Resolution: 4K HDR: HDR10+, HLG, Quantum HDR HDMI inputs: 3 Voice control: Yes - Siri, Bixby, and Google Assistant
Looking for something more affordable? This Roku-powered model offers great value for money, integrating all your streaming services (including Apple TV) together into an easily navigable menu, all for less than £400.
It might not be as good as some of the pricier 4K TVs further up this list, but 4K is 4K and anything you watch will look clear, particularly if you’re making the upgrade from a standard HD one.
Key specifications Type: LCD Display size: 43, 50, 55, 65in Resolution: 4K HDR: Yes - HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision HDMI inputs: 4 Voice control: Yes - Alexa and Google Assistant
If you’re not fussed about 4K resolution but still want a smart-looking TV, this Samsung Frame is a Full HD model that looks like a picture frame, with a wooden edge (sold separately) that helps it blend into the wall.
You can then set it up to display popular artwork (you get a choice of 20 or you can pay for more for £3.99 a month) or your favourite family photos.The screen is bright and vibrant, and even though it doesn’t have the same visual quality as some of the more expensive 4K models above, you can still watch your favourite shows on all the streaming platforms on this smart telly.
And if you like the idea of the Frame but want those improved visuals, it’s also available with 4K quality if you pick one of the wider screen sizes.
Key specifications Type: QLED Display size: 32, 45, 55, 65, 77, 85in Resolution: 4K HDR: Yes - HDR10 HDMI inputs: 3 Voice control: Yes - Bixby, Alexa or Google Assistant