We’re continuing our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide with a look at smart TVs. There’s plenty of reasons to be in search of a new TV this holiday season. The Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Pro have increased demand for 4K TVs thanks to their support of HDR and 4K gaming and 4K TV sets are getting cheaper than ever as technology marches forward and 1080p becomes the new 720p. We want ultra high definition content and we want it to look beautiful when we view it, which is why we’ve composed this list of some of the best TVs you can buy in 2016.
No matter your budget or your intended purpose, you’ll find a TV on this list to suit your needs. If you’re after the best picture quality money can buy you’ll probably want to go with an LG OLED screen, while gamers seeking the lowest input lag and best refresh rates will likely opt for Samsung’s uniform blacks and great picture quality.
If you want the best 4K TV that money can buy in 2016, you’re going to be handing a considerable chunk of change over to LG. They’ve currently got the best panels in their OLED series, edging out Samsung’s LED displays just narrowly in most consumer reviews.
For those who enjoy watching movies in the dark, this panel is capable of displaying true blacks for one of the best quality pictures you’ll see in any display. OLED also lacks the viewing angle distortion that comes with most LED TVs and there’s no motion blur, so sports fanatics and gamers can rejoice. Not to mention LG’s WebOS is currently the snappiest smart platform available and your pretty penny is going toward an amazing TV.
Best 4K Smart TV for Gamers – Samsung UN55KS8000
With the release of the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One S, console gamers finally have a reason to be excited about getting a new TV. 4K Gaming is still pretty new technology, but Samsung has a great set of 4K displays that come in a variety of sizes.
This particular series is great for HDR gaming thanks to the wide color gamut and low input lag. The display also features a 10-bit panel, so you’ll see a wide array of colors bringing your games to life on your new display.
Best Smart TV on a Budget – Vizio D Series
Getting a high-quality picture on a budget thankfully isn’t hard these days. For people looking to spend less than $1k on a TV for watching movies and TV you really can’t beat the Vizio D series. It has great picture quality that can rival even Samsung with good native contrast and deep blacks for watching movies.
However, if you’re still watching standard-definition content like DVDs or Cable TV with no HD signal this TV might not be the best option for you. Vizio TVs handle HD content well, but it doesn’t do so well at scaling SD content to an HD screen. If you’ve fully upgraded and you’re not concerned with standard definition content this is definitely the way to go on a budget.
For those looking to upgrade to a 4K display on a budget, while you won’t be able to get a Samsung or an LG display at this price you’ll find several manufacturers you may not have considered offer good prices on their TVs in this range. The Hisense H8C is one such TV with great smart features and a good looking display for movies, TV, and video games.
The native contrast ratio and black uniformity on this display are excellent for the price and for gamers looking for an HDR 10-bit panel on the cheap, this is the best you’ll get in this price range. The viewing angles aren’t great and it has poor local dimming, but once again for a 4K screen around $500 you likely won’t find better.
For those who want to get a new 4K TV without breaking the bank, Hisense offers great bang for your buck per dollar spent. The Hisense 43H7C2 is a great entry-level 4K TV that offers HDR support and a great picture all for under $400. You won’t get any fancy features like Bluetooth connection to peripherals, but for this low price it’s hard to beat the value you’ll find here.
Best Curved Smart TV – Samsung KS9500
Do you prefer the immersion and depth of field you get from curved TVs? You’re not alone. Curved TVs are becoming more popular thanks to manufacturers like Samsung and LG paving the way with new technology like OLED screens that embrace the curved screen. They may look a bit silly if you have plans to wall mount it and viewing angles aren’t as good as their flatter cousins, but if you want theater-quality immersion there’s no better bet than a curved TV.
This year, the honor of best curved TV falls once again to Samsung with its KS9500 model. It’ll set you back a pretty penny priced at well above $2,000 but you won’t find a better picture on a curved TV until next year when companies unveil their new technology at CES.
Best Big Screen – Samsung KS9000
It’s hard to beat Samsung when it comes to picture quality on their TVs and that’s true whether the screen is 5 inches or 75 inches. For those looking for an uncompromisingly huge picture to deck out their home theater, you’ll get the best quality and performance for your dollar with the Samsung KS9000 series.
Uniform blacks and low-light bleed make this TV perfect for watching movies in the dark, but it’s no slouch when it comes to video games, either. All of your games will look great on the HDR1000-capable display with a buttery smooth 240Hz refresh rate. The only downside to this TV is the remote is pretty barebones, but you likely have a smart remote for all of your home theater gadgets anyway.
Best 4K Android TV – Sony X930D
While all the TVs on this list include smart features, if you’re looking for a TV that features Android TV built-in, you’ll have to go to Sony for that. Samsung has been contentious lately after it was discovered it began adding advertisements to its Tizen-based smart OS and while LG’s WebOS is great, it leaves something to be desired.
Sony’s X930D series features Android TV built-in for speedy smart functions. The TV also features a great picture and amazing black uniformity compared to their other lower-end X models like the X700D. If you want an Android TV-powered Smart TV, this is your best option. It’s available in 65″ and 55″ sizes.
Giveaway: Hisense 43″ 4K TV
The giveaway will be live for a week from now and all you have to do to enter it is follow us on Twitter. This sweepstakes works a little bit differently than our previous giveaways, as the winner will be chosen at the end of the period and there are an unlimited number of entries, so you’re not left out in the cold for being a little late. Good luck!