IF YOU'RE in the market for the best 4K TV, we’ve got you covered.
The majority of TVs in homes are what’s known as Full HD, which means they have a display made of 1920 x 1080 (around two million) pixels.
This does the job for most shows and films, but if you want to experience movies as if you’re in a cinema – or feel like you’re at the ground watching a football match – you’ll need to give that resolution a boost.
We've answered some key questions about TV shopping toward the end of the article. But for now, here's our buying guide followed by our pick of the market.
What features should I look for in a TV?
There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for a new TV. We have broken down the most important ones for you here.
Bigger is better. It may sound like an understatement, but there are just so many stories of people buying a TV only to regret they had bought something bigger.
Average TV screen sizes have grown exponentially in the last few years, and today it's not unusual to find 40 inch 4k TVs available for well under £300.
Manufacturers are focusing their latest tech on larger screen TVs, so if you want the high-end features on your next TV, you'll want to buy big.
Of course, if you're going to buy a big TV to hang on your living room's wall and you don't have a lot of space, you may end up sitting very close to it.
Luckily, as TV technology evolved in the last few years, so did the average TV resolution.
Simply put, the higher the resolution, the closer you'll be able to sit in front of your TV Set without noticing pixellation and straining your eyes.
Over are the days of mainstream TVs with "HD" resolution (usually 1024 x 768 pixels).
Today, most TVs are at least Full HD, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, but it's easier to find 4K screens, offering four times the pixels of a Full HD TV.
With a 4K TV screen, you'll be able to sit closer to the screen and still get a crisp clear image.
OLED, QLED or LED?
There is a lot of confusion on the net about this, so we'll try to keep it short and sweet.
Owned by LG, OLED technology makes TV screens thinner, lighter, and with better contrast than LED screens.
They also use up less energy and offer a better viewing angle.
As it is a new-ish technology (the first OLED TV came out in 2013), OLED screens have been historically quite expensive when compared to its LED counterparts.
However, today this technology has become substantially cheaper, making OLED the preferred choice of most people looking for a new TV.
In between LED and OLED is QLED, a technology owned by Samsung which is technically more similar to LED but with improved performance.
While OLED technology is ultimately superior to QLED, repeated efforts in this field have brought some of Samsung QLED TVs to compete with LG's OLED screens.
Streaming is the new normal when it comes to people's TV watching habits, and therefore many TVs today come with so-called "smart features".
But what does that even mean?
Essentially, a smart TV allows you to do some of the things you'd be able to do from your PC but using a remote control or a smartphone app.
Stream Netflix or Amazon Video straight from your couch, or check out your latest photos and videos directly on your TV. Pretty sweet.
Are you still mostly watching traditional TV channels? Worry not. Here is our pick of the best aerials for you.
Last but not least, price is a determining factor when looking for a new TV.
Luckily, TV technology has in the past few years become impossibly cheaper.
Just ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable to get a 60-inches TV for less than £2,000.
And yet, today you can get truly amazing screens for a fraction of the price.
Generally speaking, more money here means bigger sizes, deeper blacks and a richer colour spectrum, but today you can get a remarkable TV set for less than £500.
Still not sure about what to buy? Have a look at our picks down below.
1. Samsung Q60T QLED 4K TV
- Samsung Q60T QLED 4K TV, £649 at Amazon – buy here
If it's specifically gaming you're after, you might not want to go the whole hog on a premium-priced TV.
And for less than £700, this Samsung QLED 4K TV is a bit of a catch, with its 60Hz refresh rate, and vibrant colours.
It also boasts some good audio from speakers a notch or two above most of what's around – so no need to put those headphones on if you're gaming home alone.
The Q60R has its own Game Mode, and 'Real Game enhancer' which is designed to deliver variable refresh rates for maximum compatibility with most games – preventing 'tearing' or stuttering.
There's voice-control, via Bixby, and as a Q-range Samsung, this is a rather nice Smart TV too – just in case you want to watch something, controller-free.
2. Sony Bravia XR OLED 55-inch
- Sony Bravia XR OLED XR55A80J 55-inch, £1,499 from Amazon – buy here
A large 4K screen alone does not an immersive sporting experience make.
So the best 4K TV for watching sport needs to offer more to better deliver your sport of choice effectively – and the Sony Bravia XR55A80J should deliver.
This LED TV comes with a mode called XR Motion Clarity, designed to reduce the judder and blur created when watching fast-paced action…or sports.
Noticeable judder particularly affects football matches, as the camera quickly pans the field, following the ball.
Motionflow enables a smoother picture and adjusts the backlighting to suit what’s on the screen, to really minimise jarring and juddering.
Bravia TVs like this one also feature a Triluminos display too, designed to boost RGB (red, blue and green) hues, enhancing contrasts and making colours more vivid.
And the XR55A80J has its own extra features to take note of: an X1 Ultimate 'intelligent' picture processor, upscaling of non-4K content, and X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro.
All of this adds up to a viewing experience owners love, and there's plenty of connectors and streaming services (and Google Assistant) built-in.
3. LG 55UP77006LB 55-inch 4K TV
- LG 55UP77006LB 55-inch 4K TV, £545.48 from Amazon – buy here
LG delivers year-on-year when it comes to the next-level TV technologies and its 55UP77006LB continues this trend.
Its IPS 4K panel gives wide viewing angles, perfect for film nights in with friends.
It has 4K active HDR that adapts to whatever HDR format the content is available in, and so-called scene-by-scene image mastering designed to reproduce the picture as close as possible.
If you’ve got, or are thinking of getting, a surround sound system for movie watching, the 55UP77006LB also comes with Ultra Surround, to enhance the levels of surround sound.
Other benefits include LG’s ThinQ AI built into the set that answer questions, finds content and can make recommendations, and the TV is compatible with Amazon Alexa, letting you control your TV with your voice.
If you’ve got smart lights connected too, you can create the perfect ambience for your film night with a simple command. All of this for a very attractive price.
4. Samsung 43" TU7000 4K
- Samsung 43" TU7000 4K Smart TV, £550 at Amazon – buy here
It's not easy to find good 4K TVs under 50+ inches, but not everyone wants a huge screen and some rooms just can't accommodate them!
Samsung's TU7000 is a very option, especially for the price, and sports the style you'd expect of a Samsung 4K set.
The colour and contrast available are good, and the TV functions with Samsung's Tizen Smart TV interface – probably the best at this price for easily accessing apps.
It supports HRD for colour intensity to be proud of and is Bluetooth, WiFi and ethernet connectable.
At almost half the price of premium seats, the Samsung TU7000 shouldn't be expected to compete.
But it's still a flexible and impressive LED 4K TV for those with smaller rooms and not the biggest of budgets.
5. Samsung Q65A 4K QLED TV
- Samsung Q65A QLED 4K TV, £999 from Amazon – buy here
A wide viewing angle is a good boost for movie nights, especially if you like to get a group together to watch the latest flick.
Luckily the Samsung Q65A 4K TV can provide just that – a QLED TV with natural looks and deep blacks for darker scenes too.
QLED's generally aren't quite as dark in black tones as OLED TVs, but here Samsung has pushed the bar with reports this is the QLED, which gets closest.
Bright and balanced colours make this a great option for film lovers, and if you're into your apps the set comes with Samsung's smooth Tizen interface.
There is a question mark over the audio side of things, but if you're heavily into movies you may want (or have) your own surround-sound speaker set-up.
But while we wait to see what the rest of the year has to offer, this is our top pick for spending a not-so-quiet night in with.
6. LG OLED55C14LB 4K TV
- LG OLED55C14LB 55-inch, £1,299 at Amazon – buy here
Like our option for best priced 4K, the LG OLED55C14LB is a TV with an IPS panel, which means it has a good, wide viewing angle.
That's great for movie nights where you want plenty of people to see what's going on, but there's much more to this TV to enjoy.
As part of LG's new OLED lineup, the C14LB's price places it against stiff competition so performance needs to be strong.
Luckily, it includes the Advanced α9 Gen4 AI processor – allowing some nifty image processing to occur and providing natural colours with a good degree of richness.
Black levels are good, and customer reviews emphasise that the LG OLED55C14LB 55-inch is actually a great all-rounder.
It's great for gaming too and comes with LG's WebOS interface with support for Netflix, Amazon Prime and more streaming services.
Concerned about connectivity? Don't be, this 4K TV has 4 HDMI (2.1) connectors and ethernet among its features.
7. Panasonic TX-55JX940B 4K TV
- Panasonic TX-55JX940B 4K TV, 55-inch, £1,099 at Currys – buy here
If there's a brand able to compete with LG and Samsung in the TV war, that is Panasonic.
With the TX-55JX940B, the company has reached new heights, both in image quality and sound.
The viewing experience with this TV is just marvellous, as the TX-55JX940B is able to showcase the finest shadow details and colour tone shifts in a wonderfully natural way.
Moreover, thanks to its Dolby Atmos audio feature, the TX-55JX940B can produce a crispy-clear sound that is usually hard to find in built-in a TV system.
When it comes to connectivity, the TX-55JX940B is pretty much in the same category as most TVs in this list: four 4K-supporting 2.1 HDMI ports, three USBs (one 3.0), RF tuner, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Bluetooth.
The TV lacks a little bit on the smart features side, but it still has everything one could expect from a 2021 TV, including various streaming services and compatibility with all of the UK’s key terrestrial broadcaster catch up apps.
8. Philips Ambilight 55OLED805
- Philips Ambilight 55OLED805, 55-inch, £1,149 at Amazon- buy here
A significant upgrade from the Philips TV line from last year, the 55OLED805 aims to impress with an improved P5 Perfect Processing Engine.
And it delivers.
Image quality here truly is excellent, with amazing detail and impressive contrast.
Of course, the one true feature you won't find in TVs from any other brand is Philips' Ambilight technology.
Essentially, Ambilight refers to an LED array around the side of a TV that projects colour onto the wall behind a TV.
This not only increases your perception of contrast but also creates an immersivity level you don't always experience from your couch.
As far as audio is concerned, the 55OLED805 offers a decent, if not a good option, with a triple ring woofer and powerful amplification.
The TV also features four 4K capable HDMI inputs and two USBs, together with one of the best Smart TV experiences on the market.
On the other hand, the 55OLED805's connections don’t support eARC (which provides lossless Dolby Atmos sound via HDMI to soundbars or AVRs), or ‘next-gen’ gaming features like 4K at 120Hz Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode.
Philips 55OLED805 is a TV for a somehow specific kind of user, as it excels in some things while sacrificing others.
Still, at that price, it makes for a very compelling option.
9. TCL 43P617K 43-inch 4K TV
- TCL 43P617K 43-inch 4K TV, £339.38 at Amazon – buy here
TCL is not a name people immediately associate with TVs.
In fact, the company has started making them relatively recently.
Still, since then, TCL has grown to be one of the larger TV manufacturers in the world, and the TCL 43P617K is proof of that.
Featuring High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDR10) and Micro Dimming technologies, this TV offers 4K-optimised colour contrast and image clarity slightly below higher tie TV sets.
In terms of connectivity, the TCL 43P617K has 2 HMDI ports, 1 USB, and of course WiFi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet. No optical or RF though.
The TV is first and foremost a Smart TV, so you can expect it will be compatible with most streaming services.
The TCL 43P617K is a medium-tier 4K TV with decent specs at an interesting price.
You can pay more if you want extra features, but it will be hard to find something much better without spending a lot more.
Is 4K really better than 1080p?
A TV branded as 4K UHD has a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution, around 8 million pixels, making the picture quality four times that on Full HD screens.
Before we continue, there is a disclaimer. True 4K resolutions have 4096 x 2160 pixels and are typically used in cinemas.
There are a number of these true 4K TVs on the shelves but the majority that market themselves as 4K are actually UHD.
For the size of TV screens on offer, and the content available, it’s a much of a muchness in terms of viewing quality but it’s worth being aware of when looking for the best 4K TVs.
Can the human eye see 4K?
The human eye can notice the difference between 1080 and 4K, although you'll have to be sitting fairly close to your TV set before you're able to fully appreciate the extra pixels.
Forbes Magazine reckons the optimal distance to be sat from a 4K screen is 4.3 feet (1.5 metres).
Any further than that and you're gradually going to stop being able to notice the finer details in the 4K resolution.
It's also worth bearing in mind that while 4K TVs will supposedly improve the quality of some regular HD content, there's not that much 4K content available to stream at the moment, although the options available are growing rapidly.
When is the best time to buy a TV?
The practical answer may be when you want or need to, but in terms of pricing, there's no hard and fast rule.
TVs see hefty discounts during Black Friday and Christmas sales, but early year sales can also see prices drop.
As with any other tech, prices drop before the launch of new models. So it's sensible to do a bit of research before making a purchase.
Got a brand-new TV? Then you should have a look at our pick of the best streaming services available right now.
Into gaming? Check out our list of all the best PlayStation games coming out this year.
And you can over to our Sun Selects Tech page for more roundups on the hottest tech products.
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