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Smart TVs have become commonplace in home entertainment, and as their popularity has grown, they have become much more affordable. Customers no longer need to spend all of their money on streaming services like Hulu, Spotify, and Netflix, or on 4K resolution. Even smaller brands like TCL have established themselves as the go-to choice for budget-friendly smart TVs; the Roku platform also uses a streamlined hub menu to make accessing your favorite apps and playback devices from a single screen faster and easier.
For expanded voice controls, many new smart TVs come with a voice-enabled remote that works with either an integrated virtual assistant or an external smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Nest Hub Max. Samsung’s latest Neo QLED line even includes solar-powered remote controls, which eliminate the need for batteries and make your home theater a little more environmentally friendly.
Other smart TVs use virtual surround sound technology like Dolby Atmos to provide room-filling sound without the need for additional speakers or soundbars; however, you can set up satellite subwoofers for enhanced bass notes or a wireless home theater setup using HDMI ARC inputs or Bluetooth connectivity. Samsung, LG, and Sony have taken the next step in home entertainment by releasing 8K TVs; however, these models are extremely expensive, and there is virtually no native 8K content available at this time.
They are, however, a worthwhile investment if you want to stay on the cutting edge of home entertainment. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite smart TVs and broken down their features to help you decide which is best for you.
Related: The 7 Best TVs for Gaming
Best Overall: Samsung QN55QN85AAFXZA 55-Inch Neo QLED 4K TV
This is one of Samsung’s newest televisions (), unveiled at CES 2021, and it comes with a slew of new features to help you improve your home entertainment options. It employs a brand-new mini-LED panel and Samsung’s QLED technology to produce individually lit pixels, a wide color gamut, and contrast comparable to OLED TVs. For better upscaling of non-4K content and a consistently gorgeous picture, the updated processor employs a neural network that learns as you watch.
You’ll get a suite of preloaded apps with the Tizen operating system, including Prime Video, Netflix, and SamsungTV+, which give you access to live entertainment, news, and sports without having to pay for a cable or satellite subscription.
Samsung’s new SpaceFit Sound technology, which works with eco sensors to create a custom virtual surround sound experience tailored to almost any room in your house, is used in the integrated speakers. For hands-free control, the voice-enabled remote works with Bixby, Alexa, and Google Assistant. The sleek, ultra-modern design, as well as OneConnect compatibility, add a touch of sophisticated style to your home theater while maintaining a clean appearance.
Size: 55-85 Inches | Panel Type: Neo QLED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: Quantum HDR 24X | Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Related: The 6 Best 80- to 85-inch TVs
Best Budget: TCL 40S325 40-inch 1080p Smart TV
You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great television. The TCL 40S325 () is a great fit for even the smallest of entertainment budgets, with a retail price of under $300. You get your favorite streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu preloaded on the Roku platform, so you can start watching movies and shows right away. Without having to memorize HDMI input locations or navigate confusing menus, the streamlined home menu makes it simple to select apps, playback devices, game consoles, and even broadcast TV inputs.
All of your favorite shows and movies will look fantastic on the 40-inch screen, which has a great 1080p resolution. For easier searching and browsing, the Roku app turns your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote, or you can connect your TV to an Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker for more voice controls. When you don’t want to disturb others in your home, apartment, or dorm, the TV has a headphone jack for private listening and gaming.
Size: 40 Inches | Panel Type: LED | Resolution: 1080p HD | HDR: N/A | Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Related: The 5 Best 4K Ultra HD TVs
Best Splurge: Samsung QN655QN90AAFXZA Neo QLED 65-Inch 4K TV
Samsung’s QN90A () is a worthy investment if you’re willing to spend a little more to get the best of the best when it comes to smart TVs. It, like its sibling, the QN85A, employs a new mini-LED panel and Samsung’s QLED technology to produce a picture that rivals OLED; it also employs a neural network processor for improved non-4K upscaling, contrast, and color ranges. It works with Samsung’s OneConnect box, which lets you connect all of your game consoles and playback devices to your new TV with a single cable for a super-clean-looking home theater.
For hands-free control, the voice-enabled remote works with Bixby, Alexa, or Google Assistant, or you can connect the TV to a SmartThings hub to integrate it with your other Samsung smart devices. No matter the size or shape of your living room or home theater, object tracking sound and the new Space Fit Sound tech will provide incredibly immersive, room-filling sound without the need for sound bars or other home audio equipment. The improved Multi-View function now allows you to watch up to four videos at once, and if you have a Samsung mobile device, you can share your screen by simply tapping it on your TV.
Size: 55-85 Inches | Panel Type: Neo QLED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: Quantum HDR 24X | Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Related: The 5 Best 40-Inch Smart TVs
Best OLED: Sony A90J Bravia XR OLED 65-Inch 4K TV
Sony has also announced a new line of televisions for 2021, which includes the Bravia XR OLED models (). These televisions employ cutting-edge OLED technology to produce truly stunning images with accurate colors, contrast, and textures. Artificial intelligence has been added to the all-new processor to improve upscaling of non-4K content and detail in native 4K images. The Bravia XR employs Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology to turn the entire screen into a speaker, resulting in near-perfect audio and video synchronization as well as improved bass notes for more immersive cinematic experiences.
For more entertainment options, the Google TV platform offers thousands of streaming apps such as Netflix, Disney+, and Spotify; and with Chromecast and AirPlay 2, you can share your iOS or Android mobile device screen for more ways to view videos and photos or listen to your favorite music. For hands-free control, the voice-activated remote works with Alexa or Google Assistant, and you can also connect this TV to an Apple HomeKit device to use Siri for voice searches.
If you have the new PlayStation 5, the Bravia XR supports variable refresh rate technology, which syncs your TV’s refresh rate with the console’s to reduce screen tearing and stuttering, which can ruin a gaming session.
Size: 55 & 65 Inches | Panel Type: OLED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: Dolby Vision | Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Related: The Best Home Theater Setups
Best Large Screen: Samsung UN85TU8000FXZA 85-Inch TV
If you have a large living room or want to turn your finished basement into a home theater, you’ll need a TV that fits, and the Samsung Crystal UHD 85-inch television () is made for big screen entertainment. It comes with an updated Crystal 4K processor and the new Tizen operating system, which uses HDR10+ technology to create stunning 4K resolution and color, as well as access to all of your favorite movies and shows as well as next-generation apps to keep you on the cutting edge of home entertainment.
The screen has an extremely narrow bezel, allowing you to see the entire screen from almost any angle for a more immersive viewing experience. To help keep your cords and cables organized and tangle-free for a clean-looking home theater setup, the back of the television has integrated cable management channels and clips.
Bixby and Alexa are built into the voice-enabled remote, which also works with Google Assistant, allowing you to use your favorite virtual assistant with your new TV without the need for an external smart speaker. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can wirelessly connect speakers, soundbars, and subwoofers for the ultimate home theater setup, and you can screen mirror your iOS and Android mobile devices with Apple AirPlay2 and SmartCast.
When not in use, the Ambient Mode transforms your new TV into a work of art or a piece of decor, blending into the room’s aesthetic or displaying your favorite paintings and photos. The TU8000 has a V-Chip that allows parents to block inappropriate shows and movies from their children, ensuring that they are entertained in a family-friendly manner. The TU8000 is one of the more affordable large-format televisions on the market, costing less than $2,000.
Size: 85 Inches | Panel Type: Crystal UHD LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: HDR | Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Related: The 4 Best 75-Inch TVs
Best Laser TV: Hisense L10 Series 100-inch 4K UHD Laser TV
The Hisense 100L10E laser TV () is the only choice for you if money is no object in your quest for the absolute best-of-the-best in home entertainment. It boasts over one billion colors, excellent 4K resolution, HDR support, and ultra-smooth on-screen action thanks to cutting-edge laser projection technology. Because the projection unit has an ultra-short throw distance of only 8 inches, you won’t have to worry about someone walking in front of the lens and ruining movie night, nor will you need a large room to achieve optimal focus. Ambient light rejecting technology is built into the included 100-inch screen, ensuring superior color accuracy and contrast.
The laser lamp has a brightness of 3,000 lumens, so you can watch your favorite shows and movies in even bright rooms, and it has a lifetime rating of up to 25,000 hours, so you won’t have to change the lamp bulb in the middle of your watch party. For easier streaming and searching, the remote includes Alexa voice controls as well as quick-access buttons for Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video.
The projection unit includes a 60-watt subwoofer and a 40-watt Harman Kardon soundbar for room-filling sound without the need for a complicated audio setup. If you have Bluetooth enabled speakers, you can connect them wirelessly and stream content from your compatible laptop or mobile device.
Size: 100 Inches | Panel Type: Laser Projection | Resolution: 4K | HDR: HDR | Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Related: The 4 Best 60-inch TVs
Best for Alexa Users: Insignia NS-65DF710NA21 65-Inch 4k Fire TV
The Insignia 65-Inch Fire TV () is ideal for anyone who relies on Alexa as their primary virtual assistant. Alexa is built into the voice-enabled remote for voice commands over your new TV and its connected devices, and you can get truly hands-free control if you connect the TV to an external smart speaker like an Echo Dot or Echo Show.
You get instant access to apps like Prime Video and Netflix with the Fire TV platform, so you can start binge-watching the latest shows right away. Integrated Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to download additional streaming apps to customize your entertainment options, as well as download Alexa Skills to turn your TV into a true entertainment hub and automatically update your TV to keep up with the latest apps and firmware.
After you’ve finished watching the latest episodes of Great British Bake Off on Netflix, you can use the integrated digital TV tuner to watch local, over-the-air channels, or plug your game console and playback devices into one of the three HDMI inputs to watch cable or satellite channels, fire up your new PS5, or watch a Blu-Ray. Whether you’re watching the latest action film or an old classic TV show, the screen has stunning 4K resolution and the speakers use DTS Studio Sound technology to give you a more cinematic experience.
Size: 65 Inches | Panel Type: LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR: N/A | Refresh Rate: 60Hz
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Best 8K: Samsung QN65QN900AFXZA 65-Inch 8K Neo QLED TV
With the QN900A 8K television (), Samsung has taken the next step in home entertainment. This TV has four times the resolution of a 4K TV and 16 times the resolution of a 1080p HD TV. While there isn’t any native 8K content available to stream or watch via broadcast media, the improved processor uses a neural network to improve upscaling of non-8K content so you can still enjoy your new TV; and if you can get your hands on a PS5 or Xbox Series X, these consoles are capable of 8K output and high refresh rates for an incredible gaming experience.
The QLED panel has contrast zones and mini-LED bulbs that are individually lit to create OLED-level colors and details. You’ll get virtual 3D surround sound audio with object tracking sound without the hassle of setting up extra home audio equipment like soundbars and subwoofers. For a more immersive viewing experience and better viewing angles, the virtually invisible bezel provides an edge-to-edge picture. The remote is solar-powered and voice-enabled for hands-free control, making your home theater more eco-friendly.
Size: 65-85 Inches | Panel Type: Neo QLED | Resolution: 8K | HDR: Quantum HDR 48X | Refresh Rate: 120Hz
The Final Word
The Samsung QN85A is one of the brand’s newest models, and it’s already demonstrating why it’s time to upgrade your home theater. Its updated QLED panel produces 4K resolution, detailing, and colors that rival OLED models, and the Space Fit Sound technology calibrates the TV’s audio to fill almost any living room with rich, clear sound. The Samsung QN900A is an excellent choice for an 8K TV if you want to future-proof your home theater and have plenty of cash. Even if streaming services haven’t caught on to 8K yet, you’ll get four times the resolution of 4K, allowing you to take advantage of the latest generation of gaming consoles.