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Choosing the best HDR TV could mean the difference between a sharp, crystal clear picture and shoddy refresh rates and a laggy affair. Our evaluation focused on performance/display, refresh rate, number of inputs, OS interface, and Smart TV features
After more than 18 hours of research, our pick for the best HDR TV goes to the Samsung50-inch Class Crystal UHD TU-8000 Series HDR TV. It owns impressive specs, starting with Crystal Processor for 4K upscaling, Auto Game Mode for refresh rate management, two built-in voice integrations, and the popular Tizen platform with its simplified UI and easy navigation. Continue reading to learn more about these products and how they stack up against the best TVs on the market.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This UHD HDR TV features a Crystal Processor for 4K upscaling/crisp color handling and Ambient Mode, an excellent choice as a centerpiece TV in a large household.
This HDR TV is a well-rounded powerhouse. Its Crystal processor 4K offers 4X the resolution of Full HD and processing for color depth, a wider palette, and excellent contrast range, even in darker scenes. An Auto Game Mode also optimizes refresh rates for smoother motion and an overall better flowing picture.
Kudos for running on Samsung’s Tizen platform, its OS with a deeply curated Universal Guide for broadcast and streaming content, along with popular apps Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more. Two voice assistants ( Alexa and Samsung’s Bixby) offer voice control of TV functions (e.g play and pause) and smart home devices such as Philips Hue bulbs and Echo Dots. Lastly, we are big fans of this TV’s simplified OneRemote, which automatically detects and controls compatible devices to reduce remote control clutter. It’s a good choice for anyone looking for the best 1080p tv and wanting excellent picture quality.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This OLED HDR TV is based on the powerful Z1 Ultimate Processor for highly accurate image rendering and a Pixel Contrast Booster for more than 8 million individually controlled pixels. It’s an excellent choice for people who want the sharpest image possible.
Hands down, this HDR TV’s display is one of the finest we’ve researched. The combination of its Pixel Contrast Booster and TRILUMINOS Display delivers a much more mature color palette with contrast depth, along with X-Motion Clarity for a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth motion scenes. Quite the must when watching sports or getting your game on with the Playstation 4, Xbox One, or Xbox One S. If you like this TV, you might be interested in our best LED TV guide.
This OLED panel HDR TV is based on the Android TV platform with intuitively laid out menu navigation, rapid-fire scrolling, and good response times with content transitions. Its remote control is also simplified, with dedicated buttons for Google Play and Netflix for one-click access. All in all, we were very impressed with the overall picture quality and UI. If you’re looking for the best TV for sports, this one is it.
Award: BEST FOR GAMING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This HDR TV features LG ThinQ AI technology for outstanding voice command response and NVIDIA G-SYNC compatibility offering crazy 360Hz gameplay, an excellent choice for hardcore PC gamers.
This best HDR TV for gaming really shines with its α9 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor, which works to optimize clarity and sharpness using deep learning AI algorithms that detect ambient lighting conditions to display the most vivid picture possible. it also supports Dolby Vision HDR, which is superior to standard 4K HDR with a wider color range, peak brightness, and contrast management.
We love this HDR TV’s interface which supports built-in Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands and AirPlay 2 for streaming content directly from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your TV. Kudos for LG’S Magic Remote, which uses an on-screen cursor to navigate between menu items without having to toggle and scroll. It’s one of the best TVs for bright rooms on our list.
Award: BEST FOR BRIGHT ROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This HDR TV comes with Direct Full Array 8X controlled backlighting for richer contrasts and a strong anti-glare reflective screen, an excellent choice for TV watching in sunlit rooms, or facing open windows.
This HDR TV offers exceptional viewing angles and excellent color volume using Quantum Dot technology, which is good for 1+ billion shades of color to create lifelike detail, especially with nature scenes. 4K AI upscaling also converts non HD content to near 4K and an Active Voice Amplifier also helps counter ambient noise to optimize voice delivery for better hearing.
Our favorite feature with this Samsung QLED TV is Samsung’s Tizen, it’s easy to use interface that includes a bottom launcher bar, customized menu options, and access to all of the popular streaming services including YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, and Disney Plus. We observe no lags or clunkiness between menu transitions and voice controls are pretty spots on. We are also big fans of this QLED TV’s One Remote, which uses a built-in microphone for universal functional and voice commands. It’s a contender for the best TV for your bedroom as well.
Award: BEST SMART FEATURES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This HDR TV comes with Quantum Dot technology for backlighting and color range management, as well as Samsung’s Tizen Smart TV with a super interface for content selection – an excellent choice for streaming service subscribers.
We love this HDR TV’s combination of Quantum Dot technology for a rich color palette and an anti-reflective screen with the choice of four picture modes. Full-array local dimming (FALD) backlights work exceptionally well using a series of back panel LEDs to optimize black levels. The viewing angle is solid, with optimal contrasts when seated at 45 degrees at opposite sides.
Big shoutout to this HDR TV’s built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It is also integrated with Samsung’s proprietary tech, Bixby, although word and pattern recognition is off-kilter compared to Alexa. AirPlay 2 wireless streaming also allows users to stream music and movies directly from their iPhones, iPads, and Macs. All in all, we were very impressed with this unit’s performance in bright rooms. It’s also on our list for the best smart TV for streaming.
Award: BEST FOR OFFICE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This HDR TV supports a Graphics Picture mode, which makes it super convenient projecting desktop content onto your TV – great for office warriors.
This HDR TV is pretty well rounded. A powerful 4K HDR image processor and TRILUMINOS display a clear, life-like picture, supportingHDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision formats.. A separate technology, 4K X-Reality PRO even upscales on HD content to near 4K streaming video. However, contrast ratios and black levels are so-so – not as much a concern for the untrained eye. MotionFlow XR240 also does a superb job of managing refresh rates and lowering input lag for high-intensity gaming or Apple TV watching.
We love this HDR TV’s Android TV and Google Assistant platform, which allows for easy voice command to play, pause, and find your favorite streaming convent. It can even be used to monitor smart home devices such as thermostats and security cameras. You might also like our best curved TV buying guide if you are concerned about viewing angles.
Award: BEST VALUE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This HDR TV is a solid all-around performer, delivering value with Quantum Dot technology and full-array local dimming technology for a vivid picture – a great choice for value-conscious shoppers.
This HDR TV is pretty well rounded. Quantum Dot color and full-array local dimming LED backlighting to offer rich textures, deep blacks, and a wide color palette – operating on 250 or 600 nits of brightness depending on settings adjustments. Kudos for having four HDMI inputs, which makes this an excellent choice as a value home theater system.
Our favorite feature with this HDR TV is its SmartCast operating system, with support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and WatchFree, a collection of 100+ free channels, carrying a super easy to navigate channel guide and Favorites section with your own curated stuff. Everything from 24/7 news channels to sports events is covered. All in all, we were very impressed with its value relative to picture quality and depth of free channels, making it a good choice for the best TV for seniors.
Award: BEST FREE CONTENT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This HDR TV offers Active Full Array backlighting for outstanding black levels and Vizio’s WatchFree service for 100+ channels of free live and on-demand content, making it a great choice for people looking to avoid cable bills for good.
This HDR TV offers exceptional value, starting with Quantum Color for a 1+ billion color palette, UltraBright 600 for peak brightness, improved black level, and up to 90 local dimming zones for outstanding contrasts.
Kudos for a fast loading and intuitive UI and streaming discovery platform, led by VIZIO’s SmartCast TV with more than 100 free and original channels through the WatchFree service and SmartCast Home, carrying all of the popular streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Built-in Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast also allows voice command controls and streaming from your mobile device. It’s good for anyone looking for one of the best outdoor TVs.
Award: BEST INTERFACE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This budget TV offers four HDMI ports and is based on the Roku Smart TV Platform, the most user-friendly UI we’ve researched for 4K TVs to date.
This HDR TV offers enough value to compete with more renowned brands, Sony, LG, and Samsung, starting with Quantum Dot technology with 1 billion shades of color, Contrast Control Zone technology for improved contrast management, and an Auto Game Mode that optimizes picture settings for a better refresh rate.
To add, Roku’s TV platform is a real winner. It substitutes the icon heavy and launcher bar-style navigation menus found in LG’s WebOS and Samsung’s SmartHub with a much simpler interface heavy on traditional sidebar menus. If you’re focused on sound quality, our best sounding TV buying guide has additional options for you.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: This HDR TV features 4K Ultra HD resolution and the simplest, most compact remote researched to date, making it a great choice for people looking for a cheaper option from premium brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony.
We love this HDR TV’s picture, offering HDR10 support for a rich color palette, albeit at the expense of contrast with so-so black levels. Full-array local dimming technology also sets up multiple LEDs zones throughout the screen to boost black levels and build deeper contrasts.
This HDR TV is also based on the Roku TV platform, known for its simplified interface with access to all of the popular video streaming apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, and YouTube. We are also big fans of its remote, which is super simplified with less than 15 buttons. We highly recommend it for seniors as there is minimal button toggling involved with menu transitions.
In determining the best HDR 4K TVs to buy we explored performance/display, refresh rate, number of inputs, OS interface, and Smart TV features.
In terms of performance, our recommendation is for an OLED TV, which blows past traditional 4K UHDs with 33,177,600 pixels. Support or HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision help achieve a wider color range as well as deeper blacks and purer whites. Do not underestimate glare reduction – go for matte screens when possible, which better work in sunlight or rooms facing open windows. lastly, look to 120Hz native refresh rates for no motion blur on high action scenes for no blur. The higher the number, the smoother the overall picture
Go for HDR TVs with a minimum of three HDMI ports and 1 USB port, more than enough to power all of your external devices such as Blu-ray players, Xbox Ones, and a Google Chromecast if not supported by your HDR TV.
Refresh rates are also very important. Motion Rate 120 or TruMotion 120 technology or a 120Hz native refresh rate work to produce smooth, high motion scenes with no noticeable blur, jerking, or lagging. If you are looking for optimal sound, Dolby Atmos supported HDR TVs are the way to go.
Lastly, look into Smart TV features. The Roku TV platform, LG’s WebOS, Samsung’s SmartHub are all excellent examples of intuitive layouts that make it easy to find and stream content. Kudos for HDR TVs that support Apple Airplay 2, which allows for direct streaming from your mobile devices, laptops, or tablets.
HDR TV has a much higher contrast ratio than LED TVs, standard HD, and Ultra HD sets. This is because more pixels are packed per square inch, resulting in a brighter and more dynamic range of colors. Look for a large screen size with the best 43-inch TV or a best 55-inch TV with these features.
Yes, we feel HDR OLED TVs are definitely worth it for low latency video quality and video processing. It displays a more vivid set of colors at a much better rate than LED TVs, standard HD, and Ultra HD sets. Keep in mind, you will need to look for TVs with the Ultra HD Premium distinction, which is equipped for HDR viewing, as opposed to HDR-capable TVs that may not be able to handle HDR more intensive color and brightness requirements.
For Smart TVs, it is important to note the difference between HDR and 4K, as they are not mutually exclusive. HDR is a standard that applies to color range and brightness. 4K is a measure of screen resolution or the number of pixels per square inch on the screen. In general, 4K comes out with a sharper image, and HDR beats it with a wider color palette. When combined, it packs quite the punch.
In our opinion, the TV with the best HDR goes to the one that supports multiple HDR formats, color optimization (e.g. Pixel Contrast Booster, Quantum Dot technology), 120Hz native refresh rates for a no blur picture, and runs on a simple OS for easy content discovery.