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It’s a great year for TVs with high-end tech, whether you want to spend under $300 or nearly $3,000.
If you want to spend big on something in 2020, chances are a new TV is at the top of the list. Rightfully so. I know that I, for one, have been looking for any show or video game to take my mind off of the absolute shithole this year has turned out to be. With all the added time inside on the couch with the Netflix carousel, why not upgrade that immersion into the streaming world?
This may be a hell pit of a year for literally everything else, but for TVs, 2020 is actually pretty damn good. There are a lot of truly innovative models being sold at lower price points, as last year’s new tech calibrated to more consumer-friendly prices. The features you can get now for under $1,000—even under $500—are those you saw on TVs more than double the price in years prior. And if you’re able to splurge and go over a thousand bucks, then you’re in for an 8K treat. That’s a lot of K.
With the next gaming console generation launching this holiday season, a million new series coming out every month, and big-budget movies going direct to streaming, there are more than enough opportunities for one of these TVs to strut its stuff in your living room.
Long gone are the days when 4K was an overpriced luxury. Now, as we venture into the world of OLED, 8K, Mini LED, and all those other hot phrases, the side effect is that we get a 4K TV for around 300 bucks. This Vizio is a great TV if you’re looking for an upgrade to 4K or a larger screen. It is just smart enough, meaning it has access to your apps but won’t overdo it and add ten thousand features you’ll never use. It displays about as full of color and as deep of blacks as you’re going to get without leaping into OLED or Mini LED technology. And as an added bonus, the TV has a “gaming mode” to tighten up those frame rates and make video games look even smoother. It will more than get the job done.
If you’ve ever asked me for a TV recommendation, then you’ve heard me talk about TCL. To me, TCL covers everything. It’s always a great deal for the quality. For example, the 6 Series looks like TVs that easily cost in the $1,000-$1,200 range. Sure, they come a little thicker than those TVs, but TCL does a phenomenal job of designing around that thickness to make the edges gorgeous. This model uses QLED tech to get impressively full color, along with a frame refresh rate that could fool anyone into thinking you’ve got a high-end setup. Beyond the picture, when it comes to smart TVs, I’m convinced the Roku and Android OS integration, as this TV packs, work the most smoothly, with very little loading or lag times.
If it’s been a while since you’ve bought a TV, chances are this 6 Series will be an upgrade through and through. But then, if you’re looking for a higher quality TV, TCL’s 8 Series models are absolutely amazing. Even its cheapest models pack a punch.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t spend over $1,000 on a TV. In fact, you’ll find me strongly encouraging it below. But truly, this Hisense and the previous TCL prove you don’t have to. The Hisense H9 is a powerhouse. It has all the hot button features like Quantum Dot, Local Dimming, and ULED, which is mostly to say the colors on this thing are fantastic and the frame rate is killer. It’s one of the first in this price range where I’ve seen text that looks like it’s right off of a computer screen, because the lines and resolution are that sharp. I’m a big gaming nerd, and I found that playing through the Marvel’s Avengers Beta and Destiny on this guy made the in-game motion and resolution look like what you’d expect from a top-of-the-line computer monitor. In technical terms, that doesn’t totally check out, but who cares?
The Hisense H9 also runs the Android/Google Assistant operating system, allowing for easy access to all your smart home devices and streaming apps. It really shows just how far affordable TV tech has come.
This one is really cool. When you aren’t watching something, Samsung’s Frame TV camouflages itself as a picture frame holding a digital copy of a piece of art, which you can swap out whenever you feel like it. It uses light sensors to create a matte effect, making the artwork look remarkably real. The TV comes with a huge selection of art, with more available to purchase for a helluva lot less than actual masterpieces—a great way to class up your living room and give your home a rotating art exhibit.
These Frame TVs feature UHD 4K and QLED technology for beautiful picture quality. They’re definitely a pricier option, but considering the art collection and transformational tech you get with them, they’re well worth it. As an art geek myself, you can believe the next time I find a grand or two lying around, this will be my TV upgrade.
While this LG TV doesn’t have those elusive 8K capabilities, the picture quality appears similar to TVs that run around $3,000, partially due to the built-in processor and innovative ThinQ AI software. And similarly to the Hisense ULED TV, Google Assistant is built in, morphing the TV into the Zordon of your smart home.
Of course, $1,500 is by no means cheap, but LG makes reputable products that warrant the higher price tag. It definitely has better picture quality than the more budget-friendly TVs on this list and rivals some TVs with even higher price tags. If you want to buy what feels like a $3,000 TV for a fraction of that price, this is your guy.
These Samsung QLED 8K TVs aren’t for everyone. Every model in this line will cost you $2K-plus, so feel free to stop reading here if you don’t want to bum yourself out. They’re pipe dream TVs.
I’m going to be blunt: 8K is an extreme luxury. Not many TV peripherals and apps support 8K yet—everyone’s still amped about 4K—but it’s definitely where the industry is heading, especially with the new gaming console generation quickly approaching. That being said, these TVs are damn near the nicest looking things on the market right now, with the hands-down best frame rate, color, and definition. But considering that even the smaller sizes are above $2,000, Samsung’s 8K tech still has a ways to go before it’ll permeate living rooms on a mass scale.
World news – US – Whether You Spend $300 or $3K, You Can Get a Damn Good TV in 2020