1. Best OLED Smart TV For Streaming: LG C1 OLED
The best OLED smart TV we’ve tested is the LG C1 OLED. It provides excellent overall performance that delivers stunning picture quality in dark rooms, and it’s also good enough to use in well-lit rooms.
The built-in LG webOS is easy-to-use and has a bunch of apps available to download, and there are also gaming features if you also play video games.
LG TVs like this one come with a unique remote called the Magic Remote. It’s different than remotes from other brands because it has a point-and-press feature, like a Wii remote.
This allows you to easily navigate through the menu to open your favorite apps. OLED TVs are unique because they don’t have a backlight and instead have individually-lit pixels that turn themselves on and off.
This means that it has a near-infinite contrast ratio for deep blacks, and there’s no blooming around bright objects either, making it a fantastic choice for dark room viewing.
If you watch HDR movies, you should be happy to know it has excellent performance for this, but its HDR peak brightness is a bit limited.
This means that some highlights don’t pop the way they should. Also, while it has excellent gradient handling, you’ll still notice banding in scenes with shades of similar color. If that doesn’t bother you, it’s the best smart OLED TV that we’ve tested.
2. Alternative For Movie Lovers: Sony A90J OLED
If you tend to watch lots of movies, then look into the Sony A90J OLED. It’s a better choice only if you’re going to watch movies as it doesn’t have the same gaming performance the LG C1 OLED has because the input lag is higher.
However, the Sony gets brighter in HDR, so highlights pop more, and it has better image processing that includes improved gradient handling. Although the Google TV interface isn’t as easy-to-use as the LG webOS platform, it’s still a great operating system with a ton of apps you can download through the app store.
The remote has a mic for voice control, and there’s also motion-activated backlighting so you can see the buttons in the dark, making it easier to pause the movie.
If you’re in the market for the best smart OLED TV, the LG is a great choice as it’s versatile, but if you want better HDR performance, check out the Sony. OLEDs run the risk of permanent burn-in, but it won’t be an issue if you watch varied content.
3. Best LED Smart TV For Streaming: Samsung QN90A QLED
Sizes 43″ 50″ 55″ 65″ 75″ 85″ 98″
The best TV for streaming with an LED panel that we’ve tested is the Samsung QN90A QLED. If you’re worried about the permanent burn-in risk with OLEDs or simply want something brighter, a TV with an LED panel is a good choice because it’s immune to burn-in. This model has Mini LED backlighting that allows it to get extremely bright, important for bright room viewing.
Even in a dark room, it has a VA panel with a great native contrast ratio. However, it’s lower than other VA panel TVs because it uses Samsung’s ‘Ultra Viewing Angle’ layer technology for a fairly wide viewing angle.
However, it has a great Mini LED local dimming feature that further deepens any blacks with minimal blooming. It’s excellent for watching movies, thanks to this, and the Tizen OS makes it easy to stream your favorite content because it has a ton of apps available to download.
Unfortunately, it has some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, which could get distracting while watching some movies or shows with large areas of bright colors.
It supports the HDR10+ format, but not Dolby Vision, which is disappointing as a lot of streaming content uses this format. If that isn’t a problem, it’s the best LED TV for streaming.
4. Cheaper Alternative: Hisense U8G
If you prefer spending less money, then check out the Hisense U8G. It has a worse viewing angle than the Samsung QN90A QLED because it doesn’t use any viewing angle technology. However, that means it also has a higher native contrast ratio.
Even though the U8G doesn’t have Mini LED backlighting, it still gets bright enough to make highlights stand out in HDR, and the local dimming feature is also great. The Android TV is user-friendly, and the Google Play Store has a massive selection of apps you can download, but it also takes a bit of time to get used to.
If you want to use it for gaming on the side, it has HDMI 2.1 bandwidth and variable refresh rate support, but it has some motion issues like red ghosting.
If you want an LED TV to stream your favorite content, the Samsung is a great all-around choice. If you want something cheaper, then the Hisense is a good alternative.
5. Best Budget Smart TV For Streaming: Hisense U6G
The best smart TV you can get for a low cost that we’ve tested is the Hisense U6G. It’s a great all-around TV that offers versatile performance and is good enough for people using it for most uses, whether you like to watch movies or sports, or if you’re also a gamer, and it’s available in a wide range of sizes.
It comes with Android TV built-in, so you have a massive selection of apps right at your fingertips. The remote has a mic for voice control, and it gives you access to both Google Assistant and Alexa, so you can use it to control other compatible devices.
Some people find that Android TV isn’t the easiest to use, but navigating through menus feels smooth. In terms of picture quality, it has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio and remarkable black uniformity, and the full-array local dimming feature helps it display deep blacks in dark scenes.
Unfortunately, as expected for a VA panel, it has narrow viewing angles, and the image looks washed out from the sides, so it’s not ideal for wide seating arrangements.
Although it gets bright enough in SDR to combat glare, its HDR peak brightness is just okay, and some highlights aren’t as vivid as they should be. Besides that, it’s one of the best smart budget TVs we’ve tested.
6. Roku Alternative: TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED
If you’re on a budget and want a different option for the included smart platform, look into the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. Picture quality isn’t as good in well-lit rooms because it has worse peak brightness than the Hisense U6G.
However, it comes with Roku TV as its smart OS, and while choosing the best smart platform is subjective and varies between people, many people find that the Roku interface is easier to use.
The app store also has a ton of apps, and while the remote doesn’t have a remote for voice control, you can use your phone for that through the Roku app. Gamers should appreciate its quick response time for smooth motion, and it has low input lag, but it doesn’t support any VRR to reduce screen tearing.
If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on the best TV for streaming, you can’t go wrong with the Hisense, but if you prefer something with Roku instead, check out the TCL.
Samsung QN85A QLED: The Samsung QN85A is a great TV with a wide viewing angle, but the Samsung QN90A QLED is a much better choice for watching movies because it delivers deeper blacks.
Sony A80J OLED: The Sony A80J OLED is similar to the LG C1 in terms of picture quality, but considering its price, it’s worth getting the more versatile C1.
TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED: The TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED is a great TV with Google TV, which is similar to the Android TV on the Hisense. However, its local dimming feature isn’t as good, so it’s worth getting the Hisense instead.
LG QNED90: The LG QNED90 is a high-end LED TV with Mini LED backlighting like the Samsung QN90A, but it has a much worse contrast because it has an IPS-like panel.
Sony X90J: The Sony X90J is comparable to the Hisense U8G as it has Google TV and the same gaming features, but it’s more expensive, so the Hisense offers better value.
LG G1 OLED: The LG G1 is a slightly brighter alternative to the LG C1, but considering their cost and how they deliver similar picture quality, it’s worth getting the C1 instead.
Hisense U6GR: The Hisense U6GR has Roku TV like the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020, and it has more gaming features like VRR, but it’s also a bit harder to find as it’s only sold at a couple of retailers.
TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 QLED: The TCL 5 Series/S546 is a newer version of the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED TV with more gaming features, but it has Google TV and not Roku TV.
Hisense U7G: The Hisense U7G is between the Hisense U8G and Hisense U6G in terms of cost and performance, but if you want the best value go for the U8G, and if you’re on a budget, go for the U6G, so the U7G isn’t worth it.
LG A1 OLED: The LG A1 is a basic OLED without any gaming features the LG C1 has, so it’s a better choice if you don’t need those features, but it doesn’t get as bright, and the price difference isn’t much.
Insignia F50 QLED: The Insignia F50 is an entry-level TV that comes with the Amazon Fire TV interface, and it uses quantum dot technology to display a wide range of colors, but for a bit more, you can get the Hisense U6G which has local dimming.