Best TVs to Buy in 2016

best tvs to buy in 2016

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, tech giants like Sony, Vizio, LG, Samsung and Panasonic unveiled their hottest new devices. TVs don’t dominate the conversation anymore — virtual reality headsets, wearables and autonomous driving technology all had a more prominent stage presence. However, the evolution of TV tech continues to redefine innovation and dazzle us with new capabilities. Advancements like these don’t come cheap, but savvy shoppers can upgrade their TVs by understanding where the technology is and where it’s going before they decide what to buy.

For the best TV models available by price, jump down to the best of the best TVs section in this article.

Otherwise, these tips will help you find the right TV for both you and your budget in 2016:

Tips for the Right TV Type

Think 4K, Not 8K

At last year’s CES, 4K TV technology was heralded as a game changer for its ability to quadruple the number of pixels found in a standard HD picture. This increase in resolution adds stunning detail, greater depth and vibrant color to images. At this year’s event, LG and Samsung unveiled 98-inch 8K TVs. These are stunning but ultimately irrelevant to the consumer conversation, with prices over $100,000 and a shortage of 8K content.

Meanwhile, 4K technology is no longer reserved for only the wealthiest technophiles. Prices for 4K sets are increasingly affordable, with many available right now in the $500 to $1,000 range, including the versatile Vizio M-Series. And perhaps most importantly, 4K programming is beginning to roll out while 8K content remains years away.

Choose Flat, Not Curved

Taking a cue from the bowed theater screens that can be found at many venues around the country, tech companies started to develop curved-screen TVs. These new sets promise a wider field of view and a more immersive experience, but there’s one big detraction — your viewing angles are limited with a curved-screen TV. If you’re eyeing something like the Panasonic CZ950 when it becomes available, you’ll need to design your entire living room around your TV.

Manufacturers are developing a curved and flat version of big-screen models. The Samsung UN78JU7500 (curved) and Sharp LC 80UH30U (flat) are both top-notch big screens. Curved TVs will continue to trend because they look cool, but all things considered, we think a traditional flat screen will serve you well in 2016 and for years to come.


No matter how revolutionary new TV technology is, for most of us the decision comes down to value and quality. Take, for instance, the competition between LCD (less expensive) and OLED (more expensive) televisions. The main difference between the two comes down to light emission — pixels in LCD televisions are illuminated as a whole, while new OLED sets illuminate each pixel individually. OLED is impressive, but it’s still being perfected.

When CNET pitted the two formats against each other, OLED won out in black level, contrast, viewing angle and uniformity. LCD’s only meaningful advantages were found in color gamut and refresh rate, and these were deemed “for now” victories. If you want an OLED that unlocks the full potential of single pixel illumination, go with the Panasonic CZ950 when it becomes available or pick up the LG EF9500 — these models have addressed such concerns. Budget-minded consumers, however, should stick with LEDs until more companies develop OLEDs and they drop in price.

3D’s Last Stand

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of 3D’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Ranked among the hottest new TV trends of 2013, the format has admittedly been slow to catch on with general consumers, but it’s too early to write it off completely.

Continued breakthroughs in autostereoscopic technology (glasses-free 3D) is the only potential savior of the technology. Stream TV Networks unveiled glasses-free 3D this year (dubbed “Ultra-D”), while the big manufacturers kept their focus on 4K and 8K technology. As of now, active and passive 3D (which requires glasses) viewing remains a feature on most higher-end TVs, but the quandary of consistent viewing quality and content remain. 2016 will be the year that glasses-free 3D either takes off or fades into obscurity.

Best of the Best

Determine the best TV by:

4K and 3D

Price Range: High

LG Electronics 65EF9500 ($6,000)

Overview: Panasonic may have mastered OLED with their signature TV (see below), but LG delivers a valiant effort for nearly half the cost. It measures in with a width of 0.25 inch at the top and a 2-inch enlargement for connection ports. The picture quality and contrast is probably the best you can buy at this moment, with only minor judder and edge dimming issues reported. CNET put it bluntly: “If you have the money and you want a 65-inch TV, you should buy the LG 65EF9500.”

Pros: Only top-rated OLED TV on the market, stunning picture and design

Cons: Only 3 HDMI ports, minor judder and edge dimming issues

Price Range: Mid

Panasonic TC-55CX850U ($3,499)

Overview: Panasonic’s flagship TV for 2015 is still one of the best around in terms of value and quality. The TV has a simple look, with 3 HDMI ports and Firefox OS for Smart TV operating. The HDR-capable TV attempts to follow up on the AX900 from 2014, which astounded reviewers but cost around $8,000. This simplified version for half the price didn’t lose much in quality; it’s one of the few TVs on this list to receive THX certification, which means you won’t be let down by the color quality.

Pros: THX certified, high-end picture quality

Cons: Hard to find, backlight dimming issues

Price Range: Low

Samsung UN65JU7100 ($2,000)

Overview: As Panasonic and LG focus on maximizing OLED capabilities while meeting 4K and 3D demands, Samsung has been selling more 4K TVs than anyone else. Predictably, their variety in UHD options seems endless and gets confusing with so many model numbers. The LED-powered JU7100 is a solid choice for the lower price tier. Its sleek design rivals the other two recommendations in style and slimness. The picture quality won’t leave you breathless like the OLED competitors, but this model rivals anything out there for those looking for an all-in-one package without a steep price tag.

Pros: Slick, flat design with nearly every desired feature in 2016, highly rated remote

Cons: Good (not great) picture quality for price, doesn’t include 3D glasses

Worth Mentioning…

Panasonic TX-65CZ950 ($11,000)

Overview: Panasonic’s CZ950 is more suited for showrooms and trade shows with an astonishing price tag of £7,999(roughly $11,000). But it’s worth mentioning, because this TV is a glimpse into the future. The 4K Pro system tackles the OLED light emissions issues by masterfully controlling each pixel’s light and color, resulting in one of the finest picture qualities ever seen. Panasonic brought in renowned Hollywood colorist Mike Sowa (Kill Bill, Oblivion) to help configure the TVs “True Cinema” setting. The stunning picture quality is combined with a super-slim design and clip-on back panel which covers four HDMI ports.

Pros: Unlocks the power OLED technology, perhaps the best TV ever manufactured

Cons: Unrealistic price tag, curved screen, U.S. release date pending

Best Bargain

Price Range: High

VIZIO M55-C2 ($848.00)

Overview: If you’re ready to take the 4K leap but not for more than a grand, look to the Vizio M-Series. It delivers deep black levels, excellent contrast and includes five 4K-compatible HDMI inputs. It doesn’t have 3D compatibility and some of the other high-end features, but with sizes ranging from 43 inches to 80, you’ll find a quality TV at your ideal price point

Pros: Great value, local dimming feature for better picture quality

Cons: Lacks 3D and advanced Smart TV features, doesn’t compete with higher-end 4K picture quality

Price Range: Mid

Samsung PN51F8500 ($700)

Overview: How can a TV from 2013 be on the list for best TVs in 2016? Well, the F8500 is the last great plasma TV. Plasma TVs didn’t lose out to LED and OLED technology due to quality, as plasma consistently outperformed in terms of black level, processing speed, side angle viewing quality and contrast. Rather, its death was a concoction of manufacturing cost, consumer confusion and OLED technology hitting its stride (see the Pana CZ950 and LGEF9500). For the plasma purist who couldn’t afford the best available model a few years ago, snag it in 2016 for less than $1,000.

Pros: Outstanding picture quality, Smart TV suite despite being years old

Cons: Obsolete technology means low resale value

Price Range: Low

Hisense 40H4C ($279)

Overview: If you scoff at calling a TV upward of $500 a “bargain,” the Roku Smart TV may be for you. Developed by Chinese manufacturer Hisense, the 40H4C scores big in UI. Roku’s interface and channel market is one of the most intuitive available. Don’t expect stunning picture quality, but this may be the ideal choice for an apartment dweller who needs a binge-ready device for their TV shows.

Pros: Easy-to-use, intuitive UI, Roku-powered

Cons: Picture quality doesn’t compare to higher end models

Big Screen

Price Range: High

Epson LS10000 ($8,000)

Overview: It would be remiss to talk BIG screens without throwing one of the finest projectors available in the mix. The LS10000 projects a 100-inch diagonal screen with deep black levels and impressive color. At 8 grand, it’s not the best projector in terms of value, but it does use a laser light engine instead of replaceable lamp bulbs which justifies the cost to a point (bulbs cost $300-$500 to replace after 3,000 hours of use).

Pros: No replacing lamp bulbs, launches in less than 30 seconds

Cons: Expensive, weighs 40 pounds

Price Range: Mid

Samsung UN78JU7500 ($5,200)

Overview: This 78-inch behemoth will quench your craving for a giant screen with 4K potential. It delivers the contrast ratios, color saturation, brightness and style expected from Samsung. As a cousin of the Samsung listed above, it shows the overall performance of this class and brand.

Pros: Good 4K quality with massive screen

Cons: Relatively pricey, a bit bulkier than other options

Price Range: Low

Sharp LC 80UH30U ($4,300)

Overview: Another giant 4K option is the 80-inch Aquos model from Sharp. If you’re willing to stray away from the big players, Sharp might muster enough in specs and features to win you over. Not only does it come cheaper than the bigger brands, it earned a certification from THX studios which means it’s visually on par with the original filming of major films (only the Panasonic CZ950 holds the certification from this list).

Pros: THX certification, cheaper than bigger brands

Cons: Smart TV coordination issues, image dimming beyond 25 degrees off center


  • So, we’ve narrowed it down to a 4K flat screen LCD (with 3D as a viable option). That leaves, I don’t know, 20 sets in every size range to choose from. It helps, a little. The article could’ve expanded a little regarding the perceived quality and available features from the major brands.

    • gma1951

      I was thinking the same thing Charlie. That is why I clicked on it. I’m in the market for a tv and am disappointed it didn’t comment on the major brands.

  • SR71_Blackbird

    3D isn’t dead yet….but dying from a thousand cuts…slowly.

  • Johnathan Huntington

    Most videos are in DVD format. I’ve been very happy with an resolution less than 4000. The quality is excellent. I can pay more for better but not enough to make a change yet.

  • Gabe Trammell

    My OLED TV looks leaps and bounds better than all the other LCDs I have owned . It had better color refresh rate was better and only cost me $4400 . So I dont know what this guys talking about. As far as 3D its dead to me never really liked 3D it gives me get a headache after 30min of watching it. I am a extreme gamer so I mostly stick to PC monitors. PC monitors are far superior to TVs. The problem is to play games at 4K at 60fps on ultra settings is not possible with only one GPU at the moment. Sorry for getting off subject but anyway not to be rude but this guy needs to do a bit more research on OLED Because from my experience LCDs do not look better than OLEDs no even close. Although OLED will not last as long as LCDs will.

  • Andy

    wtf? This guy is absolutely clueless. 4k isnt worth it unless you got a 75inch screen. 3d was dead to begin with, and now they are burying it (phasing it out altogether) and IGNORE OLED??!! Are you insane? Have you never seen an OLED. the difference in quality is mind-blowing. worth every penny