Guide to buying a good TV in 2020

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Summer can be an ideal time to buy a new television. The new models, usually presented at the beginning of the year, are already established and there are many reviews that can help us evaluate them. In addition, it is not difficult to find good offers that will only get better as the months go by.

So what should you consider when buying a new TV? Here are some points you must take into account when buying a television in 2020:

10-bit panels are preferable

An 8-bit panel can reproduce 256 shades of red, green or blue to compose the images, making a total of 16.7 million different colors. Until now, this was more than enough but the arrival of HDR makes color depth more important.

Therefore, it is advisable to opt for televisions with a 10-bit panel (up to 1073 million different colors) that are capable of improving realism and color accuracy in demanding scenarios such as 4K HDR content. In 2020, almost all mid-range and high-end televisions have a 10-bit panel, while those with 8 are relegated to small diagonals or little-known brands.

If you are reading these lines it is because you want to upgrade your watching experience and the next step is HDR. It may not be as optimal yet as we would like to, but the support of the industry is strong and the experience, with the right technology, impressive. If your TV of choice has HDR10 + and Dolby Vision (or, at least, one of the two), it is better.

HDMI 2.1 will be important in 2020

The HDMI standard has been with us for many years and relatively recently it received a major update that takes the available bandwidth from 18 to 48 Gb/s. Manufacturers are taking advantage of the channel to incorporate technologies such as:

  • VRR (variable refresh rate)
  • ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode)
  • QFT (Quick Frame Transport)

These technologies aimed at improving viewing experience when watching movies. Therefore, make sure that at least one of the ports of your new television is HDMI 2.1.

Opt for a 4K TV

There is no reason to buy something less than 4K (in fact, it is already difficult to find it in diagonals above 50 inches), nor to take the next step. The 8K is still in diapers and no content is available. Does it ring a bell? It is the same thing that happened to 4K a few years ago, when it seemed that 1080p will always be enough.

OLED, QLED, ULED, LED, MicroLED, MiniLED?

Although the manufacturers’ marketing departments insist, in practice there are only two technologies that dominate the market: the LED LCD and OLED. Other existing options are not new technologies but rather new backlight systems.

QLED, OLED and MicroLED: What is the difference?

TV display technologies compared – LED vs. OLED:

LED OLED
Thickness LED edge back-lit LCD TVs are thinner than CCFL LCD TVs. Often less than 1 inch. OLED TVs are thinner than LED TVs (hence all other TVs) because of the size of their diodes
Power consumption LED-lit LCD TVs consume less power around 70% compared to plasma TVs. Requires less power than an LCD or Plasma TV
Screen size Up to 90 inches Up to 55 inches (yet)
Burn-in  Very rare Burn-in is unlikely, but OLED TVs are susceptible to burn-in if TV is abused.
Life span Around 100,000 hours Not yet tested. Recent improvements allow up to 43,800 hours
Cost $100 (small size and very low end) – $25,000 $9,000 – $15,000
Viewing angle The brightness and color on LCD TVs shift noticeably over the screen and depending on viewing angle 170 degree viewing angle
Contrast Ratio (difference between the deepest black compared to the brightest white) Worse than plasma TVs. All LCDs produce brighter whites, but brighter blacks as well. Locally-dimmable LED back-lit LCD TVs can mitigate this to improve contrast ratios. Infinite contrast ratio; much better than LED
Weight Lighter compared to plasma TV Lighter compared to LED TV
Brightness and color Brighter than plasma or OLED Not as bright as LED
Screen Thickness Thinner than LCD, plasma Even thinner than LED (hence other TVs)
Energy Use Less for dynamically back-lit LCD TVs, about as much for statically back-lit ones. Less than LED TVs
Mechanism Light emitting diodes Organic Light emitting diodes
Backlight Yes No
Picture Quality Better than most TVs, but not as good as OLED Better than LED TV and other TVs

 

Rules of thumb:

Since our goal is to provide an easy and useful guide to purchasing a TV in 2020, here are a 3 main points to consider when deciding between LCD and OLED:

  1. If you are interested in the best image quality and you are going to watch content (movies or video games) capable of taking advantage of a good panel, the best option is OLED. However, If you are not a fan of image quality and you are only going to watch DTT, it is not worth investing in an expensive television.
  2. If you have a large room and you are concerned about TV viewing angles, OLED is preferable in this case.
    If you mainly watch TV by day, in a very bright room and you are concerned about brightness, it is better to invest in a good LCD panel.
  3. When budget is not a problem, buy OLED. If it is, go for the best LCD you can afford (ideally VA Edge LED).
    For televisions destined for watching mostly DTT, the most reasonable option is an IPS at a reasonable price.

It is better to buy a good 2019 model (or even 2018) than a inferior 2020 model

The mall vendor is likely to argue otherwise, but in reality, TVs don’t change that much from year to year (with some exceptions, of course). Prices of old models decrease quickly and with a reasonable budget you can opt for a high-end 2019 models, compared to a mid-range of the current year. In most cases, the most rational option is the first one and that is the reason you will see several 2019 models on our list below.

We have reviewed the market to bring you some options that we find interesting. They are not the cheapest or the most expensive models, but only the most cost-effective options and can be used as a reference point.

LG OLED C9

LG OLED C9 TV.

LG OLED C9 TV.

Source: LG C9 55 inch Class 4K Smart OLED TV

One of the best TVs of 2019 is still one of our favorites this year. Brutal image quality, minimal latency, compatible with Dolby Vision and HDMI 2.1 as standard. Perhaps the only downside is that the sound is not up to it, but it is something common in almost all and has a solution via soundbar.

Why should you buy this TV? Why should you choose another option?
Great image quality, with great blacks and contrast Does not support HDR10 +
Careful design There are brighter televisions
Fast and well-optimized operating system

 

Panasonic TX-55GZ1000

Panasonic TX-55GZ1000 TV.

Panasonic TX-55GZ1000 TV.

Source: Panasonic TX-55GZ1000

The Japanese company has been the reference for fans of image quality for years. Except for some hesitation during the transition from LCD to OLED, Panasonic televisions are highly geared toward moviegoers who value color fidelity and motion handling over any other factor.

The GZ1000 is getting more and more reasonably priced (if you have no budget problems, stop reading and go for the GZ2000) and it comes with impeccable calibration for the best cinematic experience.

Why should you buy this TV? Why should you choose another option?
Spectacular image quality Dolby Atmos sound can be improved
Compatible with Dual Vision and HDR10 + Regular remote control
Fantastic design Few updates by the brand
Absolute black

Sony OLED AG9 MASTER Series

Sony OLED AG9 MASTER Series TV.

Sony OLED AG9 MASTER Series TV.

Source: Sony OLED AG9 MASTER Series

Sony is all about quality and price. Despite being over a year old, this TV has one of the best OLED panels on the market, which is also excellently calibrated at the factory.

In addition to being a dream TV for multimedia content, it is also great for enjoying video games due to its low latency and minimal response time. The Android TV operating system is already very mature and the sound it offers is above average. Excellent option in its price range.

Why should you buy this TV? Why should you choose another option?
Excellent image quality Not compatible with HDR10 +
Sublime design and build quality The price is still high
Outstanding viewing angles
Reduced latency and low response time

LG NanoCell SM9800

LG NanoCell SM9800 TV.

LG NanoCell SM9800 TV.

Source: LG NanoCell SM9800

The first LCD panel on our list marks the top of the selection LG has to offer this year. It has Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) backlight and NanoCell technology for accurate color generation, positioning it as a good alternative to OLED.

It’s initial price exceeded $2,000 – an excessive price for the features it offers. However, TV prices are dropping during summer and the SM9800 may become a very cost-effective option. Mainly due to features such as support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision, HDMI 2.1 connectivity and the focus on video games, with technologies such as VRR or ALLM as standard.

Why should you buy this TV? Why should you choose another option?
Remarkable image quality
The panel, being good, does not measure up to other high-end VA LCDs
HDMI 2.1 on all four ports The base requires improvement
WebOS works fine and doesn’t cause any trouble
With 15.1 ms input lag it is great for gaming

Sony XG95

Sony XG95 TV.

Sony XG95 TV.

Source: Sony XG95

Another great LCD option, with a high-contrast VA panel and a FALD backlight system. The 55 inch model costs about $999.99 and it is a good purchase for all kinds of content: DTT, movies, TV series, video games, etc.

Why should you buy this TV? Why should you choose another option?
Fantastic panel with great HDR performance The performance of SmartTV is not optimal.
Excellent with dark areas considering that it is an LCD
Well calibrated from the factory
Adjusted Price

Samsung QE55Q80T

Samsung QE55Q80T TV.

Samsung QE55Q80T TV.

Source: Samsung QE55Q80T

This great exponent of Samsung’s commitment to QLED combines great image quality, good sound and a very careful design. We especially like the four HDMI 2.1 ports and the operating system, complete, fast and intuitive.

The Samsung QE55Q80T looks good without touching anything and suits any type of content. Dolby Vision support is missing but, in general terms, it is a great option that is now much better priced than when it came out.

Why should you buy this TV? Why should you choose another option?
High contrast and color rendering Does not support HDR10 +
Amazing sound The performance of SmartTV is not optimal.
Excellent with dark areas considering that it is an LCD
Well calibrated from the factory
Adjusted Price

LG OLED55GX

LG OLED55GX TV.

LG OLED55GX TV.

Source: LG OLED55GX

Probably one of the best TVs of 2020. It tops LG OLED C9 in every imaginable feature, offers a sublime image quality and has the new filmmaker mode that takes the home theater experience to a new level.

If you go to the beginning of this guide and review what should we consider when choosing a new television, this model has everything, except for the HDR10 +. Also, it’s price steadily decreases over the months. From our point of view, this is one of the best options on the market today.

Why should you buy this TV? Why should you choose another option?
Large panel, with striking blacks and excellent shadow detail. Does not support HDR10 +
Impressive HDR performance
If design doesn’t matter that much to you, there are cheaper options (like the 65CX)
Filmmaker mode The price is still very high
Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos support
Low latency and response time
Spectacular design and build quality

 

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