The best TV 2017: our pick of the top Ultra HD 4K TVs to buy today

Which 4K Smart TV should you buy right now? Which is the best TV for you?

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Buying a TV is quite a hard purchase so we'll reveal all in our buying guide below, but the best TV at the moment has to be the LG OLED E6 Series.

The LG OLED E6 is available in both 55-inch and 65-inch variants. The display is absolutely superb - there's not a hint of light bleed, but deep black colours sit right alongside even the brightest HDR whites and HDR footage looks absolutely amazing while standard dynamic range footage pops more than on any other TV. 

We also love the integrated soundbar which pumps out superb sound, too.

How to choose the best TV for you?

TVs are very diverse these days and there's a lot of options. A basic TV can certainly be bought for a few hundred quid, but don't expect the sort of performance you really want in your living room. These TVs are aimed at people who don't care. You're reading this, so you plainly do care.

You've got to take into consideration different panel technologies (direct LED, edge LED, and OLED); different resolutions (HD and UHD); whether or not you want high dynamic range and if you do what level of HDR performance you want; whether you want a curved screen or a flat screen. 

4K TVs are now the norm - trust us, you don't want a TV - especially a sizeable one - that can only do Full HD. 

It's important to look for something that suits your needs. You need to work out for yourself which features matter to you and which don't, based on your viewing habits and personal tastes. 

Think in particular about what screen size you can manage, whether your room is usually bright or dark, and what sort of sources you're likely to be using.

Your idea screen size is dictated by the dimensions of the room where the TV is going and the amount of cash you're prepared to spend. Cost is not related to size - you can spend £300 on a 50-inch TV or £4000 on a 55-inch TV. 

As a general rule of thumb, work out how far from the set you'll be sitting (in inches), multiply that distance by 0.535 and then round up the result to the nearest screen size. 

Bear in mind that a decent smaller telly is often a more sensible investment than a larger, less accomplished one. 

There's more on choosing the best TV for you at the very bottom of this article.

So let's run through the list of the best TVs 2017, and while we're doing it there will be some explanation about technologies included and why they matter.

The 10 best TVs you can buy 2017

These are the best TVs to buy, in order of preference

1. LG OLED E6 Series

Combining stunning contrast with an ultra-thin design and exceptional sound

55-inch: LG OLED55E6
65-inch: LG OLED65E6
Reasons to buy
+Amazing black levels+Stunning thin design
Reasons to avoid
-Missing details in bright areas-Very expensive

The OLEDE6's incredibly slim 'picture on glass' design technique creates simply the most gorgeous TVs ever made. Each OLED pixel produces its own light and colour independent of its neighbours. Unprecedentedly deep black colours sit right alongside even the brightest HDR whites without a hint of light 'bleed' - something just not possible with current LCD technologies. The OLED E6 series delivers levels of contrast and light control just not possible with LCD. 

This works wonders for high-contrast HDR sources, as well as making today's standard dynamic range sources look better than on any other TV. The OLEDE6's lose some detail in very bright HDR areas, and occasionally suffer fleeting colour noise. They're not cheap, either. But none of that stops them being utterly brilliant.

A sound bar attached to the bottom of the screen, meanwhile, produces sound quality that wouldn't be out of place on an external audio system. 

2. Samsung KS9500 Series

Spectacularly bright and able to reveal the full majesty of HDR content

Reasons to buy
+Incredible picture quality+Amazing HDR and sound
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Curved screen not for all

Samsung was the first brand to introduce a TV capable of showing high dynamic range (HDR) in 2015, and it builds on that achievement  by delivering in the KS9500 series the brightnest TV the world has seen to date. 

Alongside some seriously powerful sound, it's uniquely qualified to unlock the full potential of HDR, delivering incredibly life-like, dynamic and dramatic pictures that also contain more detail and colour information in bright areas than we've ever seen before. 

The set even carries the best attempt yet at turning standard dynamic range pictures into HDR. 

The use of direct LED lighting with local dimming (meaning clusters of the lights behind the screen can have their brightness adjusted independently of each other) also means the KS9500 is able to deliver some gorgeously deep black colours alongside that ground-breaking brightness. 

You occasionally see clouds of extra light around very bright objects and some settings cause striping in HDR colours.

3. Panasonic DX802 Series

Aggressively priced, but it's a gorgeous design with excellent picture and sound

Reasons to buy
+Good value+Awesome soundbar included
Reasons to avoid
-Not as bright as some HDR rivals-Native contrast isn't the best

Considering the Panasonic DX802 TVs sit just one rung below Panasonic's flagship TVs (the DX902 shown below), they're aggressively priced. 

Especially when you consider that their feature list includes an awesome-sounding 12-speaker external sound bar audio system, native UHD screens, support for high dynamic range playback, and a brilliantly simple smart TV system.

The DX802s also enjoy a unique design that finds their screens hanging within two easel-style silver legs, between which you also rest the external sound bar speaker (though you can remove the screen from the legs and wall mount it if you prefer). 

The DX802s' edge LED lighting sometimes means you can see bands and blocks of unwanted light around bright objects. Otherwise, though, provided you use the TVs' adaptive backlight feature on its highest setting, the DX802s produce lovely, refined pictures with HDR and especially SDR content that exude Panasonic's self-proclaimed obsession with making pictures look like their creators intended them to look. 

4. Samsung KS7000 Series

Great value plus ultra-bright HDR pictures

Reasons to buy
+Aggressively priced+Great all round picture quality
Reasons to avoid
-Some backlight clouding issues-Needs a large table to put it on

Samsung's desire to bring quality HDR to a wider audience is epitomised by the KS7000s. 

The combination of an ultra bright panel and Quantum Dot colour reproduction enables it to deliver levels of dynamism, colour vibrancy and punch with HDR sources that have to be seen to believed.

The KS7000s make it easy to find favourite content via a new, improved version of Samsung's Tizen smart interface, too. 

Bright HDR objects can cause some backlight striping and blocking when they appear against dark backgrounds. 

The bottom line, though, is that no other TV in its price range delivers HDR as successfully.

The sets are attractive too, featuring slim, metallic frames and minimalist desktop 'feet'. It's also nice to find the airy design kept relatively free of cable spaghetti by an external box that passes on picture and sound via a single cable.

5. Panasonic DX902 Series

It will take your breath away, it's that good

Reasons to buy
+Bright, contrast-rich pictures+Clever and effective local dimming+Friendly smart TV system
Reasons to avoid
-Backlight bleed with extreme HDR

For their money the DX902s are really in a class of their own. In a bid to deliver levels of light control beyond the typical capabilities of LCD TVs, the Panasonic DX902 has a new honeycomb panel designed to limit how far unwanted light around bright objects can spread.

Coupled with an exceptionally bright panel, brilliant black levels for an LCD screen and ultra-rich but also beautifully controlled colours (thanks to Panasonic's pro-grade 3D Look Up Table colour system), the new honeycomb approach really does work wonders for the most part on the latest high dynamic range pictures, giving them an intensity second only to that of Samsung's KS9500 models. And Panasonic's models are cheaper.

The only catch with the honeycomb design is that in limiting the extent of light bleed in the picture it does sometimes make what light bleed there is look more pronounced. Fast motion occasionally looks slightly soft too. 

6. Sony XD9405 Series

More home cinema than mere TV, this spectacular 75-incher is hard to resist

Reasons to buy
+Home cinema awesomeness+Lovely picture quality+Apps galore, including YouView
Reasons to avoid
-Android TV's interface is clunky-Some HDR backlight blooming

If you're into movies and you've got plenty of space in your living room, Sony's 75XD9405 is our favourite 'giant TV'. 

For the vast majority of the time, though, the size and overall quality of the 75XD9405's pictures creates a stunningly immersive experience that could well make the idea going out to watch films a thing of the past.

Its mammoth 75-inch screen gives you deliciously detailed, colourful, high contrast, clear and natural pictures with high and standard dynamic sources alike, and its enormity also does a great job of underlining the benefits of having a native 4K pixel count to work with. 

Its pictures aren't the brightest around, and some high-contrast HDR content causes light 'blooming' around bright objects. 

7. LG OLEDB6 Series

If you can't afford LG's previously mentioned OLED E6

55-inch: LG OLED55B6V
65-inch: LG OLED65B6V
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous picture quality+Spectacularly thin design+LG's webOS smart system
Reasons to avoid
-Detail clipping in bright areas-Occasional brief colour noise

While the entry level OLED B6 series isn't quite as ultra-slim and unfeasibly gorgeous as the premium 'picture on glass' OLED E6 models, they do deliver broadly similar picture quality. 

Which is handy when you're talking about the sort of beautifully high contrast, colour-rich, HDR-capable, 4K pictures LG's OLED TVs are providing this year.The OLED B6 pictures lack some of the refinement of the more expensive OLED E6 screens, and there's slightly more potential for noise in dark areas. 

Audio is noticeably thinner than that of the sound bar-equipped OLED E6s. For many AV fans, though, they represent the cheapest way to get your hands on LG's latest and greatest OLED generation.

8. Panasonic DX600 Series

Don't have much space? This is our favourite 40-inch set (also available in other sizes)

Reasons to buy
+Cheap for a 4K TV+Nice 4K picture quality+Friendly, customisable smart TV
Reasons to avoid
-Sound is pretty average-40-inches is too small for 4K-Limited viewing angle

Of this trio, we're only recommending the 40-inch DX600. The 49 and 55-inch sets use panels which struggle to deliver contrast. 

The 40DX600, though, is a really appealing model for its sub-£500 price. Its native 4K screen produces sharp, clean pictures that benefit from an unusually assured contrast performance. Colours look bold, punchy but also surprisingly subtle.

Freeview Play lets you access on-demand content from the main UK broadcasters via a TV listings screen that scrolls back through time as well as forwards (like YouView).

You can't watch it from much of an angle before colour and contrast start to lose their intensity, but you get a lot of bang for precious little buck.

Why you should go for 4K Ultra HD over a standard HD set 

HD TVs come in two resolutions. Sets with the HD ready are required to be able to display a minimum 720p picture, and generally has a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Meanwhile, Full HD TVs have a higher resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It's highly advisable that you don't go for anything less than full HD. 

The resolution of Ultra HD is exactly four times higher than full HD - 3840 x 2160. It means a far more detailed picture, with content requiring a lot more bandwidth and storage space. 4K TVs tend to be good at upscaling HD video to Ultra HD but there are currently very few options for watching native 4K content. Read more about Ultra HD and 4K

What types of TV are there out there?

There are a lot of different screen types out there, all working in different ways to produce the same results. Each technology has its own unique strengths and weaknesses so here are some basics to consider:

Until recently, all LCD TVs were backlit by always-on, CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent) lamps. This ageing technology has been superseded by the superior LED method on more expensive sets, but is still standard on some cheaper models.

LED TV: Direct LED
These displays are backlit by an array of LEDs (light emitting diodes) directly behind the screen. This enables localised dimming – meaning immediately adjacent areas of brightness and darkness can be displayed more effectively – and greatly improves contrast. LED TVs are also more power efficient and capable of a wider colour gamut than CCFL sets. Because of the extreme cost of mounting these arrays of LEDs, Direct LED TVs have largely been out muscled by Edge LED...

With these TVs, LEDs of the backlight are mounted along the edges of the panel. This arrangement enables radically slender displays and offers superior contrast levels to CCFL, but can't achieve the same picture quality as directly lit LED sets. However, they do come in far cheaper which is why most LED TVs out there now use this technology.

The backlighting on OLED (organic light emitting diode) sets is achieved by passing an electric current through an emissive, electroluminescent film. This technique produces far better colours and higher contrast and also enables screens to be extremely thin and flexible. This is the holy grail display technology and only in 2014 did a bigscreen OLED TV go on sale. So it's new, it's expensive and the top brands are still struggling to get their heads around it. To date, only LG has been able to release full sized OLED TVs.

Quantum Dot
As yet we're not quite at the stage where we're going to get self-emitting quantum dot LEDs, but they're a-coming. What we do have though is Samsung producing its Nanocrystal filter based on quantum dot technology to produce a seriously improved colour palette and contrast levels that get mighty close to the pinnacle of OLED.

Plasma TV
PDP (plasma display panel) TVs use glass panels containing millions of tiny cells filled with a mixture of inert gases. Electricity excites the gases, causing them to illuminate the pixels across the screen. Plasma, while arguably superior to LCD in terms of contrast and colour accuracy, is only viable on large (42in+) screens and has been dropped by all but a handful of manufacturers. You'll be lucky to find one on the shelves these days.

Curved TV
Some manufacturers are now making TVs that have slightly curved screens. But unlike old CRT TVs, the curve is inwards rather than outwards. The idea is that this makes every pixel equidistant from your eyes, delivering a more satisfying picture. However, there are drawbacks for this type of screen - the main one being that if you sit far enough to one side – more than 40 degrees or so – the curve clearly starts to affect the image's geometry, foreshortening content near to you and compressing the image's centre.

What else should I consider?

Buying a flatscreen television is a major investment and one that you can't afford to take lightly. Just popping into the closest store and grabbing the first plasma or LCD you see won't get you the best deal, the screen that suits your needs, or the gear you require to make the most of your new purchase.

Size matters

People tend to pick the size of their flat TV based on the amount of space they have for it, this isn't necessarily wise. Flat TVs take up much less space than you might think, so your new TV may end up a foot or two further away from your viewing position, making the picture appear smaller.

Also, with hi-def, you can have a bigger screen and the same viewing distance without worrying about seeing blemishes inherent to the source. HDTV's lack of noise means that the ideal distance to sit from the screen is three to four times the height of the TV.

How to calculate the right size HD TV:

The trick here is to ensure that your TV is big enough to fill your line of vision, but small enough to be sharp and clear. Remember, if you intend to only watch standard-definition sources, the bigger the screen gets, the worse the image will look.

The ideal screen size can be calculated by multiplying the distance that you intend to sit away from it by 0.535 and then rounding this up to the nearest size.

So, if you sit 80in away from your TV, the ideal size is 42-inch (80 x 0.535= 42.8).

What features should I look out for?

Features are too numerous to go into here, but here are some things you should consider.

Photo viewing: If you have a digital camera, a TV that has a slot for memory cards or a USB socket for a card reader will let you view your photos onscreen.

Here are some of the things we look for when we review a screen, so you should, too...

Contrast: Bright whites shouldn't have any signs of green, pink or blue in them, while blacks should look solid and not washed out, grey, green or blue.

Colours: Look at how bright and solid they are; how noiseless their edges are; how 'dotty' richly saturated areas are and how natural skin looks, especially in dim scenes.

Fine detail: How much texture does the screen give? Does a tree look like a green lump, or can you see the individual leaves

Edges: Check for ghosting, bright halos and jaggedness, especially around curves.

Motion: Check moving objects and quick camera pans for smearing or blurring, trailing, jerkiness and fizzing dotty noise.

Image artefacts: Look for blockiness, colour bands, grain, smearing, dot crawl: anything that looks like it's added by the TV picture processing or a weak TV tuner. Tinker with a TV's picture settings before making a final decision. Factory settings are rarely good for everyday viewing.

What about sound?

To provide the best audio to complement the pictures, your TV should be hooked up to a surround sound system, but this isn't always an option. So, here's what we listen for when testing a TV's speakers:

Bass: Deep, rounded rumbles that don't cause the set to rattle or speakers to distort, cramp or overwhelm the rest of the sound; but that expand when needed.

Vocals: Voices should sound open, rich and clear, not boxed in, nasal or thin.

Trebles: Treble effects should sound clean, rounded and smooth in loud scenes and shouldn't dominate the soundstage.

Soundstage width/depth: A good TV should throw the sound away from the TV, to the sides, forward and back, to give an extra dimension to what's on screen, without losing any coherence.

Questions to ask before you buy

Taking the time to consider these questions will make choosing the best TV easier...

What size do I need?

This is dictated by the dimensions of the room where the TV is going and the amount of cash you're prepared to spend. As a general rule of thumb, work out how far from the set you'll be sitting (in inches), multiply that distance by 0.535 and then round up the result to the nearest screen size. Bear in mind that a decent smaller telly is often a more sensible investment than a larger, less accomplished one. And if you're going to buy a 4K TV, you can sit much closer because of the higher resolution.

How many HDMI sockets do I need?

For a living room TV you should be looking for a minimum of 3 HDMI inputs. If you want to attach a set-top box as well as games consoles etc, those HDMI ports will fill up fast.

Can I connect my older, analogue kit?

Most new sets carry no more than two composite connections, while S-video is fast approaching obsolescence. Check that your new TV can hook up to older digiboxes, VCRs or DVD decks that you might want to plug into it.

Do I want to hang my TV on the wall?

First off, you'll need to consult a construction expert to check that the wall in question is strong enough to support a flatscreen. Then find out if the set you want is designed to be wall-mounted and, if so, ask if the relevant bracket is included in the basic package or as an optional extra.

Will I be connecting it to a home cinema?

If the answer is no, you might want to think more carefully about your set's audio performance. Look for a screen that can go as loud as you'll need without distortion or cabinet rattle. Consider how dialogue sounds and how much low-end rumble the bass is capable of.

Conversely, it's pointless paying out more cash for exceptional built-in speakers if you already have a decent home cinema system.

Happy shopping!

Liked this? Why not read What is HDR? - The next-gen future of TV and cinema explained