The only catch is that just because a TV has a 4K resolution and, perhaps, HDR and wide colour technologies does not automatically mean that it’s a brilliant TV. In fact, HDR in particular is proving quite a challenge for TVs to get right. So let’s try and make your buying decision at least a bit easier with our pick of the best 10 4K TVs you can buy today.
Samsung KS9500 range
As well as delivering some of the sharpest 4K pictures yet, the KS9500s also go further than any other TVs to maximise the impact of HDR.
No TVs in 2016 deliver pictures more downright spectacular than Samsung’s KS9500s. Partly because no other commercially released TVs have ever delivered as much brightness, but also because Samsung has used a high-end backlighting system and a proprietary take on Quantum Dot colour technology to ensure that the emphatic brightness is joined by excellent contrast and explosively rich but also gorgeously nuanced colours.
LG OLEDE6 series
The OLED TV technology so beloved of AV enthusiasts for the past few years is taken to bold new heights by LG’s groundbreaking OLEDE6 series.
For the sort of AV enthusiast who always preferred the contrast and subtlety of now defunct plasma screens to the more brightness focussed charms of LCD, OLED technology has long looked like the next big thing. And LG’s stellar OLEDE6 models do nothing to dispel this notion.
This is because it manages to combine OLED’s currently unique ability to have every single pixel in its screen produce its own light and colour independent of its neighbours with a substantial leap in brightness versus any previous OLED generation. What’s more, this HDR-friendly leap in brightness has been delivered without compromising the remarkable black level reproduction that’s OLED’s trademark.
When it comes to 4K, size matters. A point this 75-inch Sony monster rams home in emphatic style.
The 75XD9405’s huge 75-inch screen serves up a spectacular demonstration of the advantages of having four times as many pixels as you get with an HD TV, adding a sense of scale to 4K’s enhanced precision that leaves pictures looking so lifelike it’s almost scary. Not that size is by any means the only thing the 75XD9405 has going for it, mind you.
Panasonic DX802 range
A well set up DX802 is a rare thing in 2016: a reasonably affordable TV that’s able to do a truly convincing job with HDR as well as 4K.
First, the bad news: The DX802s don’t have enough brightness and colour resolution to deliver the maximum HDR experience. You also need to use their Adaptive Backlight setting on its highest level to get a convincing black colour during dark scenes, which can cause occasional backlight stability and clouding.
The good news is that once set up right, the DX802s produce far more spectacular 4K HDR pictures than you’ve any right to expect for such a reasonably priced TV. There’s enough brightness to deliver HDR with plenty of punch backed up by unusually good black levels by affordable LCD TV standards, and colours are reproduced with exceptional finesse. This helps the DX802s deliver plenty of impact from its native 4K resolution too, while the mostly lovely pictures are joined by outstanding sound courtesy of an external sound bar that ships free with the TV.
Finally, the DX802s benefit from a seriously eye-catching design that sees the screen hanging between two easel-style legs.
Samsung KS7000 range
The KS7000 delivers an HDR-friendly level of specification you just can’t find elsewhere for the same sort of money.
Despite being much cheaper than the KS9500 range that tops this list, Samsung’s KS7000 series still meets the demanding specifications set out by the Ultra HD Premium ‘standard’. Which means, essentially, that it’s got enough brightness, contrast, colour and resolution to produce an uncompromising high dynamic range performance.
So it is that HDR sources look unprecedentedly dynamic and rich for the KS7000 range’s level of the market. The sets also do an emphatic job of getting the maximum impact from their native 4K pixel counts.
The TVs look brilliant with standard dynamic range sources too – though a recent firmware update means that all Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TVs now offer a surprisingly effective processing system for upscaling SDR to HDR.