Black Friday and Cyber Monday is that one time of the year when you can finally get that TV you’ve been eyeing all year long without any guilt. Unless you have one of those spouses or other half that will still needle you for getting it…but at least TV’s can usually last longer than they will.
It’s tempting, I know, to become so gripped by Black Friday shopping fever that you’re happy just to rush out and snap up the most crazily cheap TV bargain you can find. The thing is, though, that, cheapness is not necessarily the same thing as value. After all, a massively discounted TV turkey is still a TV turkey when it comes down to it.
The way I see it is that if you buy a rubbish set for a few dollars, you’ve just wasted those dollars.
Surely it’s got to be better to try and take advantage of the Black Friday sales to hunt down a decent deal on a TV that’s actually good. Even if that deal might not on the surface look so eye-catching extreme as some of the bargain bucket stuff.
With this in mind, we are presenting you with a list of what we believe are best TVs of 2017. And we’ve spent many hours testing them and putting them through the paces over the past 12 months.
You can get all of our 2017 Holiday Gift Guides right here as they will continue to grow and gather speed as the holidays are fast approaching. We’ve broken them up by category this year to make it even easier to find that perfect gift for everyone on your list and that special gift you’ve earned after the year we’ve had!
For that gamer in your life, we’ve pulled together our Gamer store so you can find the must have games and game consoles right here.
LG OLED55C7 – $1,699.99 (save $500) at Best Buy, $1,696.99 at Amazon
While the ability of LG’s OLED TV technology to deliver much deeper, richer black colors than LCD TV technology has never been in doubt, OLED TVs have been compromised in previous years by not being able to get bright enough to do justice to the new high dynamic range picture format.
However, the 55-inch OLED55C7 – along with all other 2017 LG OLED TVs – delivers a 15-20% increase in brightness over previous OLED generations, and this has a huge impact on its HDR capabilities.
HDR sources now look truly HDR, as blazingly intense white and color peaks sit right alongside those gorgeous, consistent black colors for which OLED is justly famed.
You could argue there’s still not quite enough brightness to fully unlock HDR’s potential, especially if you usually watch TV in a bright room. But if you’re a serious TV series and, especially, movie fan, the OLED55C7 delivers pictures that are far more consistently majestic than you’ve any right to expect for its money.
Sony XBR-75X940E $4,299.99 (save $700) at Best Buy, $4,297.99 at
While 65-inch TVs are all very nice and everything, if you want to step up to a bona fide home cinema experience, you need to think about a 75-inch TV. And if you’re going to think about a 75-inch TV, Sony’s 75X940E is tough to beat.
For starters, it uses a direct LED lighting system (where the lights sit directly behind the screen) controlled by superb local dimming management, where different sections of the LEDs can output different amounts of light. This helps it combine brilliantly punchy HDR highlights with some of the deepest and most consistent black colors the LCD world has to offer.
It also enjoys gorgeously refined, rich colors thanks to Sony’s Triluminos technology. These join with the high level of brightness in giving you a much more authentic HDR experience than any home cinema projector currently can.
Sony XBR-55X900E – $999.99 (save $400) at Best Buy, $998.99 at Amazon
It’s proving painfully difficult for relatively affordable TVs to make a great job of HDR. Chiefly because they struggle a) to get bright enough, and/or b) to deliver HDR-friendly levels of brightness without uncomfortably compromising their black level performance.
The 55X900E, though, gets the balance right – not least because, unusually for a 55-inch 4K TV currently selling for less than $1,000, it uses a direct LED lighting system, where the LEDs sit behind the screen. This helps it hold on to unusually rich, deep black levels while still giving enough brightness to create an engaging HDR experience.
There are brighter screens around for the same money, to be clear, But if you tend to watch TV in a fairly dark room, or you like to dim the lights for serious movie viewing sessions, the 55X900E’s black level refinement helps it really stand out from the pack.
Samsung has not, overall, had a vintage 2017. Rival OLED TVs have enjoyed a real ‘breakthrough’ year at the expense of Samsung’s usually all-conquering premium LCDs, and Samsung’s much-vaunted new QLED Quantum Dot technology hasn’t impressed overall as much as hoped – as well as being attached to surprisingly high prices.
Fortunately, the pricing issue has been tackled pretty handily by Black Friday discounting, enabling me to put the QN55Q7F on this recommendation list.
While the QN55Q7F can’t deliver the black level prowess you get with rival OLED TVs it’s phenomenally bright, and uses some stunningly good screen filtering to combat reflections. This makes it unprecedentedly easy and rewarding to watch in the sort of bright rooms that most typical households spend the vast majority of their viewing time in.
Its sharpness, brightness, rich colors and fast response time also make it a formidable gaming monitor.
LG OLED65E7 – $3,499.99 (save $500) at Best Buy, $3,496.99 at Amazon
If you’re interested in LG’s 2017 OLED picture quality alone, you might as well save a chunk of cash and get the already-listed OLED55C7 instead. If you want to partner the same gorgeous pictures with much-improved sound and a sensational ‘pixels on glass’ design, though, then you’ll need to step up to the E7 range.
The OLED65E7’s 65-inch screen looks particularly spectacular, and its full-width soundbar serves up a more powerful, bass-heavy sound than you get with the vast majority of TVs.
Samsung UN49MU8000 – $699.99 (save $300) at Best Buy, $697.99 at Amazon
While this 49-inch TV doesn’t benefit from the color and brightness enhancements of Samsung’s QLED TVs, it’s still a ridiculously accomplished HDR performer for its money. The main reason for this is that it produces much more brightness than any other LCD TV in the same price ballpark, enabling it to get more punch and detail out of today’s glorious HDR sources. Its 4K pictures are also sharp and clean, and its design is crisp. Just note that its use of legs under each corner of the screen might make it awkward to place on a narrow piece of furniture.
Sony XBR-65Z9D – $3,499.99 (save $1,000) at Best Buy, $3,498.99 at Amazon
This 65-inch TV was actually launched in 2016. But it’s still available, and still more than good enough to warrant a place on this best TV list. In fact, it’s more than good; its use of a direct lighting system with around 600 individually controllable dimming ‘zones’ helps it deliver simply the most dramatic HDR pictures the TV world has seen so far. Truly gob-smacking stuff.
While still likely beyond the budget of most TV buyers, the 65Z9D is also a lot more affordable now than it was in 2016.
LG OLED65B7A, $2,299.99 (save $700) at Best Buy, $2,296.99 at Amazon
The third LG OLED on this list takes us back to the value end of the brand’s range. For a while I suspect most people will probably plump for the 55-inch OLED55C7 given its combination of price and more manageable size, I personally think the OLED65B7A for $2,299.99 is the all-around best deal in LG’s range right now. After all, the B7A still enjoys the same picture quality as LG’s more premium OLED sets for 2017, and being able to get another 10-inches of those lovely OLED pictures for $600 more is a hugely tempting proposition. Just bear in mind that unlike the original B7 OLED TVs (which remain the only option outside the US), the B7A doesn’t have Dolby Atmos audio decoding.
Sony XBR-55A1E, $2,499.99 (save $1,000) at Best Buy, $2,498.99 at Amazon
The OLED theme continues with this stunning Sony set. Despite representing the brand’s first dabble in big-screen OLED technology, the A1E is stunning in every way. Its unique design, for instance, uses an innovative ‘lean on’ stand to create a screen only impression when you’re watching the set from the front.
It also uniquely uses its own screen to produce its (excellent) sound, using a system of ‘exciters’ built into the TV’s rear. Best of all, the combination of Sony’s latest video processing prowess with OLED technology delivers pictures you just can’t tear your eyes from.
Samsung UN50MU6300, $477.99 (save $272) at Amazon, $479.99 at Best Buy
Inevitably given how affordable it is, the UN50MU6300 is the least impressive performer on this list. So why have I included it? Because while it may struggle against the high-end company, it’s quite comfortably the most impressive performer with 4K and HDR sources of any TV in its price bracket.
The main reason for this is that it’s able to deliver at least a feeling of HDR’s enhanced brightness and color intensity while also retaining credible black levels – a combination that pretty much completely eludes the vast majority of its similarly affordable rivals.
You can find a selection of our Black Friday 2017 coverage below, and if you want to be notified by breaking deals as they happen, follow us on Twitter or Facebook so you know right as they happen or just keep coming back here to our Black Friday, Cyber Monday section.
Check Out Our 2017 Holiday Gift Guides: