The big game is right around the corner, and that might have you thinking it is a good time to buy a new TV. You’d be right. For a few different reasons, it is a good time to buy a new TV. But if you’re like a lot of folks I’ve talked to over the years, you might also be about to make a big mistake. I’ll get to that part in a moment.
This time last year I was lucky enough to go behind the scenes at Super Bowl LIV in Miami Gardens, Florida. No such luck this year, so, like you, I’m looking forward to watching the game at home and, naturally, I’m going to watch it on the biggest screen I can.
Lots of folks buy new TVs this time of year, partially because they want to see the game in the best way possible, but also because prices are down and there are some great deals to be had thanks to sales. But I see folks making some critical mistakes, often because they are rushing to purchase.
I think what folks forget is that the TV they are buying for Super Bowl LV is also the TV they are going to live with for a long time. Yes, you want to go big, I get it, but making size the biggest priority can have an impact on your budget. Bigger TVs tend to have bigger price tags, so it makes sense that you might go for the biggest TV you can afford.
However, I would actually caution against that route and consider that sometimes getting a slightly smaller TV with better picture quality is the smarter move in the long term. Ultimately, the choice is yours, I just wanted to put that out there. With that said, I’m going to try to cover the gamut here, from the big and budget-friendly all the way to the best quality picture you can get, cost no object.
Samsung QLED TVs — Q80T and Q60T
If you’re going to buy a Samsung TV, it really is worth stepping up to its QLED line because QLEDs are brighter and more colorful than Samsung’s Crystal LED lineup. You literally get more colors thanks to the use of quantum dots. Samsung makes some of the best LED-backlit TVs you can buy, and as far as QLEDs go, the models available are the Q60T, Q70T, Q80T, and Q90T.
The Q90T is the best 4K QLED you can buy from Samsung in 2021, but it tends to be a bit pricey. If you want a premium QLED, consider the Q80T. It’s still a little expensive, but you can get a bigger screen for your money and the picture quality is extremely close to the Q90T.
Now, for a more budget-friendly Samsung QLED option, I’m going to suggest skipping the Q70T. It’s fine, but the Q60T is very close in picture quality, and much more friendly to your wallet. Between the Q60T and Q80T, you will notice the Q80T gets brighter and has better black levels. It pulls off HDR better and has slightly better processing, which I think you’ll want for watching the game since the best you’ll get is a 1080p stream and probably 720P if you are watching on cable or satellite.
Next, let’s talk Sony. If you want a great TV for the game but you are a big movie watcher and value great picture quality, the Sony X900H is an awesome choice. Sony offers pretty great picture quality with this TV and the price is reasonable, especially for Sony.
The X900H does HDR well, it has better than average brightness, and its color reproduction is super accurate right out of the box. This is one of my favorite TVs of the year. Bonus: The X900H is a decent match for gamers as it’s finally getting a firmware update that enables some gaming features like variable refresh rate and auto low-latency mode.
Sure, you can spend more and get more by going up to the X950H, but I’m less wowed by the bang-for-your-buck factor with that TV, even though it does look great and gets a bit brighter. I just keep coming back to the X900H, so that’s my top Sony pick.
Vizio P-Series Quantum/P-Series Quantum X
You may already have Vizio on your mind if you are a Costco or Sam’s club shopper because they are often front and center when you walk through the door. And Vizio’s lineup right now is looking very good.
I’m waffling between the P-Series Quantum and the P-Series Quantum X. If a bright, vivid picture is your bag, the P-Series Quantum X is one of the most vivid TVs you can buy right now. Seriously, the picture leaps out at you. But the P-Series Quantum gets very close and is more affordable, so I think most would want to lean toward that model. The M-Series is attractive for its low price, and the M-Series is a fine TV, but for those on a budget, I point to the final pick on my list.
LG CX OLED TV
We aren’t at the end yet, though. For those who want the absolute best, look no further than the LG CX OLED TV. Yes, it’s going to be one of the more expensive options on this list, but in my opinion, this is the best TV you can buy this year. The picture quality is unrivaled, the motion is super clear and smooth, the color is dead-on accurate, and the contrast is amazing, thanks to OLED’s perfect black levels.
If you haven’t seen an OLED in person, I highly suggest you check one out before making your purchase decision. In a lot of cases, I would recommend a 65-inch OLED over a much larger LED/LCD TV because the picture quality is just so out of this world. If it’s in your budget to get an LG CX OLED, I highly recommend you go for it.
TCL 6-Series TV (R635)
As much as I rave about the LG CX OLED, it is not my top pick for this list. That honor actually goes to the TCL 6-Seres or R635. Pixel for pixel, dollar for dollar, this TV is just a ridiculously good value. It’s got everything: HDR10, Dolby Vision, the Roku TV platform, excellent color, great brightness, and superior backlight control thanks to its mini-LED backlighting system.
The pricing is so good, you’ll find yourself looking at the 75-inch model and thinking: “Yeah, I think I can do that.” If you can, do it. This is one of my top three favorite TVs this year for a reason. And if you need any more endorsement, I’ve had one of these in my house for a few months and I’ve been thrilled with it so far.
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