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The Best Television You Can Buy Today

By Geoff Morrison, Wirecutter

If I was in the market for an awesome television, I’d get the Samsung F8500 series, either in 51-, 60-, or 64-inch sizes (about $1,800, $2,400, or $3,100, respectively). This is a fantastic looking television, with a punchy brights, deep darks, lifelike and accurate color, excellent detail, and great performance in rooms with lots of light. While pricey, it has one of the best pictures of any TV in recent years according to all the major TV reviewers.

If I was in the market for an awesome television, I’d get the Samsung F8500 series, either in 51-, 60-, or 64-inch sizes (about $1,800, $2,400, or $3,100, respectively). This is a fantastic looking television, with a punchy brights, deep darks, lifelike and accurate color, excellent detail, and great performance in rooms with lots of light. While pricey, it has one of the best pictures of any TV in recent years according to all the major TV reviewers.

The F8500 is likely the last great plasma TV (more on this later). We think that those looking for the “best” TV will love the F8500. Its combination of a bright image, dark black levels (and correspondingly high contrast ratio), lack of motion blur, and highly realistic color make for an addictively gorgeous image.

If it doesn’t fit the bill, we have some other options that may suit you. However, this is still early in the year for TV reviews, so we strongly recommend you wait if you can. We can recommend some “good” TVs, but we won’t know what’s the (truly) best runner-up until more models are reviewed.

The Samsung F300 is a good step-down pick if you want to save at least $1,000 (or more, depending on which size you buy). It’s not as bright and doesn’t have as good contrast ratio as our pick, but it still has very good picture quality.

If stepping down, we recommend the F5300 from Samsung, which costs much less, though it doesn’t have quite the same level of picture quality. It comes in 51-inch ($1,000 cheaper), 60-inch($1,500 cheaper), and 64-inch ($1,800 cheaper) screen sizes. The F5300 isn’t as bright as the F8500, doesn’t have as good a contrast ratio, and doesn’t look as good in bright rooms, but still has very good picture quality.

If saving a lot of money is your goal, we recommend getting our pick for Best $500 TV, which is only 720p but has excellent picture quality for the price. And it is, you know, $500. Similar to the F5300, the F4500 (our $500 pick) isn’t as bright as the F8500, nor is its contrast ratio as high. And it’s got that lower resolution of 720p (the F8500 and F5300 are both 1080p sets). So the F8500 looks a lot better, for a lot more money.

If for some reason you don’t want to get a plasma (which overall has the best picture quality), we have some tentative LCD recommendations in the “What to look forward to” section. That said, we’re not currently comfortable recommending one above the rest. Since there are a LOT of LCD models, it takes TV reviewers time to review them all. Also, some haven’t even been released yet (but will be soon). We will update this guide when we have more information.

Who am I to make such proclamations? I’ve been reviewing TVs for over 12 years for Home Theater, Sound & Vision, and Forbes. In addition to being A/V Editor here at Wirecutter, I also write about TV technology for CNET. I’m NIST and ISF trained, and I’m one of the few reviewers that owns their own objective measurement/calibration gear.

Last year’s pick, Panasonic’s ST60 series, was a fantastic television. We wish we could still recommend it. Sadly, Panasonic ceased making plasma televisions last year. The F8500 is a lot more expensive, unfortunately, but it’s also a lot brighter, looks better in well-lit rooms, and has lower input lag (important for gamers). The ST60 was a rare gem of performance and price, but it wasn’t the best-looking TV last year (just the best all-around deal). The F8500 performs better in most ways, and is at least equal in most others.

Who should get this TV?

Someone looking for the best picture quality currently available without spending even more money on an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV (more on these later).

It isn’t cheap, but it does look fantastic. We discuss some slightly-cheaper-but-still-great-looking TVs further down. If you just want a good-looking TV, check out our pick for Best $500 TV, which is a great-looking TV that just happens to be $500.

If you’re looking for something bigger, consider a projector in $500, $1,000, or $2,500 “Awesome” forms. These will give you a great and significantly larger image than any TV.

Our Pick

The best TV for the time being is one of the Samsung F8500 series for its combination of brightness, high contrast ratio, lack of motion blur, and realistic color. It's likely the last great plasma TV.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $1,798.

The Samsung F8500 offers the best overall picture quality of any current television. It is extremely bright (for a plasma), has a fantastic contrast ratio, and displays accurate color.

In other words, the F8500 is bright yet still has inky blacks, so images pop with a film-like realism.

When I reviewed a 60-inch PN60F8500 for Sound & Vision (which oddly isn’t online), I measured a light output of over 57 footlamberts. (The footlambert is a measure of brightness: a movie theater is around 15, a bright LCD might be over 70.) This is incredibly bright for a plasma. I also measured a contrast ratio of 15,097:1, which is one of the highest of any flat panel I’ve measured besides Panasonic’s most recent (and sadly, last) plasmas and the two OLEDs TVs from LG and Samsung that we’ll discuss later. In other words, the F8500 is bright yet still has inky blacks, so images pop with a film-like realism.

CNET’s David Katzmaier agrees about the F8500. In his article, “Why Samsung’s F8500 is the last great plasma TV,” he says, “I expect the PNF8500 to remain at the top of our Best TVs: Picture quality list throughout the remainder of the year. It’s just that good, and none of the new TVs I saw at CES will necessarily perform any better overall. No, it can’t offer the amazing value of the dearly departed Panasonic ST60, but at least it’s still available…” He concluded, “And since Panasonic is out and LG’s plasmas aren’t in the same league, the Samsung PNF8500 is the last great plasma TV.”

CNET also tested the input lag on the F8500. This is how long it takes for the TV to create an image. This is important to gamers who play twitch-based games like first-person shooters. The longer it takes for a TV to create an image, the more lag there is between pressing a button and that button’s action appearing on screen. Especially in online games, this could be the difference between hitting and missing.

It’s got all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern TV, including Smart TV apps and a web browser (though a streaming box will offer a better experience for not much money), extensive picture adjustments, Wi-Fi, a built-in camera, touch-sensitive remote, gesture and voice control, and so on. It’s got 4 HDMI inputs, 3 USB inputs, and a single shared component/composite input.

According to the FTC, the F8500 will cost about $44 a year to run in electricity for the 64-inch, $39 for the 60-inch, and $31 for the 51-inch model. This puts the F8500 in the top 25% most efficient of TVs of similar size.

Who else likes it?

”Samsung have underpromised and overdelivered with this display. We strongly recommend you check the PS64F8500 out if you’re looking for a top-grade, large-sized HDTV.” - David Mackenzie

David Mackenzie at HDTVTest.co.uk rates it as Highly Recommmended, saying, “The improvements which Samsung have been making to their plasmas in recent years are astonishing, and that’s before you consider the rate the improvements have been coming at. In fact, by promoting largely the bright whites, but being quieter about the incredibly deep blacks, Samsung have underpromised and overdelivered with this display. We strongly recommend you check the PS64F8500 out if you’re looking for a top-grade, large-sized HDTV.”

Tom Norton, in his review for Sound & Vision (it was Home Theater magazine when he wrote his review), gave it 4.5/5 for 2D performance and value and said “the set was a joy to watch, with rich color, superb resolution, and subjectively fine black levels and overall image saturation…”

And lastly, the HDGuru said “The Samsung PN60F8500 is the best Samsung HDTV we’ve ever reviewed. Its spectacular performance places it in the stratosphere of the finest 2013 HDTVs, and therefore, by extension, one of the best-looking TVs ever. Due to the aforementioned combination of deep inky blacks coupled with its very high brightness level and excellent AR filter; the Samsung F8500 achieves our top rating. HD Guru awards the Samsung PN60F8500 5/5 Hearts.”

As you can see, there’s quite a consensus from the top TV reviewers on the web about how great the F8500 is.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

While the F8500 does well in two of plasma’s stereotypical shortcomings, brightness and bright room performance (the latter CNET called a “class-leading bright-room image”), it also does away with one of plasma’s main strengths: price. The F8500 is not cheap, and is easily as expensive as many high-end LCDs (of which it does perform better, overall, but the gap is closing).

LCD TVs, while overall improving a lot this year, still haven’t caught up to plasma in terms of native contrast ratio, lack of motion blur, or ability to have the same quality image off-axis…

Also, it’s a 2013 model. Technically this shouldn’t matter. It was a fantastic TV last year, and it’s a fantastic TV this year. LCD TVs, while overall improving a lot this year, still haven’t caught up to plasma in terms of native contrast ratio, lack of motion blur, or the ability to have the same quality image off-axis (i.e. away from dead center).

Furthermore, the F8500, in its normal mode, has an input lag of 119 ms. This is pretty high. Above 70 ms is considered poor performance. The game mode barely reduces this at all, dropping it to 107.5ms. However, there’s a trick to get better performance, which CNET explains: “In Game mode the Samsung showed a relatively poor input lagmeasurement of 107.5 ms. But there’s a “trick” that allows it to achieve a much more respectable lag score of 53.1 ms. To use it, select an HDMI input from the Input menu, go to the Options menu in the upper-right and rename the input ‘PC.’ Doing so allows it to achieve a better lag score.” With this trick, they measured 53 ms, which is average among most TVs.

Is this a big deal? Well, if you play a ton of FPS and you’re an ultra-competitive person that has to be at the top of the leaderboards, then yes. You should consider a TV with lower input lag. Check out DisplayLag.com for a database of TV input lags. Keep in mind, though, that for the most part striving for this one metric is likely going to be at the expense of far more important things like overall picture quality. For everyone else, since overall picture quality is far more important, and 53 ms should be fine.

While plasma as a technology is not long for this world (Panasonic, the biggest proponent of plasma, pulled out last year), it shouldn’t matter much since Samsungisn’t going away. They will still support your TV just as they are legally obligated to do with any other TV regardless of when they stop making plasma.

What happens if your TV breaks in 10 years and there are no parts for it? Well, in 10 years you’ll be able to buy a better looking TV than this for less than the price it would cost to repair it. A TV this size would have cost 5 times as much 10 years ago and not looked a fraction as good. (I know; I reviewed them then too.)

What about LED LCD?

I, and the vast majority of TV reviewers, would tell you to get a plasma, even now, over any LCD. Why? We’re able to view all TVs in a controlled environment (i.e., not in a brightly-lit store). We’re able to view these TVs side by side. Lastly, we’re able to objectively measure the TVs with test gear. The result? In nearly every case, plasmas just look better than LCD.

In nearly every case, plasmas just look better than LCD.

Plasmas don’t suffer from motion blur, the blurring of any sort of movement, as much as LCDs do. One method LCD manufacturers have developed to help counteract motion blur is higher framerates. This is the main reason for 120 Hz and 240 Hz TVs. However, to get the best performance, these need to create frames to go in-between the original frames of the content. This creates a weird visual effect called, appropriately, the Soap Opera Effect, in that it makes everything you watch look like an ultra-smooth (and ultra-cheap) soap opera.

Plasmas also have better “off axis” performance; people not sitting directly in front of the TV will get the same picture quality as those right in front, which isn’t true with most LCDs.

Lastly, plasmas have a better native contrast ratio, so the image is less washed out, more “punchy” and realistic. This is changing somewhat, thanks to more local dimming LED LCDs, but not all “local dimming” is the same.

Why would you want an LCD? Truthfully, most people shouldn’t, if they’re looking for the best picture quality. Ignore the marketing. What you see in a store is not indicative of the performance you’ll see at home. Plasmas are not dim and will work brilliantly as long as your room isn’t all windows and you only watch TV during the day. Even if they are, the F8500 performs better with bright rooms than just about any other plasma.

CNET went into some detail about the F8500’s impressive bright room performance: “…if you have an extremely bright room or just prefer watching an extremely bright picture (like Vivid or Dynamic on your current TV), the F8500 comes closer to the light output of an LED TV than any plasma I’ve tested. Of course [some] LEDs can get even brighter…”

“The F8500 has an excellent screen filter to go along with its light output potential. It preserved black levels under bright overhead lighting better than any TV in my lineup aside from the Sharp [Elite], keeping the image punchy instead of washed out.” Also, “The ability to reduce reflections is also very important, and while none of these displays can match a matte-screened LED/LCD in that area, the F8500 was one of the best [of the plasmas tested].”

If curtains aren’t possible, or if the F8500 is out of your price range and the majority of your TV watching is during the day, an LCD might be a better choice.

However, we’re still early in the year for TV reviews. In the What to look forward to section, we’ve got some TVs that have some good reviews so far, but we won’t know how they stack up against the competition until those TVs are reviewed too. As I said earlier, if you can wait a few months, you’re better off waiting.

Also, there are a lot of big, cheap LCDs on the market right now, and while screen size is an important consideration, picture quality is paramount (within reason). Cheap LCDs look far worse than their more expensive brethren and significantly worse than the F8500. If size is what you’re after, save money and get a projector instead.

Though most people think they want an LCD, and that’s what you see most in stores, the reality is plasmas offer not only the best bang for the buck, but the best bang. OK, that sounded wrong, but I think you get my meaning.

What we’d get if we only had ~$700 to spend

The Samsung F300 is a good step-down pick if you want to save at least $1,000 (or more, depending on which size you buy). It’s not as bright and doesn’t have as good contrast ratio as our pick, but it still has very good picture quality.

If the F8500 is out of your price range, a good step down is Samsung’s F5300. It’s not a smart TV, nor is it 3D, but it costs a lot less money than our main pick at around $650 (as of this writing).

It doesn’t look as good in bright rooms, but still has very good picture quality.

The picture quality isn’t quite as good, though. CNET, in a review of the nearly identical F5500 (smart, and 3D, but no longer available) said, “The Samsung F5500 plasma offers great features and very good picture quality, but its performance suffers significantly under the lights.” They also said that “the step-down F5300 is basically a ‘dumb’ version of the F5500.” The F5300 isn’t as bright and doesn’t quite have as good a black level, so its contrast ratio isn’t quite as good. It won’t seem to have quite the depth and realism as the F8500. It also doesn’t look as good in bright rooms, but still has very good picture quality.

If your room has a lot of windows and you watch a lot of TV during the day, an LCD would probably work better for you than the F5300. We discuss some alternates along those lines in the What to look forward to section. Keep in mind, though, all TVs look better with lower ambient light (i.e. shades/curtains).

Honestly, if you’re just looking for a good TV, seriously consider saving even more money and getting our pick for $500 TV. I would.

If money is no object…

OLED is a new TV technology that has been on the cusp of a breakthrough for many, many (many many) years. OLED’s biggest improvement over plasma and LCD is an even better contrast ratio, which, as we’ve discussed, is the most important part of a TV’s picture quality. The contrast ratio on OLED is effectively infinite. Showing a black screen, the OLED emits basically no light (not even the best plasmas can do that), while at the same time (on the same image), it can output more light than an LED LCD. The image is better—it’s more lifelike and “window-to-another-world” than you’ve ever seen on any technology.

…the image is better—it’s more lifelike and “window-to-another-world” than you’ve ever seen on any technology.

Last year we finally saw some actual shipping TVs, and they were bonkers good. In my Samsung KN55S9C review I said, “The KN55S9C is as close to a perfect television as I’ve seen. A legitimately near-infinite contrast ratio creates an image with so much depth and realism, it’s hard to go back to any other display technology (plasma, LED LCD, even CRT).” Samsung, however, is pretty quiet about this TV, and there doesn’t seem to be any on Amazon as of this writing.

LG’s curved OLED, the 55EA9800, recently dropped to $4,000, which is less than half what it was a few months ago (and even less than when first launched). They also have the flat 55EA8800 for a little more. The LGs weren’t quite as good as the Samsung, but the second-best OLED, for the most part, is still better than the best plasma or LCD.

OLED is considered by nearly everyone who has seen it to be the best-looking display technology. However, OLED TVs are still expensive, and thanks to Ultra HD 4K and other factors, their future is uncertain. Still, if I had unlimited funds and I wanted to buy the best looking TV, I’d buy OLED without question.

If you really want to spend more (or get something bigger), don’t get a big TV, get a projector.

What about ultra high definition TVs with 4K resolution?

You’ve probably heard of Ultra HD “4K” TVs. These TVs have four times the standard HD resolution of 1080p. Your current TV is likely 1080p, which means there are 1,920 pixels across, 1,080 vertically. Ultra HD “4K” TVs have 3,940 across and 2,160 vertically.

There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t consider a 4K TV right now (or maybe ever).

The first problem is there’s basically no 4K “Ultra HD” resolution content yet. Yes, Netflix and Amazon have a few programs available in 4K, but that’s if you have a fast enough connection (that’s not being throttled). If you buy a Sony TV, you can get access to their 4K movie library, which has a few hundred titles, but only if you buy a Sony TV. The content is basically proprietary. Samsung has a Ultra HD pack of movies, but it’s just a handful. The PS4 and Xbox One don’t have the hardware to support true 4K gaming. So the only other 4K content you can get is via a high-end PC connected to your TV, and even then 4K gaming isn’t quite the wonder you’d expect.

The next problem is that the claims about an increase in picture quality due to the increase in resolution are somewhat dubious as well. Your eye has a limited “resolution.” The example I like to use is sitting in the sand at the beach. You can see the grains of sand beside you, but can you still see the individual grains of sand out past your feet? This is the issue with 4K TVs. Your eye can’t resolve the increased resolution in anything but large screen sizes. I mean really large. Our own Chris Heinonen has an excellent 4K calculator to determine if you’ll get any benefit going with a higher-than-HD resolution display. Basically, if you’re sitting where most people are (9 or 10 feet from your TV), then you’ll need way more than 70 inch TVs before you even start to see a difference.

…if you’re thinking of buying a 50-to-60-inch TV, 4K is just going to be a waste of money, unless you’re sitting really, really close.

So if you’re thinking of buying a 50-to-60-inch TV, 4K is just going to be a waste of money, unless you’re sitting really, really close.

And by the same logic but the opposite side, if you’re considering a small TV or are sitting further away, our $500 TV pick is even lower resolution (720p) and that will look fine.

If you want to dive into the science behind it, check out my articles over at CNET. They’re provocatively titled 4K TVs are stupid and Why Ultra HD 4K TVs are still stupid.

Keep in mind, resolution is just one aspect of picture quality. Though it’s the most easily quantifiable (2160p>1080p), that doesn’t mean it’s the most important. The best 4K TVs do look good, but that’s because they also have all the best technologies their manufacturers can put in them (local dimming, etc). Cheap 4K TVs only have resolution going for them, so you’re getting a mediocre TV that just happens to have high resolution. Or to put it another way, you’re getting a Kia with Pirelli P-Zeros on it. It’s still a Kia. Wouldn’t you rather a Porsche for a little more money?

If the question is one of futureproofing, consider this. To get a 4K TV that has good picture quality (other than just higher resolution), you have to spend $4,000-$5,000 now. Or, you could spend $3,000 or less on a F8500, and in a few years, when there is4K content and all the bugs in HDMI 2.0, HEVC/H.265, and so on are worked out, you’ll be able to spend $2,000-$3,000 on a 4K TV that looks way better than any current TV and probably better than the F8500 too. That’s how the TV industry works. And in the meantime, you’ll have a TV that looks fantastic with all the content you can watch on it now.

The last and perhaps biggest issue is that all current 4K TVs are just LED LCDs. In other words, all the picture quality negatives found with “normal” LCDs still apply. So they won’t look very good if you’re not sitting dead center, if there’s any motion on screen they will blur, and the contrast ratios won’t be as good as other technologies.

Is there a best TV with no apps (or 3D)?

One fairly common question is what TV we recommend without apps or without 3D. On one hand this is easy: check out the F5300 in the What we’d get if we only had ~$700 to spend section. It has no apps and no 3D.

However, I think it’s important to note that apps, and even 3D at this point, aren’t adding a sizeable percentage to the price of a television. What you’re paying for, mostly, is the “glass,” the part of the TV that makes the image. The F8500 is brighter, has a better contrast ratio, and looks better in bright rooms than the F5300.

We also know what a F5300 would cost if you added apps and 3D: Last year’s F5500 was basically the same as the F5300, but with those two features. The price difference between the two 51-inch models was about $100.

If both those models were available (the 5500 has been discontinued), we’d absolutely say get the F5300 and spend the difference on a great media streamer. However, getting the F5300 instead of the F8500 because the latter has apps and 3D is missing the far more important difference between these two TVs: picture quality.

Or to put it more simply, if you want a good, inexpensive TV, get the F5300 or the even cheaper F4500. If you’re looking to get the best picture quality, that’s the F8500 and ignore the apps if they’re not your thing.

What about curved screens?

There are a few high-end LCD and OLED models this year that are curved, which is to say the edges of the screen are closer to you than the center. The marketing says this creates a more “immersive” experience. That claim is doubtful, but both CNET and HDGuru are performing longterm testing to see if there are any negatives. The early results are saying that after a few days, you don’t even notice the curve. Since these are just ultra-expensive TVs anyway, there not something we’d recommend. Since the curve doesn’t seem to offer any overt positives (though admittedly, probably no serious negatives either), they’re not worth considering for now. If there’s a $1,000 curved screen next year, we’ll take a more serious look.

Competition

If you think we’re being a little Samsung heavy… there really isn’t another option. LG has never made a plasma that was as good as Samsung or Panasonic models, and given how little money is being spent on plasma R&D, we’re not expecting 2014 models to be any different. Panasonic stopped making plasmas last year, so they’re out.

And we’re still sticking with plasma as long as we can, because plasma TVs still offer better overall picture quality than LCDs.

And we’re still sticking with plasma as long as we can, because plasma TVs still offer better overall picture quality than LCDs.

Will there be an LCD that offers picture quality to rival the F8500 this year? Doubtful, but we’ll see. For right now, check out the What to look forward to section right below for a few models we’re keeping an eye on. It’s still too early in the year to see what the “best of the rest” are going to be, though.

One last word of caution: Don’t buy floor models/display models. Panasonic’s 2013 plasma TVs, their swan song, were almost universally brilliant televisions. Sadly, they’re basically impossible to find now, since production ceased at the end of last year. It’s tempting to consider a floor or display model of one of these (or any used TV), due to their performance and likely low “used” price. For any TV this isn’t a great idea, plasmas even more so. You don’t know how abused they were, and all TVs have a finite lifespan. Since most stores run their TVs 24/7, this accelerated aging could mean your TV doesn’t last as long as it should. Check out Should I buy a used plasma TV for more details.

What to look forward to

There is one new plasma TV model this year, a 64-inch called the Samsung PN64H5000. It’s only $1,400. There has been one in-depth review, from David Mackenzie again at hdtvtest.co.uk. He recommends it but with some minor caveats: “The ‘elephant in the room’ is the pentile subpixel layout, which observant users might find to be an acquired taste at this screen size.” In other words, if you’re sitting really close to it, you might see the pentile arrangement, but it won’t be an issue for most people. They also said, “See beyond that, and there really is very little to dislike about this large-size, affordable plasma television,” concluding: “As a result, we don’t have any huge hesitations about recommending the PN64H5000 to users who want a big-screen display in a light-treated or night-time environment. There’s a lot to like about it beyond its bargain price tag…”

Before recommending this TV outright (as it’s a great price), we’ll need to see some more reviews.

Here are some LCDs that seem promising, though we’re not outright recommending them yet…

Here are some LCDs that seem promising, though we’re not outright recommending them yet, as we don’t know how good they are compared to what’s out there until what’s out there has been reviewed. Of what has been reviewed, these are some top picks.

On the budget/step down end, Vizio’s E0i-B-series looks promising. David Katzmaier at CNET gives it 4/5 stars and says, “The models of the Vizio E series equipped with local dimming deliver superb picture quality for a very affordable price. The image evinces deep black levels with little to no blooming and great bright-room performance…” He tempers that a bit with, “Color accuracy and video processing not quite as good as some competitors; poor sound quality; ho-hum styling; lackluster remote.” He concludes, “With picture quality that outdoes that of numerous more-expensive TVs, Vizio’s E series likely represents the best value of 2014.”

Tom Norton at Sound & Vision liked it too, giving it 4/5 for 2D performance and 5/5 for value, saying, “It’s not without flaws, but the Vizio E550i-B2 offers more of what we like in a quality HDTV than we ever expected to see at such a low price.”

What about Vizio’s next step up, the M series? Well, Katzmaier has now reviewed both, and he says, “[The} picture is not significantly better than less-expensive E-Series; color accuracy and video processing not quite as good as some competitors; below-average sound quality.” Initial impressions suggest you should save your money, but we’ll wait to see a few more reviews before we make that call.

Samsung’s $4,300 UN65HU9000 series got a glowing review from HDGuru, who said, “It provided a sense of depth we’ve never experienced with any previous LED LCD display. It is so good; it is the first LED LCD we would purchase as our main TV. That pretty much says it all.” But since it’s $4,300, it’s way too expensive.

CNET also likes the W850B series from Sony, saying in their review, “Sony’s wedge-shaped KDL-W850B TV offers better picture quality, albeit for a higher price, than many big-screen LCDs.” At $1,700 for the 60-inch, this is cheaper than the F8500, but CNET rates the W850B’s performance at a 7/10 while the F8500 gets a 9/10.

S&V’s Tom Norton likes this one as well, saying, “It may lack the headline-grabbing, 4K bling-zing of Sony’s XBR Ultra HD designs, but this 65-inch KDL series HDTV sits at the top of the company’s bread-and-butter line and offers more than enough features and performance to satisfy a wide range of buyers.” He gave it 4.5/5 for 2D performance and 4/5 for value. We’ll keep an eye on this as an LCD alternate to our main pick. But again, we need more reviews to come in.

There are even more potentially great-looking TVs coming this year from Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Vizio, and more, but most haven’t been widely reviewed yet. We’ll update this article with what we’ve heard when we hear it. Expect more definitive picks this fall, when we’ve seen reviews of just about everything.

Wrapping it up

If you’re looking for the best TV, I recommend the Samsung F8500 in 51-, 60-, or 64-inch flavors. It’s got a fantastic picture, all the features you could want, and while not cheap, it isn’t outrageously expensive either.

This guide originally appeared on The Wirecutter on 6/24/14 and is republished here with permission.