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The 5 best OLED TVs: The crown jewels of home theaters
What is the best OLED TV? Our choice is the LG C1 for its HDR support, dedicated gaming mode, Dolby Atmos support, and 120Hz refresh rate. We analyzed the picture quality, contrast, color volume, and detailing of some of the top OLED TVs below to find the perfect choice for movie and TV buffs as well as console gamers.
An OLED TV can be considered the crown jewel of any home theater or living room they appear in. The unique construction of OLED panels features individually lit pixels, allowing the TV to create deep, inky blacks, bright whites, and crisp details. The organic substrates also allow for a wider, more vibrant color range for more lifelike images.
The downside to all of this is that OLED TVs tend to be much more expensive than anything else on the market, since their panels are pretty expensive to produce and the TVs contain fairly new technology -- just about the only models you can find are from either LG or Sony; though Vizio does offer a few OLED models, they aren't quite the same caliber. Samsung also has introduced its first OLED television, the S95B, to better compete with both LG and Sony for brand dominance. However, if you're willing to do a little research, it's possible to find a great OLED TV for a price that works with your finances. I've rounded up some of the best OLED TVs available, and I've broken down their features to help you find the best fit for your entertainment needs.
The LG C1 is a well-rounded OLED TV, providing a balance between screen size, features, and price. It supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 for enhanced color and detailing. At the same time, the updated processor uses AI to analyze movies and shows scene by scene for incredible native and upscaled 4K resolution. The voice-enabled remote works with both Alexa and Hey Google for hands-free control, while the speakers work with Dolby Atmos for virtual surround sound. The dedicated game mode lets you switch on G-Sync or FreeSync VRR and monitor contrast and white balance and automatically lowers input lag and reaction times for a smoother experience. Sports fans will love the 120Hz refresh rate that prevents motion blur, as well as the Sports alert feature that keeps you up to date on scores, stats, and standings, making it perfect for fantasy league players and armchair quarterbacks.
While OLED televisions are more expensive than their QLED or LED counterparts, if you don't mind a smaller screen, you can get the 48-inch LG A1 for under $800. It features the same excellent color and contrast as the C1 line, as well as Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos support for a truly cinematic experience at home. It comes with a suite of preloaded apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, so you can get started binging your favorite shows and movies right out of the box. The integrated speakers use AI programming to identify dialogue, music, and sound cues for better optimization, boosting voices while simultaneously quieting music and sound effects so you never miss a line of your favorite shows and movies. You either can use the voice-enabled remote or third-party speakers like the Amazon Echo Show or Google Home for hands-free control via Alexa or Hey Google.
The Sony A90J not only has some of the best sound quality available in an OLED TV but in any TV on the market. It uses Sony's Acoustic surface audio+ technology to turn the entire screen into a speaker; tiny actuators sit behind the OLED panel, creating a sound that almost perfectly matches the visuals, while integrated subwoofers give you a great bass boost without the need for extra equipment. The speakers also work with Dolby Atmos for virtual surround sound, but if you want a custom home audio configuration, you can set up soundbars, speakers, and subwoofers via HDMI ARC or Bluetooth connectivity.
The Samsung S95B is a worthy addition to the OLED market selection, and the 55-inch screen option is almost perfect for the average living room. The OLED panel works with the updated, neural network-assisted processor to analyze shows and movies scene by scene for the very best native and upscaled 4K resolution possible, while the 120Hz refresh rate ensures smoother video playback. It also has an eye comfort mode that filters out harmful blue light that can cause eye strain and a depth enhancement mode that adds a slight depth-of-field effect to images for almost 3D pictures. And if you ever think that your S95B is losing its edge, you can download the companion app and get professional quality calibration in under 15 minutes. The speakers work with both Dolby Atmos and Samsung's object tracking sound technology to follow the on-screen action for a more immersive experience. It also uses built-in sensors to monitor ambient light and sound to boost dialogue or automatically adjust screen brightness so you can enjoy your favorite shows and movies in almost any environment. And if you have a network of smart speakers in your home, you can connect them to the S95B for whole-home sound while streaming music, movies, or shows.
If you're in the market for a big-screen TV and have the budget for an OLED model, the 77-inch Sony A80J is an excellent choice. The massive screen not only uses an OLED panel with individually lit pixels for incredible contrast, color, and detailing, it also works with Sony's proprietary OLED contrast, Triluminos pro, and Cognitive processor XR technologies to provide the absolute best picture quality you can get. Like its cousin, the A90J, it uses Acoustic surface audio+ to turn the whole screen into a speaker for near-perfect audio and visual syncing. It's compatible with AirPlay and Chromecast, so you can mirror your mobile device for more ways to share photos and videos or stream music. The voice-enabled remote has Hey Google built-in for hands-free control, and it also works with Alexa if you have an Amazon account. It's also optimized for console gaming on the PS5, providing a 120Hz refresh rate and true 4K resolution via the HDMI 2.1 connections.
Based on our analysis, we have rated the LG C1 as the best OLED TV. It has a native refresh rate of 120Hz, a dedicated gaming mode with VRR support, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision for superior picture quality and virtual surround sound, and plenty of screen sizes to suit a variety of spaces.
OLED TV model
Dolby Vision, HDR10
Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10
Quantum HDR OLED
Dolby Vision, HDR10
Which OLED TV is right for you?
While all OLED models are going to be somewhat pricey, it's still important to finalize a budget. That way, you don't accidentally overspend and you ensure that you get the best value for your money by choosing a model that not only fits your budget but offers enough features and a big enough screen size to justify the price.
If you're looking for...
A well-rounded OLED TV for streaming, gaming, and broadcast programming
A smaller OLED TV for apartments, bedrooms, or dorms
A TV with superior sound for movies, shows, and music
A 55-inch TV for your living room or home theater
A big-screen OLED TV for larger spaces
How did we choose these OLED TVs?
I chose models from LG and Sony that along with desirable price and screen size had the kinds of features customers have come to expect for home entertainment: contrast boosting tech, VRR support, AI-enhanced processors, HDR support, and adaptive audio.
What is an OLED TV?
An OLED TV is a model that uses specialized, organic substrates and individually lit LEDs to create more stark contrast, brighter and richer colors, and more crisp details than what you can get with an LED or QLED television. The technology is best appreciated by movie and TV buffs who want to experience Hollywood classics and the latest blockbusters as their creators intended as well as console gamers looking to embrace native 4K graphics.
What is the difference between OLED and QLED TV?
OLED and QLED use different TV technologies, and their main differences include the black levels and the color and contrast. OLED TVs are better at black levels, while QLED TVs are better with brightness and usually cost less than OLED TVs.
Is an OLED TV worth it?
It absolutely is if picture quality is at the very top of your "must-have" feature list when shopping for a new TV. An OLED panel can create incredibly vibrant colors and crisp details that breathe new life into classic media and show off the technical skills used to create new movies and shows. Even if you aren't a movie buff, you can still get a ton of value out of an OLED TV, since they have a longer lifespan than other models. Also, an OLED TV can sort of future-proof your living room or home theater, since it will take quite some time for LED and QLED TV models to catch up to the quality you can get from an OLED version.
Why are OLED TVs so expensive?
The technology behind OLED TVs is still somewhat new and much more complicated than what you'd find in an LED panel. This makes it much more expensive to produce, meaning that the higher manufacturing costs get passed down to consumers as high retail prices. Thankfully, companies like LG and Sony are finding more streamlined and cost-effective ways to produce OLED panels, making them a bit more affordable than before. However, they are still much more expensive than their LED and QLED counterparts.
Are there alternative OLED TVs worth considering?
While LG and Sony seem to have this category on lock, Vizio also has OLED models worth looking at. Here are a couple of alternatives I thought were great picks: