The 4 best cheap TVs in 2021 – all under $500

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Flagship TV models are expensive, but there are many affordable smart TVs with solid performance.
  • The Hisense U6G is our top pick thanks to its fantastic balance between price and picture quality.
  • For more TV recommendations, check out our guides to the best 4K TVs and best OLED TVs.

TV pricing has come down a lot in recent years. Gone are the days when buying a 4K TV meant having to spend thousands of dollars.

Now, you can get a nice 4K TV with decent high dynamic range (HDR) support and plenty of smart TV apps for only a few hundred bucks. You can even find big-screen options in sizes as large as 65 inches without totally breaking the bank.

Of course, there are always trade-offs to keep in mind when buying a TV on a budget. A true home theater experience still comes at a premium, but choosing an entry-level TV doesn’t mean you have to settle for poor image quality, a small screen, or a dumb display without the latest streaming services.

I’ve been covering the consumer electronics industry for nine years, and during that time I’ve reviewed numerous TV models at various price points. Through research and testing, we’ve selected the best display models you can buy on a budget.

Here are the best cheap TVs you can buy:

The best cheap 4K TV overall

Hisense U6G 4K TV
Hisense’s U6G delivers impressive picture for the price.

The Hisense U6G Android TV uses local dimming and quantum dots to deliver some of the best picture quality you can get on a budget.

Pros: 4K with every major HDR format, local dimming, quantum dots, Google Assistant voice remote, solid brightness capabilities for the price

Cons: No HDMI 2.1 ports, 50-inch model has less dimming zones than larger versions

Buying a TV on a budget typically means you have to miss out on some advanced features found on more expensive sets. The Hisense U6G totally dispels that notion, and the 50-inch model is an especially great value at under $500. 

The U6G is the 2021 successor to the Hisense H8G. It carries over everything we loved about that model while keeping a similar low price. Meanwhile, our previous pick for best cheap 4K TV overall, the 55-inch TCL 5 Series, has actually gone up in price this year. The TCL is still a fantastic set but, for the money, the Hisense now edges it out. 

One of the most important image features you should look for in a new 4K TV is high dynamic range (HDR). HDR enables enhanced contrast and wider colors for a more realistic picture. The U6G offers some of the best HDR specs in its price range. It also supports every major HDR format so all your bases are covered.

It’s a little disappointing that the TV lacks Google’s newest smart TV system, Google TV, but the older Android TV OS is still a solid performer with easy access to tons of  services. Google Assistant is also supported via the included remote for reliable voice control.

I reviewed the 2020 version of this TV last year and this new model is expected to perform even better. Buyers who want more advanced features, like HDMI 2.1 for next-gen gaming, will have to pay more for the step-up U7G or U8G, but at this price, the U6G is a bargain.

The best cheap 4K TV for wide viewing angles

LG UP7000 4K TV
The UP7000 is a great fit for people who sit off to the side of their TV.

The LG 55-inch UP7000 offers better viewing angles than most budget TVs, enabling solid picture no matter where you sit.

Pros: Wide viewing angles, affordable price for a 55-inch model

Cons: Black levels and contrast aren’t great, doesn’t include a voice remote

Though many of the 4K TVs recommended on this guide offer solid picture performance, they all suffer from one pesky drawback: mediocre viewing angles. 

This means that colors and contrast wash out when you sit off to the side. Though that’s not a problem for people who can plop down on a couch right in front of their TV, it can be an issue for buyers who have to position their seats in other parts of the room.

If viewing angles are your main priority, then the 55-inch UP7000 from LG is one of your best options on a budget. This 2021 model is the successor to our previous pick, the UN7000. 

The UP7000 uses a special type of panel that’s designed to offer improved off-axis picture. This lets you sit off to the side of you display without the TV’s colors and contrast dramatically degrading. Picture quality will still shift a bit, but not as badly as it would on a typical LED TV. 

On the downside, TVs with panels like this tend to have worse black levels and contrast than other displays. This particular model also lacks local dimming or wide color support. So, while great for viewing angles, the UP7000 doesn’t have particularly good home theater performance in a dark room.

Like most LG TVs, this one offers access to many popular streaming services. HBO Max, however, is missing. Unfortunately, the UP7000 also lacks a voice remote, but you can use the TV with a separate Alexa or Google Assistant device. 

The UP7000 is also available in a few larger and smaller screen sizes, but we think the 55-inch model offers the best value. Also, keep in mind that only the 75-, 65-, 55-, and 43-inch models use panels with wide viewing angles, according to Rtings.

The best cheap 4K TV with a big screen

Hisense A6G 4K TV
The A6G 4K TV is an affordable 60-inch display.

The Hisense A6G is one of the most affordable 60-inch 4K TVs on the market, offering a big-picture experience for a budget-friendly price. 

Pros: Big display for an affordable price, HDR10 and Dolby Vision support, voice remote included

Cons: Image quality is only average, lacks local dimming or quantum dots

Flagship big-screen 4K TVs can cost a couple thousand dollars, but that doesn’t mean that budget buyers always have to settle for smaller screen sizes. In fact, there are several worthwhile big-screen models out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg. 

Our previous pick for this category, the Vizio 65-inch V-Series, remains an impressive TV for the money, but stock is now hard to come by and its price has increased a bit since its initial launch. With that in mind, we’re recommending the more affordable Hisense 60-inch A6G in its place.

The 60-inch A6G is bigger than most TVs in its price range, and boasts a 4K screen with entry-level HDR and Dolby Vision capabilities. That should net you solid picture quality for casual viewing, but the display lacks local dimming and wide color support so you won’t get the most out of HDR videos.

Android TV is integrated for easy access to most major streaming services. A voice remote is also included with built-in support for Google Assistant.

Budget buyers who favor home theater performance over size will be better off going with the smaller Hisense 50-inch U6G for a similar price, but if you want a 60-inch 4K TV in this price range, the A6G offers good value for the money.

The best cheap 1080p TV

TCL 40 in tv
TCL’s 3 Series has very basic picture performance, but its low cost is appealing.

It doesn’t have 4K resolution or other advanced features, but the TCL 40-inch 3 Series HDTV is one of the most affordable 40-inch Roku TVs you can buy.

Pros: Very affordable, Roku TV platform with easy access to streaming apps

Cons: Not 4K, no HDR or wide color support, no voice remote, smaller screen size

The TCL 3-Series is about as basic as a smart TV can get. It’s the smallest display on this list, it features a 1080p resolution screen instead of 4K, and it lacks HDR support — but when it comes to overall value for the money, the TV is still a worthy option for budget buyers. 

This 40-inch smart TV uses a modest Full HD panel. While you won’t be able to watch 4K HDR streams from Netflix, the reality is, most  live TV content is still presented in SDR high definition. With that in mind, this 1080p screen is fine for casual viewing needs. 

Overall image performance isn’t as good as the more expensive TVs on this list, but at a screen size of 40 inches, it would actually be hard to see major benefits from an upgrade to 4K. The lack of local dimming is a bit more of an issue, but contrast and black levels are decent considering the low price.

While the included remote doesn’t feature voice control, you can pair the TV with a separate Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device.

This definitely isn’t a TV geared toward buyers looking for advanced picture quality. Instead, the TCL 3 Series is meant to appeal to people who just want a reliable 40-inch smart TV with easy access to their favorite apps. Thanks to the simple yet effective Roku platform, the 3-Series does just that.

Check out our other TV buying guides

The best OLED TVs LG CX

The best 4K TVs


The best OLED TVs


 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best early Prime Day 2021 deals on Amazon devices – Echo Buds are already up to 33% off

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Amazon Echo Buds 2nd Gen in Woman's Ears - Early Prime Day Deals on Amazon Products
Amazon’s Echo Buds are on sale right now ahead of Prime Day.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 will begin on June 21 and run through June 22. We’re expecting tons of deals on tech across all categories, and shoppers can already find early Prime Day discounts on select Amazon devices.

Amazon’s brand-new second-generation Echo Buds are now down to their lowest price yet. Other Amazon devices, like Fire TV Edition smart TVs and a couple Kindle bundles, are available with early Prime Day deals as well.

Prime Day is traditionally one of the best times to find an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot on sale, and a few models are available for modest discounts already. That said, we anticipate better Echo device and speaker deals when Prime Day officially starts.

To shop Prime Day deals, you need to be an Amazon Prime member. Prime subscriptions cost $13 a month or $120 a year. The service offers tons of perks, including free two-day shipping on many items.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

Best early Prime Day Echo Buds deals

Amazon just released its second-generation Echo Buds in May, and the new wireless earbuds are already $40 off ahead of Prime Day 2021. The Echo Buds with wired charging case are down to $80, while the Echo Buds with wireless charging case are available for $100.

The second-generation earbuds have a sleeker design and improved noise cancellation compared to the older model. Senior Tech Correspondent Lisa Eadicicco was impressed by the improvements Amazon made, and said the Echo Buds are “a great choice for anyone in search of affordable wireless earbuds that don’t compromise on features like noise cancellation and customization.” You can find our Amazon Echo Buds 2 review here.

Echo Buds (2nd Gen) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Buds (2nd Gen) with wireless charging case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Prime Day Echo smart speaker deals

Echo devices are some of the most popular smart speakers on the market, and they’re often available for some of their lowest prices during Prime Day. Though select Echo speakers were recently up to 30% off, that discount has now expired.

We expect big deals on speakers once Prime Day begins. Right now, however, you can find a modest $5 discount on fourth- and third-generation Echo Dots.

The fourth-generation Echo Dot offers new spherical design and slightly improved sound quality. That said, if the third-generation Echo Dot dips down to a sale price that’s significantly less than the fourth-gen model, we think it offers a better value.

All-New Echo Dot (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot with Clock (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Dot (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Best early Prime Day Fire TV Edition smart TV deals

Amazon’s Fire TV operating system comes built right into a number of smart TVs from Toshiba and Insignia. This enables simple streaming access with the same interface you’d see on a separate Fire TV Stick or Cube.

Both brands sell 4K, 1080p, and 720p Fire TV displays in a range of screen sizes, and many of these models are on sale right now ahead of Prime Day. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that all of these displays are considered entry-level TVs. They’ll get the job done for casual viewing, but for better picture quality and speedier smart TV performance, we recommend stepping up to a mid-range model from brands like TCL, Vizio, Samsung, or LG.

Though we don’t typically recommend TVs with 720p screens, the benefits of higher resolutions are hard to see on screen sizes under 43 inches. If you’re looking for a smaller TV in the 32- or 24-inch range for a bedroom or other secondary location, an inexpensive Fire HDTV could offer solid value, especially when they’re discounted. If you’re going bigger than 32-inches, however, it’s worth paying more for a 4K model.

24-inch HD Smart TV (medium, Preferred: Amazon)50-inch 4K TV (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Prime Day Kindle deals

Amazon’s Kindle devices are some of our favorite e-readers, and we expect deals across the entire lineup when Prime Day begins. Though there are no early deals on Kindle models right now, you can snag a discount if you purchase a Kindle bundle with a case and power adapter.

The Paperwhite Essential Bundle includes a leather cover and a power adapter for charging, while the Kindle Kids Edition Essential Bundle adds a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, along with a cover, charger, and screen protector.

Paperwhite Essentials Bundle (medium)Kindle Kids Edition Essentials Bundle (medium)

When is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

Amazon Prime Day 2021 will start on June 21. The two-day sales event will run through June 22. We’ll be keeping track of the best deals throughout the sale, so check back for the latest discounts.

Prime Day deals are exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers, so you’ll need to sign up to get deals on Amazon devices. Amazon Prime costs $13 a month or $120 per year, but new users can get their first 30 days of Prime for free.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best OLED TVs in 2021 for vibrant, high-end picture quality

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • OLED TVs offer key benefits over LCDs, making them ideal for buyers who want high-end image quality.
  • The LG CX presents the best balance between picture and price of any OLED we’ve tested.
  • For more TV recommendations, check out our roundup of the best TV deals.

OLED TVs have become popular among home theater enthusiasts, and it’s easy to see why. Thanks to some key perks, OLED displays offer several benefits over traditional LCD TVs (including those branded as LED and QLED). Though they tend to be pricier, there’s no substitute for an OLED if you want the best home theater experience for movies, streaming, and gaming.

OLED stands for “organic light-emitting diode.” Instead of using a traditional LED backlight like those found on an LCD TV, OLED screens are self-illuminating. This means that each pixel on an OLED can emit its own light or turn off completely, enabling an infinite contrast ratio.

As a result, OLED TVs are capable of true black levels – something even the best LCDs have a hard time producing. Viewing angles are also much better than typical LCD displays, making OLEDs a great fit for rooms where people need to sit off to the side of their TV. On the downside, OLEDs can’t get as bright as flagship LCD TVs, which makes OLED displays less ideal for living rooms that let in a lot of sunlight.

LG, Sony, and Vizio all sell OLED TVs in the US. While image quality does vary a bit between the displays, the TVs’ physical design, connectivity, and software are actually the most telling differences. With that in mind, we’ve tested and researched several OLED displays in order to select the best models for a variety of needs and budgets.

Here are the best OLED TVs you can buy:

  • Best OLED TV overall: LG CX
  • Best OLED TV for picture quality: Sony A8H
  • Best premium design OLED TV: LG GX
  • Best budget OLED TV: Vizio H1
The best OLED TV overall

LG 2020 OLED CX 4K TV

The LG CX OLED presents the best balance between picture performance, smart connectivity, design, and value of any OLED TV you can buy. 

Pros: Solid brightness for an OLED, HDMI 2.1 with next-gen gaming features, voice remote, lots of screen sizes

Cons: Processing and image accuracy aren’t as good as Sony OLEDs, HBO Max app missing

When it comes to balancing image quality and smart features, the CX remains the best OLED TV you can buy. Though LG recently released a 2021 successor to the CX, called the C1, we think the CX presents a better value since it costs less and offers very similar performance. 

Like all OLED TVs, the CX provides pixel-level contrast with deep black levels and precise highlights. Peak brightness is also high for an OLED panel, edging out similarly priced models from Sony and Vizio with a max of around 700 to 800 nits. 

Thanks to the α9 Gen 3 Intelligent Processor, the CX is capable of advanced upscaling. This feature can make lower-quality video content, like Full HD (1080p), look cleaner and sharper. That said, Sony’s OLED offerings are still known for slightly better processing.

The panel offers very low input lag and includes compatibility with Variable Refresh Rate, Nvidia G-Sync, and 120Hz high frame rate. These features help make the CX one of the best gaming displays you can buy, and we think the 48-inch model is a great alternative to a traditional monitor.

The CX is powered by LG’s webOS and ThinQ platforms, enabling extensive streaming app support and voice control. The magic remote also features a unique pointer function which allows you to navigate through menus with a virtual cursor.

The best OLED TV for picture quality

Sony A8H series

Sony’s A8H is a premium TV champ when it comes to image accuracy, but it lacks HDMI 2.1 for future-proof connectivity.

Pros: Advanced processing powered by Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor, superior image accuracy, Android TV with Google Assistant, acoustic surface audio technology

Cons: Can’t get as bright as LG’s CX, no HDMI 2.1 ports

The A8H has an edge on other OLED models thanks to Sony’s advanced X1 Ultimate Processor. Don’t get me wrong, LG’s processors are no slouch, but Sony’s solution offers a slightly better image. The A8H delivers the same inky black level performance that LG’s OLED TVs provide, and it takes things one step further with improved color accuracy. That said, the A8H can’t get quite as bright as the CX.

Based on side-by-side demos of Sony and LG OLEDs I’ve attended over the last few years, Sony’s models consistently come the closest to matching the look of professional broadcast monitors. This means that, when calibrated, the A8H allows movies to appear closer to how directors intend for them to look.

Unlike traditional TVs, the A8H also features a unique audio system with acoustic surface technology. Instead of typical speakers, this process creates sound from the screen itself. 

The A8H runs the Android TV platform for simple and responsive access to apps. AirPlay 2, HomeKit, and integrated Google Assistant voice control are all featured as well. Unlike LG’s OLED models, Amazon Alexa isn’t built-in, but you can still pair the TV with a separate Alexa device if you’d like to use Amazon’s assistant. 

On the downside, the A8H lacks HDMI 2.1 so it doesn’t offer next-gen gaming capabilities. Sony’s new 2021 A80J OLED does offer HDMI 2.1, however, so it’s a better choice for buyers willing to a pay a couple hundred bucks more for that feature. 

The best premium design OLED TV

LG GX Gallery Series 4K OLED TV

With a display so thin it can hang flush on your wall like a piece of art, the LG GX is one of the prettiest OLED TVs to look at — whether it’s turned on or off.

Pros: Same great image performance as the LG CX, thin design lets you mount it flush to a wall

Cons: Expensive compared to OLED models with standard designs

Beyond impressive picture performance, the GX boasts an exceptionally thin profile, enabling the display to be mounted like a piece of art hanging flush on your wall. At just 0.79 inches deep, the 65-inch GX Gallery TV isn’t quite as razor-thin as LG’s more expensive WX OLED, but it still offers an incredibly narrow design.

And unlike the WX model, LG has been able to keep all of the TV’s components within the panel. This means that GX TVs don’t need to use an external box or soundbar unit as a connection hub. Instead, you can simply hook up all your devices directly to the display. 

When it comes to actual image quality, the GX OLED TV offers very similar performance to the rest of the displays on our list. Since those TVs are among the best you can buy, that’s not a bad thing at all.

At the end of the day, you’re paying extra purely for style perks with this model, but if you plan to mount your TV on a wall, the GX can double as a genuine design piece for your living room.

That said, LG has a new 2021 version of the GX available, called the G1. The updated model has a new “OLED evo” panel which promises improved brightness. It’s more expensive than the 2020 model, however, so we still recommend the GX for most buyers. 

The best budget OLED TV

Vizio OLED lifestyle

Vizio’s 65-inch 4K OLED TV offers all the OLED picture quality benefits that home theater fans love for less than the competition.

Pros: Unbeatable image performance for the price, only OLED model in the US with HDR10+, HDMI 2.1 ports

Cons: Glitches, HDMI signal problems, on-screen app selection is limited, no voice remote

In the US, OLED TV models have primarily been limited to high-end offerings from LG and Sony. Though these TVs have been undeniably gorgeous, they’ve also been expensive. Thanks to Vizio’s OLED, however, that high cost barrier is starting to disappear.

Just like Sony and LG’s OLEDs, Vizio’s model offers pixel-level contrast with true black levels. The display can’t get quite as bright as LG’s OLEDs, but it can get close with a max of around 700 nits. 

Vizio’s OLED has comprehensive HDR support and it’s the only model on our list with HDR10+ playback. It also supports HDMI 2.1, which is something Sony’s 2020 models lack. On the downside, the TV is missing a voice remote. You can still pair it with a separate Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device, however.

Though image quality is nearly identical to more expensive OLEDs, the Vizio does lose some points when it comes to general stability. I encountered glitches and compatibility issues when reviewing the TV. Thankfully, most of these problems have been fixed through firmware updates, but it’s a shame the display’s software isn’t more reliable. 

Still, there’s no denying the incredible value this OLED offers. When it’s on sale it delivers unbeatable picture quality for the price. In fact, if it wasn’t for those glitches, Vizio’s OLED might even edge out the CX for the top spot on this list. As it stands, it’s not quite there, but it’s a fantastic option for budget-conscious buyers.

Should you worry about burn-in on an OLED TV?

Vizio OLED design

Like plasma TVs of yesteryear, OLED panels are susceptible to a problem known as burn-in. This means that if a static image is left on the screen for hours on end — the CNN or ESPN logo in the corner, for example — a faint, ghostly image can be left permanently stuck on the TV.

Though OLED owners should be aware of this risk, OLED TVs feature special measures to help prevent burn-in, including pixel-refreshers and pixel-shift modes. Websites like Rtings have conducted long-term tests with OLEDs, and while their results do prove that burn-in is possible, their tests show that buyers with regular viewing habits really shouldn’t worry about it. 

You’re more likely to notice temporary image retention, which is when a ghost image faintly lingers on the screen and then fades away over time. Though true burn-in is really only a risk in extreme situations, it is worth pointing out that LCD TV owners don’t have to worry about burn-in at all.

If you really only plan on watching content with the same static logos all day long, you’re better off with an LCD (also branded as LED or QLED). Buyers with regular viewing habits, however, shouldn’t be put off from buying an OLED TV because of burn-in.

What we look forward to testing

LG G1 4K OLED evo on stand

Since our last round of testing, several new OLED TVs have been released. LG and Sony, in particular, have new flagship models that promise improved brightness over previous OLED displays.

Here’s a rundown of 2021 OLED models we look forward to testing over the coming months for consideration on this guide.

LG G1 OLED 4K TV: The G1 is the successor to last year’s GX OLED. It features a similar ultra-thin design and improves upon the GX with a brand-new “OLED evo” panel. The updated screen promises improved brightness which could justify its higher price. We got a first look at the G1 back in January and were impressed with what we saw. 

Sony A80J OLED 4K TV: This display is designed to replace the A8H OLED and it carries over a lot of what we loved about that 2020 model while adding a few key improvements. Most notably, the A80J includes HDMI 2.1 ports for next-gen gaming features, along with upgraded processing and the new Google TV OS for streaming apps.

Sony A90J OLED 4K TV: Like the LG G1, Sony’s new flagship A90J promises higher brightness than any OLED the company has released before. It also boasts HDMI 2.1, Google TV, and new cognitive image processing. Though it’s the most expensive OLED released in 2021, the A90J’s impressive specifications could make it the new high-end TV to beat. 

 

Check out our other TV buying guides

Hisense H8G 4K TV lifestyle

The best cheap TVs


The best 4K TVs


The best Apple HomeKit-enabled TVs

Read the original article on Business Insider

I saw Samsung’s new Micro LED and the bright, gorgeous display could be the future of TV

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Samsung Micro LED TV lifestyle 2
  • Samsung has revealed a new 110-inch TV model with an advanced Micro LED screen.
  • Micro LED is designed to compete with OLED, and it could offer even better performance. 
  • We got to examine the display during a CES 2021 event, and the TV looks stunning in person.  

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Samsung has been showing off massive Micro LED displays at CES for the last few years, but the impressive technology has yet to hit the consumer market. This year, however, the company aims to change that.

For the first time, Samsung will be releasing 110-, 99-, 88-, and 76-inch Micro LED 4K TVs. There’s no word on pricing, but the 110-inch model is set to launch globally this spring. 

Micro LED promises key improvements over other TV panel types, and it could even end up beating our current favorite TV technology, OLED. To help demonstrate what makes Micro LED so special, Samsung invited Insider Reviews to an in-person CES 2021 event. 

The 110-inch Micro LED TV was on hand at the demo, and the gorgeous screen does not disappoint. It’s important to note, however, that Samsung described the model as a prototype, so the version we saw could still go through some changes before hitting the market.   

That said, based on what we’ve seen, Samsung’s Micro LED shows incredible promise, and the technology could very well end up being the future of TV. It’s not perfect, but the overall picture quality is simply stunning.  

Note: Samsung did not allow pictures of the Micro LED TV at the CES event, so all images included here are provided by the manufacturer.

What is Micro LED?

Samsung Micro LED lifestyle 3

Micro LED is an advanced panel technology used for displays. The tech is designed to compete with other popular TV types, like LCD (often branded as LED or QLED) and OLED.

As the name implies, Micro LED screens are made up of millions of microscopic red, green, and blue light-emitting diodes. Micro LEDs are self-emissive, allowing them to dim, brighten, or turn off individually. This results in an infinite contrast ratio with true black levels and wide viewing angles – which are all areas where regular LCD TVs struggle.

Meanwhile, OLED TVs are capable of similar contrast, but that technology uses organic LEDs which can degrade over time. This leads to brightness limitations and the potential for burn-in. Since Micro LEDs are inorganic, however, Samsung says that they can get brighter and last longer than OLED TVs with virtually no risk of burn-in.  

In other words, Micro LED has the potential to combine everything home theater fans love about OLED TVs while also offering similar brightness capabilities as an LCD TV. Basically, it could be the best of both worlds. 

Unlike typical TVs which use one panel, Micro LED screens are actually constructed from multiple tiles that are aligned together. This creates the potential for modular screens, where you can add, remove, or shift tiles around to create different display sizes and orientations. 

Samsung offers a modular Micro LED screen for business and luxury customers, called “The Wall,” that has this capability. That said, the upcoming 110-, 99-, 88-, and 76-inch Micro LED TVs will have fixed configurations and won’t be modular. 

Samsung Micro LED TV picture impressions

Samsung Micro LED lifestyle

For demo purposes, Samsung had a prototype of its 110-inch Micro LED TV set up in a dark room displaying a gorgeous reel of 4K HDR video.

As is typical with demonstrations like this, the footage featured a beautiful assortment of colorful images ranging from shining gem stones to towering cityscapes. The images dazzled no matter what was on the screen with rich saturation, precise highlights, and deep black levels that disappeared into the room.

Samsung didn’t offer a specific number in nits, but to my eyes the peak brightness was very impressive, offering a more punchy image than I’m used to seeing on a screen so large. One scene, featuring a starry night sky over mountains, was particularly striking as each star shined brilliantly from the screen against inky blacks. 

It’s the type of infinite contrast that I’ve only ever seen on OLED TVs before, but the HDR effect was even more pronounced. Viewing angles were also essentially perfect, with no real color or contrast issues when viewing from the side. 

An LCD TV this big, even with advanced local dimming, would still show signs of blooming, crushing, or off-angle fading. An OLED would likely look similarly impressive but not as bright. The Micro LED was able to demonstrate all the benefits of both of those technologies while offering no real signs of their flaws. That said, pixels were visible if you put your face right up to the screen, but that’s the case with any 4K TV this big. 

Of course, demos like this only offer a limited view of what a TV can do, and it’s important to remember that the model on display is still a prototype. At the end of the day, though, the experience has only left me wanting more.

Problems with Micro LED TVs

As impressive as Micro LED is, no display technology is perfect. We’ll need to spend more in-depth time with a Micro LED TV to really evaluate it, but based on what we’ve seen so far there is one slight downside that’s already clear: seams are sometimes visible on the screen.

Since Micro LED TVs are constructed from several display tiles that are connected together, there are seams between each tile, creating the appearance of a grid. Thankfully, these seams are very faint and, during my demo time, I found them to be extremely hard to spot. 

In fact, from a normal viewing distance and a centered angle, they are essentially invisible. It’s only when getting very close to the screen or watching the display from an off-angle that the seams faintly come into view. Even then, the seams generally only pop up when certain colors are on the screen. Likewise, you can see them when the TV is off. 

It’s too early to say how much of a factor this will be when watching a Micro LED TV under normal viewing conditions, but I doubt it will end up being too much of a problem. Though LCD and OLED TVs don’t have this specific issue, they have their own uniformity quirks that can be just as distracting. 

How much will Samsung’s Micro LED TV cost?

Samsung has not announced US pricing for its Micro LED TVs yet, but it’s safe to say that they will be very expensive when they hit the market. New panel technology always comes at a premium, and Micro LED has been particularly hard to scale down to a consumer level.

According to ZDNet, the 110-inch Micro LED TV model is launching in South Korea for 170 million won, which is around $156,000. A similar price is likely for the US.

The closest premium TV we can look to right now as a comparison is likely LG’s flagship 88-inch OLED 8K TV, which currently sells for $30,000. Samsung’s Micro LED TV is 4K rather than 8K, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a similar, if not higher, price tag for the 88-inch model.  

Samsung Micro LED TV release dates

The 110- and 99-inch Micro LED TVs are set for release globally this spring, with expected availability starting in late March. The 88-inch model will then follow in the fall.

A 76-inch Micro LED TV has also been announced, but an estimated release window has not been confirmed yet. 

The bottom line

Samsung Micro LED Lifestyle 4

Samsung’s Micro LED could very well be the future of TV, but like any display tech, it won’t be perfect. Still, based on what I’ve seen so far, the picture quality pros look like they will far outweigh the cons. 

The real question will be how much these displays end up costing. I expect that this first wave of Micro LED TVs will be prohibitively expensive for regular buyers, but the 2021 lineup could help pave the way for more affordable Micro LED TVs in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

If you’re looking for a high-end Samsung TV at a more consumer-friendly price point, be sure to check out the company’s new lineup of Neo QLED 4K and 8K TVs. The 2021 collection starts at $1,600 and promises several improvements over last year’s models. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

LG’s 48-inch OLED TV is a high-end home theater display and gaming monitor in one stunning package

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

LG CX Gaming
  • LG’s CX is our top OLED TV pick thanks to its gorgeous display and forward-looking features.
  • The 48-inch model makes the most of OLED tech and can serve as a living room TV or gaming monitor.
  • A new 2021 C1 OLED is set for release this year, but we think the CX will remain a better value.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky48-inch CX OLED 4K TV (small)

The LG CX is our pick for the best OLED TV you can buy, combining the sharp, vivid colors and infinite contrast ratio of OLED display technology with LG’s fastest TV processor.

The 48-inch review unit we received is the smallest OLED TV on the market, with prices starting at $1,500 and dipping to $1,200 during sales. LG’s CX is also available in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch models, with base retail pricing going up to $5,000 ($3,500 on sale) for the largest size.

While the LG CX OLED is significantly more expensive than many 4K LED TVs of the same size, the difference in picture quality is immediately noticeable due to the OLED panel’s self-illuminating pixels. Because each pixel on an OLED display can be lit individually, black portions of the screen will remain pitch black during dark scenes, avoiding the cloudy grey “halo” effect that occurs on a back-lit LED TV. The infinite contrast ratio also helps enhance high dynamic range (HDR) formats like HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which have become the new standard for streaming shows and video games.

Along with being our top rated OLED TV, the LG CX has also built a reputation as an impressive gaming monitor. LG’s CX boasts a native 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 ports, allowing PCs and next-gen consoles, like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, to run at a faster frame rate. This leads to smoother looking gameplay when compared to older TV models that are limited to 60Hz. Of course, with sizes starting at 48 inches, the LG CX demands much more space than a typical monitor.

After spending more than two months using the LG CX for everyday viewing, I can feel confident saying that this OLED TV is the best pick for most households, whether you’re looking for a family TV, a home theater display, or a personal gaming setup. So long as you can afford the premium price tag, the LG CX OLED will leave you thoroughly impressed.

LG CX OLED TV specifications

LG CX Inputs
A view of the LG CX’s rear and side ports.

LG 48-nch CX OLED 4K TV Specifications
Screen 48-inch OLED panel
Dimensions with stand 42.2 x 25.6 x 9.9 inches
Weight with stand 41.7 pounds (32.8 pounds without stand)
Resolution 4K Ultra HD 3,840 x 2,160 
Refresh rate 120Hz with support for VRR, Nvidia G-sync, and AMD FreeSync
HDR Formats HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, HGiG
Ports 4x HDMI 2.1 ports, 3x USB 2.0 ports, 1x AV input
Audio 2.2ch speakers, 40W with 20W woofer
Connectivity Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay2, Bluetooth 5.0
Smart TV platform LG webOS
Remote LG magic remote with voice controls
Digital Assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatible

Setup and design

LG CX OLED side view
The LG CX OLED panel is razor thin.

While the 48-inch LG CX is small enough for one person to carry, you’ll definitely want a second set of hands to gently unpack the 33-pound screen and get it mounted on the stand’s wide base. The base is easily secured with the included screws, or you can opt for a VESA wall mount.

The razor thin bezel around the outside of the OLED screen gives the LG CX a distinct look that’s more comparable to a sleek smartphone display than a boxed in TV screen. This helps the OLED screen’s striking blacks stick out even more when watching letterbox films, since the black bars create a distinct border pushing against the edges of the screen.

Though slim, the width of the base gives the LG CX a sturdier foundation than some of LG’s cheaper LED models, which use small plastic feet on the left and right of the screen. The rear of the LG CX base also contains a cable management compartment, making it easier to hide whatever wires you need to run to the TV.

Most of the LG CX’s inputs are accessible from the left of the TV, set a few inches behind the display. That includes three HDMI ports and two USB ports; while the remaining ports are located in the TV’s rear. A single button located under the screen provides power and a quick menu of on-screen controls.

Picture performance

LG CX picture quality

LG has been manufacturing industry-leading OLED displays for several years, and the LG CX has relatively flawless image quality. Along with a top-notch display, the LG CX has the latest hardware to maximize quality from 4K devices and licensed technology, like Dolby Vision and Nvidia G-Sync, to further enhance picture performance.

The TV has four HDMI 2.1 ports, which can transfer data at a much higher rate than the more commonly used HDMI 2.0 ports. This helps 4K streaming devices display the highest possible picture quality, and allows elevated refresh rates with video game consoles and PCs.

LG’s CX OLED display requires little to no calibration once setup, though that might depend on your taste. The standard picture mode is slightly brightened and features some post-processing, as is common with most consumer TVs, but the cinema mode will remove those effects for a neutral picture that should match the source more closely. LG’s CX will detect when HDR content is being displayed and switch to HDR specific presets, though you’ll still find the crucial standard, cinema, and game modes.

The peak brightness of the 48-inch LG CX tops out at about 600 nits, while the larger models can reach up to 700, according to CNET. That brightness level is actually lower than some LED TVs, but the OLED display’s infinite blacks provide greater contrast and a more satisfying experience when viewing in HDR videos as a result. 

I used films like “The Lord of the Rings” and the notoriously dark “The Long Night” episode of “Game of Thrones” to test the LG CX’s contrast and overall picture quality, with and without HDR. The results are wildly impressive on both fronts – shadowy scenes that were difficult to parse on my older LG LED TV can be seen in fine detail, but the sharp lighting keeps dark caverns and castles from looking washed out. Similarly, bright scenes retain their fine details without extra portions of the screen taking on a glow from an LED backlight.

The LG CX does a commendable job of upscaling lower resolution signals too, smoothing out the inconsistent picture quality coming from my 1080i cable box and the jagged edges of my 480p Nintendo Wii at 60Hz.

When using a PlayStation or Xbox console the TV will automatically switch to “Instant Game Response” mode, which disables most post-processing, maximizes brightness, and reduces input delay so your controls are as responsive as possible. If you primarily use the LG CX for gaming, you’ll want to activate HGiG for your console’s HDMI port to get the most accurate HDR picture quality.

I used fast-paced, visually intense video games like “Tetris Effect” and “Dragon Ball FighterZ” to help me test the CX for issues like artifacting and ghosting, but the screen remained amazingly responsive whether I was playing at 60Hz on Wii and Switch, or 120 Hz with my PC and PS5.

Gaming features

LG CX Desktop

The LG CX is amazingly responsive for a TV, registering similar input delay to many high-end gaming monitors, and at a higher native resolution.

Many of the newest features supported by the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, like variable refresh rate and gaming at 120 frames per second, are only available with HDMI 2.1 compatible TVs like the LG CX.

For example, the PS5’s RGB color display requires too much bandwidth to use at 4K resolution with an HDMI 2.0 port, so it defaults to YUV422, a slightly degraded format, instead. Similarly, playing at 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate requires an HDMI 2.1 port, or you’ll be limited to 1440p and 120Hz on HDMI 2.0.

While a few TVs have adopted a single HDMI 2.1 port, the LG CX has four, so you can have multiple high bandwidth 4K devices.

The LG CX also has access to variable refresh rate, and licensed technology from the leading computer graphics hardware companies, Nvidia and AMD. Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync help the display’s refresh rate match the speed of a video game as it’s being played. This helps alleviate issues like screen tearing and smooths animation, and it’s especially helpful for PC gamers.

I was able to set up my RTX 2060 PC with the LG CX using G-Sync and HDR with no problems. Both my  Xbox Series S and Xbox One X were able to take advantage of the AMD FreeSync compatibility to activate variable refresh rate.

Smart TV features

LG CX Smart TV Features

LG’s webOS smart TV service is one of the best in the business, making features like streaming apps, screen sharing, and voice control easily accessible. The LG CX’s a9 processor makes navigating the interface quick and simple too, rarely showing any stutter between tasks when compared to cheaper webOS TVs. 

The home screen and options interface allow for customization, so you can order your most used menu items and apps, remove the ones you don’t need, and rename all of your inputs. WebOS also accessed my local TV listings during setup, immediately providing much faster navigation and schedule information than my set-top cable box.

WebOS supports most popular streaming apps, including Netflix, YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Hulu, Peacock, Apple TV Plus, and even music apps like Spotify and Pandora. Apps that support 4K HDR and Dolby Vision should use those formats automatically when downloaded from LG’s content store. With that said, some features won’t always work, like Dolby Atmos through Disney Plus, since companies sometimes limit support depending on the platform being used. 

HBO Max is noticeably missing from webOS, though you can use another mobile device to cast the HBO Max app to the LG CX for screen sharing. The CX supports both Android casting and Apple’s AirPlay 2, so most mobile devices can screen share with the TV. You can use a USB drive to sideload your saved movies, music, and photos too, or stream them directly from a shared media folder on another PC in your network.

There’s a large selection of games and other entertainment apps to choose from in the LG content store, though few of the offerings seem worth the time. The CX also has access to LG Channels, a set of more than 100 free streaming “IP channels.” These are channels dedicated to a certain subject rather than operating as traditional broadcast or cable TV stations, but it’s a free service that only requires an internet connection.

The CX is compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa for voice commands; webOS voice searches will be answered by Google Assistant. I found LG’s Alexa skill rather cumbersome due to the specific phrases needed and the speed required to process commands; it was often faster to just grab the remote, unless I was already well out of range of the TV.

The LG magic remote

LG Magic Remote

To be honest I underestimated the impact the magic remote would have on my time with the LG CX, but the mouse-style control feels like a significant game changer thanks in large part to the TV’s quick processing.

LG’s Magic Remote Control brings a motion-controlled cursor, a scroll wheel, and voice control to the table, and is easily integrated with most set-top boxes and video game consoles thanks to webOS. The LG CX configured the magic remote to work seamlessly with my Amazon Fire Stick, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles with no setup required, though there is a universal remote setup process for more specific devices. 

The remote’s voice control is easy to operate when prompted and generally accurate, whether it’s being used within specific apps or webOS.

Should you worry about burn-in on an OLED TV?

OLED display technology has been known to suffer from an issue called burn-in. Burn-in happens when a static image is left on the display for so long that the screen’s pixels begin to age at different rates. This can create a faint “ghost” image that remains on screen while viewing. With this issue in mind, OLED manufacturers have created TV features to prevent burn-in.

The LG CX has three features to address burn-in and image retention. You can use “clear panel noise” to reset the TV’s pixels to their original color; you can activate screen shift, which adjusts the pixels at regular intervals to prevent a static image from getting stuck; or you can use logo luminance adjustment, which will reduce the brightness of static logos, like sports scoreboards or news tickers.

Websites like Rtings have conducted long-term tests with OLED burn-in if you’re curious, and generally, while burn-in can occur, these tests show that most buyers won’t have to worry about it.

I haven’t noticed any image retention or burn-in issues after more than two months with the LG CX, whether using it as a TV or a PC monitor. I primarily used the LG CX for gaming on PC, but spending two full days using it as my primary work monitor didn’t produce any adverse effects either.

Should you buy it?

If you’re in the market for a new TV and can afford to spend more than $1,000, the LG CX OLED is a great choice. Beyond the best-in-class display, the OLED’s speedy processing and features should satisfy all of your entertainment demands for years to come.

The 48-inch model may be a bit small for some living rooms, so be sure to measure your usual viewing distance to select the optimal size; LG also offers 55-, 65-, and 77-inch models. In fact, the 55-inch model is cheaper than the 48-inch version right now, so you actually pay a premium for the added convenience of a more compact size.

LG’s CX is also ideal for gamers trying to make the most of next-gen hardware like the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nvidia 3000 series graphics cards. It’s more expensive than most premium gaming monitors, but the OLED’s flawless support of HDR color and the increased refresh rates of HDMI 2.1 help the LG CX outperform just about every monitor on the market, and its smart TV features bring additional value.

What are your alternatives?

The 48-inch LG CX is one of the most affordable OLED TVs on the market, and also the smallest, so it’s got solid value for buyers who want a high-end TV under 50 inches. In fact, it’s the only OLED TV currently available at that screen size.

However, if you’re open to a larger 55-inch TV, you can consider the LG BX OLED, which has lower peak brightness than the CX and a smaller stand, but is around $200 cheaper.

Vizio’s 55-inch OLED is also a worthwhile contender for buyers on a budget. It’s $300 cheaper than the 48-inch LG CX, but our review found that it has some issues with glitches and HDMI 2.1 compatibility. Most of these issues have been corrected by a firmware update, however.

The Sony A8H OLED may have even better picture accuracy than the LG CX based on our reviewer’s experience, but fans of games and high quality HDR formats may be disappointed by its total lack of HDMI 2.1 ports.

It’s also worth noting that LG will be releasing its new C1 48-inch OLED later this year, but pricing hasn’t been announced. The 2021 model is the successor to the CX, and it offers improved processing. Outside of processing, however, the C1 TV’s specifications are nearly identical to the CX, so the CX remains our top recommendation. 

The bottom line

LG CX Assassin's Creed
LG CX features like variable refresh rate and HGiG will make games like “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” look even better.

LG’s CX OLED is an amazing TV that reflects the best in OLED display technology, user interface, and forward-looking hardware. The precise picture quality of the OLED screen and experience-enhancing features, like variable refresh rate, make the LG CX one of the best TVs and gaming monitors you can buy. The 48-inch version is a perfect starting point for people interested in picking up their first OLED screen.

If you’re looking for a larger screen there are a few more options to consider, but you certainly can’t go wrong picking up the LG CX in any size.

Pros: Infinite contrast ratio, four HDMI 2.1 ports, ideal features for gaming, Google Assistant and Alexa support, magic remote, 120Hz native refresh rate

Cons: Peak brightness is lower than LED competitors, no HBO Max app

48-inch CX OLED 4K TV (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best deals from Amazon’s week-long Samsung sale include discounts on the Galaxy S21, 4K TVs, and more

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Samsung Q90T 4K TV

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your entertainment center or mobile device, there are several compelling Samsung deals available on Amazon. 

That’s because Samsung has launched a special week-long sales event on Amazon called  “Samsung Week” that runs from February 22 – 28 and includes discounts on a wide variety of Samsung gadgets.  

The promotion heavily discounts TVs as well as mobile devices, tablets, earbuds, soundbars, and other devices. In addition to the ongoing deals, Samsung will add new “Deal of the Day” listings throughout the week. You can find a full list of all the Samsung deals on Amazon here

Although there are several worthwhile TV deals below, it’s worth noting that these discounts apply to Samsung’s 2020 TV models. The company’s 2021 TV lineup will be launching in the coming weeks, so those who don’t mind spending more to get the latest tech might want to wait. 

We’ve looked through all of the deals and rounded up the best ones here:

TVs

Samsung Q70T 4K TV

85-inch QLED Q80T 4K Smart TV (medium)55-inch QLED Q80T 4K Smart TV (medium)75-inch Q800T QLED 8K Smart TV (medium)65-inch QLED Q800T 8K TV (medium)
Smartphones, tablets, and wearables

galaxy s20 ultra

Galaxy S21 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy S21 Plus (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy S21 Ultra (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy Tab A7 (medium)
Earbuds and soundbars

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

Galaxy Buds Live (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Q900T Soundbar (medium)Q70T Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Read the original article on Business Insider