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by ConsumerAffairs

Research Team

Updated on 02/28/2018

The first television sets were sold nearly a century ago, and they presented images only a few inches large. Modern televisions are available using a wide variety of technologies, delivering entertainment to homes through broadcast TV, satellite, cable systems and streaming services.

With so many types of televisions and video services available, consumers should take time to learn about their options and to think about what features are important to them. Different technologies and features make a big difference when it comes to the final price.

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    Compare Reviews for Top TV Brands

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    Samsung TV
    Read 3748 Reviews

    Offering a stunningly real image, the Samsung TV is the 4K TV if you're on a budget. The curved screen allows you to crowd the room and still have everyone see the action on the screen with the same crisp, bright colors.

    Vizio
    Read 2201 Reviews

    With one of the largest screens available, up to 120 inches, Vizio TVs blend quality and value. Vizio's 4K Ultra HD technology keeps the resolution crisp, and it comes with a variety of Internet apps to keep you entertained.

    LG TV
    Read 966 Reviews

    LG TVs take color seriously. The OLED series is designed to deliver a contrast ratio that ensures picture quality, and their self-lighting pixels can switch off completely to achieve a perfect black for the ideal contrast.

    Sony TVs
    Read 1549 Reviews

    Ideal for audiophiles, Sony TVs with a high-resolution audio allow you to experience music and any audio the way the artist intended. Feel like you're in the front row at the movie theater every time you turn on the TV.

    Sanyo TVs
    Read 645 Reviews

    Sanyo TVs offer high quality for a very reasonable price. These HDTVs feature 178-degree viewing angles, superior audio and amazing pictures, all in a stylish package.

    Sharp TVs
    Read 460 Reviews

    Consumers will never have to be far from their Android device, as some of the models in Sharp's Aquos 4K Ultra HD series come equipped with Android TV. Other models come with smart apps, and all have superior picture quality.

    Element Electronics
    Read 52 Reviews

    Based in Winnsboro, South Carolina since 2010, Element Electronics produces LED Smart televisions with stand-alone and wall-hanging options. Element’s products are Energy Star certified and feature a one-year warranty.

    Hisense TVs
    Read 82 Reviews

    Founded in 2001, Hisense is a company that sells electronics and appliances in retailers across North America. One product they are known for selling is TVs. The company sells 3D TVs, Smart TVs and Ultra HD TVs.

    Insignia TV
    Read 246 Reviews

    Insignia TVs connect to both home networks and the Internet so you're always online. The smart TVs stream thousands of channels, and allow you to control your TV with your smartphone or your voice.

    Panasonic TV
    Read 1116 Reviews

    Best for those who stream constantly, the Panasonic 4K Ultra HD TVs have a built-in Ultra-Smart viewer interface that allows you to create your own unique blend of apps, movies, social media and more on your screen.

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    Features to consider when buying a TV

    HDMI ports

    It may not seem important, but HDMI are essential for specific features and attachments. HDMI ports are used to plug future entertainment sources into your TV set, and they can be used up quickly. Look for the newer HDMI 2.0 ports, which is what the newer TVs will be manufactured with. HDMI ports are used to connect TVs to:

    • Sound bars
    • Game consoles
    • Blu-ray players
    • Satellite/cable boxes
    • DVRs

      Audio

      Even the best TVs suffer from less-than-stellar sound due to their flat design, there is simply not enough room for large speakers on the TV to produce the full sound necessary to satisfy true audiophiles. There are two options:

      • Quality built-in speakers: Look for a model that has larger speakers on the sides. A speaker on the back of the TV will not be beneficial if you plan on mounting the TV.
      • Wireless technology: Another way to add a fuller sound to your TV experience is to purchase sound bars and different types of speakers to enhance audio. These speakers are normally placed strategically throughout the room to create a surround sound effect.

      Smart TVs and smart apps

      Upgrading to a Smart TV can add more to the overall price, but it will offer much more in terms of entertainment choices. Having such services built into the set is more convenient than attaching a separate streaming media box, such as Roku or Apple TV. It also saves an HDMI port that you can instead use for a game console or Blu-ray player. Moreover, today's HDTVs are essentially flat-screen computers, so having a built-in Internet connection means that the set's software can be upgraded or patched when necessary. For example, when you need to add new services or solve a picture-quality issue. Nearly all smart TVs have WiFi, but be sure to check the features list. Also, look for Smart TVs that have these features:

      • Built-in apps: Check to see what apps are included. Is your favorite one missing? Some TVs enable you to add apps, but other may not have that feature.
      • Stream other places: Other features on smart TVs include the ability to visit social websites, use your TV as a digital photo album and play casual games like Angry Birds.
      • Remote control options: Some remote controls that come with the TV make navigating to streaming apps easy. If you are not happy with the remote provided, some TVs allow you to use your smart phone as a remote.

      Picture resolution

      Most TVs sold today are at least 1080p and are called regular high-definition, or HDTV, sets. Newer technology is always being developed, of course. Already Ultra HD TVs are being produced, and high-dynamic range TVs are on the horizon as well.

      • Pixels: It's all about the pixels. That's what that little p stands for; 1080p actually means a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080, or 1,920 pixels horizontally and 1,080 pixels vertically. Pixels, also known as picture elements, are tiny, individual dots that collectively make up the image you see on your TV screen.
      • 4K UHD: If you are someone that want the next best product, the Ultra High Definition TVs are for you. This TV has even more pixels, along with higher frame rates and more realistic color.

      Screen size

      Size does matter when it comes to buying a TV, but not in the way you’re probably thinking. Getting the biggest TV isn’t necessarily always the best idea, especially if you are putting your TV in a relatively small space. Where you put your TV has more to do with your distance from the TV than the size of the room it will be sitting in. The farther away from the TV you are, the smaller the screen will appear to you, so a 50-inch TV will likely work much better in your living room than in your bedroom. Getting a TV that is too large for your room can negatively impact your viewing experience.

      To get a good idea of how big of a TV will work for your space, do some homework. Measure the distance from your seating to the place where your TV will be at home, then bring your measuring tape to the store with you so you can get an accurate feel for how your viewing experience will be with TVs of varying sizes.

      What size TV suites you? Screen size is measured diagonally, and while there is no hard-and-fast rule, the basic guideline is that the closest you can sit to your TV and still maintain a proper maximum field of view is 1.6 times the diagonal measurement of your television.

      • Bedroom: Most experts recommend getting at least a 32-inch model.
      • Living room: Try to find a TV within your budget that is at least 50 inches. If possible, 60 inches or larger for the best viewing experience is suggested.
      • Other rooms: In other rooms, 24 or 32 inches will probably work. If possible, go with the larger size, especially if you have the choice between features like Smart TV or higher refresh rates.

      Types of TV display technology

      4K (UHD)

      With four times as many pixels as standard 1080p resolution TVs, the picture quality on these sets are impressive. These TVs are the newest option in the market.

      OLED

      Organic light-emitting diodes are also a new option to choose from. Thus type of screen produces superior picture quality and are a vast improvement over both plasma and LCD.

      LED LCD

      The most common technology currently in TVs, an LED-backlit LCD. These screens use light-emitting diodes that are lit from behind to create an image on the LCD TVs.

      Plasma

      With new technology emerging, plasma TVs are no longer being produced. Reasons for this include that they are heavy and use more energy.

      Common TV buyers

      Bargain shoppers

      Consumers who don’t care about getting a TV with all the bells and whistles should shop seasonally. March is the best month to go shopping for a TV, since that’s when stores are getting ready to roll out their latest models. Bargain shoppers can also save money by opting for a standard TV instead of a smart TV, skipping the extended warranty and shopping for deals online.

      Home-theater enthusiasts

      This consumer is looking for excellent sound and picture quality. These consumers invest in their TV system, including a sound bar, a Blu-ray player and all the other pieces important in a home-theater system.

      Online shoppers

      Online retailers don’t have the same overhead as brick and mortar stores, meaning they can charge significantly less for TVs. You can save up to $500 on a name brand TV just by shopping online. As an added perk, your TV will be delivered right to your door, usually for free, so you don’t need to worry about lifting and hauling your TV home.

      Movie and TV connoisseurs

      Movie and TV connoisseurs will want to make sure their TV is properly equipped to stream all their favorite entertainment programs in high resolution. Picture quality and sound are also important factors, so they will want to test out different TVs in a store to make sure the one they buy meets all of their expectations.

      TV brand expert reviews

      Samsung TV

      Founded in 1938, Samsung is a market leader offering LED LCD TVs at virtually every price point and size. Samsung TVs are available at national and regional retailers and online.

      Read More
      Sony TVs

      Sony, one of the world's most-recognized consumer electronics brands, produces LED LCD TVs and is now branching out into the UHD TV market.

      Read More
      Vizio

      Originally sold exclusively in warehouse clubs, Vizio has emerged to become one of North America's top-selling TV brands, offering a wide range of LED-based LCD TVs and available at many major retailers. The company's UHD TVs are the first to include Dolby's high-dynamic range vision technology.

      Read More
      LG TV

      A top-tier TV manufacturer, LG has steadily expanded into smart TVs. Today, the company offers several series of new technology, such as the 4K TVs, in sizes larger than 55 inches.

      Read More
      Panasonic TV

      Founded in 1918, Panasonic is one of Japan's largest electronics producers. Its lineup of Viera-branded LED LCD TVs includes Ultra HD sets that range in size from 55 to 85 inches.

      Read More
      Sharp TVs

      Sharp is a pioneer in the LCD TV technology and continues to lead the field by making large LCD panels and the AQUOS series.

      Read More
      Philips TV

      A leading manufacturer of televisions, Phillips is also a leader in healthcare, lighting and many other industries. Its TV models include LED, 4K UHD and Smart TVs.

      Read More
      Sanyo TVs

      Founded in 1949, Sanyo is a Japanese company that has manufactured and provided America with quality TVs since 1963. Today, Sanyo's TVs are sold in most major retailers.

      Read More
      Toshiba TV

      Toshiba TVs are ideal if you need televisions in a bar or office, as they are geared more toward commercial- and professional-grade large-format displays. The 4K Ultra HD displays are built to last with a three-year warranty.

      Read More
      Insignia TV

      Sold exclusively in megahouse retailer Best Buy, Insignia TVs are a value-oriented brand of LED LCD models that come in a range of sizes.

      Read More

      Compare Reviews for Top TV Brands

      Westinghouse
      Read 579 Reviews

      Westinghouse was founded in 1886 and is headquartered in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. It designs and manufactures appliances including portable conventional and inverter generators for home, work and recreational use.

      Philips TV
      Read 1006 Reviews

      Philips TVs are for movie lovers. These razor-thin TVs blends into the wall, the laser backlight ensures accurate displays and the speakers provide immersive sound that work together to create a theater-like experience.

      Sceptre TV
      Read 48 Reviews

      Sceptre TV has a range of 4K Ultra HD TVs and other entertainment products available at low prices. Units sell fast, so it is important to order quickly to avoid an out-of-stock message.

      RCA
      Read 769 Reviews

      Founded as the Radio Corporation of America in 1919, RCA is one of the most well-known electronics companies in the United States. Now, RCA is a trademark used for numerous radios, televisions and other electronic devices.

      Emerson TVs
      Read 804 Reviews

      Emerson TVs work for users short on space, as their narrow design optimizes the viewing area. The PC input also makes it easy to plug in a PC and go, with three HDMI input outlets still free.

      Hitachi TV
      Read 145 Reviews

      Hitachi, a long-time player in the world of electronics, offers a line of HDTVs. Its Alpha HDTV line features high-efficiency, mercury-free backlighting while its ULTRAVISION 4K HDTV line delivers over 100 frames per second.

      Toshiba TV
      Read 464 Reviews

      Toshiba TVs are ideal if you need large displays in a bar or office, as they are geared toward commercial and professional-grade large format displays. The 4K Ultra HD displays are built to last with a three-year warranty.

      Polaroid TV
      Read 1031 Reviews

      Polaroid televisions are largely aimed at recreational watchers who just need a well-built TV. The televisions come in a range of sizes that provide brilliant color resolution in an ultra-slim design without breaking the bank.

      JVC TVs
      Read 101 Reviews

      JVC is a worldwide manufacturer of high-definition (HD) and ultra-high-definition (UHD) TVs and related components. Get a free Roku stick and access to a wealth of streaming content with Emerald Series JVC TVs.

      Mitsubishi TVs and Electronics
      Read 848 Reviews

      Ideal for users who need large wall displays in offices, stadiums or bars. Mitsubishi systems are geared toward commercial applications. The LED Diamond Vision display ensures that every seat is the best seat in the house.

      Sylvania TV
      Read 142 Reviews

      Sylvania models offer high quality TVs at an affordable price. Users get features such as sleep timers, HDMI and PC inputs, speaker outputs and more without spending a bundle.

      Apex Digital
      Read 87 Reviews

      Apex Digital is a California-based manufacturer of quality home entertainment equipment, including TVs and HDTV antennas. Many of its HDTV models can be mounted on a wall, and some include built-in DVD players.

      Magnavox TV
      Read 367 Reviews

      Ideal for audiophiles, many Magnavox TV models allow users to play back JPEGs or MP3s with ease and with superior audio. In addition, users can play both CDs and DVDs with a combination Magnavox TV/DVD player model.

      Funai TV
      Read 188 Reviews

      Ideal for those who take picture quality seriously, Funai televisions come with not only LED backlight technology for enhanced color details but also Clear Pix Engine Plus, which is designed to enhance picture quality as well.

      Dell TV
      Read 78 Reviews

      Dell offers a full line of LED and ultra-high-definition (UHD) TVs. The company provides free shipping, special financing offers and price matching on TVs. If you find a lower price elsewhere, Dell will match it.

      Akai
      Read 209 Reviews

      A Japanese TV manufacturer that now focuses on DJ and audio-mixing equipment, Akai models came in a variety of sizes and had built-in speakers.

      HP TV Read 10 Reviews

      Since its 1939 founding in a California garage, HP has been committed to the technology industry. You can access live support online for its plasma and liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs and TV-compatible monitors.

      Pioneer Electronics TV Read 7 Reviews

      Pioneer Electronics' plasma displays are sold with full warranties, and the company offers toll-free support Monday through Friday. Access product manuals and information about replacement parts on the company's website.

      Zenith TV
      Read 131 Reviews

      Zenith TV was acquired by LG, which is a top-tier TV manufacturer that has expanded into Smart TVs. LG offers several series of television sets, including the new technology of 4K TV in sizes larger than 55 inches.

      Coby Electronics
      Read 142 Reviews
      Out of Business

      No longer produced, Coby Electronics TVs were backlit-LED LCD TVs with full-range built-in speakers and HDMI digital connections. Parental controls, closed captions and AV input jacks for components rounded out the offerings.

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