When it comes time to buy a new TV, one thing is for certain: you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Scanning the shelves of your local Best Buy (or wandering through page after page of Amazon entries), you’ll be bombarded with enough features, lighting types, and other generalized lingo to make your head spin. But are important specs like 4K, HDR, and refresh rate as important as the companies that actually make the TVs? In most cases, it’s the brand you want to lean on, not the metrics.
Let’s examine the top TV makers worth looking at, and why big brands like Samsung and LG are so good at what they do. And whether you’re looking for the absolute best TVs on the market, the best TVs under $500, or something in the Goldilocks Zone like the best TVs under $1,000, you don’t want to waste your time. We’ve put together a guide to all the best TV brands of 2022, so when the time comes to upgrade, you’ll know where to start your search.
At a glance
|Sony||Heavyweight||Cognitive Processor XR chip|
Note: Televisions chosen for this list are representative of makes and models available in the U.S. market. Further, TVs included in this guide were chosen primarily for their picture performance, with other considerations such as operating system or audio performance as secondary considerations.
These are the big boys — the brands that occupy premium real estate on both physical and digital shelves everywhere.
South Korea’s Samsung is the de facto market leader in the world television space, leading competitors like LG and Sony by a wide margin in terms of overall sales. That’s partly a result of the company’s size (Samsung ranks 15th on the Fortune 500, placing it as the second most valuable electronics company, behind Apple (who’s number 6 on the Fortune 500), but mostly it’s because Samsung makes great TVs with a focus on accessibility.
Operating system: Tizen/Eden 2.0
Technically, it’s called Samsung Smart TV Powered by Tizen, but let’s just go with Tizen. Like Samsung’s best smartwatches, the company’s TVs run on a Tizen-powered user interface called Eden 2.0. For clarity, we’ll refer to it as Tizen, the UI’s building blocks.
Tizen places all your apps in a row along the bottom of the Smart Hub (read: home screen). It’s got all the popular streaming apps as part of a 2,000-plus app library, and it has a neat feature that activates when you select an app, showing you popular sub-categories (like Netflix shows or Spotify playlists) for that app. There’s also a Tizen Gaming Hub which supports Google’s Stadia platform, Xbox, and GeForce Now for streaming games.
QLED, Samsung’s own LCD technology, uses quantum dots to enhance performance by producing purer light than LEDs are capable of on their own.
Perhaps most impressive is how Tizen works with the Samsung app family, including SmartThings, Smart Connect, and Smart View. You can use those to mirror content from your phone — even iPhones — to your TV or send TV playback directly to your phone (only on Samsung phones). If you’ve got compatible smart home devices, you also can use the TV as a control hub.
Also, Samsung’s newer models — QLED and otherwise — offer some cool features like importing app logins from your phone to save time and the Samsung One Connect box, built to simplify messy cable nests behind TVs (and to enable cleaner wall-mounting).
Calling card: QLED and QD-OLED
Samsung has so far avoided producing OLED displays like those of LG. So, instead of striking a deal to use LG’s panels, Samsung branded its own LCD tech “QLED.” For a detailed breakdown, check out our QLED TV versus OLED TV comparison, but the general gist is this: QLED uses quantum dots to enhance performance by producing a more pure, full-spectrum white light than LEDs are capable of on their own.
In practice, QLED televisions are brighter (better for bright rooms) than less-expensive LCD TVs, and unlike OLED, can be more affordably built into large displays (100 inches and beyond). 2022 also saw Samsung announce its expected QD-OLED TVs, which use an advanced blue light source that acts as a hybrid between QLED and OLED. We are starting to see these TVs show up in the wild now, including the stunning Sony A95K QD-OLED, and the Samsung S95B OLED, if you are looking for an OLED-like upgrade from your current set. Like other major brands, 2022 also saw Samsung unveil a new micro-LED TV line, a major LED upgrade using the latest technology for super-tiny LEDs that can achieve higher brightness levels and very accurate dimming.
LG Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Another South Korean company, LG may not be as massive as the tried-and-true Samsung TV, but thanks to its OLED TV display technology, it has minimal competition when it comes to top-of-the-line picture performance.
Operating system: WebOS
WebOS — currently in its sixth iteration, WebOS 6.1 — completely revamps the LG smart experience. Where past models relegated apps to the bottom of the display (similar to Samsung Tizen), LG’s WebOS 6.0 sets utilize the entire screen for apps and other recommended web content. LG’s Magic Motion Remote has also been redesigned to support voice commands for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, along with a Magic Explorer feature that lets viewers get additional info about the show or movie they’re watching, from what actors appear in the series or film to notable trivia.
As with Tizen, WebOS allows users to screen share (using Miracast), though that ability is limited to Android devices and Windows computers. The previous 5.0 update added VR capability to WebOS, in case you’ve got any 360-degree videos or photos you’d like to view, as well as support for additional devices like the Google Stadia.
It should be noted that there’s been a change in how LG will be naming its versions of WebOS going forward, and will now correspond with the year in which they’re released. LG TVs released in 2022 now come with WebOS 22, which is mostly the same as version 6 but adds profiles, smart speaker capabilities when the TV is turned off, and other new features.
Calling card: OLED
OLED — Organic Light Emitting Diode — is the premier display technology today. OLED TV panels are capable of reaching black levels never before seen, with better contrast across the board, and because the pixels themselves light up, OLED televisions boast quicker response times (and less input lag) than other types of displays, and the picture integrity is stunning at any viewing distance. To see how OLED stacks up against regular old LED, take a look at our OLED vs. LED comparison.
In 2021, LG introduced OLED Evo, an improvement on OLED technology that helps increase brightness by more than 20%. 2022 is seeing even more OLED Evo TVs hit the market, including the new and well-reviewed LG C2 Evo OLED, making LG the best place to get your OLED upgrade.
Sony Riley Young/Digital Tre
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