Picking up a new 4K TV is the kind of investment for which your eyes, and your family, will thank you for a long time.
Because 4K ultra high definition (UHD) TVs are the dominant display resolution right now, there’s a mountain of options out there. But while that may be intimidating at first high-resolution glance, we’re here to help simplify it by offering a budget-friendly and brand-name alternative across entry-level good, bigger-investment better and all-out best pricing considerations.
The modern 4K TV is more than just a spiffier resolution for watching compatible content. Today’s 4K TVs tend to include richer playback care of high dynamic range (HDR) support, better handling of on-screen movement, and preinstalled entertainment apps to keep entertainment simplified.
Whether you’re streaming, watching disc-based content, or playing the latest PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X console games, contemporary entertainment content tends to be built with 4K viewing in mind.
Picking up your first 4K TV doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The TCL 65P8M, for instance, may have a sub-$1000 price tag but it has what you need to enjoy UHD-resolution entertainment out of the box.
For starters, you’ll be looking at a none-too-small 65-inch screen, with some preinstalled streaming essentials: YouTube, Netflix, and Stan. An inbuilt Chromecast means you can also push video, photos and images from compatible devices connected to your home network.
Jumping around between those entertainment options is a cinch thanks to voice-activated commands by simply issuing orders to the mic on your remote control. As an Android TV, you also have the option of installing apps that convert your TV into an entertainment and productivity hub.
Crack the $1000 price tag and you’ll step into brand-name territory with the 65-inch Samsung TU8000, which supports HDR10+ content and has a 100Hz motion rate for fast-moving action. The TU8000 services first-time 4K TV purchasers with an easy-to-use universal guide and automatic upscaling of non-4K content for prettier results than what you’re used to. Your longstanding DVD and Blu-ray library doesn’t have to go to waste.
Speaking of automatic, the TU8000 also intuitively recognises your essential entertainment devices as you connect them, while the clever OneRemote can be used to control compatible connected gizmos. Inbuilt Bixby and Alexa voice assistants mean you can control everything seamlessly with basic voice commands, too.
When you’re not taking advantage of the boosted UHD eye candy with HDR, flick your TV into ambient mode to convert it into a big-screen digital photo frame.
Stepping up to these mid-range sets, you’ll still be dealing with 65-inch screens, but both of the sets covered here are noticeable upgrades over their cheaper siblings. The TCL 65X7 offers a stepped-up QLED panel for 3D-like depth to your video content. Content looks even better care of local dimming, which automatically adjusts the backlight on a per-content basis, while clear motion rate for on-screen playback that’s brighter and better at tackling on-screen motion.
While you may want to complement the enhanced visual with home theatre audio, the 65X7 offers admirable results out of the box for a one-stop entertainment solution.
Samsung has made a name for itself with 4K QLED panels, and its Q70T 65-inch TV is no exception. This 2020 model boasts vivid quantum-dot colour and brightness, with a speedy 200Hz motion rate to effortlessly shift between slow-paced and faster-speed content.
The ambient mode from the TU8000 has been upgraded, too, so you can convert TV to giant digital photo frame for your photos, art, weather, and time, or you can even photograph your wall pattern to make your Q70T blend in. This 4K set is built for gamers, too, with Samsung’s Real Game Enhancer feature that lowers controller input delays, important for sweaty-palmed online gamers, and enhances picture quality for great-looking gaming.
With bigger budget comes bigger screen sizes, and this duo of 75-inch options offer sizeable bang for your buck. The TCL 75C8 boasts the kind of perks you can safely expect from the other TCL models we’ve covered, with some niftier bells and whistles.
For starters, faster-moving content is handled even better with an improved clear motion rate of 100Hz. On the visual-perks front, the inclusion of Wide Colour Gamut tech equates to a wide range of natural colours and immersive image quality.
The audio side of things has been given a boost, too, thanks to Onkyo Audio for even better out-of-the-box sound, while you can record content via USB drive.
If you’d prefer to invest in a high-end 4K set, the 75-inch Samsung Q95T is absolutely worth a look because it’s quite the looker: both in terms of aesthetics and playback. For aesthetics, there’s a thin bezel, discrete stand and an anti-eyesore cabling solution to stop the back of your TV from looking like digital undergrowth.
As for the playback, all the eye-candy perks of the Q70T are buffed with the impressive brightness/black-level handling that comes with the Q95T’s Direct Full Array feature. Immersive audio technology means soundtracks with on-screen action, while wide viewing angles mean all of this can be appreciated from a greater range of front-facing viewpoints.
Whether this is your first 4K TV purchase or your latest upgrade, it’s tricky to go back to Full HD 1080p (or lower) screens when you’ve fully immersed yourself in UHD entertainment.
Streaming vs discs
With so many streaming services available today, you might think it’s not long before they’re a full replacement for physical discs. For the highest-fidelity results on your 4K TV, physical Blu-ray discs – ideally, 4K UHD discs – still offer the best, less-compressed quality that take full advantage of your screen’s eye candy. All you need is a 4K TV and a compatible 4K Blu-ray player.
Same but better
When you step up the budget range of same-brand TVs, you can safely expect that most (if not all) of the features of cheaper or older models are included as standard in the pricier set. The resolution will naturally be the same, but a bigger set investment usually amounts to a mix of bigger screen, faster functionality, better handling of fast-moving content, and other perks.
Ultra-high definition also translates to ultra-close viewing distances, at least compared to lower-resolution screens. The optimal recommended viewing distance for 4K screens is lower than 1080p sets because of the higher resolution. If you want the best results, get closer. Generally speaking, try to slot your set about 1.3 metres away for a 65-inch TV and around 1.5 metres away for a 75-inch screen.