Happy Holidays! This article is part of our Holiday 2021 Gift Guide where you can find the best-of-the-best recommendations from How-To Geek, LifeSavvy, and Review Geek to help you pick the perfect gift for everyone on your list!
8K TVs have come a long way in just a few years. Not only has the number of 8K televisions on the market grown multifold, but their pricing has also come down significantly in some cases. They no longer seem entirely superfluous and are becoming a reasonable investment.
An essential feature to look for in an 8K TV is its upscaling capability. Upscaling is the process used by the television to increase the resolution of lower-resolution content. As you’ll mostly watch 4K, Full-HD, and HD content on your TV, upscaling quality will play a significant role in making such content look good on the screen.
The scarcity of native 8K content is often cited as an argument against 8K TVs. But with upscaling, you’ll still be able to enjoy the full resolution of your 8K TV. If you are looking for the best TV technology, 8K TVs are your best bet as they include the best of what TV manufacturers have to offer.
You’ll also want the 8K TV to offer a fantastic visual experience. There are two display technologies currently available in 8K TVs—LED and OLED. Both have their positives and negatives. However, 8K OLED TVs are currently rare and exorbitantly expensive, so unless you have a fair bit of cash, you’ll be looking at an LED 8K TV.
Bang & Olufsen and LG are the only manufacturers offering 8K OLED TVs in the US, and even Bang & Olufsen’s 8K TV is based on LG tech. The LED 8K TVs, on the other hand, are far more common and come from a variety of TV makers. LED TVs overall have less risk of burn-in and other issues OLED has, as well.
Now, let’s get into our recommendations.
- ✓ Incredibly thin and non-existent bezels
- ✓ HDR10+ support
- ✓ Excellent local dimming
- ✓ HDMI 2.1 and next-gen gaming features
- ✗ Blooming around bright objects
- ✗ Low native contrast ratio
- ✗ No Dolby Vision support
The QN900A is Samsung’s flagship 8K model for 2021 and our pick for the best on the market. It simply has everything you need for a top-notch TV experience. The television looks incredible and provides an immersive viewing experience, thanks to its edge-to-edge design. It’s also super thin and sits flush against the wall if you want to hang it.
The Samsung QN900A uses Mini LED backlighting with far more lightning zones than typical LED backlighting. Combined with full-array local dimming, it offers deep blacks, a good contrast ratio, and high brightness levels. In addition, the presence of Samsung’s Ultra Viewing Angle layer ensures that you also get good viewing angles no matter where you’re sitting relative to the set.
The TV also upscales lower-resolution content beautifully. So no matter whether you are binge-watching Netflix or catching your favorite sports live on cable TV, you are in for a treat. The support for NextGen TV is also present, which is a new television broadcast technology that promises better picture quality, enhanced audio, and interactive features.
Gaming is another area where QN900A shines with support for 4K gaming at 120fps, low input lag, excellent response time, and variable refresh rate (VRR) support. In addition, there are two HDMI 2.1 ports available to connect your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.
This Samsung TV is powered by Tizen, one of the better smart TV platforms on the market. It gives you access to all popular streaming apps and services, so you don’t need to worry about streaming devices and what resolutions they may support.
Unfortunately, the television suffers from blooming issues, but it’s a problem with all LED 8K TVs on the market right now. The QN900A is not unique in that regard and all in all, this Samsung set is your best bet for an 8K TV. You can get it in 65-inch, 75-inch, and 85-inch sizes.
Best 8K TV Overall
Part of Samsung’s 2021 lineup, the QN900A has everything you need in an incredible 8K TV. Moreover, it doesn’t cost a small fortune.
- ✓ Mini LED backlighting
- ✓ Excellent contrast and overall picture quality
- ✓ HDMI 2.1 and next-gen gaming features
- ✓ HDR10 and Dolby Vision available
- ✗ TV struggles in upscaling Full-HD and HD content
- ✗ Poor viewing angles
TCL is known for affordability, and the company knocked it out of the park with the 6-Series 4K TV line by providing outstanding performance at low prices. The same is true for the company’s 6-Series 8K TV. While TCL’s 8K TV is still more expensive than 4K TVs of the same size, it is comparably less expensive than comparable LG or Samsung 8K TVs.
The TCL 8K TV looks good, beyond just the picture quality. Its centralized metal stand is a nice change from the increasingly common wide legs that can take up more space on an entertainment center. However, the TV is thicker than competing models, and its borders aren’t as refined as one would expect. Still, for how much you save, this probably won’t be a dealbreaker for most.
Thanks to Mini LED backlighting, the television offers deeper blacks with its dimming zones and excellent contrast. The picture quality is also outstanding and if you have never seen an 8K TV in action, be ready to be blown away. In addition, you get support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision to enjoy HDR content and gaming in all its beauty.
TCL’s Smart 8K Upscaling is mostly excellent at upscaling lower resolution content. However, it struggles with Full-HD or HD content more than competing 8K TVs. As a result, you’ll notice some occasional artifacts if you’re watching 1080p content. That said, upscaled 4K content is a treat to watch and is fairly common to find.
All next-generation gaming features are also present on the 6-Series 8K. So if you are planning to hook up a PS5 or Xbox Series X, you will be able to game in 4K at 120fps using the two HDMI 2.1 ports. In addition, the TV has low input lag and fast response time.
The ever-popular Roku OS is handling the smart aspects of the TV, and as always, it provides a smooth and fluid experience with access to tons of apps and streaming services. You’ll have everything you need to enjoy the 8K experience right out of the box!
Best Budget 8K TV
TCL Series-6 8K TV
With its Series-6 8K TV, TCL has truly upped its game. As a result, it is not only the best TCL TV on the market, but it is also the best affordable 8K TV.
- ✓ Two HDMI 2.1 ports with support for 8K@60fps gaming
- ✓ HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync, and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility
- ✓ Good contrast, high brightness, and deep blacks
- ✓ HDR10+ support
- ✗ Blooming around bright objects
- ✗ No Dolby Vision
Apart from being an overall great 8K TV, the Samsung QN900A also provides a top-tier gaming performance. It has all next-generation gaming features, including 8K gaming at 60fps and 4K gaming at 120fps. If you have an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 or an AMD Radeon RX 6800 in your PC, you’ll be able to enjoy 8K games in all their beauty on this set.
Sure, there aren’t many 8K games available right now, but the QN900A also does a pretty fantastic job of upscaling 4K content. So even the 4K games will look amazing on the TV.
You also get features like the Auto Low Latency Mode and VRR. And, the TV doesn’t just support HDMI VRR; it is also compatible with AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync VRR formats. In addition, there are two HDMI 2.1 ports.
The support for HDR10+ ensures you can enjoy HDR gaming, and the Mini LED backlighting and local dimming provide good contrast and deep blacks. The TV also has high levels of brightness to bring out highlights and make HDR content look incredible.
You’ll also get a built-in Game Bar feature for the QN900A that shows details about input lag, frames Per Second (fps), HDR, and more. You can also quickly enter Game Mode settings using the bar. This feature is typically only seen in PCs, so it’s neat to see built into the QN900A.
When you are not playing games, you can stream content or watch regular TV with an incredible visual and audio experience. The Tizen platform includes apps for all popular streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max.
Best Gaming 8K TV
The Samsung QN900A has all the gaming features you need, including 8K, 60fps gaming and HDMI 2.1. It also looks excellent with an edge-to-edge design.
- ✓ Near-infinite contrast ratio and perfect blacks
- ✓ Four HDMI 2.1 ports
- ✓ FreeSync, G-SYNC, and HDMI Forum VRR support
- ✗ Prohibitively expensive
- ✗ Risk of burn-in
OLED screens have some drawbacks, but they provide a near-infinite contrast ratio and true blacks, which is why OLED TVs are great for watching content in dark rooms and providing a cinematic experience. But if you are looking for an 8K OLED TV, there are only a couple of options available in the US. The LG Signature ZX stands out as the best with its top-notch upscaling capability and overall fantastic quality.
The LG ZX provides an incredible visual experience with vibrant colors and great viewing angles. So whether you are streaming movies or watching sports on cable TV, you won’t be disappointed. It’s also powered by webOS, and it has everything you need from a smart TV platform.
Like most LG OLED TVs, the ZX is also excellent at gaming. You get all next-generation features, including HDMI 2.1. In fact, there are four HDMI 2.1 ports on the TV. It also offers low input lag, a fast response time, and VRR support.
The television comes in two slightly different designs, depending on the screen size you are getting. While the smaller 77-inch model can be wall-mounted or put on a media center, the larger 88-inch model has a slot-in floor stand, and there is no official way to hang it on a wall. That said, in both variants, the TV looks spectacular.
Being an OLED TV, there is a risk of burn-in on the ZX. But, as long as you are not leaving content with static elements on the screen for long durations regularly, it will be fine.
Of course, the pricing of the TV is its biggest downside as it starts at a whopping $20,000, which is not a small sum for most people. But if you have the money to splash, the LG Spectrum ZX is the set to get.