(Pocket-lint) - What's the best TV to buy? We'll answer that right here, plus more besides. While 8K is a fast-approaching dream, there's plenty of life in 4K yet - not least because the amount of content is growing.
There's a huge amount of choice and plenty of confusion in TV: you'll see UHD, Ultra HD and 4K all used to describe the level of detail that TVs can offer, as well as talk about HDR (high dynamic range) including the different specifications of it such as HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision - just to make things more confusing.
So without further ado, let's pick out the best 4K TV for you.
Our pick of the best premium 4K TVs available to buy today
LG OLED C9
There's only one problem with this TV - there's no HDR10+ because it's been pioneered by Samsung. Otherwise, though, it's an exceptional TV, with a phenomenal picture for the money, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, LG's excellent webOS-powered smart TV interface and impressively low input lag.
There's super sound quality, too - not something you can say with many TVs. It looks and feels like last year's C8 (below) but that's no bad thing as we really loved the bezel-free design. All-in-all, a stunning package.
Our pick of Samsung's QLED models, the Q70R is an impressive all-rounder that promises QLED performance for a more respectable price point than the Q85R or Q90R we've mentioned below.
But you do drop a lot of extras from the Q85R, since the Samsung Q70 doesn't have the black filter, wider viewing angles, and One Connect box. It does, however, retain the direct backlight, local dimming, Quantum Dots, AI chipset, HDR10+ support and comprehensive smart TV platform. As with its siblings, the lack of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are disappointing.
Exceptional value for money. There's not a lot more you need to know, is there? For a mid-range set, it offers an exceptional LCD picture that only lacks a bit of brightness and viewing angle when you compare it to more premium LCD TVs.
For an edge LCD set it does a great job of managing its light and there's no evidence of light blooming, blocking or banding.
It also supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ as well as Dolby Atmos, making for an impressive list of supported formats.
It's still pretty expensive, but this isn't the top of the line Samsung QLED for this year. Instead, that's the job of the Samsung Q90R which costs quite a lot more and we've mentioned in below in this list. Yet the Q85 offers pretty much the same experience. It isn't quite as bright but offers exceptionally sharp pictures and colourful HDR. It's a decent step up from the Q70R above with Samsung's OneConnect box and a better all-round viewing experience.
There's a super smart TV system, too. This TV's pictures "do things LCD TVs aren't supposed to be able to do" according to our reviewer. So despite the lack of Dolby Vision support (Samsung is all about HDR10 and 10+), it's a formidable package even if the price will be beyond many.
LG OLED C8
LG is one of the dominant forces at the high end of the TV market and this set is an incredible and comprehensively-featured OLED TV.
Building on last year's B7 and C7 models, the C8 ups the ante with even better picture, sound and features (Dolby Atmos plus every version of HDR is supported, for example). We also love LG's WebOS-based smart TV platform.
It's true that Samsung's QLED range is brighter and so is capable of better HDR but LG's OLED panels means a better experience overall thanks to deeper blacks.
Philips 803 OLED TV
With no Dolby Vision, lack of catch-up TV options and only two full-spec HDMI ports, you'd be forgiven for thinking we've overrated this TV. But it's a strong contender because of the sub-£2,000 price point and general feature set. It really is the aforementioned lack of Dolby Vision that means it has to come behind LG's C8 OLED in this list.
This set also boasts the super Philips Ambilight, still a unique feature. It also features superb SDR-to-HDR image processing, supreme colour (our reviwer particularly liked the way it rendered skin tones) and plenty of contrast.
Philips' proprietary Perfect Natural Reality tech - part of its second-gen P5 image processor, uses an intelligent contrast algorithm to enhance images (brightness, sharpness and contrast) in every scene.
Panasonic FZ802 OLED TV
We think it'd be difficult to find a better OLED TV for the money - this is a super addition to the Panasonic line-up. It adds some excellent new features but manages to keep a competitive price point.
While the LG C8 looks flashier, it's more expensive. Most impressive is the way Panasonic's Studio Colour HXC processor delivers beautifully defined colours and plenty of detail in darker areas.
The only disadvantage with this TV is the lack of Dolby Vision support.
Our review calls it "the complete QLED package" - you might recall that Samsung hasn't plumped for OLED, sticking to its own tech instead. Its QLED lineup features Quantum Dot technology, direct LED backlights, and sophisticated local dimming. It's an exceptional TV that also features an updated smart platform with even more content providers, including the addition of Apple's iTunes. There's also a universal guide and the Bixby voice assistant built-in. The Q90R is easily the best 4K TV that Samsung has produced to date.
The Q90R is available in four screen sizes: the 55-inch QE55Q90R, the 65-inch QE65Q90R, the 75-inch QE75Q90R, and the massive 82-inch QE82Q90R.
As we said in our review, the Panasonic GZ2000 "represents a watershed moment". It's a supreme OLED TV that gets so much more brightness out of an OLED display than any other before it. The sound system is overwrought and perhaps should have been reduced in scope - but there is room for other versions of this TV to sit underneath it.
In short, an absolutely incredible OLED TV from Pana, here.
A cocktail of improvements over its predecessor, the XF is a stunning TV that - thanks to direct LED lighting with local dimming means there's bags of contrast that's just perfect for HDR. And crucially this line-up improves on the excellent Sony XE90 TV.
It's also great value for money although there are a couple of negatives - we spotted some light blooming around a few bright objects while the Android-based smart TV interface isn't a patch on, say, LG's WebOS-based system even though you do get YouView. And we didn't like the large angular support stands even though they joyfully enable you to hide your cables.
Philips OLED+ 934
With "delicious" image quality according to our review, the 934 is one of the finest OLED TVs around and comes with all the benefits of Philips' growing TV reputation, not least Android TV and a smart, slim design. The only negative is that we're not massive fans of the Dolby Atmos tuning through the included Bowers & Wilkins soundbar.
TV jargon buster
One of the confusing things about televisions is the jargon that goes along with them. Here's a very brief run-down of the important things to look out for:
HDR - high dynamic range, to bring the latest colour and contrast, also called HDR10.
Dolby Vision - an alternative form of HDR, promising a more enhanced HDR experience.
Ultra HD/UHD/4K - the 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution.
OLED - Organic LED, where the light is emitted from each pixel, meaning deep blacks, vibrant colours and amazingly thin designs.
QLED - Samsung's latest quantum dot display, LED based and not to be confused with OLED.
Direct LED - where the illumination source is directly behind the display, meaning deep blacks, but thicker designs.
Edge LED - where the illumination source is in the edges and channeled across the rear of the display, result in thin designs, but with out the illumination control of direct LED or OLED panels.
OLED or LED?
This is the biggest battle in televisions right now and it's here that you'll have to make the biggest decision. What display technology are you after? Here's the current state of play:
OLED produces the light from each pixel rather than having illumination from the sides or rear like LED. This means that OLED can achieve better absolute black, because you just turn off that pixel's illumination. Having greater contrast and better viewing angles often leads to richer colours and greater accuracy, but the brightness levels aren't as high. OLED can often look better, but isn't as dramatic with HDR and can sometimes struggle with definition between absolute black and just above absolute black. However, OLED panels can be really thin, presenting great design opportunities.
LED is brighter than OLED, with some TVs outputting close to 2000 nits. The real difference this makes is that it can really boost colour and it and super-charge HDR performance, by making those bright whites even brighter - while also cutting through reflections in bright rooms. It's also a cheaper technology than OLED so LED sets are often cheaper overall (but there are exceptions). LED TVs may be direct or edge lit, but the illumination needs to be distributed behind the panel and controlled in segments or zones. Direct will normally be the most capable, while some cheaper TVs may only be lit from one side, some from two sides. QLED from Samsung is a form of LED.
To help you cut through this puzzle, we've split LED and OLED into separate sections below. After that, you need to make the call.
Also don't forget to check out What is MicroLED? The TV technology to take on OLED explained