Cinema prices these days. One family trip to the local Odeon and you’ve burnt through half your rainy day fund – only for some popcorn pest to interrupt the movie with their munching.
Want a cinematic experience without the general public? Save the money you’d spend on multiplex tickets and stick it into a new TV. Even with limited cash to spend, you can treat your eyes to an entertainment upgrade. And if you’ve got a blockbuster budget, there’s no shortage of classy kit to transform your movie room.
Need help picking the right panel for your peepers? We’ve tested a battalion of big-screen TVs to bring you eight of the greatest 4K displays fit for every budget. Soundbars sold separately.
Hisense A7200G (£379)
The A7200G is yet more proof that Hisense is deeply serious about making serious TVs for not-at-all serious money. The 50in version of the Roku TV is yours for less than £400. Yet, apart from the thickness of its chassis, there’s really very little about the screen that gives the bargain game away.
No, you don’t get dynamic metadata and no, it doesn’t sound very good. It also struggles to upscale low-spec content. But its native 4K pictures look clean and detailed, while its Roku interface is a better operating system than the software you’ll find on several ‘premium’ screens.
It's not perfect and there are better options for more money – but there's nothing nearly as good in this price bracket. The Hisense A7200G is a bona fide 4K bargain.
Not perfect - but a perfectly good way to get a biggish screen at a little price.
Display: 50in 3840x2160 DLED • Supported formats: HLG, HDR10 • UI: Roku • Connectivity: 3x HDMI, USB, Ethernet, optical, Wi-Fi
Samsung 50AU9000 (£699)
Samsung’s AU9000 is available in 43in, 50in, 55in, 65in and 75in sizes, so you should be able to find one to fit your living room. Whichever size you go for, you’ll be buying a TV with cracking specs for the cash – including HDR10+, some HDMI 2.1 compatibility for use with your shiny new games console, a class-leading Tizen interface and Bluetooth 5.2.
You also get a telly that’s made from high-quality materials and clearly built to last. Samsung certainly doesn’t make you feel like a penny-pincher for not choosing one of its flagships.
In every significant respect, the AU9000 knocks it out of the park – wildly outperforming its price tag. It handles motion calmly, has an apparently limitless colour palette, includes plenty of detail in even the darkest images, and is bright enough to create wide contrasts. Just ignore its feeble sound and budget for a soundbar. The Samsung 50AU9000 is a genuine TV steal.
A big chunk of flagship performance at a fraction of a flagship price.
Display: 50in 3840x2160 LED • Supported formats: HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ • UI: Tizen • Connectivity: 3x HDMI, 2x USB, Ethernet, optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
LG OLED55CX (£1185)
With over £600 hacked off the original asking price, LG’s brilliant 55CX is now within the reach of those without truly high-end spending power. Also available in 48in, 65in and 77in versions, the CX uses the same screen tech as the more expensive GX and WX models. The main differences lie in the styling. With a slimline top and a thicker base that’s home to the ports, the whole thing is finished in brushed metal, with a chunky blade-style stand that anchors it solidly.
But the only part of the 55CX you’re really likely to look at is the screen, because its 4K HDR picture is absolutely stonking. OLEDs are particularly good at colours and contrast – and this LG is no different: blacks are deep, detailed and endlessly nuanced, whites are clean and brighter, while colours are punchy without being unnatural. Noise is non-existent, and motion is smoother than a lubed-up manatee in a tuxedo.
Its A9 Gen3 processor is no longer the latest, but it still does a great job of controlling the brightness, optimising the audio and upscaling anything that isn’t in 4K. The CX series also has LG’s excellent WebOS interface, which comes with voice control and an intuitive point’n’click remote, so navigating the menus and various catch-up apps is a cinch. There’s little room for a soundbar beneath, but the 40W speakers do a decent job.
You can get newer, but for this kind of money, not much better.
Display: 55in 3840x2160 OLED • Supported formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision IQ, HLG • UI: WebOS • Connectivity: 4x HDMI, 3x USB,Ethernet, optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Sony KE-48A9 (£1399)
If you’ve got a bit less space but a bit more money, Sony’s 48in A9 is an understated beauty of a telly. The slenderness of its OLED panel is spoiled somewhat by the bulge that houses all the electronics, but the bezel around its 4K HDR screen remains nice and thin. It’s a blandly handsome set.
Powered by Android TV, it’s packed with apps and functionality, but arguably its greatest party trick is the Acoustic Surface Audio tech, which turns the entire display into a speaker. That doesn’t mean it won’t benefit from a soundbar, but the difference is smaller than usual.
As for picture quality, the Sony is casually, effortlessly impressive. It has those endlessly deep black tones that are the OLED trademark, but freights them with stacks of detail. Its ability to deliver clean, bright whites makes contrasts pop from the screen. The colour palette it draws from is extraordinarily wide and varied, with punch, subtlety and detail available in every shade. This is simply the best little OLED TV you can buy.
Sony takes its winning OLED formula and shrinks the screen-size without affecting performance in the slightest.
Display: 48in 3840x2160 OLED • Supported formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision • UI: Google TV • Connectivity: 4x HDMI, 3x USB,Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay
Philips 55OLED+935 (£1799)
Philips likes its televisions to stand out, and the OLED+935 range certainly does that. Not only does it offer all you could want in terms of specification – including every single HDR standard plus a powerful P5 processor – but it also includes a couple of genuinely unique selling points, too.
We’ve rhapsodised plenty about Ambilight – and it’s just as effective here as on any on other Philips set, perfectly complimenting the lovely picture quality. The colour palette is vibrant but never lurid, and the OLED+935 is capable of seemingly limitless subtlety of tone. And while it’s far from the brightest OLED TV around, white tones are kept so clean, and loaded with so much detail, that peak brightness (or the lack thereof) is hardly an issue.
AI and machine learning assist with picture balance and upscaling accuracy, while the sound solution is second-to-none: provided by Bowers & Wilkins, an integrated soundbar delivers outstanding audio – and also functions as a stand. Provided you can struggle through the sluggish settings menus of the Android TV interface, this is little short of TV Nirvana.
There are some downsides to the OLED+935 – but none of them involve the pictures it delivers or the sound it makes.
Display: 55in 3840x2160 OLED • Supported formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision • UI: Google TV • Connectivity: 4x HDMI, 2x USB, Ethernet,optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay
Sony XR-55A90J (£2699)
Throwing money at something isn’t always a solution. But in the case of the Sony XR-55A90J OLED, it very much is. At £2699, it’s super expensive for a 55in television. But it’s also worth every penny.
There’s a lot of cutting-edge tech in the A90J. The super-fast and deeply intelligent XR processor is present, with Acoustic Surface Audio+ trickery. Google TV has replaced Android TV, which is a major upgrade. Sony’s exclusive Bravia Core streaming service is included, too.
Performance, as the price demands, is profoundly impressive. The A90J is very bright by OLED standards, so contrasts absolutely pop from the screen. It can call on a seemingly limitless array of colours, and easily describe minute differences in shade and texture. It handles on-screen motion with casual effortlessness, and can bring detail and subtlety to black tones just as convincingly as it can make them inky deep. It also upscales low- resolution content without having a panic attack.
The A90J’s feet can sit low or stand high enough to fit a soundbar beneath, but Sony is so pleased with its in-built audio that it’s fitted speaker binding posts on the back panel, so the entire screen can be the centre channel in a surround-sound setup.
Everything this TV does, it does to a dizzily high standard. In the end, the price seems fair enough.
Display: 54.6in 3840x2160 OLED • Supported formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision • UI: Google TV • Connectivity: 4x HDMI, 3x USB, Ethernet,optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay
Break the bank
B&O Beovision Contour (£5500)
You know you’re riding with the high rollers when a Bang & Olufsen telly is not the most expensive option on your watchlist, but this all-in-one 4K OLED is anything but a second choice.
As you’d expect from a brand that made its name with statement tech, the Contour’s design is minimalist, mid-century and magnificent. Available in a range of finishes that mix wood with striking aluminium, the TV itself looks as good as anything on the 4K display.
The Contour comes in two sizes – 48in and 55in – while the Atmos-compatible speaker setup utilises 11 amps to power four 1.5in mid-range drivers, three tweeters and four 4in bass rumblers. As for the screen, it’s pretty much an LG OLED set hidden underneath – so you know it’s going to be good.
Basically an LG OLED screen in a very, very nice frame – this is one we can't wait to get our eyes on.
Display: 55in 3840 x 2160 OLED • Supported formats: HDR 10, HDR 10 Pro, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ • UI: WebOS • Connectivity: 4x HDMI, 3x USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay
Samsung 75Q950TS (£5999)
Investing in a set with more than 33 million pixels is one way to future-proof your cinema room. Sure, there’s pretty much zero 8K content to watch at the moment, but the Samsung Q950TS will be ready when it comes.
Why buy it now? For starters, it’s a work of art. Cables are housed in a separate One Connect box, meaning the set itself is wafer-thin – despite shipping in whopping 65in, 75in and 85in sizes. The bezels are tiny, too.
But it’s the QLED screen that presents the real masterpieces. Although the Q950TS will spend 99.9% of its time using AI guesswork to upscale 4K content, the results are dazzling. It makes Ultra HD sources look better than most 4K televisions do, with an amazingly wide colour palette and formidable contrast. White tones stay clean, bright and meticulous, thanks in no small part to the 480 lighting/dimming zones behind those pixels. And it’s got a vice-like grip on movement.
Obviously the Q950TS does its best work when you give it top-notch source material, but even basic HD pictures are impressive, despite an inevitable drop-off in detail. We didn’t sully it with anything in standard def – and if you’re willing to spend this much on a telly, presumably you won’t either.
Definitely one for the future, but it’s also mind-blowing in the present.
Display: 75in 7680x4320 QLED • Supported formats: HDR10+, HLG • UI: Tizen • Connectivity: 4x HDMI, 3x USB, Ethernet,optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth