Best TVs 2017 – Dude Living Approved Top Rated TVs Buyers Guide
Gone are the days when buying a TV was a simple and straightforward affair, with the only factors to be considered being screen size and price. Even with the advent of technological innovations such as higher resolution and different screen types, choosing the best TV was still a relatively simple process. Those days are long gone however, with the virtual explosion in TV types and technologies causing more than a bit of confusion among consumers. Screen types, resolution, HD versus Ultra HD, LCD versus LED, LED versus OLED…the TV market is virtually awash in technological jargon that can be overwhelming to those dudes shopping for a TV.
TV Buys Guide – Buying a Television in 2017
Despite the bewildering array of options however–or perhaps because of it–there is no better time than the present to buy a new TV. The oftentimes-confusing details could actually be considered a good thing, as they are indicators of the advanced level of TV technology available to the public.
That being said, you don’t have to be a tech-hound to appreciate the many options in modern TVs available on the market. However, it does pay to have at least a little bit of familiarity with the more common technological terms.
Understanding TV Techs and Specs
Before we get into the rundown of the best TVs available today, here is a quick primer on some of the techs and specs you will typically come across when shopping for a new TV.
1) Screen types
Whether you are buying a Samsung flat screen TV or a lower priced model, one of the most important factors to consider is screen type. TV screens are generally classified according to the technology utilized in producing an image. It is worth noting however most of the screen technologies currently available are capable of providing high-quality images. Purchase decisions should therefore be made based on the relative strengths and weaknesses of each technology.
Most modern TVs utilize one of these types of screens technologies:
- LED (Direct)
- LED (Edge)
- Quantum Dot
It wasn’t so long ago that LCD was the hot new TV technology on the scene. TVs of these types utilize an array of always-on cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCDLs) that serve to illuminate the screen, making the images visible. Now decidedly long in the tooth, LCD technology has largely been superseded by LED technology, although there are still many brand new LCD-equipped TVs on the lower segment of the price scale.
LED TV (Direct LED)
The vast majority of TVs available on the market today utilize light emitting diode or LED technology in order to produce an image on the screen. Direct LED TVs utilize an array of LEDs, which are placed directly behind the screen. This technology makes it possible to display the bright and dark areas of the image more efficiently, with the improved contrast commonly termed “localized dimming”. LED TVs generally consume less power and produce a wider gamut of colors than LCD TVs.
LED TV (Edge LED)
From a manufacturer’s standpoint, one of the most significant drawbacks of LED technology is the cost involved in mounting the LED arrays behind the screen. Despite the technology having been around for a while therefore, LED TVs still tend to sell for high prices. But with the advent of Edge LED TVs, many of the benefits of LED technology are available in lower priced television sets. As the name implies, Edge LED TVs utilize series of backlights mounted behind the screen along its edges. Although the image produced with direct LED TVs is still superior, Edge LED technology allows for similarly slim displays, with better contrast compared to LCD TVs.
LED technology took a significant leap forward with the development of OLED technology, which utilizes arrays of organic light emitting diodes. These OLEDs are subjected to an electric current that passes through an emissive, electroluminescent film. The result is higher quality image than most LED TVs are capable of, with excellent contrast and remarkably rich colors. Because the technology behind them is still relatively new, OLED TVs tend to be quite expensive, and only a few manufacturers have adopted the tech in their own products.
We’re still a bit of a ways off from having self-emitting quantum dot LEDs in consumer TV sets, but the technology is definitely on the horizon. If you are the type of viewer who likes to be on the bleeding edge of innovative, Samsung’s Nanocrystal filter equipped TVs might tide you over until then. Based on the upcoming quantum dot technology, these TVs produce color palettes and contrast levels that are just slightly less impressive than that which OLED TVs are capable of.
Plasma display panel or PDP TVs utilize glass panels that contain millions of cells filled with a blend of inert gases. As electricity is passed through these cells, the gasses illuminate the pixels of the screen. Despite producing even higher quality images than LCD TVs however, plasma technology is only suitable for use in large TVs with screen sizes of 42” and higher. Because of this, plasma TVs tend to be a rarity on the consumer market.
2) Resolution options
Another important factor when shopping for a new TV is screen resolution. Resolution refers to the density of the pixels utilized in the screen, with higher resolution sets producing sharper and more vivid images. Most modern TVs today come in HD, Ultra HD/4K, and HDR varieties.
HD TVs come in two basic flavors: standard HD and full HD. In order to qualify as “HD”, TVs will have to display 720 pixels at a minimum, with most sets offering 1366 x 768 screen resolution. Full HD TVs on the other hand offer as much as 1920 x 1080 pixels. Considering the marked improvement in quality given the marginal price difference, it is well worth shelling out the extra cash for a full HD TV.
A significant leap forward from full HD is Ultra HD, which at 3840 x 2160, offers four times the resolution of even the best HD TVs on the market. Keep in mind however that the higher quality images also mean steeper bandwidth and storage space requirements.
The latest technology to hit the TV market is HDR, which promises an even more significant improvement in terms of image quality, color range, and contrast. Already utilized in a number of Ultra HD TVs, HDR technology expands the range of color on both the light and dark ends of the spectrum, resulting in remarkable clarity and richness of detail. However, it may take a while before HDR becomes a ubiquitous feature in consumer TVs as the technology requires the adoption of new filming methods on the production end, and it isn’t possible to simply implement HDR into existing media content. There are also very few TVs that are presently HDR capable, with most of the offerings coming from Samsung. LG and Sony are currently working on implementing HDR capability into some of their existing TVs.
The Best TVs on the market in 2017 …. Thus Far
If you’ve read all that and understood most of it–and you’re still interested in a brand new TV–this rundown of the six best TVs on the market will definitely be useful. Although each of these models has its strengths and weaknesses, it is safe to say that you can’t go wrong with any one of them. So have a quick read at the highlights we’ve outlined below, decide on your price point, and make your selection! Happy shopping and happy viewing!
1) LG Electronics OLED65B6P
LG Electronics OLED65B6P Flat 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2016 Model)
Price: $3,497 Amazon
If you are in the market for the best LED TV available, the LG Electronics OLED65B6P should definitely be on your short list.
- Great looks and design
- Offers the same panel and picture quality as some of the higher priced models in the product line
- Absolutely stunning image quality
- Does not have 3D capability
- Fast moving objects on-screen may be prone to pixilation with TruMotion activated
- Reflective screen may cause viewing issues depending on room lighting
Boasting of an impressive 65” screen, this stylish piece offers a billion rich colors, infinite contrast, Dolby Vision, and UHD resolution. For the price, you also get a very slick webOS 3.0 interface and cinematic quality sound via the onboard Harman Kardon sound system.
If images with perfectly black dark areas appeal to you, the 65B6P is definitely right up your alley. The OLED technology utilized in the TV provides superior image quality and contrast, and the shadow detail is something truly impressive to behold. Add to that the billion rich colors, wide viewing angles, and 8.3M OLED pixels, and you may never feel the need to go to a movie theater ever again.
2) Samsung UN50J5000
Samsung UN50J5000 50-Inch 1080p LED TV (2015 Model)
Price: $447 Amazon
Although this model probably won’t be winning any “Best LED TV” awards, it is a pretty respectable Samsung flat screen TV that provides great value and performance.
- Excellent picture quality
- Simple plug-and-go set up
- Great performance-to-price ratio
- No energy saving features
- 5-watt speakers are insufficient for spaces larger than 137 square feet
- PC inputs aren’t provided
- No Smart features
- No built in Wi-Fi
Full 1080p HD capability and a built-in surround sound system means you are covered for pretty much every viewing need, from sports to movies, and everything in between. The J5000 comes with a 50” screen and an onboard wide color enhancer feature, which results in spectacular images in most any viewing condition. Also included is the Motion Rate 60 feature that enhances the resolution of moving images without making them look unnatural. With this feature, even non-HD videos and broadcasts will look pretty impressive.
Sound quality is probably the weakest area of the J5000, even with the included DTS Premium Sound. The built-in 5-watt speakers simply do not push enough air to provide that chest-thumping bass and crystal clarity that you may want, and they are woefully inadequate for spaces larger than 137 square feet. That being said, an extra hundred dollars will get you a Samsung HW-J250 2.2 Channel 80 Watt Audio Soundbar, which ups the excitement factor of the J5000 significantly.
3) Sony KDL48W600B
Sony KDL48W600B 48-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV (2014 Model)
Price: $547 Amazon
- Impressive picture quality
- Onboard speakers are more than sufficient for most uses after tweaking
- Settings are very easy to navigate
- Good range of configuration and setup options provided
- Wi-Fi is a bit slow
- Does not support 3D
- Many essential apps aren’t provided
- 240 Hz refresh rate isn’t supported
The Sony KDL48W600B is a 48-incher that offers a pretty college combination of features and functionality. Remarkably easy to set up and use, the W600B doesn’t really offer a lot in the way of apps, with a number of common apps surprisingly omitted. That being said, you could very well enjoy this TV even without the few Smart features included, so it is still a pretty good deal for the price.
One of the most impressive characteristics of the W600B is how it allows for the streaming of full console games directly to the TV set even without the use of a dedicated console. This greatly adds to the functionality of the W600B, and should make it appeal to gamers as well as “regular” TV users.
Image quality is where the W600B really shines, so to speak. The natural manner in which color transitions are presented is simply breathtaking, and you will find yourself marveling at the crisp, clear detail that unfolds before your eyes. Motionflow XR 240 technology also enhances moving objects immensely, making the W600B a great choice for sports and action viewing.
4) Samsung UN40H5203
Samsung UN40H5203 40-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV (2014 Model)
Price: $298 Amazon
Samsung flat screen TVs are pretty highly-regarded for their superb price-versus-performance ratio, and the Samsung H5203 Smart LED TV definitely upholds the product line’s reputation admirably.
- Superb picture quality
- Crisp and bright images even in brightly-lit rooms
- Full web browser
- Useful built-in applications
- Several made-for-TV apps included
- Some users may find the number of input options limited
- SmartHub idea is a useful feature that is unfortunately a bit slow and laggy
- Processor may not be powerful enough for some web duties
Featuring 1080p display and Clear Motion Rate 120 technology, the H5203 delivers extremely detailed and clear images with loads of modern features that you would typically expect only in the highest-priced models. The H5203 goes well beyond the image quality provided by even HD TVs, with twice the resolution of many units in its price range. Sports and action viewers will especially appreciate the Clear Motion Rate 120 technology, which utilizes frame refresh rate, image processor speed, and backlight technology in bringing crisp and clear images to life.
Those who want to get every last bit of value out of their TVs will definitely appreciate the array of smart features that have been packed into the H5203. With loads of apps dedicated to TV viewing, a fairly powerful processor, and a Smart Hub interface that organizes content into two easy to use panels, the H5203 is one of the most versatile TVs you can get at this price range. It even comes with a full web browser, giving you access to plenty more content than you will know what to do with, although the processor may be bogged down by certain browsing intensive tasks.
5) Sony KDL40R510C
Sony KDL40R510C 40-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
Price: $298 Amazon
If Internet browsing isn’t essential to you, and yet you still want to take advantage of all the content that Wi-Fi connectivity provides, the Sony KDL40R510C is definitely worthy of consideration.
- Wi-Fi capability is pretty much the best you can get in a TV
- Plenty of useful built-in apps
- Excellent range of viewing angles
- Extremely thin and light
- Setup is simple and straightforward
- Well laid out remote and easy to navigate menus
- Some apps take a long time to load and can be buggy
- No option to download more applications
- Does not offer general Internet connectivity
- Switching between Internet TV and OTA TV can be laggy
- Periodically ‘forgets’ Wi-Fi connection
A 40-inch model that offers amazing picture quality and loads of entertainment features, the KDL40R510C boasts of one of the most impressive Wi-Fi implementations we’ve seen on a consumer TV. With a range of built-in apps that include YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, and more, you could very well do away with your cable TV or satellite connection and not feel as if you are missing out on anything.
The KDL40R510C has an amazingly slim and light form factor, which makes the Full HD 1080p capability especially impressive. Rich colors and true-to-life detail makes viewing an absolute joy, and the Edge LED backlighting ensures quality light and dark contrast.
6) Samsung UN55KU6300
Samsung UN55KU6300 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2016 Model)
Price: $697 Amazon
If you’re looking to purchase a Samsung flat screen TV that offers superb picture quality, great sound, and a good range of modern features, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung KU6300.
- Outstanding color richness and quality
- Image quality is impressive after minor tweaking
- Deep, rich blacks
- Excellent refresh rate
- Surprisingly good sound quality
- Great value
- Panel’s response time can be sluggish
- Interface is somewhat prone to artifacts
- Auto-dimming feature can’t be disabled
- Selected input device often resets
A 55-inch Ultra HD model that boasts of 4K capability, the KU6300 delivers amazingly rich and detailed images with a greatly expanded color spectrum. Features such as Micro Dimming Pro and Wide Color Enhancer make for a thoroughly satisfying viewing experience, and the onboard quad-core processor is powerful enough for most applications.
If you haven’t experienced 4K UHD technology before, you are in for a surprise. Images are displayed in gorgeous and dramatic detail, with sports and action scenes especially coming to life right in front of your very eyes.
The KU6300 comes fully loaded with a good selection of apps and smart features, allowing you to enjoy live TV, streaming content, and apps with equal ease. The Smart Hub simplifies the use of all of this technology considerably, giving you single device remote control for anything you might want to do. All in all, the KU6300 provides excellent value with its combination of modern features and elegant functionality.