A big screen TV can change your living room into an immersive theater environment. Sporting events are more exciting and movies more engrossing when you watch them on a 60-inch HD screen with accurate colors and a smooth refresh rate. Many new LED TVs have thin profiles and slim bezels, so they look good on the wall even when you're not using them.
The best large LED TVs we reviewed are the Samsung H series, the Sony W series and the Panasonic AS series. These TVs have striking displays that look good from any angle. They have smart features that connect you to streaming services and other web content. Your big screen can serve as media hub as well as a focal point for your entertainment center. For more information check out our articles on big screen TVs.
The big screen TVs we reviewed all feature 1080p HD resolution. But there's more to picture quality than resolution. In our side-by-side testing, we look at color accuracy, black levels, contrast ratio and refresh rate, and we score each device on the brilliance and depth of its display. TVs that have advanced features like built-in Wi-Fi can enhance your entertainment options, especially if you subscribe to a streaming service. You should also look for a TV that fits your entertainment system and its décor. Take these elements into consideration before you make a big purchase:
Display & Design
The quality of a TV’s display comes down to a variety of factors. The two most important visual elements to look for are color accuracy and black levels. Black levels measure how dark the screen can become. The deeper the black, the more pronounced the contrast and the better your picture will look.
Refresh rate is also important to consider. A high refresh rate minimizes motion blurring during action sequences and fast-paced sports. The standard low end for refresh rate is 60Hz, while 120Hz is what most high definition video requires. However, 240Hz provides even smoother video. Many Blu-ray movies now can be displayed at this high rate, and many video games run more fluidly at a 240Hz refresh rate. A good contrast ratio is important as well as it measures a TV's ability to display the brightest whites and the darkest blacks. Although, it’s hard to trust the contrast ratio specifications from manufacturers because there is not an industry-standard testing method. This results in one manufacturer touting a 20,000,000:1 contrast ratio while another lists 10,000,000:1 for a nearly identical display. We take that measurement with a grain of salt and recommend trusting your eyes.
The physical design of a TV is also important. Many LED TVs have slim bezels – the outer frame of the TV – and the slimmer the bezel, the less intrusive the unit will look mounted on your wall or resting on a TV stand. Some TVs are so slim they almost look like a picture frame on your wall.
Moving beyond aesthetics, you want a TV that comes with lots of fun and useful features. Most new LED TVs can connect to the internet, either through an Ethernet port or more likely with built-in Wi-Fi. This allows you to search the web and use smart TV features, including internet apps for video streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, as well as other popular apps like Facebook.
An LED TV is an empty picture frame if you can't hook up additional devices to it. Devices like a cable or satellite box, video game system and Blu-ray player can be connected to your TV with an HDMI cable to receive a high definition signal. The more HDMI ports there are, the more HD devices you can have connected to your TV. The best LEDs have at least three ports, though many have four. If you have multiple gaming consoles, you'll want as many HDMI slots as possible. Composite and component connections are a little bit older, but your LED TV should still include them.
Help & Support
An LED TV is a big purchase, so you should buy from a company that backs up its products. Going with a trusted name will give you peace of mind, though some smaller companies support their products just as well. Most companies offer a one-year standard warranty on parts and labor. And many companies will have a phone number, email and live chat support options, as well as FAQs and even online manuals in case you lose the one that comes with your TV. Customer support should respond quickly, and the person helping you should know the answers to your questions.
A big screen LED TV can be the centerpiece of any entertainment system. If you want to host a party for the big game, a big screen TV adds to the fun. Find a TV that has a great picture and online features like Netflix and Hulu Plus apps to give you streaming content. A big LED screen can upgrade your media experience for TV, sports, movies and video games.