Which TVs have the best sound (as well as great pictures)?

The Panasonic MZ2000 TV on a TV stand, with a line of elephants seen from above on screen.
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Netflix, Life On Our Planet)

Long-time readers of this publication will have heard this advice many times: if you want good quality sound from your TV, buy a soundbar or a home cinema system. Even some of the best TVs you can buy sound pretty poor, so if you want a top-notch audio-visual experience, you need to invest in a decent sound system.

But what if you don't have the budget? Or don't want to make two big purchases so close together? The good news is that not all TVs sound that bad. Some are pretty decent. 

Each of the TVs on this list boasts impressive audio quality. While they may not surpass the performance of a good budget soundbar, they offer clear and enjoyable sound for movies and TV shows.

Sony A95L

The Sony A95L TV on a TV stand. On screen is a snow leopard's face from the Our Planet II Netflix documentary.

(Image credit: Future / Netflix, Our Planet II)

Sony's second-gen QD-OLED TV is visually stunning, but it's actuator-based sound system is almost as impressive. This sees two actuators vibrate the entire screen in order to make sound, alongside two subwoofers that add bass. When you set it up, you perform an Acoustic Calibration exercise to make the sound more spacious, and closer to a virtual surround sound effect.

And it works. The A95L fills the room with audio, going far beyond the physical confines of the TV screen. Play the balcony scene from Blade Runner 2049, and the appropriate side of the room is filled with the sound of rain with such clarity and definition that you can hear individual raindrops.

Dialogue is focussed and amply projected, and while the bass might not be as deep as that of some rivals, it is well-defined with plenty of texture. It's blissfully free of distortion, too.

The A95L is one of the best-sounding TVs you can buy and one of few that wouldn't be bettered by a budget soundbar. If you do want to significantly improve on its sound, you're looking at buying something along the lines of the Sonos Arc or Sony HT-A7000.

If your budget doesn't stretch to the A95L, you could always opt for the Sony A80L. This Award-winning step-down model again has Sony's actuator-based sound system, and again, it remains composed throughout, never overstretching itself. The audio isn't on par with the A95L, but it is impressively spacious, with decent projection. The best-sounding mid-range TV you can buy.

Read the full Sony A95L review and Sony A80L review

Sony A95L vs A80L: which is for you?

Philips OLED908

The Philips 65OLED908 TV on a TV stand. On screen is a Nascar racing driver looking out of the window of a car.

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Netflix, Nascar: Full Speed)

In terms of sound quality, this model is second only to the Sony A95L above. Its Bowers & Wilkins designed sound system has its drivers in a thin, Kvadrat-covered bar mounted to the TV’s bottom edge. It produces a surprising amount of low-end impact, and remains more controlled than the Panasonic MZ2000 (below).

There's less distortion than most rivals, and a decent amount of forward projection thanks to the speakers' front placement. Higher frequencies pose more of a problem, with occasional hints of brightness and sibilance, but overall it's an assured performance from one of the best-sounding TVs around.

The Philips OLED909 will soon replace it, and from our demo, it seems to fare just as well on the audio front. We'll have a full review soon.

Read the full Philips OLED908 review

Panasonic MZ2000

The Panasonic MZ2000 TV on a TV stand with a couple of stegosauruses on screen.

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Netflix, Life On Our Planet)

The Panasonic MZ2000 was one of the better-sounding TVs of last year. Its Technics-tuned Dolby Atmos system produces decent width and scale, with some weighty bass by TV standards. It's loud enough to make rivals sound lightweight by comparison, but while its bass does delve deeper than most, it can sound a little woolly and ill-defined. 

The follow-up Panasonic Z95A will be released soon (you can read our first impressions on our Panasonic Z95A hands-on review). Let's hope it can build on this solid foundation.

Panasonic Z95A vs MZ2000: how new and old flagship OLED TVs compare

Why is the sound so bad on my TV?

It's a problem common to modern TVs. As TVs became slimmer – as they did at the start of the OLED era – they had less space for decent speakers and so had to make do with what would fit inside. That meant sub-par sound – though TV makers are now finally coming up with new, inventive ways to squeeze better audio performance out of them.

Which TV sound is best?

We rate the Sony A95L as the best-sounding TV of any we've tested. It's a 2023 model, so there are deals around, though it's still not exactly cheap. The Sony A80L mid-range model and Philips OLED908 also fare very well.

What about Samsung and LG?

You may have noticed neither Samsung nor LG have been mentioned yet. That's because while they're the two biggest TV makers in the world, their sets have struggled in terms of sound. 

Both companies have traditionally pursued invisible speakers in an attempt to push punters to buy their own-brand soundbars. 

But their TVs are getting better audio – the LG C4 and Samsung S95D sound markedly better than their 2023 equivalents. And for visuals, they're superb.

Which soundbar should I buy?


How to improve your TV's sound: options for better audio

Find out how to choose and set up a soundbar

The best Dolby Atmos soundbars

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.