Dolby Vision, like its sonic sibling, is to be simply everywhere. You can find Dolby Vision films and TV programmes on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus, as well as on Xbox Series X/S games. But what exactly is it and how can you watch it?
Dolby Vision is a version of HDR that promises a subtler, more sophisticated image than a standard HDR10 picture because it uses dynamic metadata encoded into each frame of a movie for a more accurate picture. HDR10, the most common alternative HDR format, only adds static metadata to each scene.
When it comes to TV manufacturers, the majority support Dolby Vision HDR with LG, Sony, Philips and Panasonic offering the biggest choice of hardware. One notable absentee from the list is Samsung. It has decided to go down its own route with its rival HDR10+ format.
Dolby Vision TVs can vary in price so we've rounded up the best to suit a range of budgets...
- Test your picture and sound with the best movies to watch in Dolby Vision
- Our guide to the best TVs for every budget
How to choose the best TV for you
There's a huge amount to consider when choosing a new TV, but the biggest things are the money and space that you have available.
Size really does matter with TVs. Are you looking for a cinema-like experience in your lounge? Then you need to get the biggest TV you can afford. If your budget is limited, it might even be worth sacrificing a little bit of picture quality and next-gen display tech for a few extra inches of screen real estate.
Alternatively, you might have a specific size of TV in mind and an appetite for the best picture quality available. In that case, you need to prioritise the display technology.
Without a doubt, OLED has become the premium TV technology of choice, thanks to its perfect blacks, extraordinary contrast and exceptional viewing angles. QLED, which combines LED (or Mini LED) backlighting with ultra-vibrant Quantum Dots, is a strong alternative, though, largely thanks to being capable of greater brightness and punchier colours. Standard LCD TVs (often, confusingly, sold as 'LED' TVs on account of their LED backlights) are more variable in overall quality but, if you shop carefully, can offer excellent bang for your buck.
Are you planning to combine your new TV with a dedicated sound system? You probably should, because most TVs sound passable at best, even at the high-end. But if you're determined to keep things neat and rely on the in-built speakers, check our reviews to make sure that they're good – there's no point in a great picture if the accompanying sound is rubbish.
If you're a gamer, it's also worth considering the next-gen gaming features of your prospective new TV. Xbox Series X and PS5 gamers can gain a competitive advantage on certain games if their TV supports 4K 120Hz, while VRR support can result in a smoother gameplay experience. ALLM, meanwhile, simply ensures that you automatically get the best visual experience from both games and movies / TV shows. If you're a more casual gamer or not a gamer at all, you can pretty much disregard these features, and doing so will likely save you a lot of cash.
While not the new dawn of TV technology that some may have been expecting, the 2022 Sony A95K does suggest that there are some improvements that QD-OLED offers over standard OLED, including increased detail and colour reproduction.
The design is minimalist and the folding stand can be positioned in front of the screen, meaning the TV can be mounted more or less flush against a wall.
Sony uses the Google TV operating system for most of its 2022 TVs, including the A95K. It's a snappy platform with plenty of apps, including the Netflix app complete with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support. The A95K also features Sony Bravia Core, the firm's high-quality streaming service.
Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which in this case combines with two subwoofers, makes for very good sound by TV standards. Xbox Series X and high-end PC gamers will still be better served by an LG G2, but for movies and TV shows, in SDR and HDR and at all resolutions, the Sony A95K is exceptional.
If you want the 'gold standard' of Sony TVs, this is it.
Read our full Sony A95K review
While not a change that all buyers appreciated, LG decided in 2021 that its premium G-series OLED TVs needed more than just a fancier design to make them a compelling step-up alternative to the brand’s all-conquering C series.
So 2021’s G1 benefited from a new, higher brightness ‘Evo’ panel that the C1 did not get – and instantly did a much better job of justifying its higher price.
LG has continued this approach for 2022: while the new C2 does now have an Evo panel, the G2 boasts a new heat sink element that allows it to be driven even harder – or brighter, in other words – than its predecessor.
In short, if you want LG’s best 4K OLED TV in 2022, this is it.
The OLED65G2 is easily LG’s best OLED TV yet. Its sound is a solid improvement over LG’s 2021 built-in audio, while the extra brightness it achieves thanks to its new heat sink and accompanying new processor delivers nothing but positives, enriching everything from basic HD SDR to sparkling 4K HDR and the finest graphical wares of the latest gaming consoles and PCs. All without anything looking forced or like ‘brightness for brightness sake’.
The extent of the improvements over the new C2 panel is more gentle than dramatic, perhaps raising questions for many about whether the OLED65G2 is worth £600 more than the OLED65C2. The cost issue is even more worthy of thought if you’re not wall-mounting and will therefore need to budget for the optional stand.
While not truly extreme, though, the OLED65G2’s advantages are not only easy for anyone to see, but crucially lift pretty much every image frame to a higher level. So if you’re an enthusiast who just can’t rest unless you know you’re getting the best home cinema experience available, the OLED65G2 is going to be seriously hard to resist.
Read the full LG OLED65G2 review
While there are certainly reasons that you might want to opt for a rival, LG's OLEDs have been the go-to premium TV of choice for most people for years now. That means there is huge anticipation for each year's new models – particularly those in the C-series, which have typically been the sweet spot between performance, features and price.
That said, last year saw a picture quality gap emerge between the C-series and the brighter G-series. There is a gap this year, too; this year’s C2 has the ‘Brightness Booster’ technology of last year’s G1, while the new G2 takes things to ‘Brightness Booster Max’ levels.
Having put both the G2 and C2 through their paces, we are happy to proclaim that while the G2 certainly justifies its position at the top of LG’s 2022 OLED range, the C2 is still the model that most people should buy.
While not as bright as the G2, the new C2 is brighter than all of last year's LG OLEDs. There is noticeably more punch to the whole image, which pops much more effectively, and there is significantly greater contrast and dark detail. Crucially, there’s no down side, either. There is nothing artificial to the image – it’s lifted, but naturally, with no detriment to the colours or black depth.
The C2’s punchier, more attacking delivery is a definite improvement over the C1, too, although there is also a slight rattle from the speaker cabinet when the set is challenged by very deep bass, which is a bit of a shame.
As is now expected of LG's premium OLEDs, the feature set is practically flawless, particularly where next-gen gaming is concerned.
Those with seriously discerning tastes and the budget with which to satisfy them will find it worth levelling up to the G2 or Sony’s A95K, but the C2 is the current performance-per-pound champ of 2022.
Read the full LG OLED65C2 review
For reasons unknown, Sony didn’t launch a new 48-inch OLED TV last year. Instead, 2020’s A9 (A9S in the US) was tasked with holding the fort against increasingly large ranks of rivals for almost two years.
Thankfully, relief is finally at hand in the form of the Sony XR-48A90K – Sony’s flagship OLED for those who don’t have the space for its new A95K QD-OLED (above), which isn’t available below 55 inches.
Has the A90K been worth the wait? And does it deliver a true flagship performance? It’s a resounding yes to both questions.
The 48-inch Sony A90K OLED is a force to be reckoned with. It might not quite have the flawless gaming feature set of an LG OLED, but it’s close, and a very good gaming TV in its own right, particularly if you’re a PS5 player.
Where the A90K is almost flawless is in its picture quality. We have never before tested a TV this size that’s this good, and while we are yet to test the new 48-inch LG C2, it’s really going to have to go some to beat this Sony on pure picture quality.
Read the full Sony XR-48A90K review
If your budget can stretch to a 65-inch TV, but perhaps not a 65-inch OLED or flagship QLED then the Sony XR-65X90J (or near-identical XR-65X94J in the UK) could be just what you’re looking for thanks to its heady mix of fancy features, perfectly-pitched picture performance and a mid-range price tag.
Those features include two HDMI 2.1 sockets that support 4K@120Hz (but not VRR... yet) and the new Google TV operating system. The picture is brilliantly natural, authentic and balanced, and the sound is clear and direct too.
There's plenty of content options thanks to the Google TV OS. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV are here in all of their 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos glory; Plex and VLC make for easy playback of your stored content; and Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music and Deezer give you plenty of options for music streaming. However, users in the UK should take note that native apps for Now, BT Sport and My5, but BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 are all missing.
While this mid-range, direct-backlit LCD TV can’t match its OLED stablemates for black depth, but the backlight is consistent, with none of the clouding or blotchiness that’s common of big TVs in this price range. The set may not go perfectly black, but it goes very bright and the colours are excellent with a cinematically warm and rich delivery as well as a subtlety of shading that’s extremely rare at this end of the market.
Read the full review: Sony XR-65X90J
The Philips 65OLED806 is an absolutely superb TV that performs even better than its Award-winning predecessor while throwing in the next-gen HDMI features that would have previously put off some customers.
Of the four HDMI ports on the 65OLED806, two are full-fat HDMI 2.1 48Gbps sockets that support 4K@120Hz, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) in all of its current forms (G-Sync certification is in progress), and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), making this a very well-specified gaming TV. The very low input lag of around 14ms certainly helps matters, too, as does the HGiG mode, which broadly results in more accurate tone mapping of HDR games.
On the HDR front, the OLED806 has pretty much the full house, with HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision all supported. HDR10+ Adaptive is on board, too, allowing the TV to adjust HDR10+ content to ambient lighting conditions automatically. While Dolby Vision IQ isn’t officially supported, Philips says the combination of standard Dolby Vision and its AI-powered light sensor effectively does the same thing.
It’s very well appointed for apps, too. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Disney+ are all present in their complete 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos glory (Amazon features HDR10+ content as well); Google Play Movies & TV (soon to be simply ‘Google TV’) has 4K Dolby Vision content, too, while Rakuten is in 4K HDR10; you get BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 courtesy of the Freeview Play platform; the integrated BT Sport app will be useful for many; Plex and VLC can handle playback of your own media files; and Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music and BBC Sounds are all on board. The only real absence of note is Now, and that won’t be a deal-breaker for many.
To get the best out of the exceptionally sharp and punchy display on the Philips 65OLED806, you’ll need to tweak its default settings, but the effort is more than worth it. There’s not a better TV available at its price.
Read the full review: Philips 65OLED806
While Sony’s OLEDs are highly regarded, it’s hard to justify buying one over its rival LG. Historically, Sony has offered a more authentic picture and better sound but is also a step behind on features and usability – and at least a level or two more expensive.
But with the A90J Sony has produced a TV that fills in some of the features gaps, offering a more satisfying user experience and a unique high-quality movie streaming app, all while raising the bar for picture and sound quality.
In performance terms, the Sony A90J is an absolute stunner. It takes OLED picture performance to new, thrilling levels while maintaining the quality for which Sony is justifiably renowned.
The new Google TV operating system means the user experience is better than that of any pre-2021 Sony TV, gaming features are top-notch and the exclusive Bravia Core streaming service is a genuine value-added feature.
All in all, the X90J is simply the best TV you can buy right now. If you happen to be in the market for a Sony TV, so much the better.
Read the full Sony XR-55A90J review
Read the full Sony XR-65A90J review
LG’s C-series model has been the go-to pick of its OLED range for several years. It has always been the most affordable model with the company’s best panel and picture processing wizardry. Spending more would get you a fancier design and potentially better sound, but the picture would be no different.
That’s not the case in 2021. LG has introduced a new, brighter and sharper ‘OLED Evo’ panel, and the C1 doesn’t have it.
With so much of the focus on the upgraded G1, it’s perhaps predictable that the C1 isn’t much of an improvement on its predecessor, but there wasn’t much that needed improving. The picture performance and feature set were already exemplary, and LG has slightly improved the former with its new Cinematic Movement motion processing and enhanced de-contouring feature (which reduces banding), and slightly improved the latter with a better menu system and a more complete app selection (all UK catch-up apps are present).
The G1's picture is undeniably better in terms of brightness, sharpness and detail, but we're not talking huge margins and most people will struggle to justify the extra £500 ($500), particularly when the niche design and weaker sound are taken into account.
Ultimately, in performance-per-pound terms, the C1 is the better buy. In fact, it's one of the most recommendable TVs available right now.
Read the full LG OLED65C1 review
The Philips 65OLED986 takes last year’s Award-winning OLED806 and adds an extra picture processor, a brighter OLED panel, and a B&W speaker system consisting of Continuum-cone drivers and a Nautilus-tube tweeter. This is a real statement piece with a price tag to match, but if you want and can afford the best, this is (currently) it.
The obvious difference between the OLED986 and the average TV is that it’s floor-standing, with a height measurement of 134cm. The portion of the stand below the speaker bar can be removed so that the rest can be wall-mounted, but the screen and speaker system are symbiotic – neither will work without the other.
The OLED986 boasts, alongside two standard HDMIs, two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 connections that support a host of features, including eARC, ALLM (auto low-latency mode) and VRR (variable refresh rates, in all current formats). The OLED986 can handle 4K at 120Hz signals, though the resolution is halved, and there’s wide-ranging HDR support with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision alongside the more common HDR10 and HLG. While Dolby Vision IQ isn’t officially included in that list, HDR10+ Adaptive is, and the AI-powered light sensor can adapt any signals to the ambient light in the room. There’s a Dolby Vision Game mode, too, which Xbox Series X users will appreciate, plus an HGiG setting that makes it easier to get an accurate HDR performance from many next-gen games.
It’s common for us to complain about the out-of-the-box picture settings of Philips TVs and, while things are improving, this TV still requires a lot of tweaking to get it to perform at its best. But if you take your time with the menu, you’ll be rewarded with superb contrast and exceptional sharpness, making for a hugely impactful image, with colours that are both subtle and superbly vibrant as required.
Sonically this is the most musical TV we’ve heard since its predecessor, with authenticity and naturalism that are just as impressive when dealing with movie soundtracks. With Dolby Atmos decoding, it spreads sounds out to the sides and towards the ceiling, and while not the most immersive, it projects detail and dynamic flexibility that no other TV and very few soundbars can match.
Read the full Philips 65OLED986 review
This state-of-the-art Sony flagship is one of the best Dolby Vision TVs we've ever clapped eyes on. The petite 48in OLED panel is the perfect size for most living rooms and features a design that wows with an ultra-slim bezel.
Those premium looks are matched by premium performance, thanks in part to the presence of Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor. Images are punchy, natural and packed with an incredible level of detail, especially in the darker areas. Motion is handled beautifully – and with a deftness that eclipses the five-star LG CX OLED (below).
The presence of Google's Android TV platform serves up a superb app offering including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Google Play Movies & TV and Rakuten, all in 4K and HDR (Dolby Vision in the cases of Netflix and Disney+).
Downsides? Well, surprisingly for such a cutting-edge TV, the A9 lacks some next-gen HDMI features such as 4K@120Hz (HFR) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), which is bad news for gamers planning to hook up a PS5 or Xbox Series X.
That aside, this is a truly stunning Dolby Vision TV that brings jaw-dropping HDR capability to the sub-55in TV category. Unless you're dead-set on something bigger, this OLED should be top of your list.
Read the full: Sony KD-48A9 review
Last year's OLED804 was highly regarded, but this year's OLED805 is truly outstanding. It uses Philips’ latest AI technology to produce a crisp, vibrant image with a level of detail that's unbeatable for the money.
The wonderfully natural picture is enhanced by Philip's nifty Ambilight tech, which uses hidden light bars to extend the onscreen action onto the walls and dynamic speakers that deliver a thrilling punch of bass. We'd rate the sound quality as 'excellent' for a TV, though you could always upgrade it with a soundbar.
There's plenty of features onboard, plus support for both high-end HDR formats – Dolby Vision and HDR10+ – so there's no need to pick sides. The user experience, which is based on Google's Android TV, is slick and intuitive, but some may rue the lack of Apple TV and gaming-specific features.
For everyone else, though, the elegant 55OLED805 is one of the best Dolby Vision TVs you can currently buy. And, given Philips' aggressive pricing strategy, superb bang for your buck.
Read the full review: Philips OLED805
The X90J’s pictures aren’t exactly shy and retiring – and that’s fine by us. Exceptional amounts of brightness make it onto the screen with startling consistency, delivering some of the most flat-out punchy and bright HDR pictures we’ve ever seen on a 50-inch TV.
It’s not just brightness for brightness sake, either. Sony is unashamedly using it to deliver as uncompromising an HDR experience as it can within its backlight limitations. So daylight HDR scenes look more natural and realistically bright by far than they do on any other current TV in its size and class.
Even more impressively, the XR-50X90J has enough headroom with its brightness to ensure that the brightest highlights of already bright HDR images enjoy that extra step up in intensity that usually only the most premium TVs provide.
The price you pay for this superb brightness is slightly elevated black levels and occasional backlight blooming, but neither issue is a huge deal-breaker, and you can also add excellent motion processing, natural colours and decently dynamic sound to the list of the Sony's strong points.
It's also got two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K at 120Hz, making it a good option for next-gen gamers. VRR support is due to be added, too, although this has been promised for a while. On the subject of promised features, apps for BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 are currently missing from the X90J's smart platform. Will they ever be added? Sony has always said 'yes', but we're not so sure.
Still, if you've already got a dedicated streamer and you like the sound of Sony's brightness-first approach, the X90J is a strong option at its size and price.
Read the full Sony XR-50X90J review
If you're after a big screen Dolby Vision experience, the 65XH9005 is an awesome choice. This full-array LED-backlit TV with local dimming is loaded to the gunnels with picture-enhancing technology and supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR. You also get Dolby Atmos for sound.
Sony is even selling this model as "ready for PS5". That means it'll have 4K@120Hz (often referred to as HFR), VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). We say "will" because the set requires a firmware update, but Sony assures us that it will be available in time for the PS5's launch in mid-November.
The upshot of all this sophisticated tech is a buttery-smooth picture that's suited to movies, sports and gaming. Contrast pops, and Dolby Vision content is expertly rendered. The sound is good though we'd recommending adding a Dolby Atmos soundbar for a truly immersive experience.
All in all, this is an excellent Dolby Vision TV that will delight gamers and non-gamers alike.
Read the full review: Sony KD-65XH9005
The Panasonic TX-55HZ1000B doesn't look flashy, but it impresses with its top-notch performance. Punchy yet natural, vibrant but controlled, beautifully balanced – this multi-talented TV makes the most of 4K HDR, Dolby Vision and standard definition content.
The design is sleek enough and, unusually, the 39cm stand swivels, making it easier to position. Beneath its understated skin, there's a ton of next-gen smarts, including Panasonic’s new Smooth Motion Drive Pro technology and Dolby Vision IQ. The latter is a new format that aims to optimise Dolby Vision performance in any ambient light conditions. You also get supports for Dolby Vision's main rival, HDR10+.
The sound from the built-in- 30W speakers is clear and does a fine job of projecting dialogue. That said, we'd recommend you upgrade the audio with a decent soundbar.
Still, those minor niggles aside, this is a truly impressive OLED TV that serves up a stunning picture and excellent motion handling, making it a great choice for both movie and sports fans.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-55HZ1000B
If you're a firm believer that size isn't everything, this 48in inch OLED could be just the ticket – it offers the full flagship experience in a smaller size. There's plenty to love about the picture, which is beautifully crisp and detailed, and it's a great choice for gamers since it features ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate).
There's no support for HDR10+, but you do get Dolby Vision IQ, tailoring the set's Dolby Vision performance to the ambient light in your room. The sonics are decent enough for a TV, but we'd recommend adding a Dolby Atmos soundbar to match this set's ability to display Dolby Vision content.
LG's slick webOS operating system is a joy to use, but it's currently missing the UK's major catch-up apps, including BBC iPlayer. That being said, you could easily add them to the TV by plugging in a streaming stick.
If it's within your budget, this is the ultimate TV for those who want a flagship model that won't dominate their living room. Put simply; it's one of the very best sub-50in TVs on the market. Want to go bigger? We also recommend the 65-inch version, the five-star LG OLED65CX.
Read the full review: LG OLED48CX
On a performance-per-pound basis, this TCL is very hard to beat. The integrated Roku platform means the set is packed with streaming apps and is very easy to use, and the performance is much better than you'd expect from a set costing so little.
Compared to most TVs at the budget end of the spectrum, the RP620K produces richer, more vibrant and truer colours, better blacks, and more convincing contrast and texture. There's no real motion processing onboard, but the native handling is decent.
While not exactly cinematic, the integrated speaker system is clear and controlled, so will do the job if you're unwilling or unable to add a soundbar.
All told, this TCL is a very solid buy. If you want a big TV on a budget, there's currently nothing better.
Read the full TCL 55RP620K review
This five-star set has a great lineage with its three predecessors all winning What Hi-Fi? Awards. The 49in KD-49XH9505 (XBR-49X950H in the States) is certainly a Dolby Vision TV that's hard to beat.
Sony has basically reused the shell of its 2019 KD-49XG9005, which is a bit of a shame as it's fairly thick and has awkward-looking feet that give the set an overly wide footprint. But the set looks fairly smart in its own right. You also get a better remote than last year's that's neatly laid out and doesn't require line of sight to send commands to the TV.
Most importantly, the new model is stuffed with upgraded kit, including Sony's flagship processor, the X1 Ultimate, which brings with it lots of picture improvements. All told, this is a punchier and more richly coloured performer than its predecessor, with more dark detail and the excellent motion processing for which Sony is renowned. It sounds impressively weighty and solid, too.
Other than a bit of blooming from the direct LED backlight, this is an absolute corker and the new benchmark for 49in Dolby Vision TVs.
Read the full review: Sony KD-49XH9505
2020 may have been a bit of a damp squib for most of us, but at least it threw up some awesome TVs. This LG model is an absolute barnstormer with excellent picture processing, powerful sound and a beautiful design.
This is LG's new 'Gallery' model, and as such is entirely intended for wall-mounting. You don't even get a stand in the box (although feet can be bought separately), with a low-profile mount provided instead. The set is a uniform 2cm deep, which is exceptionally slim - under half the thickness of the CX.
Picture-wise, LG has taken the exemplary performance of its 2019 OLEDs and improved it in a few key areas, with dark detail, colour richness and motion handling all getting a boost. The set sounds decent, too, particularly for one with essentially invisible speakers.
The only issue for UK buyers is the current lack of catch-up apps such as All 4, but LG assures us it's working on this. Either way, this is a stunning Dolby Vision TV and last year's TV benchmark. Buy it and you won't be disappointed.
Read the full review: LG OLED65GX
The Panasonic TX-58HX800B isn't part of Panasonic's high-end TV range, but it looks similar to the company's pricier OLEDs thanks to the edge-lit LED backlight.
Performance is outstanding for the money, especially when it comes to dark detail. And while the colours falter slightly with standard definition content, Panasonic's near-flawless upscaling technology delivers a wealth of picture detail (without over-sharpening pixels). The sound is decent and there's support for Dolby Atmos.
Panasonic’s user interface, My Home Screen 5.0, won't win any design awards, but it's easy to use. It still employs the Freeview Play EPG and services, and there are a few missing apps (namely Disney+, Google Play Movies & TV, Now TV, BT Sport and Apple TV). A shame, but a media streamer would soon plug those gaps.
For the money, this is a great mid-range Dolby Vision TV. If you're prepared to overlook the lacklustre user interface, the TX-58HX800B is a bit of a bargain.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-58HX800B
This TV won our TV Product of the Year Award in 2019 and comes in both 55in and 65in guises.
What's so good about it? The processing power and AI smarts, which bring huge boosts to contrast, colours and detail. Turn it on, and you're met with stunning, near-flawless picture performance.
And considering it's around the bottom of the current range in terms of its speaker system, it sounds pretty good, too - although we would, as ever, recommend buying a quality sound system to do justice to the fabulous picture.
The CX and GX superseded the C9 in 2020, but that just means it's now available for a lot less money, making it even better value than before. Grab this high-quality Dolby Vision TV while you still can.
Read the full review: LG OLED55C9PLA (55in)
Read the full review: LG OLED65C9PLA (65in)
How we test TVs
Testing a TV is a long and complex process because a modern TV simply does so much. Not only does it need to handle a variety of content resolutions – standard-def, 1080p, 4K and sometimes 8K – and both standard dynamic range and high dynamic range (the latter in a number of formats), all of which need to be specifically tested, it also has a sound system with various advanced settings and a full smart platform. A TV is an all-in-one device in the best sense, but that also makes it a challenging review proposition.
As part of our testing process, we manually check that every major app – from Netflix to All 4, Prime Video to Spotify – is not only present but also output in the video and sound formats that it should. Just because there's a Disney+ app doesn't necessarily mean it's working in Dolby Vision and/or Dolby Atmos. In fact, in many recent cases, it hasn't been.
We also connect both a PS5 and Xbox Series X in order to establish which advanced gaming features are and aren't supported, and on which of the TV's HDMI ports. Is 4K 120Hz supported? How about VRR? Is there a Dolby Vision game mode? Is there an HGiG preset for more accurate HDR tone mapping? We check all of these things and measure input lag using a Leo Bodnar device.
We then test the TV's picture quality using a huge variety of content, from old DVDs to the latest 4K Blu-rays and plenty of streamed movies and TV shows in between. Every TV is tested against the best model at its price and size – we have a stockroom packed full of Award-winners for this very purpose.
We don't accept the out-of-the-box settings that a TV comes in either. While we intentionally don't go down the route of professional calibration (you shouldn't have to have your TV professionally calibrated in order to get the best out of it), we do spend hours adjusting settings using a mixture of test patterns and real-world content until we're sure we're getting the best out of a TV so that it has the best chance to shine.
While we almost always advise that a new TV is combined with a dedicated sound system such as a soundbar or AV amplifier, many people still prefer to stick with their flatscreen's built-in speakers, so we thoroughly test these too, using a wide variety of movie and music content and with great attention spent to the TV's many processing modes and individual settings.
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Bath and Reading, where our team of expert reviewers do all of our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. What's more, all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure consistency and avoid any personal preference.
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of in reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.
From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended below, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.