Best TVs: Picture quality

Updated April 16, 2014 6:42 AM PDT

Our "best products" lists (on the left) take into account design, features and value as well as picture quality. However, for people seeking the best picture quality only, the models below will fit the bill. Each TV scored at least an 8 in the Performance subrating, and in the case of a scoring tie, we've ranked them in order of which TV we think delivers a better overall picture.

Currently only four TVs make the cut. That's primarily because the superb 2013 Panasonic plasmas are now sold out after the company announced it would cease manufacturing plasma TVs altogether. This is sad news, in part because those plasmas occupied three of the top four slots on this list. Until we get a chance to review a qualifying 2014 TV, it will remain relatively short.

One other TV deserves mention. In August, I got enough hands-on time with one of the first two OLED TVs, Samsung's KN55S9C, to confirm that OLED can produce better images than any LED LCD or plasma. It's not a full review so it doesn't make this list, but if it was, it would take a rightful place at the top.

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Samsung PNF8500

Samsung's best-performing TV ever, the PNF8500 series pushes the plasma picture quality envelope, especially in bright rooms.

Price: $2,449.00 - $3,699.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Sony KDL-55W900A

The Sony W900A is a fine high-end LED LCD television, with excellent color performance and deep black levels.

Price: $1,495.00 - $1,799.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Samsung UNF9000

Despite excellent all-around picture quality, the Samsung UNF9000 4K TV offers almost no improvement over cheaper 1080p TVs that cost much less.

Price: $2,966.00 - $4,497.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Samsung UNF8000

The excellent yet expensive Samsung UNF8000 is a tour de force of LED LCD TV design, features, and picture quality.

Price: $1,419.00 - $2,497.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent
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