A big TV might not fit under the tree, but it's still one helluva gift.
A new TV fits into that special category of gifts that's certain to blow the recipient's stockings off. It's doesn't have to be a huge, expensive TV -- although that helps with the stocking-blowing part -- just something that can replace that aging screen and make the viewer feel a warm fuzzy of gratitude every time they settle in to watch their favorite show or movie.
At CNET, we focus our TV reviews on sets that deliver the best value for your money. As the gift-giver, you're already super generous for even considering a TV, so why waste money on frivolities? Here's a few of our favorite gift-ready televisions -- all of which have been fully tested and reviewed -- sorted by price.
It won't fit in among the stocking stuffers, but if you're looking to buy a TV smaller than 55 inches that handles all the streaming apps well, from YouTube to Netflix to Apple's iTunes, this is our top choice. The picture is "good enough" and the built-in Roku system is superb (and really, streaming capability is one of the most important factors these days). And the price is perfect for a kids' room or secondary room where you don't need a massive screen.
Sizes: 28-, 32-, 40-, 43-, 49-inch. (The price shown below is for the 32-inch size.) Read our TCL S325 series (Roku TV) review.
Take everything we said about the 3-Series, add 4K resolution and a larger selection of screen sizes (up to 75 inches), and that's the 4-Series. A cool device at super-affordable price with a superb Roku streaming system makes this the TCL 4-Series a solid buy. TCL 4-Series can't beat any of the models below on image quality -- its 4K resolution and HDR compatibility don't do anything to help the picture -- but it's perfect for most viewers, especially at this price.
Sizes: 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75-inch. (The price shown below is for the 43-inch size.) Read our TCL S425 series (Roku TV) review.
Aside from the TCL 6-Series below, no TV offers this much picture for this little cash. The image quality on this Vizio M8 runs circles around the two TCL sets above, thanks to its full-array local dimming, which leads to truly impressive 4K HDR . Translation: Great gift. Meanwhile it costs a lot less than many TVs that don't perform as well. Its only real weakness is poor built-in streaming, but you can always attach a dedicated streaming device.
Sizes: 55-, 65-inch. Read our Vizio M-Series Quantum M8 series (2019) review.
Yep, it's another TCL Roku TV. This one costs a bit more than the Vizio above (or maybe not by the time you read this -- their pricing fluctuates a lot) but its picture quality is a bit better and its Roku smart TV system is ... well, you know about that already. If you take everything into account, this is simply the best TV for the money we've reviewed in 2019, making it a perfect gift.
Sizes: 55-, 65-inch. Read our TCL 6-Series (2019 Roku TV) review.
Samsung's QLED TVs are basically fancy LCDs -- don't confuse them with OLEDs. The Q70R has an excellent picture and plenty of Samsung design and features goodies for a price that's relatively affordable, albeit not exactly "budget." If you're not interested in giving someone a TCL or Vizio and don't want to splurge for an OLED, the Q70 is an excellent choice. And it comes in a wide range of sizes for your giftee's movie watching pleasure.
Sizes: 49-, 55-, 65-, 75-, 82-inch. Read our Samsung Q70 series (2019) review.
Giving this TV pretty much guarantees you'll make the recipient's year. Organic light-emitting diode technology isn't just super cool, it delivers a contrast and viewing angles that no LCD TV (or QLED) above can touch. The B9 improves on the B8 from 2018 with more extras including HDMI 2.1 features and support for Amazon Alexa and Apple AirPlay 2. It fell just a bit short of the C9 in image quality (below) in our tests, but the differences are minuscule -- and since it's a couple hundred dollars less expensive than the C9, it's a better value.
Sizes: 55-, 65-inch. Read LG OLEDB9P series review.
What's that you say? You just want to give somebody the best TV, money no object? Here you go. In my side-by-side tests the C9 is the best TV I've ever reviewed, barely beating the B9 (above), but the B9 is a superior value -- almost as good and less expensive. The C9 is the king of 2019 TVs, however, especially in the 77-inch size. And you can afford it, right?
Sizes: 55-, 65-, 77-inch. Read our LG OLEDC9P series review.
Originally published earlier this month.