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Super BowlCompared with buying a phone or a PC, you probably don't have to replace your television too often. When you finally do, however, it can seem like a whole new world of confusion. The latest jargon -- 4K, 8K, HDMI 2.1HDR120Hz, OLED, QLED, Smart LED, Ultra HD, the list goes on -- is overwhelming, particularly for someone who hasn't shopped for a new TV in five or 10 years.

I've been reviewing TVs since the days of rear projection and plasma, and I try to keep it as simple as possible. I concentrate on one concept: picture quality for the money.

The list below represents the best TVs I've reviewed in CNET's test lab, where I compare them side by side to see which ones are most worth buying. Here are my latest recommendations, with the following notes to keep in mind.

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OLED TVs are the picture quality kings, but they're not cheap. The TVs' OLED displays use organic light-emitting diode technology to deliver a contrast ratio, viewing angles, and a wide color gamut that no LCD TV (or QLED TV) can match. All of LG's 2019 OLED models include the latest version of the HDMI standard: 2.1. That means their HDMI ports can handle 4K at 120fps, as well as two gamer-friendly extras: variable refresh rate and automatic low latency mode (aka auto game mode). As the least expensive OLED TV, the B9 is our favorite overall for high-end shoppers. It fell just a bit short of the C9 in image quality in our tests, but the differences are minuscule -- and since it's less expensive than the C9, it's a better value.

Sizes: 55-, 65-, 77-inch. Read our LG OLEDB9P series review.

Read more: How to buy a TV

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No TV I've ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The latest version of the TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to improved color, and its well-implemented full-array local dimming helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. As if that's not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.

Sizes: 55-, 65-inch. Read our TCL 6-Series (2019 Roku TV) review.

Read more: Best 65-inch TVs for 2020

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What's that you say? You just want the best, 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), although the B9 is a superior value -- almost as good and much less expensive. But if that "barely" matters to you, the C9 might be worth the extra cash.

Sizes: 55-, 65-, 77-inch. Read our LG OLEDC9P series review.

Read more: Best TVs for gaming with low input lag

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Can't afford an OLED TV? Still willing to pay extra -- but not that much extra -- for good color and outstanding image quality? The Vizio PX is our pick for you, with superb light output no OLED can match, top-notch local dimming and all the high-contrast, high dynamic range joy that comes with it. Its closest competitor is the TCL below -- but this Vizio is the superior value.

Sizes: 65-, 75-inch. Read our Vizio P-Series Quantum X review.

Read more: Best 75-inch TVs for 2020

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Roku is our favorite platform for live TV streaming apps like Netflix, and it's even better baked into the TV. This TCL 4-Series can't beat any of the models above on image quality -- its 4K resolution and HDR compatibility don't do anything to help the picture -- but it's perfectly fine for most people, 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.

Read moreHDR formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10, Technicolor and HLG explained

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Speaking of top-of-the-line, this TCL features Mini-LED, a technology that isn't found on any other TV currently available. The result is superb contrast and brightness that outdoes the Vizio PX by a nose, although it doesn't quite hit OLED levels. We still consider the PX a better OLED alternative, however, because its picture quality is almost as good and it costs a lot less, especially in the 75-inch size.

Sizes: 65-, 75-inch. Read our TCL 8-Series (2019 Roku TV) review.

Read more: How Samsung QLED and LG OLED, the two best TV technologies, compare in 2020

Sarah Tew/CNET

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 a TCL or Vizio and don't want to splurge for an OLED, the Q70 is an excellent choice.

Sizes: 49-, 55-, 65-, 75-, 82-inch. Read our Samsung Q70 series (2019) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, no TV offers this much picture for this little cash. In my comparisons, the TCL won slightly in a couple of important areas, in particular HDR brightness and contrast and black levels. I'd also recommend the TCL to streaming-centric viewers because of its superior Roku smart HDTV system. All of that said, the Vizio is still an excellent choice and sometimes available for less than the TCL -- just make sure you're getting the M8, not the M7. 

Sizes: 55-, 65-inch. Read our Vizio M-Series Quantum M8 series (2019) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For sizes smaller than 55 inches, and for people who value smarts over image quality, these non-4K Roku TVs make the most sense. The picture is "good enough" and the built-in smarts are superb -- just enough to watch the final season of "The Office" or "Friends" content. 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 40-inch size.) Read our TCL S325 series (Roku TV) review.

Other stuff to know about buying a new TV

I'm pretty sure you'd be happy with any one of the TVs above, but a new set can be a big investment, so maybe you're looking for a bit more information. Here's a quick and dirty list.

  • Prices for 2019 TVs started hitting their lowest points around late November (for Black Friday) and will continue to go on sale through the Super Bowl.
  • In spring 2020 new TV models will arrive, but since TVs are generally a mature technology, they won't be worth waiting for if you want a TV now.
  • In my opinion, bigger is better. Big TVs are cheaper than ever, and your money is best spent on large screen sizes rather than a slight upgrade in image quality.
  • If you don't like the built-in smart TV system, you can always add a media streamer. They're cheap and easy to use, and receive updates more frequently than most smart TVs. See our picks of the best media streamers.
  • Most built-in speakers sound terrible, so it's worthwhile to pair your new set with a soundbar or other speaker system. Good ones start at around $100. See the best soundbars.

Looking for even more info? Here's everything to know about buying a new TV in 2020

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Originally published last year. Updated periodically with new recommendations.