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The best 65-inch TV for 2020: LG, TCL, Sony, Vizio and more

65 is the new 50, and large TVs are cheaper than ever. Here are our favorites.

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

As they become increasingly more common, 65-inch TVs are more affordable than ever. A solid budget model for under $500 isn't a tall order, and if you are able to spend a few hundred more, you'll be able to get sets with truly excellent image quality. I prefer using 65-inch screens when I make side-by-side comparisons of TVs here at CNET, since just about every mainstream TV-maker offers this size. 65-inch TVs are big enough to show off HDR-quality video and 4K but are not too huge to line up next to each other. Here are some of the best 65-inch TV screens I've found.

Now playing: Watch this: Watch me set up a TV review lab in my basement

The list below represents the best TVs I've reviewed in CNET's test lab (for 2020, that's my basement), where I compare smart LED TV, QLED TV, Ultra HD TV, 4K HDR TV and other 65-inch TV options and list them side-by-side to see which ones are most worth buying. Here are my latest recommendations, updated periodically, with the following notes to keep in mind.

Read more: What size of TV do I need?

Sarah Tew/CNET

No TV I've ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The 2020 TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to mini-LED tech and well-implemented full-array local dimming that helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. It's also a solid choice for gamers with a new THX mode that combines low input lag and high contrast. As if that's not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite. Read our TCL 6-Series (2020 Roku TV) review.

David Katzmaier/CNET

The 2020 LG CX is the best-performing TV we've ever reviewed, and it's also among the best-prepared for the new consoles. If you're counting milliseconds, it also has the lowest (best) input lag of the three TVs.

1080p input lag: 14ms

4K HDR input lag: 14ms

Sizes: 48-, 55-, 65-, 77-inch. Read our LG OLEDCX series review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

TCL's 8-Series also features mini-LED and the result is superb contrast, brightness and high dynamic range that beats the less expensive 6-Series in my side-by-side comparison. The overall image quality doesn't quite hit OLED levels, but it comes pretty close and costs a lot less. Read our TCL 8-Series (2019 Roku TV) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With overall image quality on par with the TCL 6-Series and a price that's not that much more expensive, the X900H's suite of connections is actually better than the TCL. It's the most affordable TV with full 4K/120Hz HDMI input capability.

1080p input lag: 16ms

4K HDR input lag: 15ms

Sizes: 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-inch.  Read our Sony XBR-X900H review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, this is the runner-up for best TV for the money. The TCL has a better picture in a couple of important areas, in particular HDR brightness and contrast. I'd also recommend the TCL to streaming-centric viewers because of its superior Roku smart HDTV system. It's great for watching Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV and more. And finally this is a 2019 model, so you might want to wait a bit for my upcoming reviews of the 2020 version. Read our Vizio M-Series Quantum M8 series (2019) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku is our favorite platform for streaming apps like Netflix, and it's even better baked into this 4K TV. Picture quality on this TCL 65-inch television set can't beat any of the models above -- 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. 

Note that the TCL 65S425 and 65S421 (the Walmart version) are very similar and we expect them to perform basically the same.

Other stuff to know about buying a new TV

I'm pretty sure you'd be happy with any one of the TV screens 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.

  • In my opinion, bigger is better. Big TVs are cheaper than ever, and your money is best spent on larger screen size rather than a slight upgrade in image quality.
  • If you don't like the built-in smart TV system with smart functionality, you can always add a media streamer. They're cheap and easy to use, and receive updates more frequently than most smart TVs. See the best media streamers here.
  • Most TVs sound terrible, so it's worthwhile to pair your new set with a sound bar or other speaker system. Good ones start at around $100. See the best soundbars here.

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

More TV advice and recommendations