Soon the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots will play in the most-watched TV event of the year. Here are seven big, beautiful TVs on which to enjoy the game--and many more afterwards.
David KatzmaierEditorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
ExpertiseA 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics.Credentials
Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Looking for an excuse to finally buy that big-screen TV you've been coveting? A certain upcoming football game is the perfect justification.
And now is the perfect time. Prices on many sets are at their lowest levels yet as manufacturers and retailers tackle 2016 inventory in advance of incoming 2017 models. If you want a new TV now, and don't want to wait until the 4th quarter when prices fall again, it might be time to pull the trigger.
Unfortunately, like the box against a 3rd and 1, the TV market is packed with contenders for your dollar. It's not easy to pick a winner without some help. That's where I come in. Think of me as your TV buying coach, with less yelling.
Here are seven of my favorite TVs, all available in sizes of at least 55 inches, arranged from cheapest to most expensive. I listed the lowest price I found at Amazon, Best Buy, WalMart or Vizio.com as of press time, but pricing and availability may vary depending on when you read this.
Why it's on this list: The Vizio E series deliverssuperb image quality for a budget TV, outdoing other cheap TVs and many midrange models. The secret is local dimming, a technology that increases contrast especially in dark scenes. Don't worry, it still looks great for bright football games too, especially at this price. Just be sure to check out the full review to get the full story on all the various model numbers--not every Vizio E is created equal. I've listed the model numbers I like best for every size above.
Why it's on this list: Because it's the cheapest Samsung I tested in 2016, and some people would rather have a Samsung (or maybe an LG or Sony) than a Vizio. Especially when all their friends come over for the big game. The KU7000 is cheaper and has a better picture than either the Sony X850D or the LG UH8500, as well as great style and plenty of smart features, including an innovative Smart TV system complete with device control.
Why it's on this list: Here's where the list starts to get really good. The M series represents the best bang for the TV buck of any model we tested in 2016. It earned an "8" in our picture quality tests thanks again to local dimming, and while it's not as good as some of the higher-end TVs below, it's still excellent. And no, the inclusion of a free Android tablet did not in any way figure into our awarding the M series a CNET's Editors' Choice award.
Why it made the list: This time it's about more than just the Samsung name. The KU8000 doesn't match the overall image quality of the cheaper Vizio M, but it does excel is in bright rooms and with bright material -- perfect for football afternoons when the season starts up again. In the meantime great looks and that same innovative Smart TV system, miles better than Vizio's included tablets, sweeten the deal.
Why it made the list: I swear this is the last Vizio on the list, but what can I say, these TVs are great for the money.The best non-OLED picture quality I tested in 2016 belongs to the P series, which has the best local dimming implementation on this list and a brighter picture than the other Vizios. I'm not listing the 55-inch version because it uses an IPS-based LCD panel, which delivers worse picture quality than the others.
Why it made the list: Because aside from the VizioP series, the X930D delivered the best overall picture quality of any non-OLED TV we tested this year--and the two were damn close. Both scored a "9" in our picture quality tests, and the Sony has an advantage over the P series (and every other TV on this list) in bright rooms with its prodigious light output.
Why it made the list: Nothing will impress your friends more on big game day, or impress your eyes afterward, than an OLED TV. The B6 is the least-expensive of the breed but it still delivers the same image quality as even-more-expensive models--quality that just happens to be the best we've ever tested. And if you're worried about buyer's remorse after the 2017 models come out, check this out.