Best big TVs for the big game 2018, starting at just $370
The Philadelphia Eagles will play the New England Patriots in the most-watched TV event of the year. Here are eight big, beautiful TVs on which to enjoy the game.
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? Look no further than a certain upcoming football game, whose stringent trademark restrictions prevent me from naming directly.
Want another arrow in your new-TV-rationalization quiver? Prices on many sets are at their lowest levels yet as manufacturers and retailers tackle 2017 inventory in advance of 2018 models. If you want a new TV now, and don't want to wait until the fourth quarter of 2018 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 call a play from field level. That's where I come in. Think of me as your eye-in-the-sky offensive coordinator, without the headset.
Here are eight 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 B&H as of press time. Pricing and availability may vary depending on when you read this, so be sure to click through on the size you want for the latest price.
Why it's on this list: As the cheapest big-screen TV I can heartily recommend, the TCL S405 is an ideal first play of the consideration game. The picture is good enough for most viewers, albeit worse than any of the others on this list. But holy gods of gridiron, that's a low price on the 55-inch set! (By the way, the 43-incher is also on sale for $330.) Roku's awesome smart TV system is a nice sweetener, too, especially if you want to stream the game or watch it via antenna.
Why it's on this list: Even cheaper than the TCL above at 65 inches, the Vizio E is a better choice for budget buyers who want a linebacker-size screen. 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. One 3-and-out for cord-cutters however: There's no tuner in the E series (or the M series, below), so you can't watch the game via antenna.
Why it's on this list: If you want a 55-inch TV, this is my No. 1 pick for the money. Think of it as the speediest little slot receiver on the field. It handily outperforms the first two on this list and combines Dolby Vision HDR with the joy of Roku. The only difference between the 607 and the cheaper 605, which is exclusive to Best Buy, is the remote.
Why it's on this list: So maybe you want a screen bigger than 55 inches and better than the E series. That's where the M comes in. It sits at what I call the sweetest spot between image quality and affordability, delivering that great local dimming in larger screen sizes than the TCL P series. It earned my Editors' Choice award for 2017 as the best TV for the money overall, so if you're drafting based on BPA, it's a clear No. 1 pick.
Why it's on this list: If you were waiting for these TV playoffs to include another team beyond TCL and Vizio, wait no longer. The Sony X900E is affordable enough to tempt midrange TV shoppers away from those budget brands, yet has a good enough picture that you won't feel burned buying it. Its main claim to fame is HDR prowess -- the big game isn't even in 4K this year, but baby steps, right?
Why it made the list: Perhaps you're hosting the kind of refined big-game gathering that serves crepes and sparkling water instead of chili and beer. Or perhaps you just want a Samsung. In both cases the aesthetically pleasing, full-featured MU9000 fits the bill, although its picture falls short of most of the other TVs listed here.
Why it made the list: Like the MU9000, above, but with a better reputation and superior style -- the Q7 is Tom Brady to the MU9000's Nick Foles. Given all the marketing money that Samsung has thrown at QLED you might expect it to have a better picture than the MU9000, but in our tests the two were very similar. The upside to this pick, however, is that the Q7 is truly on super-sale, fully $300 cheaper for the 65-inch compared to its Black Friday low.
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 B7A is the cheapest one ever, and still offers the best picture we've ever tested. The C7 is identical aside from minor audio and styling differences, but hey, at this price maybe it's worth paying a bit more for its sleeker stand or Dolby Atmos. And if you're worried about buyer's remorse when the 2018 models come out, don't be.
Update, Jan. 31: Added slideshow. First published Jan. 23.