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 Katzmaier Editorial 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.
Expertise A 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.
David Katzmaier
4 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

7 awesome TVs for watching the Super Bowl

See all photos

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.

Enough with the pregame, let's kick it off!

TCL S405 series Roku TV

TCL S405 series
Sarah Tew/CNET

55-inch TCL 55S405: $370

65-inch TCL 65S405: $877

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.

Vizio E series (60 inch and larger)

Vizio E Series
Sarah Tew/CNET

60-inch Vizio E60-E3: $700

65-inch Vizio E65-E1: $750

70-inch Vizio E70-E3: $1,080

75-inch Vizio E75-E3: $1,600

80-inch Vizio E80-E3: $2,600 

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.

TCL P series

Sarah Tew/CNET

55-inch TCL 55P605: $600

55-inch TCL 55P607: $650

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.

Vizio M series

Vizio M series 2017
Sarah Tew/CNET

55-inch Vizio M55-E0: $700

65-inch Vizio M65-E0: $1,000

70-inch Vizio M70-E3: $1,400

75-inch Vizio M75-E1: $1,850

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.

Sony XBR-X900E series

Sarah Tew/CNET

55-inch Sony XBR-55X900E: $1,000

65-inch Sony XBR-65X900E: $1,500

75-inch Sony XBR-75X900E: $2,500

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?

Samsung MU9000 series

Sarah Tew/CNET

55-inch Samsung UN55MU9000: $1,200

65-inch Samsung UN65MU9000: $1,700

75-inch Samsung UN75MU9000: $3,000

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.

Samsung Q7 series

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung QN55Q7F: $1,500

Samsung QN65Q7F: $2,200

Samsung QN75Q7F: $3,300

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. 

LG C7 or B7A series

Sarah Tew/CNET

55-inch OLED55B7A: $1,600

65-inch OLED65B7A: $2,500

55-inch OLED55C7: $1,700

65-inch OLED65C7: $2,700

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.

Best TVs of 2018: Our editors hand-picked these based on our tests and reviews. 

CES 2018 TV wrap-up: The TVs of tomorrow will turn invisible.