Can't afford OLED? These four great TVs are cheaper than ever

LG's OLED-based televisions are CNET's favorites, but despite recent price drops they're still really expensive. Meanwhile these four LCDs cost half as much (or less) and still give excellent picture quality.

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
3 min read
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We love OLED TVs , and we're betting you do too.

We're also betting that you haven't bought one yet. OLED is getting less expensive, but it's a slow process. Right now the 65-inch LG OLED65B6P costs $3,000 and the 55-inch OLED55B5P costs $2,000. If you can afford one, go for it. But those are at least twice as much as the four excellent LCD TVs I've gathered here.

Most of the TVs I've tested in 2016 are at all-time low prices, so now's a great time to snap one up if that OLED is still too expensive.

Before you get too excited, remember that you often still get what you pay for when it comes to TV image quality. While these TVs range from outstanding to very good, none of them can come close to the image quality of OLED. All suffer from the worse black levels and off-angle performance that comes with LCD, and the brighter images of the Sony and Samsung aren't a major advantage. OLED still looks great in bright rooms too.

That said, buying one of these TVs over an OLED will currently save you between $1,200 and $1,700 on a 65-inch screen. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Here are our four current favorite OLED alternatives, presented in descending order of price. 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.

4 cheaper OLED TV alternatives

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Model: Sony XBR-X930D series

65-inch price: $1,800

55-inch price: $1,300

Why I like it: Aside from the Vizio P series , the X930D delivered the best overall picture quality of any LCD TV we tested this year. They're very close, however and both scored a "9" in our picture quality tests -- only OLED TVs got full marks in 2016. The Sony's other attributes, including better HDR quality, beautiful style, a superior Smart TV system and the Sony brand, could make it worth the extra over the Vizio too.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Model: Vizio P series

75-inch price: $3,800

65-inch price: $1,600

55-inch price: Don't buy it (see below)

50-inch price: $1,000

Why I like it: The best non-OLED picture quality I tested in 2016 belongs to the P series, which had superb black levels and great contrast thanks to its full-array local dimming. It also has a solid feature set including support for both flavors of high dynamic range. Just make sure you don't get the 55-inch model. It uses an IPS-based LCD panel, which delivers worse picture quality than the others.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Model: Samsung KS8000 series

65-inch price: $1,500

55-inch price: $1,000

49-inch price: $900

Why I like it: Although it only scored a "7" in our tests, giving it the worst picture quality score on this list, this Samsung has a lot going for it. Its black levels are still decent and its high light output and excellent anti-reflective screen make it a great performer in bright rooms. Sweet looks and an innovative Smart TV system (complete with device control) sweeten the deal.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Model: Vizio M series

70-inch price: $1,900

65-inch price: $1,300

55-inch price: $700

50-inch price: $649

Why I like it: Simply put, 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 the P or the Sony, 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.

For more alternatives, check out CNET's list of Best TVs.