LG OLED vs. Sony OLED: Which high-end TV should you buy right now?

Every OLED TV we've reviewed has scored a 10 in picture quality. So which one is right for you?

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

Updated June 12, 2017

If you've had your eye on a brand-new 2017 OLED TV, whether from LG or Sony , it may surprise you to see I'm still recommending the, er, brand-old LG B6 OLED TV instead. It's still the best buy for most people. 

OLED TVs still provide the best picture quality I've ever tested, and I just reviewed the 2017 Sony XBR-A1E series. Like I found with LG's own 2017 OLED TVs, it does deliver slightly better image quality than the B6 from 2016.

The problem? Even after the most recent price drops, the cheapest 2017 OLED TVs still cost $500 more than the B6. And Sony's OLED TV is even more expensive. 

Sony's OLED TV leans back in style

See all photos

All OLED TVs I've tested in the last two years offer very similar image quality. Here's how I summed it up in my side-by-side comparison review of the C7:

Compared to the 2016 OLED B6, which earned the same picture quality score of 10, the 2017 C7 delivers slightly more light output and looks better with some high dynamic range (HDR) content, but all told the overall differences are minor.

In terms of performance differences between the old and new LGs, that's it. I saw a few other variances when I compared them side-by-side to the Sony, but again, nothing major. All of them scored a "10" for picture quality.

If you have to buy a new OLED TV right now and want the best deal, the B6 is still your best bet. But if you can afford to wait, the LG C7 (and even the Sony) will inevitably get cheaper as the B6 gets phased out. 

2016 LG B6 vs. 2017 LG C7 vs. 2017 Sony A1E

Brand ModelYearSizePrice on June 12Change since April 25
LG OLED55B6P201655-inch$2,000No change
LG OLED55C7P201755-inch$2,500-$700
LG OLED65B6P201665-inch$3,000-$500
LG OLED65C7P201765-inch$3,500-$1,000
Sony XBR-55A1E201755-inch$3,500-$500
Sony XBR-65A1E201765-inch$5,000-$500

Catch the falling OLED price

When I wrote the first version of this article six weeks ago on April 25, the price difference between the 2016 B6 and the 2017 C7 was $1,000 for both sizes. Then on June 12, the price of the C7 fell another $500.

The reason is that inventory on the B6 is going away as it continues to sell. I still think the price difference is big enough to justify buying a B6 now, but soon I expect prices on the two to equalize even further, or the B6 to basically sell out . When either of those things happen, my advice will change and the B6 will no longer be worth buying, in my opinion, over the C7.

Want more reasons to wait? Maybe the B7 -- a version of the C7 exclusive to Costco and other big box merchants, and which has the exact same image quality and features -- will get cheaper too. It's currently just $50 less than the C7, but that could change.

On June 12 the Sony's price, along with that of the LG E7, also fell substantially. It's still significantly more expensive than either the B6 or the C7, however. I consider both only worth the price difference if you have money to burn.

For everyone else who can't wait for prices to fall later this year, an "old" OLED is still a good OLED.

Watch this: LG OLED TVs give great picture and look gorgeous doing it

Best TVs of 2017: The best value televisions whatever your budget.