Almost everyone enjoys sitting down for a movie or a TV binge. Here at SoundVision, we are always checking out the latest televisions to see which LED and OLED TVs deliver the best overall experience. There are a number of distinctive qualities we look for that dictate what makes a TV great. Here are the qualities we feel are most important in a TV. There are a few qualities we look for in TV’s before we recommend them.
First, the TV has to look great. It needs to blend in seamlessly with your décor or have an unobtrusive design. We make sure to keep all wires out of sight and either mount the TV flush or on an articulating mount. If you want a perfect installation with a clean install as part of your TV system revamp, give us a call or leave us a message.
Great picture means the picture you expect is exactly what you get on the screen. According to the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), the four most important characteristics for picture quality matter in this order: contrast, color saturation, correct colors and then resolution. We keep all these things in mind when choosing what TVs to recommend. We like TVs that have vivid color and high contrast so that the picture feels real. We also like bright TVs that effectively combat glare so they are easy to watch in bright rooms. All of our best TVs of 2021 are in 4K resolution.
Our LED Picks for 2021
Best overall LED TV: Samsung QN90A
For an overall best experience with minimal compromises, we recommend the Samsung QN90A. The Q90A is one of the brightest TVs on the market. This is great for combating glare and enables you to watch TV in the brightest rooms. Thanks to the bright panel, it offers a phenomenally strong contrast that normally can’t be achieved with an LED TV and makes the picture pop. It’s hard to find any negatives of the QN90A.
From a design standpoint, the bezels are incredibly thin so your picture pops off the wall when the TV is on. The frame has a thin chamfered edge with a dark brushed metal look. The bezel design is subtle and all but disappears when the TV is on. The TV looks elegant against the wall at around one inch thick, so it will sit about as close to the wall as a TV can.
Samsung also makes the 8K version of this TV, the QN900A. The QN900A is less than three quarters of an inch thick, it’s four times the resolution and its bezels are virtually nonexistent. The contrast is significantly weaker, it isn’t as bright and there are more image artifacts. Then there’s the price: It is ~225% more expensive. So you pay for the 8K resolution, and we’re skeptical that 8K will ever take off, so buy with caution if you choose to go the QN900A route. We suspect 8K may see the same fate as 3D TVs did.
Best Décor LED TV: The Frame TV
We love the Frame TV. The TV seamlessly disappears on your wall by displaying beautiful framed and matted art when not in use. Surrounded by a picture frame to give the appearance of a framed photo, we feel the Frame TV is the most versatile television on the market. It will sit flush against the wall like a traditional picture frame. You can add your own photos and customize the photo matte, so you can tie it together with any space. It’s also a modest one inch thick. And when SoundVision does your install, there are no wires or evidence there’s a TV on your wall.
As a TV, the Frame TV is a pretty good performer. Because the Frame TV is designed to imitate a traditional photo, the display is a little reflective compared to most TVs which can create glare in bright rooms. Otherwise, if you didn’t put it next to the Samsung QN90A, most wouldn’t be able to perceive the difference in picture quality. Its ability to tie in with your room’s decor earns the Frame TV a spot as one of the best TVs of 2021.
Best Value LED TV: Sony X950H
For those who just want a TV with a great picture, the Sony X950H is a hard value to beat. We think the picture is just as good as the Frame TV. Some say the blacks aren’t as dark and the contrast isn’t as strong when compared to the Frame TV, but its only marginal. Unlike the Frame TV, it’s bright and not very reflective, so it can be watched in the brightest of rooms.
The X950H has an unmistakably plastic bezel and is three inches thick without a mount. It’s not the most beautiful TV, but the bezels are still very thin so it’s easy to overlook. For those who don’t care how the TV looks on the wall, the Sony X950H deserves its spot on our list of Best TVs of 2021.
OLED TV: The Best Picture You’re Going to Get
If you can control the natural light coming into the room, then OLED will deliver the best picture possible. They don’t get as bright as LEDs, but most of the drawbacks of traditional LED TVs are non-existent with an OLED TV. For those who are looking for the absolute best picture on the market, OLED delivers.
Best overall OLED TV: The Sony A90J
All OLED panels are made by LG, and all those panels are largely the same when it comes to their picture. Sony buys these panels for their OLED TV’s and brings their unbeatable image processing and brightness. OLED delivers phenomenal contrast with no artifacts. It has all the visual bells and whistles like HDR10, 4K at 120 frames per second, fairly bright for an OLED, Dolby Vision and some of the best 1080p HD upscaling we’ve seen.
Visually, the A90J looks nice on the wall. It’s under two inches thick, but the display protrudes outward from the rest of the TV, preventing a perfectly flushed look on the wall. The bezel is remarkably thin and will feel like it disappears once the TV is on. Of course, such a great TV comes at a cost, but there’s no substitute for those chasing the absolute best TV of 2021.
Best Décor OLED: LG G1 Gallery Series
The LG G1 takes the philosophy of the Frame TV and makes everything thinner. On the Frame TV, the frame accentuated the TV, whereas the LG G1 has bezels so thin that they almost disappear when watching. Looking from the side, this TV is about as thin as it gets. The included mount allows the TV to get less than an eighth of an inch from the wall, and the TV itself is under an inch thick. That’s what you’re paying for in the G1 over any other OLED. This is the best TV for those who want a TV that seems to be a part of your wall.
Best Value: LG C1
The LG C1 picture looks nearly as good as the Sony A90J. LG’s processing isn’t as good as Sony’s and the panel isn’t as bright. However, if you’re looking to get into OLED for all the benefits over LED, then this is a phenomenal TV. LG also has a new entry level LG A1 model sitting below the C1, but the C1 is brighter and has a higher refresh rate. We feel these bonuses are well worth the small price premium.
Aesthetically, the LG C1 looks better looking than most LED TV’s. In LG fashion, the bezel is brilliantly thin. The outer edge of the screen is as thin as a coin, but still has to protrude out from the wall. This is because the TV inputs are housed in the lower middle on the back. This protrusion makes the TV almost two inches thick. It’s still a thin TV, but it means that the coin-thin edge will always have a notable gap from the wall. Nonetheless, for those who really want to get into OLED, it’s 90% of the Sony A90J for almost half the price. The incredible value of the LG C1 earns it a spot as one of the best TV’s of 2021.
What about Audio?
TVs get so thin these days that sound often takes a drastic hit. They are fine for passive listening, but don’t expect anything spectacular, especially when trying to immerse yourself in a movie. We also hear complaints about dialog being hard to understand when using TV speakers. We like to design sound systems tailored to each space and budget. Sometimes all we recommend for a space is a soundbar, which is still a massive upgrade from built-in TV speakers. Other times we can help bring in-ceiling speakers for a hidden home-theater experience. If you’re revamping your viewing and listening experiences, send us a message!
You can’t go wrong with any of these televisions. They all excel at different things in different spaces. The Samsung QN90A is a fantastic all-around TV that can be put anywhere, even the brightest of rooms. The LG C1 will give the best picture possible as long as it’s not in a bright room. The Frame TV can seamlessly blend in with your home’s décor and mount perfectly flush like a traditional painting. Finally, the Sony X950H offers an excellent viewing experience for a modest price. No matter your choice, consider giving us a call to help tie in your home theater to your space.