The television market has exploded with a dizzying array of options. Display technologies like OLED and mini-LED look to dethrone tried-and-true LED/LCD. HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz refresh rates enter the mainstream for silky smooth gaming. Smart TVs connect you to a world of streaming media. With endless choices to make, how do you decide which TV brand is right for you?
Let me help you break it down. Below I‘ve rated the major television manufacturers available in 2023 from worst to best. For each brand, I scrutinized:
- Picture quality
- Smart TV features
- Price and value
- Innovation and brand reputation
We‘ll count down the biggest names in TV tech and explore why each ranks where they do. Along the way, I‘ll share tips to demystify the terminology and compare models across critical metrics like display types, resolution, HDR, refresh rates and more.
My goal is to provide tailored advice so you can confidently choose a TV from a manufacturer you can trust. One that meets your viewing needs, budget and use case – whether optimizing for sports, gaming, movies or beyond. There are great options across the price spectrum. Let‘s dive in to find the right brand for you!
State of the Television Industry in 2023
Before getting to the rankings, a quick overview of the TV landscape helps set the stage. Some key trends and innovations to note that affect available models today:
Display Technology Advances
- OLED – Self illuminating pixels with infinite contrast and perfect blacks. Used by LG, Sony, Philips and others. More expensive but amazing picture quality.
- Mini-LED – Tiny LED backlights for precise dimming control. Brighter images than OLED. Used by TCL, Samsung, Sony.
- Quantum Dot / QLED – Nanocrystal layer improves color and brightness. Used by Samsung, Hisense, TCL.
- Micro LED – Emissive technology like OLED but uses micro LEDs. Only very large, expensive TVs so far.
- 4K – 3840 × 2160 pixels. 4x more than 1080p. The new normal standard across all but the cheapest TVs.
- 8K†- 7680 × 4320 pixels. 4x more than 4K. Only on high-end flagship models. Arguably not worth it yet.
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Expands color range and contrast for more vivid, realistic pictures with highlights and shadows. Supported by most 4K TVs.
- HDR10 and Dolby Vision are the major standards. Some TVs also support advanced HDR10+ and Dolby Vision IQ
- 120Hz – Can display up to 120 frames per second. Crucial for gaming, sports and action movies.
- 60Hz – Typical refresh rate for most 4K TVs. Fine for everyday viewing and streaming.
- 240Hz, 480Hz – Found only on high-end models. Provides incredibly smooth motion handling.
Smart TV & Connectivity
- Most modern TVs are "smart" with integrated access to streaming apps like Netflix and Prime Video.
- Popular platforms are webOS, Tizen, Fire TV, Android TV, Roku TV. They differ in selection, ease of use and special features.
- HDMI 2.1 enables higher resolutions and frame rates essential for gaming and future-proofing.
With the basics covered, let‘s see how the major brands compare when it comes to capitalizing on these innovations and features.
To create these 2023 TV brand rankings, I drew on my decade of experience reviewing televisions and display tech. I regularly test models first-hand in my lab and keep a close eye on new product announcements, industry trends and shifts in the competitive landscape.
For each brand, I weighed criteria including:
- Lab-tested performance metrics like contrast, color accuracy, motion handling, input lag and more. I favored brands that consistently achieve great technical results across their lineup.
- Diverse selection of display technologies including LED/LCD, OLED, mini-LED and QLED offered. Having the right tool for every buyer is a plus.
- Prices relative to competitors. Brands with strong value at every price point scored higher.
- Cutting-edge features that enhance the viewing experience – advanced HDR support, next-gen HDMI inputs, gaming-centric capabilities and so on. Being an innovation leader matters.
- Ease of use and breadth of services on smart TV platforms. The best ecosystems make finding great content simple.
- Subjective aesthetics like industrial design and quality of materials used. A TV is a centerpiece in your living room after all.
- Reliability and customer support reputation based on consumer reviews and surveys. Brands that stand behind their products for the long haul fare better.
Now let‘s reveal the rankings from back of the pack to frontrunners! I‘ll share what each brand does well along with room for improvement.
Once king of the CRT hill, the sun has set on JVC as a major TV player. You can only find barebones HD and 4K models on Amazon now as the brand has stopped direct US distribution. Picture quality skews mediocre by current standards. Smart features are non-existent. Support is essentially nil. While JVC clings to a few niche projector and audio markets, I simply can‘t recommend its TVs anymore when there are so many better options available.
Notable Downsides: No competitive models available. No US support or distribution channels.
Verdict: JVC TVs lack any standout qualities, so look elsewhere.
This historic American brand now sells a line of cheap, barebones 4K TVs through retailers like Walmart and Best Buy. But poor reliability due to cut-rate components drags down the value. Reviews frequently cite problems right out of the box or sets failing shortly after purchase. With lackluster picture, sound and smarts, RCA fails to deliver a competitive experience even for budget buyers. You can do much better for just a small step up in price.
Notable Downsides: Poor reliability. Subpar picture quality. Lacks features.
Verdict: Pay a little more for a better quality budget model from Insignia or other brands.
Another blast from the past, Westinghouse just doesn‘t differentiate itself these days. Options are very limited – mainly basic HD and 1080p sets. Picture quality is mediocre. Features are dated. Industrial design screams cheap. While the bargain pricing may entice, brand cachet and value simply aren‘t there. Westinghouse feels like an afterthought brand, not a viable choice for most buyers.
Notable Downsides: Very limited selection. No competitive 4K TVs. Weak performance and reviews.
Verdict: Better off with contemporary brands that deliver modern features and higher performance.
10. Insignia (Best Buy)
Best Buy‘s exclusive house brand allows the retailer to offer entry-level prices on basic big screens. The focus is providing no-frills 4K TVs ranging from 43 to 75 inches at hard-to-beat prices. Since 2021, all Insignia TVs come integrated with Fire TV – a solid smart platform. While picture quality and features are limited, brand loyalists and those wanting the absolute lowest prices for casual viewing should take a look. Just manage expectations versus more capable (and more expensive) brands.
Notable Downsides: Maximum 60Hz refresh rate. No advanced display tech like mini-LED. Just two sub-$500 4K options.
Verdict: Best Buy shoppers get acceptable 4K TVs for basement, dorm or kitchen. Insignia hits the minimum for decent performance and streaming.
After changing ownership twice since 2017, Toshiba TVs are trying to reclaim former brand glory. Focusing on the mid-range market, they offer better picture than bottom barrel brands alongside smarts and connectivity – often with Fire TV built-in. Recent models even integrate HDMI 2.1 to satisfy next-gen gaming needs. While Toshiba isn‘t breaking new ground, TVs like the mid-range C350 provide very solid 4K quality and performance for the money. I‘d certainly prefer Toshiba over brands at the very bottom of this list.
Notable Downsides: Few high-end options. HDR support lags some competitors.
Verdict: Provides competitive bang for the buck but doesn‘t stand out from the pack. Worth considering for a bedroom or secondary TV.
The sole European brand in my rankings, Philips brings a dose of sophistication and style. Picture quality is enhanced by Philips‘ P5 AI processor that analyzes and optimizes every scene. Ambilight – bias lighting that matches colors on-screen – makes Philips TVs uniquely enthralling. Acoustic designs with integrated soundbars boost audio impact. While Philips has ceded share in the hyper-competitive North American market, the brand remains a solid choice for those valuing performance, features and Euro-chic flair.
Notable Downsides: Prices skew to mid-high range. Few budget-friendly options.
Verdict: Not the value leader but brings unique strengths like Ambilight and audio. Worth the premium for some buyers.
7. Amazon Fire TV
Retail giant Amazon now fields its own competitively priced line of 4K TVs featuring integrated Fire TV streaming. The extensive ecosystem with support for Alexa and smart home integration will delight Prime subscribers. Picture quality and HDR coverage punch above their weight – especially the higher-end Omni models. Gaming responsiveness impresses too thanks to Auto Low Latency Mode. If you live in the Amazon / Alexa world, Fire TV brings outstanding integration and value.
Notable Downsides: Audio still lags other brands. Design is plain plastic.
Verdict: Low prices and seamless Prime/Echo integration make these a top value choice if you live in the Amazon ecosystem.
Founded just 20 years ago, Vizio has become a leader in affordable home theater. Even the high-end P-Series Quantum X packs superb 4K/HDR quality with 1800+ nits peak brightness that outshines more expensive brands. HDMI 2.1 across the lineup shows Vizio is serious about next-gen gaming. SmartCast provides plenty of built-in streaming options and works with Apple AirPlay and Chromecast. While the smart platform still needs polish, you‘ll be wowed by the big-screen performance Vizio delivers for less.
Notable Downsides: Smart TV platform not as refined as competitors. Hit or miss reliability.
Verdict: Packs superb picture and sound quality into aggressively priced packages.
TCL has carved out an enviable niche delivering premium display tech at budget-friendly prices. Mini-LED backlighting on the 6-Series provides a level of brightness and contrast that outperforms other brands under $1,000. Throw in quantum dot color, 120Hz gaming chops and the intuitive Roku smart platform – and you have an amazing 4K performer for just a few hundred bucks. Sure, TCL could improve build quality and sound. But for the money, I consistently rate TCL as one of the best values in TVs today.
Notable Downsides: Materials and construction feel cheap. Lacks color and audio refinement of top tier brands.
Verdict: Provides near flagship-level picture quality at prices working families can afford.
Hisense has rapidly risen from its bargain brand roots to a high-value innovator. The company is quick to adopt advancements like ULED technology – its answer to quantum dots and mini-LED backlighting. 4K HDR and brightness hit above their pay grade. Impressive gaming capabilities like 120Hz VRR cater to next-gen console owners. Higher-end models even integrate Google Assistant and Alexa. Yes, you still see some quality control and reliability issues with Hisense occasionally. But get a good panel, and Hisense will deliver better picture and features than other brands at this price point.
Notable Downsides: Quality control still an issue on lower-end models. Smart TV platform UI is basic.
Verdict: Delivers performance and features of more premium brands at aggressive prices.
While Sony pushes the envelope with futuristic concepts like Crystal LED , its consumer Bravia lineup remains on the cutting edge thanks to decades of display innovation and engineering. The stellar A95K combines QD-OLED and Sony‘s advanced XR processor to output near-perfect contrast and color. Even entry level Sonys like the X80K perform admirably compared to most LED/LCD TVs. As you‘d expect from a storied Japanese tech company, Sony TVs simply have unparalleled sophistication in image processing and motion handling. You pay a premium over mainstream brands, but get what you pay for in flawless performance.
Notable Downsides: Less competitive on price. No HDMI 2.1 on 2022 models disappoints gamers.
Verdict: The pinnacle of technical prowess and processing if money is no object.
LG‘s OLED TVs have earned a vaunted reputation for their stunning picture. Self-illuminating pixels create unparalleled contrast since black pixels are truly off. LG continues to hone OLED technology year after year for better brightness, color gamut, and response times. C1 and C2 models topped "best of" lists and deliver everything needed for movies, sports and gaming in a compelling design. While less affordable than LED/LCD, perfect blacks and infinite contrast have won OLED the enthusiast market. Expect LG‘s dominance here to continue.
Notable Downsides: Can‘t match LED/LCD TVs for peak brightness. Burn-in still a risk.
Verdict: The leader in next-level OLED TV technology and performance.
With a laser focus on innovation, Samsung cements its place atop the TV world. Their Neo QLED 4K and 8K models achieve brightness levels approaching 2000 nits for astonishing HDR pop. Mini-LED backlights enable precise illumination where needed. Samsung also ticked key boxes for gamers with 4K 120Hz, VRR and ultra-low input lag. Smart Hub provides an effective streaming portal surrounded by polished Tizen OS navigation. While LCD/LED based, Samsung‘s Neo QLEDs beat virtually all competitors on color, contrast, motion handling and gaming responsiveness. For the ultimate big screen experience, Samsung earns the title of best TV brand today.
Notable Downsides: No current OLED models (marketed QD-OLED TVs use Sony panels). OS lacks some niche apps.
Verdict: Feature-loaded TVs set the standard for bold, beautiful 4K and 8K performance.
TV Buying Guide
Beyond brand alone, a few key considerations will help you choose the perfect television:
- For most buyers, LED/LCD TVs provide the best value combining performance and affordability.
- OLED TVs deliver next-level picture but at a premium price.
- Look for quantum dots, mini-LED backlights or bright panels for HDR in LED/LCD TVs.
- 4K is today‘s standard for new TVs. Provides 4x more pixels than 1080p HD.
- Only consider 8K if going 75-inches plus. 4K is fine for smaller TVs.
- 60Hz handles daily TV and streaming.
- 120Hz enables smooth action and gaming. Some TVs claim higher rates with motion smoothing tricks.
- Entry 4K TVs under $400. Sweet spot for good quality and features is $500-800.
- Flagship TVs run over $1000. Time sales around Black Friday and Super Bowl.
- All major brands offer solid streaming platforms. Look for your preferred services and ease of use.
- Apple fans may prefer AirPlay/HomeKit support. Amazon ecosystem pairs best with Fire TV.
Getting the right mix of performance, features and price for how you actually watch requires balancing these elements. But I‘m confident the recommendations above will help you confidently decide on a 2023 TV from a great brand that satisfies your viewing needs. Let me know if you have any other questions!