​The Top 6 TVs in 2016

Which one should you buy?

Hisense's Series 7 ULED TVs are looking like a shoo-in for television of the year.

Hisense's Series 7 ULED TVs are looking like a shoo-in for television of the year.

Over the past few months we’ve reviewed most of the best TVs on the market. Here we summarize which you should buy next and why. All of these are 4k Ultra High Definition TVs which support High Dynamic Range (unless otherwise stated). They will last you for years. All prices listed are for the 55-inch variants for the sake of comparison and also because it represents both a “sweet spot” price point and size.

1. Hisense ULED Series 7
$1495 – Harvey Norman, Domayne

An easy choice that will be surprising to many. Hisense came from nowhere and didn’t just produce one of the very best performing 4K HDR UHD TVs on the entire market but also one of the cheapest. Picture quality is superb and its Opera-based operating system makes it easy to use. It’s an LED LCD TV at its heart but contrast performance is some of the best we’ve seen as is upscaling ability and colour reproduction. It’s just a shame that Hisense decided not to sell their curved variants this year. Hisense changed the game with its ULED range and the big boys will be worried. Full review here.

OLED55B6T (flat): $4995 – Harvey Norman, Domayne, $4999 – Bing Lee
OLED55C6T (curved): $5296 – JB HiFi, $5299 – Bing Lee

These TVs are very expensive but you don’t have to know much about televisions to see why. OLED is a technology where electronics light up organic molecules to the produce the image. This doesn’t just mean that the colours produced are jaw dropping but they sit atop a sea of true blacks producing the very best contrast. When the best quality content is used (HD television, Blu-ray, Netflix HD and 4K) there’s no better picture to be had. However, if you watch lots of low-resolution Free-To-Air or cable TV you’ll be disappointed with the mediocre upscaling – objects are surrounded by jaded edges and moving objects turn into a pixelated mess. Still the WebOS operating system makes it easy to use and panels can be flat or curved. If money is no object you should probably buy one of these. But it’s a flawed gem. Full review here.

3. Sony X9300D series
$2695 – Harvey Norman, Domayne, $2698 – JB-HiFi, $2999 – Bing Lee

A price drop has pushed the X9300D series above its slightly-lesser X8500D series sibling in our list. Contrast is very good and colours can rival the best on the market – but you may have to play around with the settings sometimes. It offers some of the very best upscaling performance on the market and the Android TV operating system is the easiest to use and most powerful of all. There’s hardly anything between it and the Hisense… except for the massive price difference. Full review here.

4. Samsung Series 9
UA55KS9000 (flat): $2995Harvey Norman, Domayne, $2999 – Bing Lee
UA55KS9500 (curved): $3199Bing Lee, $3295 – Harvey Norman, Domayne, $3296 – JB-HiFi

Samsung pushes its Series 9 TV at bright, Aussie homes for a reason – these TVs do get bright and their colours know how to jump off the screen (thanks to its Quantum Dot technology). Also, the curved screens can help fend off reflections. But this all comes at a cost – contrast isn’t that great as blacks get washed out noticeably more than the competition. Also, Samsung’s upscaling is like LG’s: mediocre – expect lots of artefacts surrounding objects in low-resolution content. Samsung’s own Tizen operating system is easy to use but has limited features and apps. However, these TVs are great for sport (at high resolution) where Samsung’s Sport Mode transforms the sound to make you feel like you’re there and image processing foibles make everything look very realistic. However, with better all-round performance and lower prices elsewhere, it comes across as overpriced. The curved screen variant will prove more attractive to some (at this price), though. Full review here.

5. Sony X8500D series
$2399 – Bing Lee, $2495 – Harvey Norman, Domayne, $2496 – JB-HiFi

Sony’s TVs have always impressed us: contrast is generally good, colours are good and upscaling is the best in the business which is important in the real world of TV watching – not all content is 4K HDR. The X8500D series is thought to be based upon last-year’s Sony panel which isn’t quite as good as the newer Sony X9300D series, but not by much and it’s a bit cheaper. The Android TV operating system is also the best in the business. Full review here.

6. Samsung Series 7 curved (UA55KU7500W)
$2299 – Bing Lee, $2495 – Harvey Norman, Domayne, $2498 – JB-HiFi

You’ll get better colour performance elsewhere but few people would complain with what’s on offer here. Quality is generally good although upscaling is poor (there’s no HDR either). Quite simply, flat screen Series 7 TVs generally get blown away by Hisense Series 7 TVs. Why is this here? Simple – you won’t get a decent curved TV cheaper than this. Full review here.

Coming soon

We could have padded our list out with lesser and older models but right now, that wouldn’t help anyone. For instance, we reviewed the $1325 TCL C1 Curved QUHD 4K Smart TV and $1695 Samsung Series 6 TVs but, frankly, you’d be silly to buy them with the Hisense around. Samsung’s Series 8 TVs aren’t cheap and only slightly-cheaper than Series 9 TVs – we don’t see the point.

We do know that Sony plans to launch its new “Super Premium” Bravia ZD9 TVs soon but they’ll be very expensive. We can’t imagine they’ll perform badly though.

We’d also like to see where Panasonic’s latest Vieras sit in our list but we’re struggling to source a review unit. Experience tells us it should be at number 3 to 6 though. Check back later.

Also worth considering are Home Theatre projectors. We recently saw Epson’s new range demonstrated at their launch event. We’re not convinced they’ll replace TVs just yet, but for some home layouts they could be very attractive. We look forward to testing them.

Epson EH-TW9300W Home Theatre projector
Epson EH-TW9300W Home Theatre projector

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Tags televisionslgtvhome theatresonytelevisionhisenseEpsonprojectorssamsungPanasonicTVstcl

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