Buy TV: What you should pay attention to
As a rule, TV manufacturers bring new top TVs to the market every year – this does not make choosing from many models and series exactly easier. In our TV test 2020 we tell you which features really matter and which models offer the best image quality , We call price-conscious buyers our price-performance tip and a compact television recommendation. What you should pay attention to when buying a TV, we reveal in the video.
TV test 2020: Our purchase recommendations
It can be as fascinating as it is overwhelmed, but the TV market is developing rapidly. This not only leads to increasing quality with falling prices in the middle class, but also to a sometimes puzzling series of features. Anyone who is looking for a new TV can fall for one or the other seasonal trend because of the booth magic: What was the latest hype yesterday is no longer popular today (Curved, 3D). On the other hand, what initially looked like a marketing bluff has emerged as the most relevant feature of recent years (HDR). In short: If you want to choose your favorite in this model cabaret, it is not easy.
Our TV test team regularly checks the latest TV sets of all sizes and price ranges and classifies them into our leaderboard after extensive measurements. In this article, we first show you our best recommendations in a table. There is everything from the expensive test winner, to a cheaper upper-class TV to the price tip. Then we go into more detail about our recommendations and inform you about their strengths and weaknesses. This is followed by extensive buying advice, in which we tell you which features you should pay attention to when buying a TV. Finally, we explain our television test procedure in detail.
Top TV recommendations in the test (selection, as of February 2020)
Best TV: Panasonic GZW 2004
- Outstanding image quality
- Perfect ergonomics
- Rich sound with sound bar
- High selling price
- Slightly restricted Smart TV OS
- Average energy efficiency
The Panasoni c GZW 2004 is an OLED TV with a great picture quality, the best TV in the test – and sinfully expensive , It shines brightly, is excellently calibrated, has a fantastic color display and very rich contrasts. In our subjective tests, in which we assess the display of Full HD Blu-rays and UHD-HDR films, he scored very strongly to excellent in all test sequences. At best, the detail display in very dark scenes is in need of minimal improvement: in some cases, dark gray gradations in the typical OLED black disappear. For this is the Panasonic GZW 2004 excellently equipped and still offers a decent sound quality thanks to the Dolby Upfiring speaker for Dolby Atmos.
Panasonic TX – 55 TMI 2004 in review
Top TV at a decent price: LG C9
- Nice pic
- Chic design
- HDMI 2.1
- Large-area white could be lighter
- Slight loss of detail in dark scenes
In terms of image quality, it is only slightly poorer, but it is much cheaper to have LG's OLED TV r C9 , Its contrast display is also great, the top brightness and color display are excellent – but not quite at the level of the Panasonic GZW 2004. The LG C9 also swallowed up some details in dark scenes in the test, but the bottom line is still an impressive picture. It pleases with solid sound quality and also excellent equipment – so the new HDMI 2.1 is already on board, which is particularly interesting for gamers. We explain more about this in a section on the standard below.
Best LCD TV: Samsung Q 90 R
- Excellent image quality
- Strong equipment
- Comfortable operation
- No Dolby Vision
- No DTS
- Native contrast could be a little better
If you are looking for a TV with LCD technology, receives with the Samsung Q 90 R an excellent TV. It shines extremely brightly and hardly reflects even in bright daylight – this ensures clear viewing pleasure. The colors are full and rich, the contrast is good – here, however, it is easy to overlook compared to OLED devices in darkened rooms. It darkens black film bars and larger areas excellently, but the contrast in small details could be a bit better. The viewing angle stability is even decent for an LCD TV. The sound quality is solid, the equipment hardly gives a reason for criticism – some users might miss DTS.
Samsung Q 90 R 4K QLED TV in review
Price tip: LG SM 82007 LA
- Great price-performance ratio
- Good picture
- Very good energy efficiency
- Equipment and sound could be better
- Limited HDR pleasure
If you are looking for a cheap device that offers a lot of image space for the money with good quality, then we recommend the LG SM 82007 LA . Apart from the only satisfactory sound quality, the SM 82007 in all categories with at least good performance. You may not expect any miracles, but the display is rock solid, especially for classic TV and Blu-ray shows. Due to the mediocre contrast and the not too high peak brightness, HDR films lack pizzazz. Price-conscious buyers are still served well here.
Top compact TV: Samsung Q 60 R
- Very stable viewing angle
- Still decent picture quality
- Checkerboard contrast could be better
- Peak brightness not suitable for HDR
The Samsung Q 60 R with 43 inch display leaves a good impression in the test. Unlike the larger models (see the test of the 55 – inch version ) Samsung does not use a VA panel here, but a PLS display – the technology corresponds to the more familiar IPS. The 43 – Zoller is very stable in viewing angles, but has only a mediocre contrast because it is neither very bright , is still very dark. For standard Blu-rays and TV shows, the picture is fine. Unfortunately, HDR material is not particularly effective. Practical: In addition to USB recording, the device has a double tuner.
TV buying advice: OLED TVs…
In the premium segment you are faced with a fundamental decision: Should it be a TV with OLED panel or with an LC display? OLED televisions control their brightness at the pixel level – they can switch off individual pixels to improve the black level and the contrast display. This pays off in particular when it comes to depicting visually complex scenes in which light and dark areas are closely interwoven. OLED TVs are also quite stable from a viewing angle: the contrast drop from a side viewing angle is hardly worth mentioning. Last but not least, the color display is excellent. The models can fully reproduce the large DCI-P3 color space relevant for HDR films.
On the other hand, the technology has two disadvantages: Large-area white is not particularly bright here , which leads to a somewhat matt appearance in winter scenarios and can limit the use in brightly lit living rooms. Since OLED TVs also work with organic elements that age according to their use, ghosting can occur that, in the worst case, appears permanently and does not disappear. The so-called OLED screen burn is unlikely to occur in practice for most users, especially if they use the television primarily for watching movies with constantly changing content – but there is the phenomenon and it affects the handling.
For example, an OLED television slowly reduces the brightness when it detects static elements. In addition, the devices must not be disconnected from the power so that they can carry out important protective measures (pixel refresher). In addition, the technology is not cheap, as the models only 55 inch size there. Since the beginning 2020 LG also produces 48 inch panels.
OLED vs. QLED-TV: Which television technology to buy?
… Or LCD / QLED?
LCD TVs are more robust, and the top models shine much brighter over a large area. They are therefore ideal for use in situations in which OLED models are not optimally positioned: in bright daylight and for the regular display of static elements, which include gaudy transmitter logos. Top LCD televisions can also cut an excellent figure at home in the evening – especially if you still have a room lamp that subtly illuminates the room. Then the differences to an OLED television are still visible, but no longer serious. Because the best LCD televisions can regulate their large backlight zones (FALD, full array local dimming), for example to make the black film bars “disappear”. Some models only use edge LED dimming – the illuminating and dimmable LEDs are not behind the complete picture, but only on the edge. Cheap televisions completely do without dimming techniques and accordingly have a poorer black level.
Samsung in particular relies on an LCD technology called QLED. The manufacturer uses so-called VA panels, whose color space coverage has been raised to DCI-P3 level using a color filter made of so-called quantum dots. The top-of-the-range QLED models even have a pretty good view from a side perspective. Medium and low-priced LCD televisions with VA panels show significant losses here and suffer from sharply falling contrast; means that the picture becomes milky when you look at it from the side.
Peak brightness is so important
There are basically practical limits for a sensible maximum brightness. Few users find it pleasant, for example, from a 65 – inch screen with 1. 00 0 cd / m² full-surface white blinded to become. The brightest televisions in the test therefore offer a bit too much of a good thing – if you let them. On the other hand, a high maximum brightness value is desirable for individual highlights to give the image depth and dynamism. Many 4K Blu-rays are on 1. 00 0 cd / m² mastered – some on 4th 00 0 cd / m². The television ultimately adapts these specifications to its own capabilities. Full HD Blu-rays usually see as peak brightness 100 cd / m², which does not mean that a television cannot play the films brighter if you want to.
Individual small highlights (like stars) can sometimes not display the best LCDs in HDR as brilliantly as an OLED television with low overall maximum brightness. Because the premium LCDs dim these areas to reduce blooming. Blooming means that white areas shine into dark areas due to the more or less large backlight. This is why the peak brightness of LCDs is different than that of OLEDs when displaying very small, bright areas – OLEDs are more likely to have difficulties with large-area brightness. The perfect TV technology there is not any.
That brings HDR – HDR 10, Dolby Vision, HDR 10 +
No top television can do without HDR support. HDR means High Dynamic Range: The technology primarily increases the contrast range, but also improves the color display by significantly increasing the targeted color space. DCI-P3 is currently the reference for 4K HDR films; the color space is round 36 percent larger than that for Full HD Blu rays uses standard RGB color space. The colors green and red in particular are more expressive in HDR. The technology thus ensures a livelier and more impressive home cinema picture.
The official HDR standard, which everyone must adhere to, is called HDR 10. The number ten stands for a color depth in 10 bit instead of 8 bit. This allows finer gradations, which are necessary to avoid image artifacts with material with a very high dynamic range. Every TV with “Ultra HD Premium Logo” is HDR 10 – capable and offers you the technical requirements for real HDR enjoyment. If models without UHD premium logo advertise with HDR capability, they are worse positioned: some of these devices have no 10 – Bit-Panel, partly their color representation does not meet the high requirements (at least 90 percent DCI-P3).
In addition, two further formats are fighting for HDR sovereignty: Dolby Vision and HDR 10 +. LG refuses HDR 10 +, also Netflix; Samsung refuses to accept Dolby Vision, as does Amazon Prime Video. However, some TV manufacturers support both. The advantage of both formats over HDR 10 is that the systems can adapt the display depending on the scene or even individually per image. With HDR 10 this happens only once for the entire film. When in doubt, some details could be lost in very dark or very light scenes. However, this usually only applies to televisions with limited brightness and contrast capabilities.
We currently rate both features equally, but consider them more of a free HDR and in most cases dispensable – especially since the dynamic tone mapping of many modern TVs, which adapts the brightness requirements of a film to the actual capabilities of a TV, does the same. The common HDR standard for the transmission of live television pictures is called HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma).
Size and resolution: 4K versus 8K – or is Full HD enough?
So far ahead: Only you can decide which image size is sufficient for you. Although there are various conversion formulas that want to give you the optimal seat spacing relative to the TV size and resolution and mostly aim at the possible visibility of individual pixels or the viewing angle, you should ultimately be guided solely by your taste.
In terms of resolution, we advise against the 40 – inch class to a TV with Ultra HD or 4K resolution. Full HD is in itself sufficient for the more compact devices, but UHD models usually offer better picture quality because the manufacturers invest more in technical improvements. 8K, on the other hand, is still in its infancy: There is hardly any 8K content and little will change in the near future – apart from selected demo material. The manufacturers also know this and emphasize that their 8K televisions also upgrade 4K material due to “intelligent” upscaling techniques.
In our experience, the benefits are limited – even 4K devices with 75 inch screen size should be set up well for the next few years. So you can ignore the 8K trend for now. On the other hand, there are – apart from the higher price – no reasons that speak against an 8K television.
Cheap LCD televisions require restrictions
Buyers looking for a cheaper TV can only choose one with LCD technology. In this price range, the black level is often worse, the peak brightness is lower, the color space is smaller, and the viewing angle stability leaves something to be desired. If we rate the image quality as “good” in the leaderboard values, are On the safe side here. The grade “satisfactory” also indicates an acceptable device if you can get it cheap.
Anyone who relies on LCD TVs with IPS instead of VA panel will get good viewing angle stability, but the black value is worse. Here you should consider your own usage scenario and choose the appropriate technology. Nevertheless, it should be noted that even the good, cheaper TV sets for Blu-ray and TV viewing are completely sufficient. You shouldn't expect HDR quality here.
In the still recommended entry-level class, you should use around 500 euros for a TV in the 40 – calculate inch size, round 600 Euro for a model in the 55 – Customs class and 800 Euro for one 65 – inch television. There are practically no limits to the prices.
This brings HDMI 2.1: Better quality, especially for gamers
New is the HDMI 2.1 interface, which replaces HDMI 2.0b. Above all, those who are flirting with a Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X should pay attention to this connection in the future. HDMI 2.1 increases the bandwidth compared to HDMI 2.0b from 18 Gigabit per second on 48 Gbit / s. The matching cables have the “HDMI Ultra High Speed” label. The higher bandwidth goes hand in hand with an improvement that primarily affects gamers and users of 8K televisions. Because unlike HDMI 2.0, at best 60 passes frames per second (fps) in 4K resolution, feeds HDMI 2.1 whole 120 fps in 4K resolution respectively 60 fps in 8K resolution without color reduction in HDR quality.
In addition, HDMI 2.1 defines other gaming-relevant features such as ALLM (“auto low latency mode”, the TV automatically switches to gaming mode) and VRR (“variable refresh rate”, synchronization) the refresh rate of the TV with that of the graphics card). eARC improves the audio transmission to a downstream AV receiver (HD sound formats via audio return channel), and QMS (“quick media switching”) allows the frame rate to be adjusted without briefly switching the TV off. These features are useful in our opinion, but since HDMI 2.1 is backward compatible, HDMI 2.0 TVs won't be out of date and will eventually be excluded from content sources – so you can rest assured about this.
Confusion unfortunately arises from the fact that many HDMI 2.1 features are optional on the one hand and on the other hand can also be implemented with an HDMI 2.0 port. So if you like the 4K / 120 fps capability arrives, you should read the manufacturer's description carefully. HDMI-2.1-AALM may only mean that the manufacturer supports the HDMI-2.1 feature AALM, but not that the TV has a full-fledged HDMI-2.1 socket with all the trimmings. And if a manufacturer with 4K resolution at 120 fps advertises, then he may use HDMI 2.0b for this outside the standardized frame and in this mode does not use HDR and full color resolution.
Other useful features: double tuner, video recorder, network
If you want to play media from the Internet easily with your television, you should pay attention to network capability in the form of WLAN or a LAN socket. In our leaderboard, only the cheapest entry-level models are missing. This is usually accompanied by a smart TV system that provides apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. In the detailed view of our TV leaderboard you can see which of the important apps are available – we also list the most relevant specs here. You should no longer make your purchase decision dependent on the smart TV system used. The latest version of Android TV runs fast enough and both Firefox, Tizen and WebOS support the most common functions – even if Android TV is still ahead of the game in terms of expandability. And if you are completely dissatisfied with an OS, you can solve the problem with a Smart TV player – such as a Fire TV, a Chromecast or an Nvidia Shield – fairly easy to solve.
TV fans, Those who like to record television programs should buy a model with a double tuner and PVR function. PVR stands for “personal video recorder”, you can use it to record programs on USB memory. A double tuner enables you to watch another program at the same time. It doesn't matter whether you receive the signal terrestrially (DVB-T2), via satellite (DVB-S2) or via cable (DVB-C) – because all TVs we test support all relevant standards. Often you will also find a USB socket on a television to play videos from a connected hard drive – if this is important to you, you should also pay attention to the format support of the device. Because some televisions cannot handle DTS. However, if your media is on a network server, the format support of the TV is usually irrelevant, since programs such as Plex take over the decoding of the data.
Many – but not all – TVs also support or enable Bluetooth headphones alternatively, the connection of a wired headphone. The old SCART and component inputs, on the other hand, can be used to connect old players and game consoles. From the upper class, the manufacturers only rely on HDMI – which is usually not a problem. A nice feature is a light sensor. This allows automatic brightness adjustment according to the ambient light conditions.
This is how CHIP tests TVs
In our complex TV measurement process we use the luminance and color value measuring device LMK 98 – 3 to check the TVs in our test lab. The most important rating is that of Picture quality , with 60 percent flows into the final grade. We record the maximum brightness of the TV, the intensity of a 4 x 4 checkerboard contrast (consisting of white and black fields), the maximum color space that can be displayed and the so-called gamma curve.
The latter shows how exactly a TV adheres to the specifications of the gamma value reference curve 2.2 in the representation of the relative brightness / contrast curve. If there are deviations here, there may be a loss of detail in areas that are too dark or too light. We measure how exactly the white representation matches the so-called D 65 – Reference at 6500 Kelvin color temperature holds and how evenly the illumination is completely white and almost black areas. Sometimes there are visible light clouds (clouding) or stripes (banding), which we devalue. We also record and evaluate the point of view (horizontal and vertical) in which the contrast is halved. This indicates how stable a device keeps the image quality at different angles.
The measurements are followed by subjective tests, which include the detailed display in very dark scenes focus on bright highlights and the like – in HDR and SDR. In addition, we classify the moving image display in different resolutions with the display of partly progressive and partly interlaced image material.
According to the image quality we measure the Furnishing the second highest weight too. It flows with 25 percent in the overall result. We evaluate the number of inputs and outputs such as HDMI, USB, RCA, jack, network and the existing tuners. Format support is just as relevant in this category (e.g. HEVC, HDR, DTS) as the range of functions and usability of the Smart TV system, if available. The quality of the remote control is incorporated in the equipment as well as any voice control. There are additional points for a light sensor and for Ambilight. The latter is a Philips technology: LED strips on the back of the TV illuminate the wall behind the TV to match the color of the picture content. In our opinion, this is a great feature that increases the fun of watching movies and TV.
The energy efficiency flows with 10 percent in the overall rating. So far, we have evaluated the power consumption in “film” mode (or a comparable profile) in a standard sequence in SDR quality – without changing the preset brightness. However, TVs shine differently bright here. A model may with 200 cd / m² go to work, another with over 500 cd / m².
Because the user is ultimately free to adjust the brightness to your liking and taste, we did the measurement in February 2020 changed. As of now, we are setting all new TV sets for SDR power consumption measurement so that they are 10 percent white field with round 200 play bright cd / m² – this makes the efficiency between the devices more comparable. The calculation formula takes into account the image area. In our opinion, a very large TV can be just as efficient as a very small one, although it consumes more. In addition, we have introduced an HDR power consumption measurement, which we perform with the same clip in HDR mode. We do not make any changes to the default settings. As a rule, the TVs set their brightness to maximum here.
Sound quality, which we weight with 5 percent, is a purely subjective note. We differentiate here between the reproduction of male and female voices and note how loud and full the TV sounds and whether sound artifacts such as clinking and clanging occur. Ultimately, it should be noted that even a cheap soundbar sounds better than many televisions. Only TVs with an integrated sound bar can keep up halfway. We liked Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio technology even better in the test: The sound comes directly from the display because the corresponding drivers are behind the screen. This is optically subtle and sounds great. But if you want to enjoy your home cinema experience not only visually but also acoustically, you can buy a ordinary soundbar or surround system not around.
TV in the test
- Sound quality (1.5)
- Image quality (1.1)
- Facilities (1.1)
- Energy efficiency (2.2)
- Sound quality (1.3)
- Image quality (1.3)
- Facilities (1.3)
- Energy efficiency (2.3)
- Sound quality (1.4)
- Image quality (1.2)
- Facilities (1.4)
- Energy efficiency (2.9)
- Sound quality (1,1)
- Image quality (1.3)
- Facilities (1.4)
- Energy efficiency (2.6)
- Sound quality (1,2)
- Image quality (1.4)
- Facilities (1.1)
- Energy efficiency (3.1)
- Sound quality (1.4)
- Image quality (1.1)
- Facilities (1.4)
- Energy efficiency (4.4)
Which TV is the best?
The test winner in the CHIP TV best list is the Panasonic GZW 2004. We had that 55 – inch model in the test, but expect from 65 – Zoller a comparable performance. The OLED TV has an excellent picture, a strong equipment and a decent sound.
How much does a TV cost?
In the still recommended entry-level class you should use around 500 Euro for a TV in the 40 – calculate inch size, round 600 Euro for a model in the 55 – customs class and 800 Euro for one 65 – inch television. The prices are practically unlimited.
What is 4K and HDR?
4K or Ultra HD (UHD) denotes the resolution of the TV. UHD TVs have a 16 -to-9 image format with 3. 840 times 2 . 160 pixels. In the narrower sense, the resolution of 4K is 4.0 96 times 2. 160 slightly higher – usually the terms “4K” and ” UHD “but used synonymously.
What is a Smart TV?
Almost all modern televisions are network-compatible hig and have a user interface with the appropriate app. These include a browser and audio and video streaming services. This interaction is called Smart TV. There are different operating systems: Android TV, Tizen, Firefox OS, Web OS and other proprietary systems.