Finding the Best OLED TV in 2019: Tips for Making the Right Choice

An OLED TV

You're in the market for a new television, and you've heard this new term that has you curious: OLED. Certainly, OLED televisions have been around a long time. But the amount of conversation has intensified. So you're wondering: What is the best OLED TV?

It turns out that it's not the easiest question to answer. As television technology has converted from standard, boring plasma to LCD to LED to OLED, the number of factors for you to consider has mushroomed.

It's essential to keep in mind what OLED is -- and not necessarily because it's automatically the right choice for you. You just want to make sure you're getting what the high price tag promises.

No matter which technology you fall in love with, we'll be around to help. You can check back often at our best television page to see our latest offerings.

What Is OLED?

OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode. It's the light-emitting part that makes it significant. The materials that make up OLED TVs emit light when connected to an electrical charge.

The emissive quality of the organic compounds changes everything in terms of display. What it means is that displays no longer need to have backlights as they do in traditional LED/LCD displays.

Removing the need for backlights makes it possible for manufacturers to produce televisions at unbelievably thin sizes -- in some instances, not much more than a tenth of an inch.

OLED TVs are also stunning to watch because they produce brighter, more realistic colors and deeper blacks -- so lifelike that you almost think you're glancing through the looking glass. The design also enables a consistent viewing experience at virtually any angle. Fill your theater room, and everyone can see!

Surprisingly, researchers at Eastman Kodak -- the former photo giant -- discovered modern OLED technology. Since then, development in OLED has shifted to Asia

​What to Look for in an OLED TV

Shopping for an OLED television is no different than shopping for any other TV. But it's a lot different than it used to be. You need to be at least knowledgeable about the number of highly technical terms that await you.

Probably the primary consideration, as always, is going to be your budget. The best OLED TV doesn't come cheap. Expect to dig deep into your wallet.

Your other significant decision point will be the size. OLED technology has enabled manufacturers to go wild, with screens approaching 100 inches.

As for what you came here for: the picture. OLED televisions almost universally produce images at 4K resolution. The market is starting to shift to 8K resolution, which almost hard to believe.

One other factor to keep in mind as you seek the best OLED TV -- the relative extent and ease of use of the TV’s “smart” functionality. In the streaming age, you don’t want any obstacles between you and your Disney+ or Apple+.

​How We Reviewed

Much as been written about the best OLED TV. And, undoubtedly, much will continue to be written. The technology is continuing to evolve in ways that are unexpected and exciting.

To compile our list of top OLED TVs, we consulted several sources -- some in the industry and some looking to help you, the consumer, such as Consumer Reports.

The manufacturers themselves are among the best sources for OLED TV advice. So we studied what LG, Sony, and Samsung had to say, both about the technology as well as their offerings. Those three companies are the leading makers of OLED. (Although, more on Samsung's approach later.)

To round out our work, we considered customer reviews on sites such as Amazon.

Product Comparison Table

​The Best OLED TVs of 2019

The field for OLED TVs is expanding. The leading player for many years was LG, as the primary manufacturer of OLED panels. LG has begun making panels for other companies on an OEM basis. So you now see competing sets from that company, as well as Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Grundig, and others.

We focused on the OLED televisions that are within your grasp and separated them by the manufacturer. Some differences are very slight, and you may well get confused if you follow along with product numbers.

LG OLED TVs

You won't get far in shopping for your OLED television before encountering LG, which has made the most significant investment in OLED. The company offers the broadest line from entry-level through to the most advanced TV technology you can find anywhere.

Differentiating these TVs in the market may be somewhat challenging. We'll do our best to set them apart, but know that the answer won't necessarily come only in examining specifications side by side.

Let's start by pointing to the commonalities across the models. LG OLED TVs all:

  • Use LG’s Alpha Gen 2 Intelligent Processor, which gives your TV its smarts -- though there are some differences in version year.
  • Broadcast images in 4K with high dynamic range. HDR plays a role in the quality of the images you see.
  • Broadcast sound in Dolby Atmos audio, which is a technology that provides a surround-sound experience in your home.
  • Include personal digital assistants, with specific compatibility geared toward Amazon and Google.
  • Provide artificial intelligence/machine learning technology from LG known as LG ThinQ. These applications learn what you like and adjust accordingly.
  • Include the same product identifier. In 2019, that designator is “PUA.”

We’ll now dig a little deeper into what makes the various LG OLED TVs unique from each other.

1. LG OLED B9 TV

LG OLED65B9PUA B9 Series 65" 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2019)
  • Get Disney Plus for a year with the purchase of this TV
  • LG a7 GEN 2 INTELLIGENT PROCESSOR: Images, action and color are brought to new life to instantly enhance picture quality...
  • LG THINQ, ALEXA AND GOOGLE ASSISTANT: LG TVs are the first to integrate both the Google Assistant and Alexa with LG...

The B9 is considered LG's "entry-level" OLED TV. It is built differently to deliver a slightly lower price tag and broaden the adoption of OLED technology.

The distinguishing factor: The television uses an earlier generation of the LG Intelligent Processor. OLED B9 TVs use the Alpha 7 processor versus the Alpha 9 for the competing models. The processor plays a vital role in the image you see on the screen.

It remains to be seen how much better the Alpha 9 performs -- for the average viewer; the differences could be hard to notice. (Unless you're into terms such as "dynamic tone mapping.")

As a choice for best OLED TV, the LG B9 is available in either 55 inches, 65 inches or 77 inches.

Pros

  • Price
  • Sturdy TV stand
  • Easy integration to other devices

Cons

  • Lower-quality sound
  • Some complaints of image burn-in
  • Earlier generation of processor

​2. LG OLED TV C9

LG OLED65C9PUA Alexa Built-in C9 Series 65" 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV...
  • Get Disney Plus for a year with the purchase of this TV
  • LG a9 GEN 2 INTELLIGENT PROCESSOR: Images, action and color are brought to new life to instantly enhance picture quality...
  • LG THINQ, ALEXA AND GOOGLE ASSISTANT: LG TVs are the first to integrate both the Google Assistant and Alexa with LG...

The LG OLED TV C9 gets a spot as a candidate for best OLED TV as the company's flagship model. Once again, the primary technical specs remain the same: 4K resolution, Alpha 2 Image Processor, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos sound, and an HDMI 2.1 port.

The differences lie in aesthetic and sound. The LG C9 does not have a built-in soundbar and puts out a maximum of 40 watts of sound. (For comparison, the LG E9 does include a soundbar and puts out 60 watts of sound.) The lesser spec could well be OK if you're someone who already has a revved-up sound system in your home.

The C9 also comes with a traditional stand, whereas some of the other LG models are built just to hang on the wall. You can choose from 3 sizes for the C9 -- 55, 65, and 77 inches.

Pros

  • Traditional stand
  • High-class feel
  • Easy remote

Cons

  • No soundbar
  • Less powerful sound output
  • Extremely thin -- you’ll worry it’s fragile

​3. LG OLED E9 TV

LG OLED65E9PUA Alexa Built-in E9 Series 65" 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV...
  • Get Disney Plus for a year with the purchase of this TV
  • LG a9 GEN 2 INTELLIGENT PROCESSOR: Images, action and color are brought to new life to instantly enhance picture quality...
  • LG THINQ, ALEXA AND GOOGLE ASSISTANT: LG TVs are the first to integrate both the Google Assistant and Alexa with LG...

From the C line, LG steps it up into a premium design with the OLED E9. Once again, the similarities are consistent. You'll get 4K resolution, the Alpha 2 image processor, high-dynamic range, artificial intelligence capabilities, and Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound. You'll get built-in personal digital assistance from Google.

The most significant difference lies in the design. The LG OLED E9 panel is set on a piece of glass, which gives a different viewing experience than almost any other TV. Reviewers say it seems like the images are floating on air.

In contrast to the LG OLED C9, this television includes a soundbar and produces volume powered by 60 watts. Size-wise, you're limited to only 55 inches and 65 inches.

Pros

  • Outstanding design -- images seem like they are floating
  • Sound performance -- 60-watt output
  • Picture quality

Cons

  • TV runs hot
  • Some complaints of image burn-in

​4. LG OLED W9 TV

LG SIGNATURE OLED65W9PUA Alexa Built-in W9 65" 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED...
  • Get Disney Plus for a year with the purchase of this TV
  • LG a9 GEN 2 INTELLIGENT PROCESSOR: Images, action and color are brought to new life to instantly enhance picture quality...
  • LG THINQ, ALEXA AND GOOGLE ASSISTANT: LG TVs are the first to integrate both the Google Assistant and Alexa with LG...

The newest LG model on the block will get your attention in several ways -- most prominently, the thin-size. LG bills its W9 television as a "wallpaper" television. Get this: the TV is less than 4 millimeters wide. (If you're not into the metric system, that's less than 2/10 of an inch!)

In part, LG achieves this feat by putting the mechanics of the television into an attached external box. But: still, it's an impressive accomplishment -- one that will soon enable a television you can roll up and put away. (But we might be some time away from proving that concept.)

The W9 gives you everything you get in the other LG models in terms of resolution, sound, connections to digital assistants, and processing. The set is available in both 65 inches and 77 inches.

Pros

  • Size -- thin and light
  • Sound performance -- pop up speaker design
  • Easy cable management

Cons

  • Price
  • Some complaints of image burn-in
  • Requires purchase of extender cable

Samsung QLED TVs

The challenge in shopping for the best OLED TV deepens when you look at Samsung. Technically, Samsung doesn’t make OLED televisions. Instead, they produce what is referred to as “QLED” televisions, standing for “quantum dot.”

In breaking down what that means, some technology journalists have positioned QLED as being closer to LCD television because they require a backlight to produce images. Remember, OLED televisions do away with the backlight.

Yet, QLEDs have their advantages as well. Here's how Samsung explains the differences. Given how close these two technologies are, we’re including Samsung QLEDs in our search for the best OLED TV. But just keep in mind you may end up comparing apples to oranges between the two.

Samsung has four QLED families. A fifth category, the Q900, is billed as being one of the first televisions to produce images in 8K resolution. We’ll leave this one for another day when it and other 8K TVs are more proven.

​5. Samsung Q60R QLED TV

Samsung QN75Q60RAFXZA Flat 75-Inch QLED 4K Q60 Series Ultra HD Smart...
  • 100% COLOR VOLUME WITH QUANTUM DOTS: Powered by Quantum dots, Samsung’s 4K QLED TV offers over a billion shades of...
  • QUANTUM PROCESSOR 4K: Intelligently powered processor instantly upscales content to 4K for sharp detail and refined...
  • QUANTUM HDR 4X: 4K depth of detail with high dynamic range powered by HDR10+ delivers the lightest to darkest colors,...

Samsung offers the Q60R QLED TV, its entry-level line, in six sizes ranging from 43 inches to 82 inches. You can buy the television only, or add an embedded soundbar.

Though all the Samsung QLED TVs work off the same image processor, the Q60R offers less in terms of high dynamic range and a lower "refresh" rate. Again, if you are a video geek, these differences will mean a lot to you. For the average viewer, probably not.

Sound is another big difference. The Q60R line has 2 speaker channels, and outputs sound at about 20 watts -- lower than you find in the LG OLEDs.

Similarities include the resolution, the cabling, and the sound standard -- all the Samsung televisions use the Dolby standard. And all the Samsung models are smart TVs and integrate into the Samsung Bixby app.

Pros

  • Largest number of choices in size
  • Smallest power consumption
  • Simple app integration

Cons

  • Compatibility issues with certain streaming services
  • User settings keep resetting
  • Reports of the TV turning itself on

​6. Samsung Q70R QLED TV

Samsung QN65Q70RAFXZA Flat 65-Inch QLED 4K Q70 Series Ultra HD Smart...
  • 100% COLOR VOLUME WITH QUANTUM DOTS: Powered by Quantum dots, Samsung’s 4K QLED TV offers over a billion shades of...
  • DIRECT FULL ARRAY BACKLIGHT 4X: Concentrated zones of precision-controlled LEDs auto-adjust contrast between pure whites...
  • QUANTUM PROCESSOR 4K: Intelligently powered processor instantly upscales content to 4K for sharp detail and refined...

Size choices deliver the biggest difference in the Samsung Q70R QLED. You can purchase a Q70 in 5 sizes ranging from 49 to 82 inches. It's the second-highest priced QLED TV in the Samsung line.

It's got the same core technology -- 4K resolution driven by the Samsung Quantum Processor.

One big difference between the Q70 and Q60 is in sound output. The Q70R goes to 40 watts of sound power filtered through 2.1 channels for speakers. The TV consumes slightly more power, meaning it may, from time to time, seem hot.

Another big difference between QLED and OLED is in viewing angles. Viewers of the Q70R cannot go as far out to the side as viewers of OLEDs can in watching their favorite programs.

One item you’ll like in the QLED line is the lineup of apps in the Smart TV section. Most major streaming services are already built into the platform.

Pros

  • Embedded apps in smart TV suite
  • Improved sound processing
  • Slim design

Cons

  • Lower contrast ranges
  • Viewing angles less than OLED
  • No anti-glare

​7. Samsung Q80R QLED TV

Samsung QN65Q80RAFXZA Flat 65-Inch QLED 4K Q80 Series Ultra HD Smart...
  • 100% COLOR VOLUME WITH QUANTUM DOTS: Powered by Quantum dots, Samsung’s 4K QLED TV offers over a billion shades of...
  • DIRECT FULL ARRAY BACKLIGHT 8X: Concentrated zones of precision-controlled LEDs auto-adjust contrast between pure whites...
  • QUANTUM PROCESSOR 4K: Intelligently powered processor instantly upscales content to 4K for sharp detail and refined...

Now we’re getting into the good stuff in our search for the best OLED TVs. The Samsung Q80R QLED TV offers fewer choices in terms of size, ranging from 55 inches to 82 inches.

But count on the same core performance. The television produces images in 4K resolution using the Quantum Processor.

However, this television provides double the motion rate of either the Q60 and Q70. The motion rate is a measure of how quickly the screen refreshes. It also offers high-dynamic range at three times that of the Q60R.

Sound is another big difference. The Q80R uses 4.1 channels of sound output at up to 40 watts of power. That means maximum power consumption also takes a step up.

Pros

  • Sharpness and clarity
  • Easy set-up
  • Better sound

Cons

  • Limited functionality on remote
  • User-unfriendly menus
  • No anti-glare

​8. Samsung Q90R QLED TV

Samsung QN65Q90RAFXZA Flat 65-Inch QLED 4K Q90 Series Ultra HD Smart...
  • 100% COLOR VOLUME WITH QUANTUM DOTS: Powered by Quantum dots, Samsung’s 4K QLED TV offers over a billion shades of...
  • DIRECT FULL ARRAY BACKLIGHT 16X: Concentrated zones of precision-controlled LEDs auto-adjust contrast between pure...
  • QUANTUM PROCESSOR 4K: Intelligently powered processor instantly upscales content to 4K for sharp detail and refined...

Finally, we come to Samsung's self-prescribed top-of-the-line. (That is until the company decided to introduce its 8K television.)

The Q90R is available in 3 dimensions -- 65 inches, 75 inches, and 82 inches. It's got the highest price tag (or did, until the 8K was introduced.)

A couple of important differences justify the higher price. The Q90R displays images at 16x high-dynamic range -- 4 times the rate of the Q60. Mostly, you can count on images that are brighter and more colorful by a factor of four.

That's impressive, as many of the same specs remain the same. Samsung uses the Quantum Processor to power this TV. You can count on the highest quality in the 4K resolution.

It is, on the other hand, the most substantial television in Samsung's line. So make sure you have a pair of broad shoulders with you when you are setting it up or hanging it on the wall.

Sound output is also increased, at 60 watts of sound over 4.2 channel speakers.

Pros

  • Highest quality sound
  • Highest dynamic range
  • More connectivity ports

Cons

  • Uneven set-up performance
  • Interruptions from Bixby voice control

Sony OLED TVs

Sony is the third major brand name vying for consideration as a producer of the best OLED TV for 2019. The Japanese company, however, doesn't have as extensive a line of OLED TVs as competitors LG and Samsung.

But, like its competitors, the similarities in the Sony televisions vastly outnumber the differences. Your most difficult choice will be what size you want to purchase.

The models in Sony's line all display images in 4K resolution and have the same specification in high-dynamic resolution. They have the same options for connectivity in terms of external HDMI, Ethernet and USB ports for hooking up laptops or other inputs, or getting the TV up on your WiFi network.

Both machines run on Android. The processors in these machines are different, as are some of the sound options. We’ll discuss these when we dig into the individual models more fully.

Let’s dig deeper.

​9. Sony A9G Bravia OLED TV

Sony XBR-77A9G 77 Inch TV: MASTER Series BRAVIA OLED 4K Ultra HD Smart...
  • MASTER OF QUALITY: Faithfully conveys creator’s intent on screen to deliver the best picture quality
  • INCREDIBLE CLARITY: X-Reality PRO upscale images to near 4K clarity while reducing on-screen noise
  • HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE: Combined with IMAX Enhanced and Dolby Vision for the total cinematic experience

The Sony A9G OLED television is powered by the company's high-end chipset -- the Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate, Sony's highest-end processor. The X1 Ultimate will power Sony TVs as they transition to 8K resolution.

The details of the X1 Ultimate will make your head spin a little, but the chip helps fuel some exciting features in conjunction with the Smart TV engine in the A9G. For instance, Sony indicates that the processor and related software will allow the TV to analyze and enhance specific objects within a picture.

So there may be a good reason why that green leaf looks greener than you might expect -- and a good reason why you might consider this the best OLED TV.

The Sony A9G OLED is available in 3 sizes -- 55 inches, 65 inches, and 77 inches. The TVs are available with or without a stand. You can also choose to mount the TV on the wall.

Sound is another big difference. The A9G will power you out at 60 watts with both 2.1 and 3.1 channel options.

Pros

  • Outstanding image quality
  • 60 watts of sound
  • Fast access to Smart TV

Cons

  • Uneven remote control performance
  • Confusing menu navigation

​10. Sony A8G Bravia OLED TV

Sony XBR-55A8G 55 Inch TV: BRAVIA OLED 4K Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR...
  • Exquisite contrast: OLED technology reveals stunningly real detail, depth, textures and color
  • Incredible clarity: x Reality Pro upscale images to near 4K clarity while reducing on screen noise
  • High dynamic range: combined with IMAX enhanced and Dolby Vision for the total cinematic experience

The A8G OLED Bravia television is our other choice as a candidate for the best OLED TV. The main difference with the A9 is the use of the Sony 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme. It's not quite the engine of the Ultimate (naturally, Ultimate trumps Extreme), but you'll still get fast, updating images at a very high 4K quality with high-dynamic range.

You’ll also get what Sony describes as a “sound revolution:” audio that flows directly out of the screen acoustically to fill the room more naturally than a standard speaker. The sound is at 40 watts of power through 2 separate speaker channels.

If the A8G is your choice as best OLED TV, know that it is available only in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes.

Pros

  • Outstanding image quality -- few reports of burn-in
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Excellent stand design

Cons

  • A slightly slower image processor
  • Slow user interface
  • No built-in Internet browser

Cool Color and Clarity: The Best OLED TV

You seemingly need a physics degree to find your way to the best OLED TV. The technological features are very thick. The distinctions from one TV to the next, it turns out, are very slight.

Seriously, no matter which what you decide is the best OLED TV, you’re going to be jumping up into home theater territory. OLED technology has improved and will only get better.

Our advice is to read the reviews carefully and stick to your budget. You'll be immersed in the action in no time. And the best OLED TV, of course, is the one you ultimately buy!

Tell us your favorite OLED TV in the comments!

Featured Photo by Loewe Technologies on Unsplash

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