Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The best TVs for 2019

The Best TV: Sony Master Series A9G

Why you should buy this: It doesn’t get better than this, folks.

Who it’s for: Absolutely anyone who can afford it.

Why we picked the Sony Master Series A9G 4K TV:

We can’t fault the Sony Master Series A9G. It’s a breath of fresh air in what feels like a stagnant market. Sony didn’t reinvent the wheel with this television, though: It’s a minor improvement to the Sony Master Series A9F. But that’s not a bad thing. The A9G is still one of the finest 4K TVs we’ve ever gazed at, so any refinement can only inch it closer to perfection — and that’s exactly what happened with the A9G.

Not only does the Master Series A9G feature the best 4K Ultra HD OLED screen we’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing, it is also decked out with an innovative approach to audio that’s nothing short of fantastic. It’s called Acoustic Surface, and it works by sending sound waves through the display itself. This makes for a unique effect of voices and sound effects seemingly coming from their respective locations on the screen (left, right, or center).

“The LG Z9 88-inch 8K OLED may be the most impressive TV I’ve ever reviewed, but the Sony Master Series A9G has the best picture quality you can/should buy this year,” concluded our own Caleb Denison in our full review. Consider this testament to our claim that the A9G delivers the best viewing experience money can buy, with Sony’s incredible picture processing and impeccable HDR delivery inching it ahead of the fierce competition.

Plus, there’s Android TV running the show for instant access to a myriad of both on-demand and live streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. It’s also home to Google Assistant, which can be used to control both the television and other smart-connected devices, as well as Google Chromecast, which introduces the option to cast content from a computer, smartphone, or tablet directly to the television — no cables needed.

Here’s a look at some of the commands Assistant can execute:
  • “Play Orange Is the New Black on Netflix.”
  • “Switch over to HDMI 2.”
  • “Set the Nest Thermostat to 72 degrees.”
  • “Tell the Roomba to vacuum the living room.”
  • “Turn off after this episode of Friends.”

You can even ask it a slew of contextual questions, like:
  • “Who is Roger Moore?”
  • “What’s the weather like?
  • “Do I have any appointments tomorrow?”
  • “What time is sunset on Saturday?”

There’s no doubt you’ll pay a premium for the Sony Master Series A9G, but for those who absolutely must have the whoa of OLED and the brains of Google’s brilliant Android TV system, it’s a match made in TV heaven.

The Best Budget OLED TV: LG C9

Why you should buy this: It’s a cheaper all-rounder than the Sony Master Series A9G.

Who it’s for: Everyone wanting a Sony Master Series A9G, but can’t afford it.

Why we picked the LG C9:

Let’s start with the OLED screen. Its mix of vivid colors and obsidian-like black levels ensure it is second to only the Sony Master Series A9G in the contrast department. Fuse that with many of the latest HDR standards — including Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma, and HDR10 — and the firm’s Alpha 9 Processor, which spins HD and Full HD content into a higher 4K Ultra HD resolution, and you have a 5-out-of-5-scoring 4K TV.

Powering the C9 is LG’s webOS smart software that’s home to several top-tier on-demand streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, DirecTV, HBO Go, Hulu, and Netflix. That translates to a near-endless catalog of content, available at the click of a button or a mumble of a voice command. That’s right — the C9 has a virtual assistant (or rather, two of them) on board for tracking down content.

You have the choice of either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, though the latter is the one you’re going to want to take advantage of. While both are more than capable of searching the internet for answers to questions, scanning through different streaming services to find material, and controlling various smart appliances, it’s Google’s offering that’s the smoother of the two on the LG C9.

If you missed the overview in our close-up of the Sony Master Series A9G, here’s a look at some of the commands Assistant can handle:
  • “Play Breaking Bad on Netflix.”
  • “Switch over to HDMI 3.”
  • “Set the Nest Thermostat to 64 degrees.”
  • “Tell the Roomba to vacuum the kitchen.”
  • “Turn off after this episode of Dexter.”

You can also ask contextual questions, such as:
  • “Who is Steve McQueen”
  • “What’s the weather like today?
  • “Do I have any appointments tomorrow?”
  • “What time is sunset on Wednesday?”

The Best Budget TV: TCL 6-Series

Why you should buy this: It has a fantastic 4K screen and can tap into Roku’s endless collection of on-demand content.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a big screen on a budget.

Why we picked the 65-inch TCL 6-Series 4K TV:

TCL may not be a brand that immediately comes to mind when you think of great TVs, but at this point, it really should be. Its reputation for churning out sub-par slop is dead and buried, and it is now producing phenomenal affordable TVs that rival that of LG and Samsung, especially when you factor in value. One major reason for its success? A long-standing partnership with Roku that sees Roku OS bundled on all its latest TVs.

With that in mind, the TCL 6-Series is a must-have if you’re after a 4K TV that won’t break the bank. It’s bundled with the aforementioned Roku OS, has a crisp, clear 4K screen, and multi-format HDR. The result is a television that screams accurate color, dazzling detail, and fantastic contrast — regardless of whether you’re watching in native or upscaled 4K.

You won’t find smart software that’s better suited to cord-cutting than Roku OS. It’s home to the largest collection of live and on-demand content we’ve ever seen, pulling material from a seemingly never-ending mixture of mainstream and niche sources, like Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, DirectTV, Hulu, Netflix, Rakuten TV, and Sling TV.

The TCL 6-Series is also decked out with Roku’s own voice control feature. There’s no option to search the web or control smart-connected appliances, but it does bundle all the commands that count. You can ask it to adjust the volume level, swap outputs, and search for a particular movie or show across all the content services you’ve linked. Neat, right?

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