The big game deserves a big-screen set that can do it justice
Consumer Reports’ research, conducted with Gap Intelligence, a retail and e-commerce market research company, shows that the second-best TV discounts come two weeks before the Super Bowl. (Black Friday is when you’ll find the best TV deals.) In fact, Super Bowl sales pushed down prices by an average of 22 percent, according to an analysis of two years’ worth of pricing data.
How We Test TVs
Every set we evaluate goes through a battery of tests, backed by expert viewing panels, to determine high-definition picture quality and UHD performance with 4K material.
Last year we also began providing an evaluation of HDR effectiveness, so you can tell which sets perform well with this latest feature. When done right, HDR—high dynamic range—boosts a TV’s brightness, contrast, and colors, making the pictures on the screen look more like real life.
Our TV ratings, which as of mid-January have more than 280 models, also contain our evaluation of a TV’s viewing angle, its ability to minimize motion blur during fast-moving scenes, and the sound quality of the set’s built-in audio system.
How We Chose These Models
To find our top Super Bowl TV picks, we first dipped into our ratings for the best overall models. But because these sets tend to be pricey, we also picked out a few moderately priced sets that deliver excellent picture quality. There are also a couple of budget buys on our list—they fall a step below the top sets in our ratings while still delivering a satisfying TV-watching experience.
All but one of our picks are 65-inch 4K smart TV models. If you want to spend less or prefer a smaller TV, consider the same models in the 55-inch screen size—we’ve found that they tend to perform similarly.
As a sports fan, you’ll want to keep these things in mind as you shop for your Super Bowl TV:
• All the sets featured can deliver excellent or very good overall picture quality. But be sure to check the viewing angle, especially if you’re inviting friends over to watch the game. A set with a wider angle will ensure that everyone gets a great view.
• The fast on-field action can sometimes cause blurred images, and some TVs do a better job tackling this issue. Check our motion-blur scores to see which sets do best.
• Finally, few TVs these days have a speaker system that does justice to their great pictures, so unless you’ll be using a sound bar speaker, make sure the set can convey the visceral excitement of a big hit or the roar of the crowd. The following are our top Super Bowl TV picks.
Remember, Super Bowl LII, airing on NBC, will take place Sunday, Feb. 4.
Before you shop, check our TV Buying Guide and ratings.
If your budget is as lofty as the September playoff dreams of an N.Y. Jets fan, our top-rated set for 2017, the LG OLED65W7P, could be your ticket to TV nirvana. For the rest of us, its $7,000 price will probably bring us back down to earth. What the set delivers, though, is top-notch HD and UHD picture quality, a great HDR experience, and a super-slim state-of-the-art design. Also part of the package: booming sound, thanks to a separate sound bar-style speaker system.
Like all OLED TVs, this one has a virtually unlimited viewing angle, so everyone gets a great view of the game. But if you want a touch of TV greatness at a much lower price, consider another LG OLED model, the LG OLED65C7P. It’s our second-highest-rated model with almost identical picture-quality scores, and it seems like a relative bargain at $2,700.
This Sony also features a unique Acoustic Surface audio technology, which uses vibrating actuators that turn the entire panel into a speaker. To beef up the bottom end, there’s a subwoofer mounted in the angled stand. Together, these elements let the set deliver almost excellent sound quality without any visible speakers.
Our top-rated LED LCD-based set this year was the Sony XBR-65X930E, which sells for about $2,000 right now. This 65-inch 4K TV from Sony—which actually outperformed Sony’s pricier flagship Z9D set in our ratings—delivers excellent high-definition picture quality and excellent UHD performance. It also delivers a very effective HDR performance, which can produce enhanced contrast and brighter specular highlights when done well, something not true of all HDR-compatible TVs this year.
The LG 65SJ9500, a 65-inch flagship 4K UHD TV in LG’s Super UHD LED LCD series for 2017, delivers excellent high-definition picture quality and very good UHD performance. It also has excellent sound and effective HDR performance. (LG’s Super UHD 4K TVs support several HDR formats, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, and Technicolor.) Like many other LG TVs, it has a wider-than-average viewing angle for an LCD-based set. This model is selling for about $2,000 right now.
This 65-inch 4K TV from Samsung, in the company’s premium QLED seriesfor 2017, delivers excellent high-definition picture quality and excellent UHD performance. The set, which is selling right now for about $2,300, delivers effective HDR performance. (Samsung TVs support the HDR10 HDR format.)
Looking for a more moderately priced big-screen set? Consider the LG 65SJ8000, which is selling for about $1,400 right now. It’s a midtier 4K model in LG’s Super UHD series that offers excellent high-definition picture quality, excellent UHD performance, and effective HDR. It also has very good sound and, like many other LG TVs, a wider-than-average viewing angle for an LCD-based set.
Another moderately priced set to consider is the Samsung UN65MU8000, a step-up model in the company’s mainstream line of non-QLED 4K TVs for 2017. Like the LG model above, it offers excellent high-definition picture quality, excellent UHD performance, and effective HDR, though not as wide a viewing angle. This TV is a flat-screen model; the Samsung UN65MU8500 is the equivalent curved-screen set for consumers who like that look.
The Sony XBR-65X900E, in the Sony TV series right below the X930E model listed above, delivers excellent high-definition picture quality, excellent UHD performance, and an effective HDR experience. The TV, which is selling for about $1,500 right now, has Sony’s unique Slim Backlight Drive, which is an edge-lit LED backlight with local dimming that does a good job boosting the set’s contrast and black levels. (Local dimming divides backlight sections into zones that can be darkened independently.) In fact, the set tricked some of our test patterns into thinking the TV had a pricier full-array backlight.
For those on a tighter budget, the LG 60UJ7700—the only 60-inch set in the list—is the top model below LG’s Super UHD sets for 2017. Priced at just $900, it delivers very good high-definition picture quality, very good UHD performance, and an effective HDR experience. It also has a wider-than-average viewing angle for an LCD set, and very good sound.
Priced around $850 right now, our other budget pick is the Samsung UN65MU6290, in an entry-level 4K series that was a popular Black Friday 2017 item. Despite its relatively low price, this set offers excellent high-definition picture quality, very good UHD performance, and very good sound. Its HDR performance, though, was a bit below the LG’s. This TV has a flat, not curved, screen.