Upgrade Your TV Streaming With The Best LED LCD TVs
Vizio PX65-G1 65" Quantum 4K HDR TV
Samsung QN65Q70A 65-Inch QLED 4K TV
TCL 65” Class 6-Series 4K UHD Mini-LED LCD TV
Sony Bravia XR65X90J 65-Inch LED LCD TV
It's no secret that the most popular type of HDTV on the market today is the LED TV. Technically a misnomer born out of marketing and convenience, the term "LED TV" actually refers to an LCD TV that utilizes an LED backlight to display an image. LED TVs have attained their popularity due to their affordability, varied screen size options, as well as their low energy consumption and compatibility with all different types of content.
The latest innovation in this field is the widespread use of "Quantum Dot" technology. While this may sound like something out of a sci-fi TV series, quantum dots are quite real and are commonplace in higher-end LED TVs. The basic science underpinning quantum dots revolves around their behavior when excited by certain frequencies; LED TVs equipped with quantum dots utilize a blue LED backlight, which in turn "excites" quantum dots into emitting red and green tones. In a nutshell, these TVs can display brighter colors that appear more lifelike and saturated, translating into a more pleasing image overall. If you want to do more research, check out our HDTV buyer's guide.
You’ll find two distinct layouts that utilize LED backlighting: full array and edge-lit. Full-array backlighting positions the LED backlight directly behind the LCD panel. This is often combined with a feature known as "local dimming" in higher-spec models, which can selectively dim or switch off LEDs depending on the desired image to obtain deeper black levels where they are needed. Edge-lit LED backlighting moves the LEDs to the edges of the panel, instead relying on special light guides to illuminate the screen.
In our research, we've noted that full-array LED TVs with local dimming consistently outperform their edge-lit counterparts in screen uniformity, black level measurements, and contrast with both standard and HDR content. When combined with quantum dot technology, these LED TVs are capable of generating an outstanding picture while keeping the cost versus screen size at a reasonable level. We've compiled the best LED LCD TVs in 2022.
Vizio PX65-G1 65" Quantum 4K HDR TV
Samsung QN65Q70A 65-Inch QLED 4K TV
TCL 65” Class 6-Series 4K UHD Mini-LED LCD TV
Sony Bravia XR65X90J 65-Inch LED LCD TV
Here are the best LED LCD TVs of 2022
Vizio PX65-G1 65" Quantum 4K HDR TV - Best LED LCD TV Overall
Vizio is doubling down on quantum dot technology, with most models in the company's lineup receiving this technology that other manufacturers reserve for their pricier sets. As such, the vaunted P-Series has now been split into two separate lines. The former P-Series (no suffix) is now the P-Series Quantum, adopting its name from last year's top-of-the-line model. The previous P-Series Quantum has now been designated the P-Series Quantum X, and is the new flagship of Vizio's TV lineup. In addition to several technical upgrades, Vizio now offers this model in 65-inch and 75-inch screen sizes.
The P-Series Quantum X shares its design with the model it replaces, with the same bezel-less appearance and minimalist appeal. It's a look that's been around for a few years, but still manages to look modern and unobtrusive at the same time. Connectivity is unchanged from last year: 5 HDMI ports, a single shared component/composite video input, one USB port, TOSLINK digital audio out, a single analog audio out, and an Ethernet port. Thankfully, the cable/antenna input remains, after being reintroduced for the 2018 model. HDMI 1 supports ARC (no eARC support yet), while HDMI 5 is a dedicated game input that drops HDR support in favor of lower input lag.
The major upgrades this time around are under the hood, so to speak. Last year's P-Series Quantum was easily one of the top performers in terms of outright picture quality, and we found nothing to fault with its class-leading black levels and amazing colors. Vizio has seen fit to upgrade the set anyway, doubling the backlight's local dimming zones from 192 to 384 on the 65-inch version. Thanks to its bright and effective backlight, the P-Series Quantum X is particularly adept with HDR content. The only drawback is the narrow viewing angle (like many LED LCD TVs) - despite the inclusion of an "Enhanced Viewing Angle" feature, the P-Series Quantum X is best viewed from straight ahead. In any case, this is one of the rare TVs with a picture that will look as good in your home as it does in the store.
Another carryover is SmartCast; it should be familiar for anyone who has used a Vizio smart TV from the last few years. Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, and many others come pre-loaded, eliminating the need to download additional apps. It's great that so many apps are included, since there is still no way to install additional apps. Instead, the P-Series Quantum X features built-in Chromecast, and any content not covered by the built-in apps can be streamed to the TV from your phone or computer. A recent firmware update adds Apple AirPlay as well, covering both ends of the mobile streaming spectrum. While the built-in smart TV interface itself is ultimately the limiting factor, we appreciate Vizio's attempts to find creative solutions to users who need more flexibility.
Despite the smart TV woes, we have no qualms about naming the P-Series Quantum X our best HDTV overall for 2021. Even though the company is a relative newcomer to quantum dot technology, Vizio's efforts pay off big time with a TV that can face off against the best and hold its own. The real draw is in the value quotient; all of the TVs that offer incrementally better picture quality cost hundreds, if not thousands more. The P-Series Quantum X is simply that good - the only question left is how Vizio will find a way to improve from here.
Samsung QN65Q70A 65-Inch QLED 4K TV - Runner Up
The sheer variety present in Samsung's current HDTV lineup is enough to confuse anyone but the most research-happy shopper: Is the AU8000 better than the Q70? What is UHD TV, and how does it compare to QLED? More importantly, which one is the best option?
We'll start with the biggest difference that separates Samsung's TV lineup. All models in the "UHD TV" series are standard LED LCD TVs, similar to what's been around for a couple decades. Samsung's higher-end QLED series TVs add a quantum dot layer to the standard LED LCD TV components in order to significantly improve picture quality. We're huge fans of this advancement in TV technology, as it enables a visually pleasing effect where the colors seem to "pop" off the screen. Samsung's QLED 4K TV lineup starts with the entry-level Q60 and tops out with the flagship (and very expensive) Q90; we've reviewed the latter and were impressed with its overall performance, design, and ability to integrate into a smart home network. While there isn't a bad choice in the bunch, we found the Q70 to be the "sweet spot" of the lineup.
In a puzzling reversal that we'll chalk up to internal business decisions, Samsung has (worryingly) stripped the midrange Q70 model of several distinguishing features that allowed it to hold a unique position in the market. Gone is the full-array backlight and local dimming, replaced by an edge-lit system that is unable to provide any sort of local dimming. That said, the Q80 and Q85 models that sit directly above the Q70 are now equipped with IPS panels; while this type of display is known for its wide viewing angles, black levels ultimately suffer as a result. Despite the lack of a full-array backlight and local dimming, the Q70's VA panel is able to provide deep black levels at the expense of a narrow viewing angle. We feel that this is an acceptable compromise, especially since you'll need to step up to the flagship Q90 to regain a VA panel. Unlike OLED TVs, there's no risk of burn-in with the Q70, so it's particularly well-suited for applications that display static images for prolonged periods of time (news stations, sports, video games). Thanks to the ample light output, the Q70 will also work well in settings with lots of ambient or direct light.
As with all recent Samsung TVs, the Q70 also excels when it comes to flexibility. Inputs consist of 4 HDMI ports (#3 supports ARC/eARC), a cable/antenna input, and a pair of USB ports; in keeping with recent trends, older analog devices will need to go through a separate converter box or an AV receiver. The Q70 can be connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and the built-in Tizen smart TV suite supports all of the most popular streaming apps with the option to add more as needed. Sound output to external devices can be done through the aforementioned ARC-compatible HDMI port, and a single optical audio output and a standard 3.5mm audio jack are provided as well. HDMI 2.1 is finally supported, albeit through one port only (HDMI 4). FreeSync Variable Refresh Rate is also available, which should make gamers happy. The native refresh rate of the panel is a solid 120 Hz, meaning the Q70 can also provide proper cadence with 24p cinema material.
The biggest draw of the Q70 is its outstanding value proposition. While it's not the most affordable TV out there, attempting to find a superior performer in terms of picture quality will come with a considerable upcharge - sometimes to the tune of close to a thousand dollars. For most people in the market for a new TV, we feel that Samsung's Q70 is one of the best-rounded options on the market, with no glaring faults present in the entire package.
TCL 65” Class 6-Series 4K UHD Mini-LED LCD TV - Honorable Mention
TCL was one of the industry standouts last year with its flagship 6-Series, going toe-to-toe with some of the best performers on the market with a price tag that no other manufacturer could hope to match. The latest R635 remains competitive despite its age, which proves how far TCL was ahead of the competition to begin with. Paired with its Roku interface, it's one of the most impressive HDTV options available in 2021.
The R635 has received several refinements to its design, with a slimmer bezel that fits in with modern design themes that favor minimalism. The stand has been redesigned as well, with angled legs that take up less space overall. HDMI 4 now supports ARC/eARC; unfortunately, the R635 still does not feature HDMI 2.1. As before, analog video connectivity is limited to composite video via a 3.5mm jack (requires a breakout cable to function) and a cable/antenna input. Component video is not supported, so you'll need a converter for legacy devices. If your setup does not include an ARC-capable audio device, the R625 includes a TOSLINK digital audio output as well as a standard 3.5mm audio output jack.
One of the primary draws of TCL's "6-Series" models is their outstanding picture quality irrespective of price, and the R635 doesn't disappoint. The R635 aims to build on last year's model in subtle but noticeable ways; it keeps the quantum dot technology introduced in the preceding model while bumping the native refresh rate to 120 Hz. The latter finally allows TCL's flagship model to keep up with fast-moving sports action. Combined with its superb black levels and bright backlight, the R635 delivers a picture that simply can't be matched in this price range. We suggest taking the money you save by choosing the R635 over a more expensive set and investing in a professional calibration for the best possible picture quality.
The R635 continues to utilize Roku for its smart TV interface, right down to the remote control. Not only does the inclusion of Roku endow the R635 with one of the most user-friendly streaming platforms on the market today, it also benefits from the frequent updates and neverending content library that comes with any add-on Roku device. The remote itself offers quick access buttons to launch Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and Sling TV; the built-in microphone enables voice control as well.
The R635 is one of the most impressive performers on the market even before factoring in price; if value is what you're after, the R635 can't be beat. Combined with one of the best smart TV interface options on the market today, the R635 is a no-brainer for anyone shopping for a new TV regardless of budget.
Sony Bravia XR65X90J 65-Inch LED LCD TV - Consider
Sony's flagship LED LCD X90J returns to claim its spot for 2021, boasting outstanding picture quality and an attractive design. In a twist, the company has also kept last year's X900H as a more affordable alternative, and insists that the new model exists to supplement the X90J in the model lineup rather than replace it outright. In any case, we're recognizing the X90J for many of the same points that the X900H offered; that the new model is also an excellent value proposition is a pleasant surprise that rounds off one of the best HDTVs sold today.
After years of variations on design, Sony seems to have settled on a motif. The X90J appears outwardly identical to last year's X900H; barring the back of the TV, anyone would be forgiven for confusing the two. Either way, the X900H was a very attractive set to begin with, and the new X90J could do much worse than repurposing its design. Connectivity is nearly unchanged; 4 HDMI ports are present (HDMI 3 supports ARC/eARC), as are 2 USB inputs (one of which is USB 3.0). Strangely, HDMI 2.1 support is limited to ports 3 and 4. The fact that HDMI 3 is the designated ARC/eARC port may potentially create a bottleneck if you have multiple devices to connect. Analog video connectivity relies on a 3.5mm breakout adapter for composite video only, as well as a single cable/antenna input. The X90J also offers a remote IR input, which is convenient for custom installations. Audio is supported via the aforementioned HDMI ARC/eARC port, as well as a TOSLINK audio output and a single 3.5mm analog audio jack. Finally, a LAN/Ethernet port is present in case you prefer to hard-wire your TV to your network.
Picture quality is largely unchanged from the X900H, and we have no complaints. Black levels are impressive, and the X90J is one of the most color-accurate TVs on sale today - even out of the box. Motion handling capabilities are class-leading thanks to Sony's expertise in image processing, and the X90J can smoothly display 24p content even if the feed is 60p or 60i. On the other hand, some detractors remain due to technical limitations. The local dimming feature works very well to deliver deep blacks without blooming or crushing details, but OLED TVs perform better still in this regard. As well, viewing angles remain relatively narrow due to the inherent nature of VA LCD panels. While it's hard to justify an upgrade if you already own the X900H, anyone upgrading from a 2017 or older TV will be hard-pressed to find an LED LCD TV with a picture that looks as good.
One area where the X90J is a noticeable improvement over the X900H is its smart TV interface. Google TV replaces Android TV as the new OS, and it's not just a renaming of the older system. Several new functions appear to seamlessly integrate the X90J with your other smart devices, and there's more support for streaming live content. The sheer abundance and variety of apps is unchanged, and the X90J comes pre-loaded with all of the favorites, including Netflix, Amazon Video, Disney Plus, and Hulu. The remote also includes a built-in mic for voice control; because the X90J natively runs Google TV, the mic can also be used for Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. As far as smart TV interfaces go, the X90J gets our nod for one of the best TVs for streaming content.
The X90J does carry a pricing premium over its direct competitors, but the extra money buys noticeable picture quality improvements through Sony's renowned image processing capabilities. We can even go out on a limb and say that the X90J represents good value for money; while it's certainly not cheap, it avoids the eye-watering prices that OLED TVs and Samsung's flagship QLED sets demand. It's hard to find faults with the Sony X90J, which is why it's one of our top picks for Best HDTVs.