When picking the best TV for your living room, you should consider seven questions:
- What size TV is best?
- What TV brand to pick?
- What resolution and specs?
- How is your seating arranged?
- Is it a bright room or dark room?
- Wall-mounted or TV Stand?
- Any other special considerations?
The Best TV for most living rooms will be a 4K TV from Samsung, Sony, or LG with HDR, HDMI 2.1, and 120Hz refresh rate.
TV Size for Living Rooms
When selecting the TV size for your Living Room the focus should be on balance. It’s a multi-purpose room designed for a variety of activities where aesthetics are important.
If your TV is too big it will feel overbearing and awkward. If it’s too small you’ll feel as though you wasted your money. Luckily, we have a TV size formula for living rooms that will help guide you.
To calculate the best TV size for living rooms with frequent TV use, measure the distance from your seats to the TV (in inches) and divide by 1.6. If the TV isn’t a primary focal point of your living room and you’d prefer visual balance, divide by 1.8. At the very most, divide by 2.
For further details, read our guide on how to pick the right size TV.
TV Brands worth buying
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying a new TV is trying to save money with an off-brand device. The top TV manufacturers produce such an elevated product that other brands aren’t even worth considering.
These are the brands we confidently recommend:
- Sharp (owned by Hisense)
- Toshiba (owned by Hisense)
Although there are times that other brands are worth considering (Insignia, Phillips, Sanyo, etc…) you’re completely safe with the brands above. For more, check out our list of the Best TV Brands & Models.
Resolution & Screen Tech
In terms of comparing technical specifications, many people believe the biggest decision they’ll make is in the resolution department: HD, 4K, 8K, or something else. That decision is easy: the vast majority of people should buy a 4K TV.
Although the resolution of HD TVs are perfectly fine for most viewing scenarios, manufacturers no longer pack them with the best features, reserving them instead for 4K and 8K models.
On the other hand, 8K TVs are bleeding edge but ridiculously overpriced: there’s hardly any 8K content so you’re paying an arm and a leg extra without much benefit.
Screen technology is a different beast entirely: your main options will be OLED, QLED, or LED.
- OLED: Best picture but most expensive. Made by LG.
- QLED: Brightest picture and best value. Made by Samsung.
- LED: Most widely used and most affordable.
Micro-LED is an emerging tech worth keeping an eye on, but for now, stick with the options above.
Features & Specs
The vast majority of TV technical specifications and feature lists are an overwhelming smorgasbord of marking BS. It’s hard to see through it all (but we’ll help).
Here are the key specs to consider when buying a TV for your living room:
- 4K Resolution (instead of HD or 8K)
- HDR capability (you want this!)
- 120 Hz refresh rate (preferred)
- HDMI 2.1 ports (the more the merrier)
- VRR (Variable Refresh Rate)
Although you may be tempted to make Smart TV platform, remote controls, or TV audio part of your purchase decision: don’t.
- Essentially every 4K TV is “smart” these days and the platforms aren’t different enough to matter. Not to mention you can add smart TV features yourself with a Smart TV box or dongle via HDMI port.
- TV Remove Controls are like the crappy headphones you get when you buy a phone: you can always buy a better one to replace it.
- TV Speaker Audio has gotten worse as TVs have become thinner. Your best bet is to buy a soundbar for killer audio.
Furniture & Seating
The standard living room furniture situation includes a couch (or two) and a couple chairs. You’ve got primary seating directly in front of the TV (roughly 7 to 9 feet away) and side seating that’s closer but at an angle.
In this standard case, focus on picking the perfect TV for the best seats and disregarding everything else. However, there are a few cases where furniture is of greater consideration:
- You have seats at a distance. For example, watching from the kitchen in an open concept house, or from barstools behind the couch.
- You have wide angle seats that are important.
- You need to swivel the TV for different use cases.
If you have far away seats, consider opting for a larger TV and choosing LED or QLED rather than OLED screen tech to drive down the price.
If you have wide viewing angle seats, you’ll want to choose an OLED TV if possible. OLED screens perform much better than their QLED and LED counterparts at wide angles. This means as you shift to the side, OLED pictures will look great while QLED and OLED screens suffer from color washout, color shift, brightness loss, black level raise, and gamma shift.
If you need to rotate your TV depending on where you choose to sit/view, make sure you buy a TV stand or mount that swivels far enough for your purpose.
Bright Rooms & Dark Rooms
If your TV is located in a particularly bright room, you’ll get the best performance from a QLED TV or an OLED TV. These TVs have brighter brights which prevent them from being washed out.
If your TV is located in a particularly dark room, you’ll get the best performance from an OLED TV. It produces pure black pixels which creates the most stunningly immersive TV viewing experience on the market.
Most new TVs in 2021 boast anti-glare technology that make bold claims; however, real-world performance doesn’t typically match the marketing hype. The best solution for a bright room is to invest in shades or blinds that will prevent sunlight from hitting your screen altogether.
Wall Mounted or TV Stand?
Before you buy that TV, make sure you carefully consider whether you’ll be putting your TV on a stand or mounting it on the wall. Far too many people don’t plan in advance, get their TV home, unbox it, go to set it up, and… IT DOESN’T FIT!
Although the decision between TV stand or mount is a personal decision it’s one that you should make before you buy.
Take a good hard look around your room and identify any possible obstacles to creating your perfect TV setup. Obvious issues like mounting your TV above the fireplace are a good example- what challenges might you face?
Make sure you consider all the options before pulling the trigger and swiping your credit card! Once your ready, we’ll let you know the Best TVs from which you should be choosing.