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The move from CRT (old box TVs) to LCDs (flat screens) is one of the most significant consumer technology improvements of the past decade.
But TV makers have refined their display technology even further, and today’s flat screens are significantly thinner than they were even a few years ago, despite having better quality and smart features.
If you’re thinking about replacing your older HDTV with a 4K model, and want it to take up as little space as possible, we’ve found the best TVs for the job. If you really want to save space, you should consider wall-mounting your set, which will show off your TV’s thin and light design, while helping you maximize the space in your room.
What Are the Best Flat Screen TVs?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best flat screen TV for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Depth: Our primary metric for choosing the TVs in this guide was their depth (thinness). The sets we’ve chosen are between .8-inches and 3.2-inches deep.
OLED vs LED: The biggest contributor to a TVs thickness is its lighting system. LED TVs have lights behind the display, which illuminate the screen when necessary. This is the lighting system a majority of TVs use today, and those back lights take up a fair amount of space.
OLED TVs are a lot thinner because they don’t have those LEDs, and light up the pixels on their screen by running an electric current through them. The downside is that OLED technology is pretty new, so TVs with this tech are a lot more expensive.
Screen Resolution: All of the TVs in this guide are 4K, which means they’ll display a crisp, detailed image whether you’re streaming a movie or playing video games.
Screen Size: 4K TVs are available in a wide range of sizes, and our guide features sets between 43 and 65 inches. Our largest TV recommendation is also available in a 77-inch size, which is great if you’re setting up a professional home theater system.
Inputs: A TV’s inputs (commonly called ports), are used to connect gadgets like game consoles, Blu Ray players, or media streamers to your set. All of the flat screen TVs in our guide have at least two HDMI ports, which is the most universally used input available right now.
Smart Features: Some of the TVs in our guide have a smart assistant, like Amazon’s Alexa, built into the set itself. Others run an operating system developed by Roku or Amazon, which makes it easier to get to streaming services like Hulu without a media streamer.
BEST OVERALL: LG OLED65GXPUA
LG’s OLED65GXPUA is premium, OLED TV that’s just .8 inches thick. If it’s wall mounted, the TV will look more like a painting than a piece of tech.
We’re recommending the 65-inch version, but there are 55-inch and 77-inch models as well. What makes LG’s OLED especially impressive is the amount of technology it fit inside its ultra-thin set. The OLED65GXPUA runs on a custom processor that optimizes its image and audio quality on the fly.
The TV runs on WebOS, an advanced operating system that gives you quick access to popular streaming services, including Disney+, which launched earlier this year. If you plan on getting a next-generation console, LG’s OLED65GXPUA should also be toward the top of your list because it supports Nvidia’s G-Sync and FreeSync technologies, which means it’ll be able to keep up with fast-paced games without any slowdown or loss in fidelity.
The OLED65GXPUA has four HDMI ports, three USB ports, an optical audio output, headphone jack, antenna input, and AV (composite) input. You shouldn’t have any issues connecting all of your home theater components to this TV without an HDMI splitter, or any other adapters.
You won’t find a thinner — or more technically impressive — TV than LG’s OLED65GXPUA, and if you don’t mind paying the price for a premium set, it’s the one to get.
BEST LCD FLAT SCREEN TV: TCL 55R635
TCL’s 55R635 is an QLED 4K TV that’s 2.8 inches thick. We’ve been testing this TV for ourselves, and it’s the one we can easily recommend to just about anyone.
We’re recommending the 55-inch model, but there are 65-inch and 75-inch versions available if you’d like a larger screen. It may be thicker than an OLED TV — again, this is because of the lighting system, not a design choice from TCL, but the 55R635 is thin for LED-based flat screen TV of this size.
The 55R635’s biggest strength is its excellent picture quality. It’s performed well whether we played video games, watched 4K videos on YouTube, or streamed HD video on Netflix. The set supports Dolby Vision HDR, the latest advancement in video technology, which allows it to show more details when displaying colors colors and shadows. The TV maintained this high bar of quality in all lighting conditions, and even when switching between different display modes (Game, Movie, etc.).
TCL decided to make the 55R635 a Roku, which is another reason we can recommend this TV so highly. Roku’s interface is really easy to navigate, and you’ll have access to popular streaming services right out of the box. I’ve tried all of the major 4K media streamers, and Roku’s gear always tops the list because of its simplicity and speed. This is a smart flat screen TV designed for everybody.
In terms of inputs, the 55R635 covers all the right bases, it has: four HDMI ports, a coaxial (cable) input, one USB port, an Ethernet port, an A/V input, optical video input, and headphone jack. You shouldn’t have any issues using this TV as the centerpiece of your home theater system.
BEST ENTRY-LEVEL PICK: Insignia NS-43DF710NA21
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly flat screen TV for a mid-sized living room or bedroom, Insignia’s NS-43DF710NA21 is the right choice.
The 43-inch TV is 3.2 inches thick, and it’s available in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 70-inch screen sizes if you need a bigger set. This is a Fire Edition TV, which means it has an Amazon Fire TV stick built inside, so you don’t have to worry about plugging one in to access streaming services.
The NS-43DF710NA21 supports HDR 10+, so colors and shadows will look more life-like, and its stereo speaker system uses DTS Studio Sound for improved performance. Insignia outfitted this flat screen TV with three HDMI ports, a coaxial input, A/V inputs, an optical audio output, one USB port, an Ethernet port, and a headphone jack.
If you’re upgrading from a TV that’s a few years old, or don’t have the space or desire for a massive 4K set, Insignia’s NS-43DF710NA21 is the one to get.