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Organic Light Emitting Diode (shortened to OLED) TVs offer a significant improvement to color and shadow accuracy over LED TVs, which make them the ideal choice for home theater use. They use an organic, carbon-based material that illuminates when exposed to electricity rather than a light shutter that sits behind the screen.
This allows OLED TVs to control every single one of its pixels individually, rather than lighting chunks of the display. The downside to using an OLED TV is that they’re susceptible to burn in, a glitch that occurs when a fixed image (think cable news logo or video game health bar) is on the screen for an extended period of time.
The image of the logo stays on screen (albeit faded) even after you turn the TV to a different channel, or stop playing your game. Burn in will happen over time, and only become permanent if you watch the same thing for several hours a day over an extended period of time. If you watch movies and TV shows, where action is constantly happening on screen, this won’t be an issue.
If you want the latest-and-greatest screen technology, an OLED TV is the way to go. They’re going to become more popular over time, but getting one now means you won’t have to upgrade your set for a good long time.
What is the Best OLED TV?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best OLED TV for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Size: OLED TVs are available in a range of sizes, but all of our TV recommendations are 55 inches, which is a common size for most homes. If you need a larger display, they’re available.
Resolution: Every OLED TV in our guide has a resolution of 4K, so modern movies, TV shows, and video games will look extremely crisp. The quality of your picture will depend on the source material (low quality video won’t look good even on the best TV) so keep that in mind.
Smart Features: All of the OLED TVs we’re recommending have some smart features, including access to popular streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Some take things a step further by integrating with popular smart-home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, which allow them to do more than just display video.
Note: Currently, only LG and Sony make OLED TVs, so these are the ones we are reviewing here. But more companies are set to launch OLED options soon.
1. LG OLED55CXPUA
LG engineers invented OLED technology, so it’s no surprise its TVs are among the best.
The OLED55CXPUA is the latest entry in its mid-range series, and is a great entry point if you’re getting your first OLED TV. It’s available in three sizes: 55, 65, and 77 inches. It has four HDMI ports and three USB ports, so you can connect media and storage accessories, so you can play TV shows and movies off discs, through streaming services, or your personal collection.
This set supports every cutting-edge audio video technology: Dolby Vision HDR (High Dynamic Range), which improves color accuracy, G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, which reduce stuttering and other visual glitches while paying games, and Dolby Atmos,the latest surround sound format.
LG designed this TV around a third-generation a9 processor to ensure its built-in apps launch quickly, and there’s no slowdown when streaming 4K video. The software running under the hood is WebOS, an operating system originally developed by Palm, which has a sleek, easy to understand interface.
The OLED55CXPUA has Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant built in, so you can ask the TV to play media, adjust system settings like the volume, and turn the TV off, all using your voice. You can also ask these smart assistants to answer questions (I.e. What’s the weather like outside?), control smart-home accessories, and get a live video feed from a smart camera. While it doesn’t support Siri (Apple locks this down to its devices), the TV does work with AirPlay 2, an Apple-invented technology that lets you wirelessly stream high-resolution video and audio from its devices.
If you’re curious about OLED technology, and whether the technology is worth an upgrade over your current TV, LG’s OLED55XCPUA should give you a definitive answer.
2. Sony XBR-65A9G
Sony’s XBR-65A9G is one of the company’s “Master Series” TVs, and the technology inside is designed to optimize the best features of an OLED display for movie and TV watching. This TV is available in three sizes: 55, 65, and 77 inches. It has four HDMI ports, but no USB ports, so you’re limited to the media you can stream or have on disc. That deficiency is the only real limitation of this set.
The XBR-65A9G’s best features are enabled by Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor, which the company says can analyze every element on the screen to ensure its color accuracy, contrast, and sharpness are as life-like as possible. The TV supports Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos,the latest video and audio standards, but not G-Sync or AMD’s Freesync.
Instead, Sony developed MotionFlow XR, which the company says reduces blur better than traditional motion smoothing technologies. Sony touts the XBR-65A9G’s 2.2 channel audio system, which it says complements its video technology to create a movie-theater like experience right out of the box.
Sony built this TV’s software around Google’s Android TV platform. This means you’ll get access to a large app store full of different streaming services. The company said it worked directly with Netflix to develop a Netflix Calibrated Mode, which recreates the master video producers and directors send to the streaming service to review. Sony says this is the closest you’ll get to the source material you’re streaming.
The Google Assistant is built into the TV, and you can add Alexa support by pairing it to an Amazon Echo. This set also supports AirPlay 2, a wireless technology Apple invented that allows you to stream high-resolution audio and video to the TV. The lack of built-in Alexa support makes sense given the XBR-55A9G is running on Google’s software, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Sony’s XBR-55A9G is full of custom technology that allows it to shine in ways its competition can’t. If you’re incredibly serious about having the absolute best picture quality, this TV will get you there.