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Not all TVs are created equal when it comes to watching sports. While most of the best TVs these days deliver decent picture quality, when it comes to shopping for the best TV for sports, it’s about more than just the colors you see on display. With fast-moving action and numerous players, fans and scores to keep track of on screen, you need a TV that can handle all of the flurry — without getting blurry.
What Are the Best TVs for Sports?
The best televisions for sports offer big-screen viewing with features that minimize blurring and banding so the action on the field or court stays crisp and smooth. We looked for top-rated TVs with deep contrasts and the ability to pick out tiny details too, so you can easily read the score while streaming basketball online, for example, or see the numbers on the back of the football jerseys without having to squint or get up close.
Best Overall: LG OLED C2
Best 8K TV: Samsung Q900B
Best Budget: Hisense U8H
Best All-in-One: Sony A90J
1. LG OLED C2
LG was a pioneer in developing OLED TVs and this model showcases the technology in all its full (colored) glory.
Millions of pixels work together to create brighter colors and crisper contrasts to place you firmly in the middle of the action for a more immersive fan experience. With the ability to control every pixel individually, the OLED system delivers a more accurate and life-like picture — especially great when watching sports.
LG’s α9 Gen 5 AI Processor 4K upscales everything to 4K (or as close to 4K as possible), and the TV features smooth visuals, even during fast-paced sports games, like soccer or hockey. NVIDIA G-SYNC and FreeSync tech help to eliminate any lag during gaming too, so your gameplay is smooth and uninterrupted. This unit has a high refresh rate of 120Hz.
Control the TV using the included remote or set it up to work with your favorite voice assistant — Google Assistant or Alexa. LG’s webOS platform essentially turns the TV into a home base for entertainment, making it easy to find your streaming apps and to find your favorite content. You can also set alerts to pop up when your favorite teams are playing, so you can easily switch to the game or check the scores — even while you’re watching other content.
At the end of the day, your team’s performance on the field or track will only look as good as the screen it’s on, and this LG TV adds Dolby Vision IQ to automatically adjust picture settings based on your lighting conditions and what you’re watching. AI Sound Pro, meantime, delivers a 3D surround sound experience so you can hear every rip, roar and rumble at home.
2. Samsung Q900B
If you’re looking for a luxurious 8K option go with the Samsung QN900B. It’s got Neo QLED tech for vivid, bright and evenly lit visuals on all your entertainment,
All your favorite TV shows and movies will also be upscaled to 8K resolution (if supported), that’s four times more vivid than 4K Samsung TVs. Samsung describes this TV as having an ‘infinity screen,’ thanks to its edge-to-edge display, which will deliver a more immersive viewing experience, making you feel like you’re at the Suoer Bowl instead of at home on your couch,
There’s Alexa built-in and support for Google Assistant as well as Bixby for hands-free control. Other features include object tracking sound for more accurate audio and Samsung TV plus, which delivers free, subscription-free movies and channels for all Samsung TV owners.
The TV also features object tracking, which means you’ll never miss a beat during your favorite sports games, and get lag-free visuals at all times.
Contrasts are surprisingly sharp, even in daylight; there’s no mistaking the colors on the field or the numbers on a scoreboard. And, there’s Dolby Atmos sound so you can feel the roar of the crowd and join in yourself when your top team scores.
3. Sony A90J
This Sony TV has got a clear 4K resolution and an OLED display which means you’ll get deep, balanced contrasts and even brightness whether you’re gaming, watching the Super Bowl or streaming The Last of Us. Sony also claims that they’ve added technology for more accurate color depiction for visuals that look realistic every time.
There’s Google TV built-in, allowing you to download your favorite apps from Hulu to Netflix, and you’ll be able to control this TV with both Google Assistant or Alexa. Refresh rates are lightning fast too and input lag times are low, which means you’ll also be able to use this TV while you’re gaming without facing any screen freezes.
This Sony TV also packs powerful sound thanks to its built-in subwoofers and delivers perfectly synced audio with Acoustic Surface Audio+, so every touchdown will sound big and room-filling.
4. Hisense U8H
This Hisense U8H QLED TV gets you super bright 4K images that pop off the screen, with Dolby Vision HDR enhancing colors and bringing out the little details in every scene. Dolby Atmos sound creates a true home theater experience.
The TV delivers a native refresh rate of 120Hz. It’s got very low input lag for gaming, and it’s a good choice for watching sports.
At 55 inches, this is the smallest screen size on our list but you get an end-to-end display in a slim and sleek package. Control the TV via the easy-to-use voice remote or through an Alexa-enabled device.
How to Choose a TV for Sports
Most TV channels are now broadcasting games in 4K quality, so we’ve rounded up the best 4K TVs for sports. You’ll see the action on pristine 4K TV sets, which offer four times the resolution of traditional 1080 HD. Here’s what else to keep in mind when shopping for the best TV for sports.
Motion Blur: Motion blur refers to images on screen that look fuzzy and out of focus, Motion blur typically occurs when there’s a fast-moving image, say, when a baseball is stuck by a bat, or when a NASCAR vehicle whizzes around the track. On cheaper TVs, the ball or car will lose detail and look less distinct. Look for TVs that have built-in settings to reduce motion blur.
Stutter: If you’re using your TV to watch sports, it’s important to look for a good TV with low stutter. Not to be confused with judder (more on that below), a TV’s stutter refers to the way a static image can sometimes be held on screen in between frame transitions. The effect creates a slight pause in the action, rather than smooth transitions from frame to frame. You’ll notice it for example, when a touchdown has been scored and you can hear the crowd cheering, but the picture still shows the football in the air. Basic TVs often have to “catch up” to the action on screen because of stuttering.
Judder: Judder, meantime, refers to the jerky movements that come on screen when the motion interpolation of the TV cannot keep up with the signal coming into the box. It’s not often noticeable, as most TVs these days use something called 3:2 pulldown to match the frames coming in through the signal with the frames displayed on your TV. Still, some of the picks on our list offer settings to help reduce judder.
Input lag: A television’s input lag is the amount of time that elapses between a picture being generated by a source and that image appearing onscreen. The lower the lag the better. This affects the way you watch sports, but it’s especially important for gamers, since every second counts in gameplay — you don’t want there to be any lag at all.
Refresh rate: Refresh rate refers to how many times per second the image on the screen refreshes. The higher the refresh rate, the better a TV is at handling fast motion, making it an important consideration for sports. You’ll get a smoother picture with less blur. Most TVs have refresh rates of 60Hz and 120Hz.
Screen Size: All of the picks on our list deliver big-screen viewing, with a minimum screen size of 55 inches, though you can follow the links in our piece to choose other sizes as well. With so much going on during a game — not to mention a ball or puck to track — we recommend at least a 55-inch TV for sports, for the most immersive experience.