OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) televisions are the newest advance in TV technology - their special LEDs allow for beautiful colours and extremely high contrast ratios, while also allowing the televisions to be mere millimeters thick. The end result is a breathtaking visual clarity and elegant design - at a premium cost. Today we’ll be looking at some of the best OLED televisions you can get in 2020.
OLED televisions are the cutting edge of tech, meaning they are *expensive*. While there are some lower-price OLED televisions, they are few and far between, and tend to lack in key areas. Therefore we have picked the TVs in this article with a focus on quality and size over price.
LG is responsible for some of the best OLED screens available, and their C9 Series is a favourite of customers and critics - it topped the rankings of several ‘Best 2019 OLED TVs’ lists and has a massive amount of 5-star reviews. It’s not hard to see why - the visual clarity and contrast are both top notch. The blacks are as deep as can be, the colours are vibrant, and the design is refined and elegant. Like many OLED TVs, it has a very wide viewing angle, and the sheer size of the 65” screen will fill the room!
LG have outfitted the C9 with the latest generation of their ‘α9 Processor’, meaning images will be smooth and as clear as can be. Rounding it off, the C9 is also stuffed full of extra tech - it has smart assistant support which allows you to control the TV via voice commands, and can connect to your home network to control other smart-enabled devices with ease.
The C9 isn’t perfect though - it lacks in maximum brightness compared to other models, and the inbuilt speaker system is lacking in power, so a good soundbar may be required. Having said that, the speakers themselves are built into the stylish base, which is slanted to give the speakers far more coverage than they otherwise would.
Sony’s Bravia AG9 is another popular OLED television which has received a lot of love in the 2019/2020 rankings. The AG9 has very high-quality colour accuracy and deep blacks that rival the LG screens for beautiful visuals.
One of the most exciting features of the AG9 is Sony’s ‘Acoustic Surface+ Audio’ technology. This means that the screen itself is actually one giant speaker - audio is emitted directly from the screen, rather than from speakers on the sides of the TV or an external soundbar. You can find more info in this Wired article, but the takeaway is that this tech allows for a superior sound quality while keeping the design sleek and distraction free.
The AG9 is also top of the class when it comes to upscaling - the act of turning a standard or high-definition picture into a crisp 4K image. This means that when watching older films and television, the pictures will look significantly better than they did on the original hardware. Add to this excellent motion smoothing and a very low response time, and the AG9 is the best in our list for watching movies.
However, there are a few notable problems - there are reports that while the upscaling is excellent, the actual 4k picture quality is marginally less crips than the LG models. There is also no Freeview support built into the TV - instead the AG9 ships with a YouTube-Freeview hybrid that offers most of the same functionality, but not all of it. Therefore be warned that if you plan on using the AG9 for standard television, you may find certain channels missing.
That said, the AG9 is an excellent contender to the C9, with both offering the highest quality for an OLED television. The C9 may have a slight lead on the visual quality, but the AG9 leads on sound.
Sony Bravia AG9
3.5 / 5
Great upscaling support
4k visuals not as good as LG models
No full Freeview support
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If you really want to splash out, and don’t want to compromise, then the LG E9 may be the model for you. At a glance it looks identical to the C9, and indeed the screen is largely unchanged, it has the same 2nd Gen α9 Processor as the C9, and overall you get the same top-shelf visual experience.
So why choose the E9 over the slightly-cheaper C9? Two improvements - sound and design. First off, the E9 has a built-in soundbar, meaning it has 4.2 channels over the C9’s 2. This allows for far higher-quality audio for films and games, and means there is no need for an additional soundbar.
The soundbar is actually hidden in the E9’s second big upgrade - the base. While the other TVs on this list use a variety of differently shaped bases that stick out the bottom of the television, the E9 uses a single block of glass to both stabilise the screen and conceal the soundbar. This is a striking and elegant design, making it almost seem like the E9 doesn’t have a base, and the picture is floating in mid-air.
Unfortunately the E9 is also a significant jump in price from the C9. It is debatable whether this extra cost is worthwhile - on the one hand, it’s a lot more money for a fairly small upgrade. On the other hand, you may have to spend that money on a soundbar to augment the C9’s speakers, and you get a rather lovely design thrown in as well!
One final note - LG have actually discontinued the E9 series in 2020, to be replaced by their GX models. This means it may be possible to pick up a deal on the E9 in the months to come - keep an eye on our Deals page (LINK) for any hot tips!
Sony & LG may have cornered the market in OLED TVs, but there are some other companies producing some excellent models. Philips is one such company - their OLED 804 is worthy of being considered alongside the more well-known makes.
The 804 (not to be confused with the 808) has the same top-quality visuals you’ll find on the other OLED TVs reviewed here - the colour accuracy and black depth are both the best on their field, while the visual quality is extremely sharp, better even than the Sony AG9. It also has very strong sound from the built-in speakers, meaning there shouldn’t be a need to purchase a stand-alone soundbar.
The real selling point of the 804 though is Philips’ ‘Ambilight’ technology. This has been a feature of their top-shelf TVs for a few years now - thin LEDs around the edge of the television light up to match the colours being shown on screen, giving the effect of the picture ‘spreading’ out from the screen into the rest of the room. It’s a lovely visual effect - creating increased immersion by spreading the dominant colours on the screen into your peripheral vision. Paired with an OLED screen, this makes for a unique visual experience!
Philips definitely banked mostly on the Ambilight to sell the 804, because the actual TV is by far the plainest of the 4 reviewed here today: no glass stands or sleek designs. The design is perfectly functional, but won’t draw eyes like the LG models. Like the Sony AG9 it also lacks Freeview support - meaning you will lose access to some channels. That said, if you plan on mainly watching movies or streaming media, the 804 is an excellent choice that will (literally) light up your living room!