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Not that you need our permission, but if you’re going to watch the Super Bowl, it’s a perfect excuse to pick up a new television. Yes, just for the big game. Or at least for the Super Bowl halftime show, should the showdown between San Francisco and Kansas City just not really matter to you.
There are a ton of TVs out there, with model names that don’t always make sense. So we’re going to boil it down to some very simple choices. And we’re touching a few price points here, so there should be something for every budget.
We’re not going to beat around the bush any longer. We’ve got three recommendations from three manufacturers that you don’t have to think twice about.
If money is no object: Sony A95L
We don’t hand out perfect scores lightly. But the Sony Bravia A95L QD-OLED most certainly earned that 10 out of 10 when we reviewed it in late 2023. It’s not an inexpensive television. Retail prices start at $2,800 for the 55-inch model and hit a whopping $5,000 for the 77-incher. But we are seeing sales prices lop off a few hundred bucks, so now may be the time to buy.
Why choose this TV? First off, OLED is still the technology to get — if you can get it. Each and every pixel can turn itself on and off, which means the colors are as bright as they can get, and the dark bits are as dark as they can get. And if you care about color measurements, know that they’re “dead-on almost across the board.” (That’s a very good thing.)
Need more? The upscaling — by which the TV itself takes a messy, compressed signal and cleans it up to make it look as best as it can on its 4K panel — is among the best we’ve seen.
For now, this is the TV to get. Full stop.
The best for most of us: Hisense U7K
OK. You can’t spend several thousand dollars on a new TV. We get it. That’s where the Hisense U7K comes in. It’s a mini-LED model, which means that instead of every pixel turning off and on, there’s a whole bunch of tiny little LED-powered zones that make things look great. And the price hits that sweet spot of $550 or so for the 55-inch, topping out at $1,700 for 85 inches. (Again, that’s before sales prices.)
Diving into our Hisense U7K review, we found that it has “an attractive design with surprisingly solid build quality that you don’t see that often at this price.” Fair enough. It’s running Google TV, so it’ll have all the apps you could need at the ready.
On the technical side of things, we found the white balance to be “damn good for a TV at this price.” Color accuracy was good, and peak brightness was more than adequate. And upscaling was “very respectable.”
All in all? A solid pick for a new TV on which to watch the Super Bowl — or anything else, for that matter.
Best on a budget: TCL S5
We’re getting into dangerous territory here, where the technical differences are slim, and the delta in price is even slimmer. But if you’re counting every cent in your TV purchase, the TCL S5 might be the way to go. It’s a little less expensive at the low end (especially with sales prices). And its QLED panel is good enough for most folks.
You can pick this one up either with Roku built-in or Google TV. From our TCL S5 review, you’ll note that we called it “rock-solid for the price” and that it “strikes a great balance between cost and performance — the kind of performance that’s impressive enough to deliver some wow to your eyes, without punching much of a hole in your wallet.”
And that’s about as hard as you’ll need to think about this TV, whether for the Super Bowl, or elsewhere.