Forget 4K, the best 8K TVs push the boundaries of ultra high resolution to an incredible 7680 x 4320 pixels, packing more than 33 million pixels into a single display panel. With 8K TVs being sold by Samsung, LG and Sony – with more to come from TCL, Hisense and others – there’s no ignoring the new wave of 8K TVs on the market. But which are the best? And how can you choose the one that’s right for you?
We’ve been following the development of 8K TVs since they were first announced in 2018, and have scrutinized every model we could get our eyes on in product demos, reviews and even floor models at our local tech retailers. We’ve pored over the specs and compared the numbers to help you know which 8K TVs are best.
What are the best 8K TVs?
Since their introduction in 2018 with the first Samsung 8K QLED models, 8K TVs have wowed in demos and set a new bar for premium TV prices. But it’s still a new segment of the TV market, and relatively few 8K TVs are even being sold, let alone finding homes in people’s living rooms.
At the present, the best 8K TVs are made by the leading TV brands: Samsung, LG and Sony, with Samsung’s several 8K models offering the widest selection of prices and features – the Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K TV is the top-of-the-line model, with the Samsung QN800A Neo QLED model offering a more budget-friendly alternative.
LG’s well-earned reputation for making excellent OLED sets makes the LG ZX 8K OLED a stand out product, not only for the overall quality – and 8K OLED is truly stunning – but also for the expense. OLED is more expensive than LCD panel technology as a rule, and 8K panels magnify this price difference.
Finally, the Sony Z8H 8K Android TV is an LCD smart TV that shows Sony still knows how to make a premium product. From smart speaker capability to tweeters embedded into the frame of the TV – creating sound that seems to come right from the screen – Sony’s 8K TV sounds just as good as it looks.
The best 8K TVs you can buy
The Samsung QN900A is on the top of the line 8K model from Samsung, offering every premium technology and design flourish in Samsung’s arsenal. As part of Samsung’s new Neo QLED line, the QN900A uses both quantum-dot enhancement for better color and brightness and mini-LED backlighting for tighter contrast control and superb HDR performance. It’s also paired with Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound Pro technology, which uses an array of frame-mounted speakers to track audio with the position of actors and objects on screen, providing a more immersive experience.
Beyond picture and sound, the QN900A features Samsung’s Infinity Screen technology, which slims down the bezel around the screen to 0.8-millimeter thick – so slim you can barely see it at recommended viewing distances.
Inside is the new Neo Quantum Processor, which drives features like AI upscaling, Quantum HDR 64x tone-mapping technology and AI audio optimizationSpaceFit Sound. The new sets are the first to be certified for Wi-Fi 6e, and feature Samsung’s OneConnect box for a truly seamless setup.
Read more about the Samsung 2021 TV lineup.
If you want a truly choice TV viewing experience, in the combination of eight care resolution and OLED display technology will be irresistible. It’s also incredibly expensive, but the LG ZX offers with no other 8K TV does, with big 77 and 88-in OLED display panels offering the impeccable quality of OLED, with its per-pixel backlighting, true blacks, and rich color, all of the astonishing detail that only 8K resolution can provide.
The larger 88-inch model comes with it’s own floor stand with integrated speaker system, but the 77-inch model has amore traditional design. Both feature LG’s top-tier Alpha 9 Gen-3 processor and LG’s excellent webOS platform, but the real draw here is the screen. It’s the same OLED panel used on the previous LG Z9 OLED – one of the most impressive ever made.
It’s also super expensive, with the 77-inch model selling for $19,999 and the 88-inch model selling for a whopping $29,999.
Read our LG Z9 88-inch 8K OLED TV review (hands-on).
The Samsung QN800A is a step down from the more premium QN900A series, making it one of the most approachable 8K models on the market, but it drops a couple of features in order to come in at a more affordable price. Samsung uses a very thin (but more visible) bezel around the 8K panel, steps down to Object Tracking Sound+ instead of Pro and uses Quantum HDR 32x. This still uses dynamic tone-mapping for improved HDR performance, but not at the same level as you’d see on the more expensive QN900A Neo QLED sets.
Despite these differences, the QN800A is still a premium 8K TV, complete with Neo QLED combining quantum-dot color with mini-LED backlights, and offering a handful of AI-driven features like upscaling, audio tuning and HDR tone mapping.
Read more about Samsung’s Neo QLED TVs.
Sony’s in the 8K game as well, and the Sony Z8H 8K Android TV is an impressive TV indeed. Coming in 75 and 85-inch sizes, the Sony 8K TV is a fine-tuned LCD display backed with full array backlight and more than 300 local dimming zones, beating Sony’s best 4K TVs. Sony’s Acoustic Multi-Audio feature turns the Z8H’s entire frame into a tweeter for sound that seems to jump directly out of the display.
And it’s got other conveniences, like built-in, far-field mics that work with the TV’s integrated Google Assistant capabilities, making it a giant smart speaker that you can use as a Google Home to control all of your connected devices.
The only problems? The Z8H only has one HDMI 2.1 port that supports 8K video, and it doesn’t support two of the best features HDMI 2.1 offers – variable refresh rate and auto low-latency mode for gaming. That’s more than a disappointment at this price, especially when other 8K sets do better.
Read our Sony Z8H 8K TV review (hands-on).
What is 8K resolution?
8K resolution is shorthand for 7680 x 4320 resolution. That’s equivalent to four 4K panels, tiled in a 2×2 formation.
But the real magic of 8K is hard to convey in words or pictures online. The jump in resolution from 4K to 8K is magnified by the fact that 8K screens are significantly larger than a standard 4K TV. So you not only get incredible lifelike levels of detail, but often at life-like sizes.
That combination of detail and size does deliver some astonishingly realistic images, and the potential for truly immersive 8K entertainment is undeniable. On top of this, TV manufacturers aren’t pulling their punches when it comes to 8K TVs. Even the less expensive 8K models are packed with premium features, so you can expect 8K TVs to boast the best audio options and smart capabilities available.
How much do 8K TVs cost?
With 8K technology only being a few years old, and requiring giant TVs with ultra high definition resolution that’s four times as high as 4K, it shouldn’t be any surprise that 8K TV’s are very expensive.
The most affordable 8K TVs are still more expensive than the best 4K sets, starting at $3,000 or $4,000 for a reasonably sized 65-inch model, but the price of 8K TVs can scale up to unaffordable levels pretty quickly. While most 8K TVs cost a few thousand dollars, some, like the LG ZX OLED, cost $20,000 or $30,000 depending on the screen size.
Are 8K TVs worth buying?
It’s true that 8K resolution is impressive, but we don’t recommend buying 8K TVs yet.
The biggest problem? There’s no 8K content. There are no 8K movies being released, no shows streaming in 8K, there is no 8K version of Blu-ray, and there is very little on the horizon that will use the 8K format because there are still almost no 8K cameras or production tools made to handle the higher resolution.
It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem, since creating 8K content requires 8K cameras and displays, and that technology is only a couple of years old. It will be a while yet before 8K media is available in any meaningful way. And until it is, there is no good reason to buy an 8K TV.
That said, we’re inching closer to making 8K a reality. The HDMI 2.1 format is the first with the bandwidth to handle 8K content – it used to take four separate HDMI cables to do that – and the latest game consoles are 8K-capable, even if no games take advantage of that capability yet. We’ll be keeping an eye on 8K TVs as things develop, but for now, you’re safe to pass on this new technology.