The Best HDR TVs of 2017By Lee Neikirk
Our top recommended HDR TV right now is the LG C7 OLED series, the most widely available HDR/4K OLED from 2017. However, it's understandable if you can't drop $3,000 on a TV, so we've put together a big list of the best. But first, a bit about HDR.
HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is the latest tech upgrade for the best TVs on the market. HDR is no red-and-blue lens gimmick but is a fully fledged ecosystem transformation. Basically, Hollywood and its ilk are mastering HDR content and taking advantage of a TV's full horsepower via better use of brightness, a wider range of colors, a fuller color palette, and—of course—native 4K resolution.
That's not to say every HDR TV looks the same. Each one's efficacy depends on how bright it can get, and how much color it can display (which is usually tied to how expensive it is). But that doesn't mean you need to hock your arm and/or leg to get in on the HDR revolution. Yes, a lot of the really jaw-dropping HDR TVs carry jaw-dropping price tags, but there are plenty that will still sweep you off your feet for less.
Updated April 28, 2017
LG C7 SeriesBest Overall
LG's C7 series is a 2017 4K/HDR OLED option that outperforms a vast majority of last year's HDR OLEDs and compares so favorably to the $8,000 "wallpaper" flagship OLED that we simply had to call it best overall. While it's still not cheap—the 55-inch will run you around $3,000, and the 65-inch another couple thousand more—it's still the brightest, most colorful 2017 OLED that's readily available.
Just keep in mind you're paying for more here than just great HDR performance. The C7 is a stellar TV, period. From design, to features, to non-HDR content, it does everything with the flourish that ought to justify its price tag. That said, we're expecting the price to drop later in 2017, and caution interested viewers to exercise patience. Read our full review.
Samsung KS8000 SeriesBest Value
Samsung's 2016 KS8000 series blew me away when I saw it last year. It possessed almost the same level of brightness and sheer color performance as the 2016 flagship, the KS9800 series, but at less than half the price. You can get the 55-inch KS8000 for around $1,300 right now, which is an awesome price for a big, beautiful 4K/UHD smart TV with HDR performance this good.
That might still seem like a good chunk of money for a "best value" pick, but you have to see this thing in full HDR glory to understand what a deal you're getting. It looks almost the same as a $3,000 TV, and while a couple other series come close, nothing has topped this price-to-performance ratio where HDR is concerned. Read our full review.
Samsung KS9800 Series
The KS9800 was Samsung's flagship HDR TV last year, and it remains one of the more impressive TVs I've ever seen, though it has the price tag to match. The 65-inch KS9800 is still fairly pricy at around $3,000 (the same as the 55-inch C7 OLED from this year), but not only do you get a bigger screen for that price, you get one of the outright brightest TVs we've ever seen.
Where HDR is concerned, premium performance is split along a line between LED TVs like the KS9800, and OLEDs like the C7. The C7 produces lightless black levels, giving it the huge dynamic range to make awesome HDR. The KS9800 instead opts to simply get insanely bright, hitting well over 1,000 nits of brightness, which is sunglasses-level shine. In fact, closely imitating the KS9800's performance is the key reason why the more affordable KS8000 took our "best value" pick above. But if you want to go all the way on super bright, colorful HDR, the KS9800 is currently king. Read our full review.
LG B6 Series
The 2016 B6 OLED series continues to stand out as an awesome HDR TV for a bunch of reasons. For one, it's simply an awesome performer, delivering an excellent HDR experience as well as great features and reliable all-around performance.
But it also continues to be simply the most affordable HDR OLED around, with the 55-inch going for $1,000 less than the C7, our best overall pick. The only problem? This model's becoming a bit harder to find as the 2017 OLEDs pepper into the market. If you want to save as much as you can without compromising on picture quality, better snap up a B6 stat. Read our full review.
Vizio P Series (2016)
Last year's P Series is an excellent HDR choice if you want a good look into the brightness/color advances the mode offers, but don't want to spend thousands of dollars. You can get the 55-inch P Series for around $1,000, making it that much more affordable than our "best value" KS8000. On the other hand, it doesn't offer quite the same level of performance.
You're not getting the "holy smokes, HDR is crazy!" experience, but you are getting super close with something that's also just a great TV. While Vizio's updating the P Series with a 2017 version pretty soon, the 2016 series remains a great choice in the meantime. Read our full review.
Vizio M Series (2016)
Most simply, the M Series is a more affordable and slightly less finely tooled version of the P Series. The design isn't as nice, it doesn't perform quite as well, and even the included Android tablet (for Vizio's SmartCast system) is a downgrade compared to the one included with the P Series.
The upside? The 55-inch 2016 M Series is only around $700, and for that you get a 4K/UHD TV with decent HDR specifications and a design that's pretty easy on the eyes, too. Read our full review.
Samsung KU7000 Series
The 2016 KU7000 series is a great option if you want a TV that delivers premium quality on most fronts—from a fancy design, to a finely tooled smart system, to newer tech like 4K/UHD resolution and, of course, HDR compatibility.
However, at around $1,000 for the 55-inch, you're paying as much for that premium pedigree as you are for just an HDR TV. The KU7000's HDR performance is a bit underwhelming, but it's also a great choice if you just want a TV that's a good choice and also gives you a taste of HDR. Read our full review.
Sony X930D Series
The X930D series is an interesting choice. As an HDR TV, it was one of the better premium options last year, delivering super high brightness. Though the 55-inch is still around $1,500, it's a winner where sheer HDR brightness output is concerned.
Unfortunately, it isn't quite up to all of our standards in other areas. We found the local dimming process to be rough around the edges, and (most unfortunately) very inconsistent black levels that can be distracting during non-HDR content. Most notably, the color range is limited compared to similarly priced HDR TVs. Read our full review.
Samsung MU7000 Series
The MU7000 series is the 2017 version of the KU7000 series, and it delivers about what you'd expect: similarly posh design and polished features, with even better HDR performance than last year's model. The 55-inch is a bit pricy at around $1,100 right now, but you're also getting reliable quality.
The MU7000 has the same issue as the KU7000; while you're getting an HDR compatible TV, it doesn't make efforts to deliver a super appreciable amount of brightness the way some competing models do, barely getting brighter than the average non-HDR TV. Read our full review.