Buying Guide: 2024’s Top TVs

Posted on 5th April, 2024

Buying Guide: 2024’s Top TVs

Looking to upgrade your TV in 2024? It seems like you'll be spoilt for choice. Steve May previews the biggest screens coming your way this year…

Bigger, brighter, and better seems like a reasonable summation of the TV scene in 2024. With more advanced panel technologies, AI picture processing, and ambitious audio, the TV majors are in the process of rolling out some stunning new models.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

The urge to upgrade is clearly going to be strong, but there's more than a little of the 'Godzilla versus King Kong' vibe about the front runners. When they're all so titanic, what really sets them apart? I've been getting a head start and early hands with some of the best screens coming your way in 2024 to find out how they compare.

SAMSUNG QN800D 8K MINI LED & S90D 4K OLED

Samsung hopes that high-quality upscaling and slick industrial design will be enough to make high-end buyers upgrade their 4k TVs to 8k this year, and it may well be right. I've had an early hands-on with the incoming 8k QN800D, and it's a real crowd-pleaser. This new model sits below the brand's 2024 range-topper, the QN900D, and succeeds 2023's QN800C. I had a hands-on experience with the 75-inch version of this Mini LED model, which is a good entry-level size for this calibre of screen.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

The QN800D is a trim, good-looker, with minimal bezel and an easy-to-accommodate central pedestal stand. Note that it comes with a separate One Connect tuner and interface box, and it's here you'll find four HDMI inputs, all of which offer high refresh rate support for next-gen games consoles, along with AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia G-Sync support. The One Connect Box connects to the TV via a single umbilical cord.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

The QN800D uses the brand's second-gen NQ8 AI processor and runs the Tizen OS. Samsung has made some modest changes to its smart platform this year, improving content curation and navigation, making an already strong connected proposition bulletproof.

Picture quality is impressive. The QN800D's black-level performance is deep yet nuanced, with plenty of near-shadow detail, and its Quantum Dot-enhanced colour performance is outstanding. HDR precision is outstanding. During my time with the set, I could barely spot any blooming. The set supports HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and HGiG, but not Dolby Vision.

Home cinema fans shouldn't feel downhearted, though. During my audition, the TV did a terrific job with the UHD Blu-ray of John Wick: Chapter 4, bringing a real dynamic punch to the movie's high-contrast action sequences. It also looked wonderfully cinematic with Top Gun: Maverick (also UHD Blu-ray), its high peak brightness allowing those fighter jets to shine.

It sounds rather fine, too; the TV also has a great Dolby Atmos audio system built in. The speaker configuration is 4.2.2, and it includes both forward-facing and height drivers. Total power output is a healthy 70W.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

Back in 4k territory, Samsung continues to evolve its OLED proposition. Heading for a high street near you soon is a third-generation high-end QD-OLED set, the S95D, with Glare-Free screen technology. This matte treatment dramatically reduces reflections from room lights and windows.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

It's undoubtedly effective but appears to elevate black levels. If you prefer a traditional glossy screen, then the step-down S90D OLED is available in a wide variety of screen sizes. I took the 42-inch version for a spin and found it a highly capable small-screen OLED. Picture quality is consistently terrific, with vibrant colours, a great deep black performance and punchy HDR. Definitely one to look out for.

PANASONIC Z95A 4K OLED

Panasonic is making a major change to its TV line-up in 2024, dropping its own My Home Screen smart OS in favour of Amazon's Fire TV platform. I've seen this new look running on the brand's soon-to-be-released flagship OLED, the Z95A. It's not quite a cookie-cutter port of the Fire TV implementation we've seen on Amazon's own QLED tellies, as it also incorporates aspects of Panasonic's now-defunct OS. Panasonic has even managed to hold onto its own remote control rather than adopt that ubiquitous Fire TV mini zapper.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

Of course, there's more to the Z95A than just its Fire TV front end. The OLED set, which will come in 55-, 65- and 77-inch screen sizes, boasts some very impressive picture technology. The 55- and 65-inch models feature an updated MLA (Micro Lens Array) panel with proprietary heat management, a concoction Panasonic calls Master OLED Ultimate. The 77-incher is designated a Master OLED PRO Cinema Size (which means it's not an MLA design). All share the same HCX Pro AI Processor MK II processor, though.

HDR support is universal, with HDR10+ Adaptive and Dolby Vision IQ Precision Detail topping the spec list. The latter is interesting as it works with the TV's various sensors to flesh out detail frame by frame. Comparisons of the Z95A with last year's MZ2000 confirm a significant clarity and peak brightness uplift.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

The upgraded processor has also opened the door to a new 4K Remaster Engine, which uses AI algorithms to remove banding and thereby improve picture quality on streamed TV shows. The colour quality is consistently lush, which is unsurprising given that the final tuning has been signed off by top Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld.

Like its predecessors, the Panasonic Z93A also comes with a very impressive 360° Soundscape Pro Dolby Atmos system built-in. There's a forward-facing left, centre, and right array under the screen, a pair of side-firing drivers, and an up-firing height speaker mounted on the rear to deliver Atmos height effects. All have been tuned by sister brand Technics. More than any other high-end 2024 TV, the Z93A really does look to be an all-in-one home cinema solution.

SONY BRAVIA 9, BRAVIA 8 & BRAVIA 7

Sony is pushing Mini LED hard in 2024. While the brand is still very much backing OLED, the Japanese giant says it sees more potential in Mini LED when it comes to maximising HDR performance going forward, and it’s positioned the technology at the forefront of its 2024 TV line-up.

Sony Bravia 9 - Best TVs 2024

The BRAVIA 9 (above) is Sony’s flagship for 2024, one of three BRAVIA-branded screens. It’s joined by the BRAVIA 8, the company’s only new OLED this year, and the BRAVIA 7, a more affordable Mini LED model.

The BRAVIA 9 will be available in 75- and 85-inch screen sizes, while the BRAVIA 7 adds 55- and 65-inch models to these screen options.  The BRAVIA 8 OLED is available in 55-, 65- and 77-inch screen sizes.

Sony Bravia 8 - Best TVs 2024

I’ve had a look at all three models and can confirm they’re very special indeed.

The BRAVIA 9 is built around a new XR Backlight Master Drive featuring advanced panel drivers and an ultra-precision local dimming algorithm. It has three times the number of dimming zones of the 2023 X95L. The result is a screen that cannot only hit very high peak brightness but also deliver OLED-quality black levels. It’s also exceptionally colour-rich.

The BRAVIA 7 (below) isn't quite as dazzling, but it’s still a jaw-dropper, capable of sublime detail and nuance.

Sony Bravia 7 - Best TVs 2024

The BRAVIA 8 OLED TV has improvements to the XR processor found in the A80L, with superior Scene Selection technology and face detection, but it’s mainly a design upgrade. The back panel is now smooth for flush wall mounting. Like the A80L, though, this is looking like a great choice for dark room and home theatre viewing. 

PHILIPS 65OLED959

Philips is another TV brand firmly in the MLA OLED camp. It's hoping to win a bigger slice of the high-end TV pie with its upcoming flagship screen, the 65-inch OLED959. I recently got eyes-on with an early sample and reckon they've got something special here.

Philips is coupling the latest Micro Lens Array display, which it has dubbed MLA+, with light control architecture and a freshly baked 8th Gen P5 AI Dual Engine processor. The icing on the cake is a powerful Kvadrat-cloaked Bowers & Wilkins sound system. Philips describes the speaker layout as 5.1.2 and cites a power output of 102 watts. Unfortunately, this isn't yet available to be listened to, but we're counting down the days before we get an earful.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

Of course, being a Philips TV, this handsome new model also comes with Ambilight technology, the brand's built-in lounge lighting tech, which is getting an upgrade this year. Ambilight Plus adds multiple lenses to the rear-mounted colour LEDs to create a more precise, pulsating light halo around the screen. I've always been a big fan of Ambilight and look forward to seeing just how dramatic a difference this will make.

First impressions of the OLED959 up close is that it's a wow of a screen. The brand is quoting a peak brightness of 3000 nits (albeit in a 3 percent window), and up close, it looks striking. It's not just HDR peaks that tower; the overall average picture level has also been raised. Whites really zing off the screen, while still retaining some detail without clipping out.

The new 8th gen P5 AI Dual Engine processor introduces a host of cool functionality, including Perfect Natural Reality 2.0, with AI Machine Sharpness V2 to improve detail, and Smart Bit Enhancement V3, which combats irksome low-bit banding. There's also a new Detail Enhancer that is said to improve greyscale representation. We're also getting Ambient Intelligence V3. This adds HDR optimisation to the mix, allowing the processor to make more intelligent picture adjustments based on your ambient room lighting conditions.

The OLED959 also features an enhanced dynamic tone mapping algorithm, which analyses content on a frame-by-frame basis to prevent clipping. The idea is that it brings HDR10+-style HDR management to static HDR10 streams, which can only be a good thing.

This TV even takes gaming seriously, with a dedicated Game Bar interface and VRR up to 144Hz, with Dolby Vision Gaming compatibility. Expect the Philips OLED959 to begin shipping towards the end of 2024, so there's still plenty of time to save up your pennies.

LG G4 4K OLED

LG rules the roost when it comes to OLED, selling more of this flavour than all of its rivals combined—so its new model announcements are a big deal.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

The star attraction in LG's 2024 TV roster is arguably its new Alpha 11 AI processor, which debuts on the brand's flagship G4 OLED and its Signature OLED M4 stablemate.

The most powerful silicon yet from the brand, it ushers in a host of clever image improvements, including Object Enhancing by Visual Perception, which uses pixel-level analysis of frames to determine and subjectively sharpen specific objects. A typical example of this might be a face which benefits from fine detail enhancement at the expense of the background, thereby enhancing the perception of depth in the image.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

Additional niceties include AI Super Upscaling, with genre and scene analysis, Dynamic HDR Tone Mapping Pro, which constantly maps thousands of blocks to improve HDR performance in real-time, and AI Director processing. The latter is a curious refinement that enhances colours by analysing and amplifying hues that convey mood and emotional elements. Does this really work and reflect the creator's intent? I think the jury's out on that one.

The Alpha 11 AI processor also offers sonic benefits. The G4's AI Sound Pro mode can create a virtual 11.1.2 surround sound stage from the set's built-in speaker array. Meanwhile, LG Voice Remastering can isolate and clarify dialogue from within a busy soundtrack.

Best TV 2024 - OLED / Mini LED

I think LG has significantly elevated its screen game after spending time with the G4, which comes in 55-, 65-, 77- and 83-inch screen sizes. The latest iteration of Brightness Booster Max, which encompasses both MLA panel technology and Light Control Architecture, coupled with light boosting algorithms designed to maximise peak brightness, is fearsomely effective. Not only is the end result brighter than the outgoing G3 model but there's also a significant uplift in colour vibrancy, particularly in low light. While colour-rich, the end result doesn't look overly ripe, and the overall picture balance remains excellent.

The set also has a surprisingly nuanced AI Picture Pro mode, which takes advantage of all the G4's picture processing functionality and tailors it to types of content. Not only does it look very filmic, but it should also appeal to gamers. All four HDMI inputs support 4k 120Hz, and there's the option of a 144Hz mode for PC gaming to combat stutter and blurring. Is this the complete package? Time will tell…

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      Steve May's avatar

      Steve May

      Steve is a home entertainment technology specialist. Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve is also the editor of the lifestyle website The Luxe Review and has an unconditional love of glam rock.

      Posted in:Home Theatre Visual
      Tags: samsung  panasonic  lg  sony  philips 

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