The holidays are almost here, which means the time to buy a TV is coming soon. Though they can get pricey, gifting one of the best TVs around is going to put a smile on that special someone’s face. TV prices start falling in the weeks before Black Friday, and there are already quite a few early TV deals and discounts that you can take advantage of right now.
This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.
Now comes the tough part — figuring out which is the best TV for that special someone (or, let’s face it, yourself). CNET is here to help. After extensive testing in our hands-on TV lab, we’ve rounded up some great value models that will make the best TV gifts this season.
Sizes 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-inchTV Technology LEDSmart TV Yes (Roku TV)Resolution 4KHDMI Ports 3
There are plenty of more-expensive TVs to give listed below, but the super-affordable TCL 4-Series Roku TV will make both the gift-giver and the recipient happy. Its picture quality was only a slight step behind the Vizio V-Series (below) in our budget TV test, and the differences between the two are slight enough that you’d really have to have them set up side by side to notice anything at all. The 4-Series lacks the Dolby Vision, Bluetooth connectivity and AMD FreeSync with a variable refresh rate, all of which the Vizio offers. The 4-Series’ advantage over the Vizio is that it comes with the excellent Roku Smart TV system built in. That makes it a great choice for those looking for a one-stop smart TV solution, without having to add an external streaming device.
Sizes 43-, 50-, 55-, 58- 65-, 70-, 75-inchTV Technology LEDSmart TV Yes (Tizen)Resolution 4KHDMI Ports 4
When we compared the best budget TVs side by side, the picture quality of Vizio V-Series clearly emerged as the leader of the pack. The Vizio offered the most balanced and accurate picture during our comparisons, and it comes with some useful extras such as Dolby Vision support, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth compatibility and variable refresh rate for potentially smoother gaming. The biggest downside of the Vizio is its smart TV platform, Vizio SmartCast. It’s crowded, slow and littered with ads for platforms such as Tubi and Kidoodle TV. Even when you factor in the cost of adding a new streaming device, however, the V-Series remains the best overall entry-level TV that we tested.
If you’re looking to spend a little more on a TV gift in 2023, the Plus Series is a great starting point. Unlike the TCL Roku TV higher on this list, this one is all Roku, with no other brands on board. It adds a couple of step-up extras, including QLED and full-array local dimming, which help deliver a better picture than the TCL 4-Series, for example. And of course, it offers the simple Roku system that will make your gift recipient’s streaming as pain free as possible.
Read our TCL 6-Series (2022 Roku TV) review.
The Hisense U8H has spectacular image quality that’s handily outperforms any of the cheaper TVs on this list, so it’s sure to please the image quality nut on your list. It also includes all of the high-end gaming extras that Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 fans have come to expect, including 4K/120Hz input and VRR. Sure it’s a hefty price for a gift, but it’s still more affordable than the high-end options.
Read full review.
OK, let’s be honest. Most people who are buying an OLED TV as a gift have only one recipient in mind: themselves. And if that’s you, we’re not going to judge. The LG C3 OLED is an incredible gift no matter who received it, with top-notch image quality, excellent features and all the sleek styling you could ask for.
Sizes 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-inchTV Technology QLED with Mini-LEDSmart TV Yes (Tizen)Resolution 4KHDMI Ports 4
Looking to give a high-end TV with spectacular image quality, but don’t want an OLED like that LG C3? The Samsung QN90B is a good bet. This TV uses QLED TV tech augmented by mini-LED for a brighter image than any OLED TV. The spectacular contrast of OLED still won out in our side-by-side tests, but the QN90B QLED screen comes closer than ever.
Read our Samsung QN90B review.
Other stuff to know about giving a new TV for the 2023 holidays
We’re sure you’d be happy with any one of the TVs above, but a new set can be a big investment, so maybe you’re looking for a bit more information. Here’s a quick and dirty list.
In our opinion, bigger is better. In general, your money is best spent on large screen sizes rather than a slight upgrade in image quality.If you don’t like the built-in smart TV system, you can always add a streaming device from Roku, Amazon, Google or Apple. They’re generally cheap and easy to use for streaming services — and they receive updates more frequently than most smart TVs. See our picks of the best streaming device for 2023.The sound quality of most built-in speakers is terrible, so it’s worthwhile to pair your new set with a sound bar or other speaker system. Good ones start at around $100. See our picks for the best soundbar for 2023.