At the forefront of home entertainment technology sits the 4K OLED TV. With their stunning image quality, built-in smart platforms, and gaming-ready features, 4K OLEDs represent the pinnacle of television viewing and mark a major upgrade from standard HDTVs. If you’re looking for a new TV that can provide an immersive cinematic experience, incredible contrast and color, and fluid motion for sports and gaming, OLED is the way to go.
In this guide, we’ll explain what makes 4K OLED TVs so exceptional and help you choose the right model to become the beautiful centerpiece of your living room or home theater.
Introduction to 4K OLED TVs
4K and OLED represent two of the biggest advancements in TV technology in recent years, and together they add up to the ultimate viewing experience.
4K Ultra High-Definition provides over 8 million pixels for a clearer, more detailed image compared to 1080p HD. This allows you to view a larger screen from a closer distance without seeing pixelation. When paired with HDR (high dynamic range), 4K offers expanded contrast, brightness, and a wider range of colors. All major streaming platforms and Blu-ray discs now offer 4K and HDR content to take advantage of these upgrades.
OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode. In an OLED display, each pixel can turn on and off independently, delivering perfect blacks and infinite contrast since black pixels are completely off. This also allows for stunning highlights and realistic color. OLED screens provide wider viewing angles as well, with no color degradation at extreme angles like LED LCD TVs.
OLED and 4K are a match made in heaven. On OLED TVs, the 8 million+ pixels of 4K content can be displayed at their full potential, with pixel-precise contrast and color. Even non-4K content is upscaled beautifully on an OLED panel.
In this guide, we’ll share our picks for the top five 4K OLED smart TVs available in 2022 based on extensive hands-on testing and analysis. We’ll also give you tips on how to choose the perfect 4K OLED for your room based on viewing habits, budget, and performance needs. And we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about OLED TV technology and features. Let’s dive in!
The 5 Best 4K OLED Smart TVs
1. LG C2 OLED
The LG C2 builds upon the impressive OLED performance of last year’s LG C1 to offer LG’s brightest OLED panel yet along with the latest gaming features. It’s our current pick for best overall 4K OLED TV.
- Bright Evo OLED panel with 4K/120Hz gaming
- α9 Gen5 AI Processor for upscaling
- Dolby Vision IQ / Dolby Atmos support
- webOS smart platform with voice assistants
LG’s new Evo OLED panel delivers higher peak brightness for vivid HDR highlights in both SDR and HDR content. The a9 Gen5 AI processor leverages deep learning to upscale lower resolution video to 4K remarkably well. For gaming, HDMI 2.1 ports enable 4K/120Hz input as well as VRR and ALLM.
Available in sizes ranging from 42 inches up to 83 inches, the LG C2 excels at handling reflections while providing wide viewing angles free of color distortion. It’s also highly customizable, with advanced gaming settings and five different stand designs to choose from.
- Stunning OLED picture quality with enhanced brightness
- Fluid motion handling for sports, gaming, and movies
- Dolby Vision IQ adjusts picture based on ambient light
- Best gaming features among OLED TVs
- Mediocre built-in speakers
- No ATSC 3.0 tuner for next-gen OTA broadcasts
2. Sony A95K QD-OLED
Sony’s first QD-OLED TV combines quantum dot and OLED technologies for superior color and brightness. It delivers some of the most realistic and natural images we’ve seen on a consumer display.
- Quantum Dot OLED panel with XR processor
- Acoustic Surface Audio+ with integrated speakers
- PS5-optimized gaming features
- Best-in-class HDR performance
With Quantum Dot OLED (QDOLED), blue OLED elements pass light through quantum dot filters that allow for fine-tuned red and green wavelengths for purer spectrum coverage and more precise color reproduction. The Cognitive Processor XR further enhances OLED’s capabilities.
The A95K has two sound positioning tweeters in the frame that emit sound from the screen itself along with two subwoofers behind for impressive built-in audio. For gaming, it includes HDMI 2.1, VRR, ALLM and a dedicated game mode.
- Remarkable contrast and lifelike OLED colors
- Acoustic Surface Audio+ delivers fantastic audio
- Custom backlight master drive enhances OLED
- Extremely expensive
- External One Connect box can limit setup
3. Samsung S95B QD-OLED
Samsung’s first foray into OLED TV combines their quantum dot technology with an OLED panel for brighter highlights. The S95B delivers rich colors, inky blacks, and impressive built-in audio.
- Quantum Dot OLED hybrid panel
- Neural Quantum 4K processor with AI upscaling
- Object Tracking Sound Pro for 3D audio
- SolarCell slim remote with RF/WiFi/Bluetooth
Like Sony’s QD-OLED, Samsung’s panel places quantum dots over blue OLED elements to enhance color brightness and volume. The Neural Quantum processor leverages machine learning to optimize picture quality. For sound, OTS+ uses multiple audio channels to place effects in precise locations around the room.
Gaming features include four HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K/120Hz, VRR, and ALLM. The S95B also supports FreeSync Premium for smoothing out frame rates on compatible GPUs.
- High brightness and vivid HDR from QD-OLED
- Next-gen gaming connectivity and VRR support
- Customizable Slim One Connect box
- Relatively expensive
- Limited to 60Hz BFI framerate compensation
4. Hisense U8H 4K OLED
The Hisense U8H proves you don’t need to break the bank to get excellent OLED performance. Its bright OLED panel and abundant gaming features make it a top value choice.
- Bright ULED OLED panel
- Hi-View smooth motion engine
- 1080p/4K/120Hz HDMI 2.1 input
- Game mode with auto low latency
Hisense boosts this OLED panel’s brightness using their proprietary ULED technology while also enhancing motion and reducing blur. HDMI 2.1 enables 4K gaming at 120fps along with VRR, ALLM, and eARC support. The new Game mode automatically switches to low latency settings when it detects a game signal.
Available in 65, 75, and 85-inch sizes, the U8H keeps connectivity options abundant with four HDMI ports, dual USB, Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth. The Android TV interface provides access to all major streaming apps.
- Bright, crisp 4K OLED for the price
- Next-gen gaming features like 4K/120Hz
- Google Assistant and Alexa built-in
- Mid-range HDR performance
- Mediocre viewing angles
5. TCL 6-Series 4K Mini-LED QLED
TCL’s 6-Series combines quantum dot LED backlighting with mini-LEDs for a bright picture at a more affordable price than OLED. The Roku TV interface makes for easy streaming.
- Mini-LED backlight with Quantum Contrast tech
- 240 Contrast Control Zones for precision dimming
- THX Certified Game Mode with up to 144Hz VRR
Over 1,000 mini-LEDs grouped into 240 zones allow for finely tuned backlight control and superb contrast that comes very close to OLED. Quantum dot technology provides over a billion color shades. Gaming features are robust with 4K/120Hz on select models and THX certification.
The Roku TV platform makes onboarding and streaming simple with a vast library of apps and universal search. Support for both Alexa and Assistant provides hands-free control.
- Excellent picture quality for the price
- Great contrast and brightness
- Easy to use Roku TV platform
- Can exhibit some backlight blooming
- Narrow viewing angles
How to Choose the Right 4K OLED TV
With so many fantastic OLED TVs now available, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Here are the most important factors to keep in mind while shopping for your perfect 4K OLED:
OLED TVs are available in a wide range of sizes from 42 inches up to massive 85+ inch models:
- 55 to 65 inches – Ideal for most living rooms and home theaters. Provides cinematic experience from about 8-10 feet away.
- 75 to 85 inches – Deliver an immersive, theatrical experience perfect for media rooms. Require about 10 feet or more distance.
- Under 55 inches – Great option for smaller rooms like bedrooms and offices that may be viewed from closer than 8 feet.
Measure your room and seating distance to help pick the right screen size so you don’t end up with one that’s too small or uncomfortably large. OLED excels on even smaller screens under 55 inches, providing stunning image quality without compromise.
OLED TVs deliver the pinnacle of picture quality, with perfect inky blacks and pixel-precise local dimming the LCD/LED TVs can’t match. Here are some key terms and specs to look for:
- Contrast – Infinite contrast on OLED. Static contrast ratio over 1,000,000:1.
- Brightness – Look for at least 750 nits peak brightness. Brighter than plasma but not as bright as LED/LCD overall.
- Viewing Angles – Nearly 180° viewing on OLED with no color washout.
- Black Level – OLED pixels turn off completely for infinite blacks, 0 nits.
OLED TVs may sometimes be marketed as “better than LED.” This refers mostly to contrast since LED TVs can’t match the black level of OLED. But LED/LCD TVs do get brighter which has advantages in very bright rooms. For most normal environments, OLED is king.
For serious console or PC gaming, a 2022 OLED TV with HDMI 2.1 ports is highly recommended. Key features to look for include:
- 120Hz refresh rate – Enables 4K/120fps gaming for super smoothness.
- HDMI 2.1 – For 4K/120Hz input. At least 2 ports is ideal.
- VRR – Variable refresh rate syncs refresh rate with game FPS for tear-free gaming.
- ALLM – Auto low latency mode minimizes input lag.
- G-Sync/FreeSync – Adaptive sync eliminates stuttering and tearing.
Input lag is also critical for responsive gaming. Top OLED TVs have very low input lag around 13ms, making them excellent gaming displays.
Smart TV Platform
All modern OLED TVs feature a smart platform that provides access to popular streaming apps. Here are some things to consider:
- Ease of use – Simple, intuitive menus and content discovery. Voice search is very handy.
- App selection – Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, and other top apps.
- Voice assistants – Hand-free Alexa and Google Assistant control is useful.
LG, Samsung, and Sony TVs run their own proprietary smart platforms while others use Android TV or Roku TV. All include the most popular apps and typically provide a solid smart TV experience.
With ultra-thin OLED panels, built-in speakers tend to be basic. Soundbars are highly recommended to match with the OLED’s beautiful picture. Things to consider:
- Speaker configuration – More drivers and channels provide better sound. Avoid low-end TVs with just 2 speakers.
- Dolby Atmos – Provides 3D, immersive audio but requires capable sound system.
- Wattage – Higher is better. Look for at least 40 watts total output.
- Soundbars – Plan to invest in a good model with OLED.
Some premium Sony OLEDs feature vibration-based speaker systems with improved audio but most OLED TVs work best with a soundbar.
OLED TV prices vary widely. Here are some typical ranges:
- Flagship TVs – $2,000 to $4,000 for top models from LG, Sony, Samsung.
- Mid-range models – $1,200 to $1,800. Mix of features and performance.
- Budget options – Models under $1,000 exist with decent picture but fewer features.
Look for holiday sales around Black Friday where top models from the previous year often see major discounts. OLED prices have come down over time and are expected to keep declining.
Setup Tips for the Perfect OLED TV Experience
To complete your OLED TV home theater, make sure you place and configure it properly:
- Place the TV directly across from your typical seating position.
- Mount the TV at eye level while seated for ideal viewing angle.
- Allow at least 2-4 inches for airflow around the TV to prevent overheating.
- Position away from windows and lamps to avoid glare and reflections.
OLED viewing angles are very wide but colors and contrast still look best from head-on. Tilting down slightly can help reduce glare from overhead lighting.
- For the best picture, change default picture mode to Cinema, Movie, ISF Expert, or Calibrated mode. This disables overly blueish cool tones.
- Adjust motion settings to your preference but avoid introducing the “soap opera effect.”
- Make sure HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color is enabled on the input you use for 4K devices.
- Connect audio equipment like a soundbar using ARC HDMI if available.
Calibrate picture settings with test patterns from AV optimizer discs like the Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark to dial in color, brightness, and contrast just right.
- Download smart TV apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, etc.
- Connect WiFi and sign into accounts to stream content.
- Connect 4K streaming devices if your smart platform is outdated. New Apple TV 4K and Roku Ultra recommended.
The built-in apps on a brand new OLED TV should include all the top streaming services. If not, or if the platform feels sluggish, use a dedicated streaming player.
FAQ – OLED TV Technology Questions Answered
Here we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about OLED TV technology.
Is OLED burn-in a real problem?
OLED burn-in refers to persistent image retention where static content remains permanently visible on the screen. In the past, this was a serious concern for OLED TVs but modern models have greatly minimized the risk thanks to burn-in prevention features including:
- Pixel Shift – Subtly shifts pixels to spread wear evenly. Unnoticeable during viewing.
- Logo Luminance Adjust – Automatically dims static logos and tickers to avoid uneven aging.
- Screensaver – Activates after a set idle period, preventing static image retention.
Avoid constantly displaying static content like logos, heads-up displays, or desktop icons for very long periods and utilize the TV’s built-in burn-in prevention settings. Under normal TV watching and varied content consumption, OLED burn-in should not be an issue.
How long do OLED TVs typically last?
With OLED burn-in largely mitigated on newer TVs, average OLED lifespan is comparable to LED LCD TVs:
- Top OLED models are rated for around 30,000 hours to reach 50% original brightness when used conservatively.
- At 5 hours of daily use, that equates to over 16 years.
- Burn-in prevention features help extend usable lifespan past this point.
- Most consumers upgrade TVs long before aging becomes a noticeable issue.
Barring any accidents, defects, or extreme static image usage, today’s OLED TVs provide many, many years of superb viewing before wear becomes a concern. Lifespan is not a reason to avoid OLED technology.
Do OLED TVs look good from wide viewing angles?
OLED viewing angles are nearly 180 degrees meaning the picture looks vivid and clear even when viewed from extreme left, right, up, or down angles. There is very little color degradation or black level rise at wider angles.
This makes OLED an ideal TV technology for rooms with wide seating arrangements where some viewers will inherently be off-center. Even at exaggerated viewing positions, the OLED image will remain true with no washed out colors like on LED TVs.
What is HDR and do I need it?
HDR (high dynamic range) expands the TV’s contrast and color for a more lifelike and cinematic picture compared to standard dynamic range:
- Highlights are brighter while blacks are inkier.
- Colors are more saturated and realistic.
- More steps between shades reduces banding artifacts.
To experience HDR, content mastered in HDR along with an HDR-capable TV is required. Virtually all 4K OLED TVs support HDR. Major streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and Blu-ray discs utilize HDR.
Do I need HDMI 2.1 ports?
HDMI 2.1 ports provide the bandwidth required for advanced gaming features on new consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X:
- Enable 4K resolution at 120 frames per second for ultra smoothness.
- Variable refresh rate (VRR) reduces tearing and stuttering.
- Auto low latency mode (ALLM) for lag-free responsiveness.
For the best next-gen gaming experience, look for an OLED TV with at least 2 HDMI 2.1 ports. Some TVs only support 4K/120Hz on certain ports. An HDMI 2.1 cable is required to connect your console as well.
If you don’t plan to game in 4K/120Hz, HDMI 2.1 is less important but still offers enhancements for video. HDMI 2.0 ports support 4K/60Hz.
How does OLED compare to LED in brightness?
OLED panels achieve perfect black levels by turning off pixels completely while white peak brightness typically ranges between 600 to 900 nits. This makes OLED dimmer than traditional LED LCD TVs which can hit 1,500 nits or more. However, OLED’s pixel-level precision more than makes up for this:
- OLED can display bright highlights right next to pure blacks.
- LED/LCD exhibits a “halo” effect where blacks appear more gray.
- The high contrast ratio of OLED creates very visible and accurate HDR.
- OLED avoids issues like blown-out blacks and backlight bleed.
For most viewing environments, OLED’s brightness range delivers outstanding picture quality and true cinematic contrast. Only in very brightly lit rooms where peak brightness must combat ambient light are LED/LCD sets potentially better suited.
The Future is Bright with OLED
That concludes our in-depth guide to 4K OLED TV technology and how to select the perfect model to upgrade your home theater! From the ultra-clear detail of 4K to the stunning contrast of OLED, these TVs provide the most lifelike and immersive viewing experience available. After experiencing OLED’s inky blacks and vibrant highlights for yourself, you’ll never look back. As OLED panel technology continues to advance alongside 4K content and next-gen gaming, the future looks brighter than ever.