Best TV brands
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TV brand reliability
Every year, we survey thousands of Which? members about the products they own, enabling us to reveal the brands you can rely on, and the ones you can't.
When it comes to televisions, we find that reliability and customer satisfaction standards are pretty high, but there are still significant differences between the least and most reliable brands (as you can see in the table below).
When it comes to common faults across all brands, problems with a TV's picture tops the charts. Software faults with smart TVs is now the joint second most common fault, alongside problems with sound.
We'll be reminding the television brands that great new smart functionality must not come at the cost of more unreliable TVs.
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Samsung TVs: Should you buy one?
As the biggest and most popular TV brand in the UK, Samsung offers a wide range of LED-backlit LCD TVs in screen sizes ranging from 19-inch up to mammoth 105-inch sets. Although it has launched a few plasma TVs in 2014, Samsung will cease plasma production imminently.
Alongside HD TVs, Samsung also makes 4K, or ultra-HD TVs. The company is at the cutting-edge of smart TV and has one of most extensive and easy to use platforms available. For more, please see Samsung smart TV: Everything You Need to Know.
Samsung - the Which? Best AV Brand 2014 winner - has a good track record in our lab, with quite a few of its TVs earning Best Buy awards, including some costing under £500. Samsung TVs often have good picture picture and a strong range of features, but it can sometimes drop the ball, too.
Discover the Samsung TVs that are right for you with our expert and independent TV reviews. See more with our in-depth Samsung brand guide.
LG TVs: Should you buy one?
LG is now only just behind Samsung in the battle to dominate the TV market. It had an impressive 2013 in our TV test lab, after responding to our feedback and criticism from previous years. This helped LG pip its South Korean rival, Samsung, to the Which? Best Audio-Visual Brand 2013 award (although, Samsung won back the award in 2014).
LG offers a huge range of HD TVs, including LED-backlit LCD televisions and plasma sets. Just like the other big brands, it is actively producing TVs with 4K ultra HD resolution, with four times the detail of a HD TV. LG is also forging ahead with a new type of TV screen technology called OLED. For more on that, please our What is OLED? guide.
On the whole, LG fares reasonably well in our expert and independent lab testing, achieving a fair few Best Buy awards for its TVs, including some available for under £600. However, it's not all plain sailing - for example, we often criticise LG TVs for being tricky to use.
Panasonic TVs: Should you buy one?
Panasonic had a tough year in 2012 and was criticised by Which? for some below-par TVs, both in terms of design and overall quality. The Japanese company responded admirably to the criticism and showed positive improvement in its 2013 televisions.
Panasonic now produces a large range of high-definition TVs, ranging from 24-inch sets up to huge screen televisions. The company has stopped producing plasma TVs, and now just focuses on LED-backlit LCD TVs. It also offers a growing range of 4K ultra HD resolution TVs - for more on that, please What is 4K TV?.
While Panasonic’s smart TV are not quite up there with the best brands, such as Samsung and LG, it's improving. Head to What is smart TV? for more on that. We've found that Panasonic has the potential to create a fantastic television, but it can also have the odd off day.
Sony TVs: Should you buy one?
Japanese brand Sony has scaled back its TV ranges in recent years to focus on fewer models. It still offers TVs going from basic 32-inch mid-sized LED-backlit LCD TVs right up to flagship, large screen models with smart TV and other features. Alongside HD TVs, Sony also offers 4K, or ultra HD, televisions in sizes going up to 84-inches.
The Japanese brand has the ability to create a TV that matches style and substance. A fair few Sony TVs do so well in our independent and expert testing that they are named Best Buys, including some available for under £600. However, Sony can also occasionally miss the mark and we often find its TVs tricky to use, for example.
Best of the rest
Philips: Tough times in the global TV market led Royal Dutch Philips Electronics to spin off its struggling TV division in 2012 into a joint venture with Chinese TV manufacturer, TPV Technology. A range of new Philips-branded TVs have since been released, ranging from standard small sets up to stylishly-designed, big screen models. Next year, Philips will launch its first smart TVs powered by Google's Android TV operating system. We've not always been impressed by Philips TVs when we test them, so make sure you check our TV reviews before you buy one.
Toshiba: Toshiba makes a wide range of TVs itself, but also puts its branding on some TVs that are actually produced by third-party manufacturers. Toshiba TVs come in a variety of flavours, including basic mid-size sets, fully-featured smart TVs, 4K ultra HD sets and TV DVD combis. Toshiba TVs are very popular, so we tend to test a fair amount of them each year. However, they sometimes fall rather flat, with quite a few scoring so poorly we’ve highlighted them as Don’t Buys. Learn more about the brand with our Toshiba brand guide.
Sharp: In the face of a declining TV market and stiff competition from rivals, particularly Samsung and LG, Sharp scaled back its TV business a few years ago. It now offers a smaller range of Sharp-branded TV sets, ranging from basic 32-inch models to premium sets with 4K UHD picture quality. The higher-end models tend to be made by Sharp, but the lower-end, cheaper sets are sometimes made by other companies.
Cheap TVs and supermarket TVs
Aside the big brands, a big proportion of TV sales are taken up by cheap TVs from the supermarkets and own brands. All these TVs have low price tags in common, but they also generally share a lack of quality when put under the scrutiny of our independent test lab.
Logik: Logik is the own-brand TV range of retailer Currys/PC World. Logik TVs are mostly small screen sets going from 22 to 32-inch, with some featuring built-in DVD players. If you’re considering a Logik TV, make sure you head to our TV reviews first to discover whether it is worth buying.
Bush: Just like sister brand Alba, Bush TVs are sold at Argos. They're typically cheap, with even a 50-inch model potentially costing less than £400. There are plenty of basic Bush TVs, but you’ll also see top-end sets with 4K Ultra HD picture quality. We test plenty of Bush TVs each year, but head to our TV reviews to see if any are worth your money.
Celcus: Sainsbury’s generally sells Celcus-branded TVs, and they go from 19-inch models up to 46-inch sets. They’re cheap to buy, but you don’t always get a top quality TV in return.
Linsar: Sold mostly at John Lewis, Linsar TVs appear to offer great features - such as Full HD screens, Freeview HD tuners and smart TV - for wallet-friendly prices. However, they don't always offer top quality in terms of picture and sound, and they're not always easy to use.
Alba: Alba, just like sister brand Bush, is sold at Argos. Alba TVs are typically cheap, with several models costing around £100, including some HD-ready sets and TV DVD combis.
Hitachi: Hitachi outsourced its TV manufacturing in 2011 after 56 years due to tough market conditions. It sells Hitachi-branded TVs mostly at Argos. Even though they're usually cheap, they're not always worth buying.
Technika: Tesco’s own-brand TVs carry the Technika branding and they’re very popular in the UK. This is largely due to the fact you can get a big screen TV for a very low price, although you’ll generally miss out on top features, such as Freeview HD tuners and multiple HDMI sockets. Head to our TV reviews to sell all tested Technika TVs.
Premium TV brands
If you want stylish design, unusual features and bragging rights with your friends, then premium TV brands such as Bang & Olufsen and Loewe may fit the bill. However, be aware that these TVs have big price tags, but they may not always deliver the best overall value for your money.
Bang & Olufsen: Bang & Olufsen (B&O) has a reputation for crisp and clean design using premium materials. Its flagship BeoVision TVs look striking, but can cost over £10,000. B&O also offers the BeoPlay 'mid-range' models; smart TVs that can hang from the ceiling and feature dedicated docks for Apple TV. They're cheaper than BeoVision, but still cost over £2,000 for a 32-inch model. Click through to our TV reviews to see tested B&O models.
Loewe: Built with distinctive Danish design, Loewe TVs tend to feature high quality sound systems and top-end features, such as built-in personal video recorders. That all comes at a price - a Loewe 32-inch TVs can cost well over £1,000. Make sure you head to our TV review before you buy one.