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Which TV brand?

Most reliable TV brands

By Ben Stockton

Article 1 of 7

The big TV brands are all vying for your attention – and money – but should you go for Samsung, Panasonic, LG or Sony? Find the right TV brand for you with our expert guide.

Put us to the test

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Every year, we survey thousands of Which? members about the products they own, enabling us to reveal the brands that you can rely on – and the ones you can’t.

When it comes to televisions, we find that faults are in general pretty rare, but there are still significant differences in how satisfied customers are with their TV.

Picture-quality problems are the most common issue, accounting for almost a fifth of all the faults people have with their TV, according to our survey. That's closely followed by smart TV software issues and problems with the sound quality from a TV's speakers.

The table below reveals the best and worst brands for reliability and customer satisfaction. When creating reliability scores, we take the severity of faults into consideration, as well as the age of the TV – problems with older sets are given a lower weighting, as it’s likely these TVs will have been used more. Once you've got all the information you need, head over to our Best Buy TV reviews to find the perfect set for you.

Browse the rest of this guide for more information on Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and LG TVs and how they fare in our rigorous, independent tests.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings in the table below. If you're not yet a member, sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access.

TV brand reliability
TV brand Reliability rating Reliability score
92%
89%
89%
87%
86%

Table notes

Results based on June/July 2017 reliability survey of 3,726 TV owners. Sample sizes: LG (370), Panasonic (682), Samsung (1980), Sony (461), Toshiba (52)

Key

Member Content

Which TV brand stays fault free longest?

The graph below shows how the brand that stays fault-free for the longest compares to the worst brand and the average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults and which are the best and worst in the table underneath.

 

TV brand reliability
TV brand % faults after 1 year % faults after 3 years % faults after 5 years
8% 12% 14%
5% 10% 11%
7% 11% 12%
11% 16% 17%
2% 15% 19%

Table notes

Results based on June/July 2017 reliability survey of 3,726 TV owners. Sample sizes: LG (370), Panasonic (682), Samsung (1980), Sony (461), Toshiba (52)

Key

Member Content

How TV brands compare

On average 87% of TVs remain fault-free for five years. But for the worst-performing brand, almost one in five TVs will have suffered some fault in this same period. More still, this brand generally scores poorly in our tests so this is certainly one to steer clear of.

11%Just 11% of the leading brand’s products developed any kind of fault within five years, more than half of which were classed as ‘minor’

Surprisingly though, the most reliable brand according to our survey is not the best from our tests. Although almost 90% of its TVs suffer no faults after five years, we've found these TVs to be of mixed quality. 

The top-ranked brand for reliability and the best brand from our tests are separated by only 3%. So it's worth opting for the latter - be sure to check our TV reviews to before you buy.Our reliability scores don't just take into account the number of faulty products. We also look at how severe these faults were and when they happened. We judge major or catastrophic faults more harshly than minor annoyances, and also penalise faults that occur when the product is new and hasn't had much use. We ask our respondents to describe their faults as minor, major or catastrophic based on the following guidelines:

  • Minor - a fault that doesn’t affect the product’s performance significantly or a fault that only occurs occasionally with minimal impact. This issue may be irritating or annoying but it isn’t frequently problematic and you can easily work around it. For example, one of the HDMI ports developing a fault.
  • Major - a fault that has a noticeable effect on the product’s performance. This fault affects how you use the product and can be problematic. For example, a problem with the smart TV software.
  • Catastrophic - a fault that renders the product unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before it can be used again. For example, the picture becomes completely unwatchable.

Common TV faults

Our survey found the most common TV faults to be:

  • Problems with the picture
  • Software or firmware issues
  • Problems with the sound

Problems with the picture can take many different forms, and can either be a small annoyance or make the TV completely unwatchable. You could have a few dead pixels, leaving a small black area on your screen. Unfortunately there's no easy way of fixing this. But if it's simply that the colour balance seems a little off, head into the picture settings and see if you can correct it.

With more and more people opting for a wi-fi connected smart TV, issues with software and firmware are only becoming more and more common. Last year's survey ranked this as the third most common fault, but this year it comes in second. If your smart TV is acting up, make sure you've got the most recent software installed. Otherwise, you can get an internet streaming box fairly cheaply.

Sound quality can deteriorate if you've been listening too loud and the speaker cones have blown. In the past, we've also seen one instance where a software update left a TV almost unlistenable. If the sound is so bad, consider buying a sound bar as this will be cheaper than replacing your TV.

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