The best 65-inch TV for 2021 – CNET

With 65-inch TVs increasingly becoming the norm for most households, they’ve become more affordable than ever. You can get a truly excellent 65-inch TV for less than a grand, and sale prices for budget models routinely dip below $500. When I make side-by-side comparisons of TVs here at CNET, I prefer using 65-inch screens since just about every mainstream TV maker offers this size. It’s not too huge that it dominates most living rooms, but it’s big enough to showcase HDR-quality video and 4K resolution. 

The list below represents the best TVs I’ve reviewed in CNET’s test lab (for 2021, that’s my basement), where I compare smart LED TV, QLED TV, Ultra HD TV, 4K HDR TV and other 65-inch TV options and list them side by side to see which ones are most worth purchasing. Here are my latest recommendations, with the following notes to keep in mind.

  • Looking for another size? Check out: 32-inch TVs, 43-inch TVs, 55-inch TVs and 75-inch TVs.
  • Most of the TVs below came out in 2020. The new 2021 models started becoming available in the spring. Where applicable I’ve included a “2021 outlook” section with everything I know (so far) about these TVs’ replacements. 
  • This list is updated periodically.

Read more: What size of TV do I need?

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No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The 2020 TCL 6 Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to mini-LED tech and well-implemented full-array local dimming that helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. It’s also a solid choice for gamers with a new THX mode that combines low input lag and high contrast. As if that’s not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.

2021 outlook: TCL says this TV will remain on sale through most of 2021. I don’t expect it to be replaced until at least the fall, and it might stick around the entire year. TCL will also sell an 8K version of the 6-Series, but I don’t think it will be worth the money.

Read our TCL 6-Series (2020 Roku TV) review.


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What’s that you say? You just want the best 65-inch TV and can afford whatever you want? Here you go. In my side-by-side tests, the LG G1 OLED TV is the best TV I’ve ever reviewed, with world-beating contrast, perfect wide viewing angle and excellent uniformity. It beat the picture of the LG CX below, barely, and offers a slimmer, more wall-friendly design. If you can afford it, this is the 65-inch TV to get.

Read the LG G1 series (2021) review.


David Katzmaier/CNET

Currently available for hundreds less than the G1 above, and with picture quality that’s almost as good, the CX from 2020 is a better choice overall for people who want a really nice TV but don’t have money to burn. The G1 was slightly brighter in my measurements and has slightly better video processing, but it was really hard to tell the difference. The only real advantage to the G1 is that slim styling, but the CX is pretty slim itself.

2021 outlook: The new model, designated C1, is currently available for a few hundred more than the CX. I haven’t reviewed it yet. It adds some minor new features and improved processing but I expect image quality to be largely the same as the CX. 

Read our LG OLEDCX series review.


Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, this is the best TV for the money. The TCL has a better picture and better smart HDTV system so it’s a superior TV overall, but it’s also a couple hundred dollars more expensive. If you can’t afford the 6-Series, this Vizio is a good runner-up.

2021 outlook: Vizio hasn’t announced any new 2021 TVs, so this model will remain current until it does.

Read our Vizio M7-Series Quantum (2020) review.


Sarah Tew/CNET

If you value Sony’s brand, the X900H is an excellent choice, with image quality on par with the TCL 6-Series and a price that’s not that much more expensive. And its suite of connections is actually better than the TCL’s. It also has 4K/120Hz HDMI input capability to maximize the potential of the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and right now it’s the cheapest TV that works with ATSC 3.0 antenna broadcasts.

2021 outlook: The successor to this TV, the X90J, is available now for a few hundred dollars more than the X900H. I haven’t reviewed it yet. Sony touts improved “cognitive” processing, but as with LG I’d be surprised to see a big improvement in image quality, and the X900H will likely remain less expensive than the X90J for the first half of 2021.

Read our Sony XBR-X900H review.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku is our favorite platform for streaming apps like Netflix, and it’s even better baked into this 4K TV. Picture quality on this TCL 65-inch television set can’t beat any of the models above — its 4K resolution and HDR compatibility don’t do anything to help the picture — but it’s perfectly fine for most people, especially at this price. 

Note that the TCL 65S425 and 65S421 (the Walmart version) are very similar and we expect them to perform basically the same.

2021 outlook: The newest version of the 4 series has a “435” model number and is available in some sizes now, but TCL says image quality is the same as the 425 reviewed here. My advice, if you have a choice between the two, is to simply get the least expensive one.

Other stuff to know about buying a new 65-inch TV

I’m pretty sure you’d be happy with any one of the TV screens 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 my opinion, bigger is better. Big TVs are cheaper than ever, and your money is best spent on a larger screen size rather than a slight upgrade in image quality.
  • If you don’t like the built-in smart TV system with smart features, you can always add a media streamer. They’re cheap and easy to use, and receive updates more frequently than most top rated smart TVs. See the best media streamers here.
  • Most TVs sound 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 the best soundbars here.

Looking for even more info? Here’s everything to know (and more) about buying a new TV and getting the best viewing experience.

More TV advice and recommendations 

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