Now more affordable than ever, 65-inch TVs are an increasingly popular choice for most households, even if you’re only plopping down to watch your favorite TV show for the millionth time. You can get an exceptional 65-inch TV — with smart features and other desirable attributes — for less than $1,000, and sale prices for budget models routinely dip below $500. I prefer using 65-inch screens when I make side-by-side comparisons of TVs here at CNET, because nearly every mainstream TV-maker offers this size. They’re not so big that they take over most living rooms, but they’re large enough to showcase HDR-quality video and 4K resolution while you watch your favorite movies and TV shows. Most can also serve as an excellent gaming TV.
The list below represents the best 65-inch TV options I’ve reviewed in CNET’s test lab (for 2022, that’s my basement), where I test them side by side to see which ones are the most worthy of buying. I took factors like smart TV features into account: Does it work with Apple Airplay? Does it come with Amazon Fire TV capabilities or Roku? I also considered refresh rate, game mode and other gaming features (gotta make sure it can keep up with your Xbox Series X!), contrast ratio, peak brightness, whether it has an HDMI port and more. Below are my latest recommendations, with the following notes to keep in mind.
- Looking for another screen size? Check out 43-inch TVs, 55-inch TVs and 75-inch TVs.
- Although most of these TVs are 2021 models, a few came out in 2020. For the 2020 TVs on this list I’ve included a “2022 outlook” section with everything I know about the new models, but in general the 2020 TVs are similar (and often a better bargain) compared to 2021 models.
- This list is updated periodically.
Read more: What size of TV do I need?
No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The TCL TV has an excellent image, thanks to mini-LED tech, Dolby Vision HDR 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 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.
2022 outlook: This TV came out in 2020 but it will stay on sale throughout 2021 & 2022 and remains my top choice so far. TCL also sells an 8K version of the 6-Series, but I don’t think it’s worth the extra money, as well as a Google-powered version I have yet to review (although according to TCL, its image quality is the same as this Roku version).
What’s that you say? You just want the best TV and can afford whatever you want? Here you go. In my tests the LG OLED TV and the cheaper C1 below were the best TVs I’ve ever reviewed, with unbeatable contrast, stunning 4K UHD picture, perfect wide viewing angle and excellent uniformity. The main advantage of the G1 is slimmer, more wall-friendly design compared to the C1, so if you value that style and can afford it, this is the TV to get.
Currently available for hundreds less than the G1 above, and with ultra HD picture quality that’s basically just as good, the C1 is a better choice overall for people who want a really nice OLED TV but don’t have money to burn. The only real advantage to the G1 is that slim styling, but the C1 is pretty slim itself and comes in a wider array of sizes.
Looking for a high-end TV with spectacular image quality, but don’t want an OLED? The Samsung QN90A is your best bet. This 4K television 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 my side-by-side tests, but the QN90A QLED screen comes closer than ever.
Roku is our favorite platform for streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, 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.
Vizio’s V-series is our favorite budget alternative to the TCL 4-Series Roku TV. We liked Roku’s smart TV system better (sound familiar?), but the V-series has some advantages, including a better remote with voice and more advanced picture settings. Picture quality between the two was basically the same, so if you don’t have a preference, it makes sense to get the cheapest one.
With excellent picture quality, anchored by full-array local dimming and plenty of brightness to make HDR content shine, the X90J is Sony’s answer to the TCL 6-Series and step-up Vizio models. This LED TV’s sleek looks and the Google TV operating system score additional points, as does its next-gen console support (it has 4K/120fps inputs and Sony promises VRR… sometime) and built-in NextGen TV tuner. This smart LED TV is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. If you want an “S” brand, this is one of the best values we’ve tested.
Most of the TVs on this list are bright enough for just about any room, but maybe you want a screen that’s as bright as possible. The U8G outshines others in its price range and was basically as bright as the significantly more-expensive Samsung QN90A. Its image quality falls a bit short in other areas, and its selection of sizes is limited, but if raw brightness is what you crave, the U8G delivers.
Samsung is the TV brand that sells more TVs than anyone and one of its most popular is the Q60A series. Its sleek design stands out compared to the other TVs on this list — although the ultrathin OLED models are even sleeker — it offers better features and image quality than budget models like the TCL 4-Series, and it comes in a vast array of sizes. The TVs above are all superior values, but if you want a Samsung TV and can’t afford the QN90A, this is a great choice.
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 like Roku, Chromecast or Apple TV. 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.