Best TVs of CES 2023: Samsung, TCL, LG and more battle for the top panel prize
Who won CES 2023 with the best TV in a time of diminishing returns?
CES is like television Festivus, and this year was no different. The fight for the best TVs of CES 2023 included entrants from longtime champions like Samsung and LG, with some serious challenges from relative upstarts like TCL and Hisense. Curiously missing this year was Sony, though maybe you could argue that the Sony and Honda Afeela car is like a TV, but by that metric it’s possible the bizarre color e-ink BMW i Vision Dee sedan actually beat them.
In reality, the high-end panels at CES are all going to be incredible. Heck, even the mid-range and low-end look good these days on a short viewing. So this list, then, is presented in no particular order (apart from our first pick, which we believe is the best TV of CES 2023).
The Shortcut is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Not-so-mini mini LED
All of the companies had a giant TV to show off this year, including TCL, whose huge up-to-98-inch TCL QM8, a gargantuan set with over 2,300 dimming zones and over 3,000 nits brightness, gets our pick for the best TV of CES 2023. The QM8 comes equipped with WiFi 6 – still a rarity on TV sets – and a built-in subwoofer, so it presumably won’t sound like everything is coming out of a tin can.
TCL didn’t get specific about the television’s specs, except to say it would be getting the gaming features from the Q7, a 120Hz TV with variable refresh rate and FreeSync Premium Pro. In addition to the 98-inch model, it’ll be available in smaller sizes, down to a piddly-by-comparison 65 inches, when it launches later this year.
Samsung Micro LED CX
A “more affordable” Micro LED TV
Among the Samsung CES announcements was the Samsung Micro LED CX. Micro LED is a step closer to being a feasible reality for the mass public with this new TV, in sizes ranging from 50 inches up to 140 inches. The smaller sizes are worth tempered celebration, as Samsung says it will be the “most affordable Micro LED screen,” but that doesn’t mean you can buy one all willy-nilly – the Samsung Micro LEDs you can get now start well over $100,000. More affordable could mean they’re “only” in the tens of thousands of dollars now.
The new Samsung Micro LED CX features a 240Hz refresh rate, 4,000 nits peak brightness, 2-nanosecond response time, a 4K resolution and the 76-inch-and-under models are the first that don’t require professional installation, so there’s that.
Samsung S95C QD-OLED 4K TV
Beautiful update to last year’s newest OLED tech
Samsung finally joined the OLED fray last year with its well-received S95B model: a bright, colorful panel with great viewing angles and rich, vibrant colors. This year the company updated the panel with a higher 144Hz refresh rate, addressed some of last year’s minor flaws, and brought a crucial addition to the line: a 77-inch model. It also moved the lump from the back that contains all the TV’s guts – the connections, processor and so forth – to the stand, letting the panel get down with its less-than-10mm-thin self.
Super-bright 8K with 1,000 dimming zones
The Samsung Neo QLED 8K TV (QN900C) gets a big increase in local dimming zones, with around 1,000 zones versus just 36 in the previous model. Together with the now 4,000-nit brightness, high contrast scenes viewed in HDR10+ could look incredible. However, I’d be concerned about more blooming around bright objects with that level of shine – something the TCL QM8 better mitigates with its 2,300 dimming zones.
LG C3 OLED TV
The latest from LG’s famed OLED line
LG came to CES with the LG C3, the third iteration of one of the best OLEDs around. Reports say the TV is a little brighter this time around, and LG says it upgraded its WebOS platform. Despite only receiving minor changes, the LG C3 carries with it a strong pedigree, and if you’re upgrading from an LCD TV or older OLED (not from this LG line), it’s guaranteed to impress.
LG M3 OLED TV
A (mostly) wireless TV
Where LG seemed to put its true innovative side to work was the impossibly-large, 97” LG M3 OLED TV. Its commanding presence, though, isn’t the innovation – it’s the fact that this daredevil TV works without wires (I mean, mostly. Theres still a power cable, but it routes through the stand so you can hide it).
The LG M3 accomplishes this by putting the innards and ports in a box across the room – as far as 30 feet away – and that’s where you’ll put your game console (after a successful PS5 restock), your 4K Blu-ray player, and all your various other electronic brick-a-brac. The box then beams it over to the TV using WiFI, or something very much like it. Everyone who’s seen it seems to have come away deeply impressed, but of course, it’s good to hold judgment until after it gets stuck in the doomed WiFi zones that are normal peoples’ homes.
A modular, even more wireless TV
The Displace TV is one of the most interesting televisions to hit CES 2023, packed with a surprising number of innovative ideas. First, it’s truly wireless – it has no ports and no power cables, and like the almost-as-wireless LG M3, uses an external box that streams video to the TV, and that’s not all it’s doing differently. It runs on batteries – so no power cable – and those batteries are hot-swappable, meaning you can switch them without the TV losing power.
The Displace TV mounts itself to the wall using built-in vacuum suction, and it has a little pop-up camera you can use to control it, using hand gestures. Displace TV is so convinced it has something there, it doesn’t even offer a remote, to which I say: bold strategy, Cotton. Finally, the TV is modular – you can place a second, third, fourth or all the way up to sixteenth TV adjacent to one another to create a bigger TV than each 55-inch panel on its own.
A single Displace TV is $2,999 for those reserving it now, with an expected ship date of December 2023.
FINALLY I can mount sixteen televisions to the ceiling and never get out of bed.