The television is an essential part of most households in India, and buyers want to make the best choice when making such an important purchase. Most people tend to stick with their TVs for five years or more, and this makes choosing the right option even more critical. At the same time, prices are going down and features and specifications are improving, making buying a television all the more confusing. Should you go spend a bit more and go with a ‘safe' option, or grab a deal and try your luck with a smaller brand?
Regardless of what your budget is, this buying guide will hopefully make your decision a bit easier. We've listed our top picks in the smart TV segment across budgets based on our reviews and experience, to help you choose the best television for your home.
With televisions and much of the technology around them becoming more affordable, it's now possible to buy a well-equipped TV with top-end features and specifications for less than Rs. 30,000. Does it then make sense to spend anything more than that, and are the benefits of buying a premium TV truly commensurate with the increase in price? That depends entirely on you and your viewing habits.
Many buyers do tend to prefer 32-inch and 43-inch televisions for various reasons, particularly price, space limitations, and viewing habits that are still largely focused around cable and DTH content. If you have the space for a larger TV, a good Internet connection, and access to streaming services such as Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video, you might want to consider a 4K HDR TV, 55 inches or larger. If you're particular about picture and sound quality, it will make sense to invest in better screen technologies such as QLED or OLED.
Priced at Rs. 12,999 for the 32-inch HD model and Rs. 21,999 for the 43-inch full-HD model, the Realme Smart TV (Review) is our top pick in the entry-level segment. You get fully-functional Android TV 9 Pie, good performance with Android apps, and decent picture and sound quality. The overall experience is good, and isn't matched by many other options in the entry-level segment today.
There are minor software bugs, performance is less than ideal with lower-resolution content (on the 43-inch variant), and the wall mount kit is an optional extra to be purchased, so the Realme Smart TV isn't without its issues. However, this is a good TV to consider for mixed usage, particularly if you want to get started with streaming content without investing in any additional equipment such as a media streaming device.
Hisense only recently launched its television range in India, including the Hisense A71F series. Priced at Rs. 29,999, the Hisense 50A71F TV (Review) has a 50-inch 4K LED screen, with HDR support up to the Dolby Vision standard. There's also Dolby Atmos audio, and the television runs on Android TV 9 Pie with access to the Google Play Store and all the major apps and streaming services available for the platform.
You get good performance with high-quality content, particularly Dolby Vision video. Sound quality is decent as well. Although black levels are less than ideal and performance with SD content is weak, this is a very good TV on the whole, and definitely worth considering if you want a big screen and are heavily invested in streaming content.
Users looking for better picture quality might want to consider stepping up from the more affordable LED screen technology. The next best major screen technology is QLED, and the TCL 55C715 (Review) is among the better options you can buy for a reasonable premium over what many LED TVs cost. With a 55-inch 4K QLED screen and support for up to the Dolby Vision HDR standard, this television is a great option to consider for less than Rs. 60,000.
There are some issues with the software including sluggishness on the user interface, sound quality is a bit below average, and lower-resolution content doesn't look too great. However, you do get excellent performance with 4K, HDR, and full-HD content. A useful feature on this TV is hands-free Google Assistant access; like a smart speaker, the TV can be set to always listen for voice commands, and you don't need to use the remote to trigger the voice assistant.
At a budget of Rs. 1,00,000, our top pick is the OnePlus TV Q1 Pro (Review). Launched last year, the Q1 Pro is a 4K QLED TV with support for Dolby Vision HDR, and it has a unique party trick — a slide-out Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar. This makes for excellent sound on top of decent picture quality with vibrant colours, lots of detail, and excellent motion.
Although there were a number of issues with the OnePlus TV Q1 Pro early on, most of these have since been fixed with software updates. You now get good performance even in the Android interface, support for all major apps and services on Android TV 9 Pie, a new and improved remote, and reliable performance. The OnePlus TV Q1 is also worth considering. It costs under Rs. 70,000 and doesn't have the slide-out soundbar, but matches the Q1 Pro on all other parameters.
Although launched at well over Rs. 2,00,000 in 2019, the LG 55C9 OLED TV currently retails for under Rs. 1,50,000, making this our top pick for a television in this price range. OLED televisions are typically expensive, so buyers with the budget for one should definitely be considering this model, particularly for the accurate colours, black levels, and contrast on offer.
The LG C9 television runs on the company's own webOS smart TV platform which supports most major streaming services and apps, as well as Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound. There's also support for Apple AirPlay which is useful if you have an Apple smartphone, tablet, or computer, as well as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. At this price, this one is a no-brainer; you simply won't find a better TV for less than Rs. 1,50,000.
Priced at Rs. 2,99,900 (although realistically available for a bit less in the market), the 55-inch Sony A9G OLED TV (Review)is definitely expensive, and lots of buyers won't see the value in spending this much on a television. However, this is among the best premium television experiences you can buy right now, thanks to the OLED screen, beautiful design, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, and Android TV 9 Pie.
Like all OLED TVs, the Sony A9G can't quite get as bright as a good LED or QLED TV. Sound quality is just average considering the price, which means you'll probably want to buy a good surround sound system or soundbar to get the best possible experience out of this TV. However, if you do have the budget, this TV gets most things right, and will give you the kind of premium performance you would expect for this kind of money. You could also consider the 65-inch variant, if you want a bigger screen.
Is Realme TV the best TV under Rs. 15,000 in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.