Canstar Blue’s 2019 TV review has seen Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, LG, Hisense, JVC, Kogan, TCL and Soniq compared and rated on factors including their picture quality, sound quality, value for money and overall customer satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
There are generally two options when buying a new TV – splash out the cash for one of the big brands promising to immerse you in the ultimate viewing experience, or just opt for a much cheaper model that will still do the job – but without all the bells and whistles. Whichever option takes your fancy, Canstar Blue’s annual TV review and ratings offers a helpful guide as to which brands are the highest-rated by the toughest TV critics around – Australians. Do the cheap and cheerful names like TCL and Kogan offer the best overall bang for your buck, or are you better off forking out a little extra for improved quality with the likes of Samsung, Sony or LG? That’s a question we seek to answer in this report.
To find out which TV brands are rated highest in Australia, we’ve surveyed more than 1,000 adults who have purchased a new TV in the last two years. Respondents were asked to review their new TVs based on a range of important factors, including picture and sound quality, ease of use, value for money, smart compatibility, and overall satisfaction. It’s worth saying that these ratings incorporate feedback received on all types of TV technology, including LED, LCD, OLED, QLED and 4K. So, what did we find?
Canstar Blue’s 2019 TV review saw nine major brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
Samsung rated five stars across most categories, with the exception of ease of use and value for money where it earned four stars. So, this brings us back to our original question: Is it worth spending more on a top of line TV when cheaper models will do the basics just fine? Ultimately, only you can decide which TV is best for your needs and budget, but we hope our ratings provide some help along the way.
Samsung may have been rated highest overall, but there were also some standout reviews for other brands. Kicked back by Samsung from last year’s ratings, Sony was again praised for its picture quality, rating five stars alongside this year’s winner. Panasonic, Hisense and JVC all received a five-star review for ease of use, with JVC the only one to achieve a five-star score in terms of value for money.
Let’s now get an overview of the nine brands in this year’s ratings and see what they currently have to offer those on the lookout for a new TV.
South Korean brand Samsung is perhaps one of the most popular TV brands out there, and its range of innovative and quality TVs ensures it remains a fan favourite. Its flagship technology is its ‘quantum dot’ display, which aims to create richer and deeper colours. Furthermore, instead of having a black screen when your TV is on standby, Samsung added an Ambient Mode that’s stated to ‘blend into your space’ by giving you the ability to display photos, the time or weather onscreen.
As for the Samsung range, many models are enormous in size, boasting curved screens for a wider viewing experience, with various types such as QLED, 4K and 8K available. Many Samsung televisions cost more than $5,000, with some costing $13,000 – the same price as a small car! Samsung’s QLED technology is also nothing to sneeze at, although expect to pay a pretty penny for these tech-packed TVs. You’ll have to decide if they’re worth the investment.
Samsung took out the first spot in our ratings with five stars for overall satisfaction, picture quality, sound quality and smart compatibility. It got four stars in terms of value for money and ease of use.
Samsung’s range includes:
Based in Japan, Panasonic has become one of the world’s foremost consumer electronics brands. It’s a pretty tech-forward company, boasting a wide range of TVs with 4K resolutions and various technologies designed to make the viewing experience better. Some of its models are also said to be equipped with an OLED TV Panel, stated to offer a “picture-perfect slice of reality” with the ultimate contrast.
Panasonic TVs are THX certified, with many of its TVs having passed over 400 lab tests from the home theatre company, meaning Panasonic is a force in the home theatre world. As for prices, a simple 32-inch Panasonic LED HD TV will cost you $499 RRP, while a more advanced 65-inch model costs $8,299 RPP.
Panasonic earned four stars for overall satisfaction and in most other categories, including both picture quality and sound quality, plus value for money and smart compatibility. It did notably get five stars in arguably one of the most important areas – ease of use.
Panasonic’s TV line-up features:
Sony is a Japanese multinational consumer and electronics company, and is a longstanding brand in the TV world. It mainly features OLED, 4K and HD TVs, and frequently boasts some of the most eye-catching new technologies. Its newest units are said to be powered by Sony’s Picture Processor X1 Ultimate system, which combines deep blacks and natural colour of OLED with a Pixel Contrast Booster for enhanced colour contrast in high luminance.
Compared to some other brands, Sony TVs are a little bit dearer. For sizes starting at 32 inches, you can expect to pay close to $700, while screen sizes above 65 inches can fetch prices over $5,000. The bonus is that smart functions come as standard across most Sony models.
Known for its tech-forward approach, Sony earned five stars for picture quality in our 2019 review, although was also rated three stars for value for money. It also achieved four stars in the remaining categories, such as ease of use, sound quality, smart compatibility and overall satisfaction.
Sony’s range includes:
South Korean multinational electronics company LG boasts a large range of TVs, ranging from those regular old HD TVs to the high-end 4K TVs, as well as its signature OLED series. In fact, LG’s 4K series claims to boast 20% more colours than regular LED TVs. Its latest models come with LG’s Alpha 9 Gen2 Intelligent Processor that, in combination with the visual effects of 4K Cinema HDR with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, is claimed to enrich your home entertainment enjoyment.
LG is also known for producing some huge TVs, with models above 80 inches, with an 86-inch model costing more than $6,000. However, for its Super UHD TV, prices go up to $10,000! If you’re after a standard 32-inch TV without the bells and whistles, LG has these from $599 RRP.
LG is another example of a brand not needing to necessarily offer ‘bang for buck’ to satisfy customers. It earned four stars for overall satisfaction, but achieved just three stars on value for money. It did record four stars in four other key categories, including sound quality, picture quality, ease of use and smart compatibility.
LG’s models include:
Hisense is a multinational whitegoods and electronics brand based in China. Apart from refrigerators and washing machines, televisions are one of its leading product lines, and as a result there is a large range to choose from. While Hisense doesn’t produce any particularly tech-forward televisions in comparison to other brands, it does offer TVs at a more affordable price.
However, its latest range – Series 9 – is boasted for Prime Array Backlight, 1000+ Dimming Zones and Quantum Dot Technology with prices from $4,500 to $6,500. Apart from these models, you’ll get all the usual features you have come to expect in a modern TV, including smart capabilities, HD or Ultra HD on an LED/LCD screen. Its largest screens come in at around 75 inches, and you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $5,000. Its smallest screens come in at around 24 inches, with prices as low as around $300.
Hisense performed well in our 2019 ratings, earning a respectable four-star review for overall customer satisfaction, as well as in most other research categories. It was five stars on ease of use.
Hisense’s range features:
JVC is a Japanese international consumer electronics company. Its TVs generally sit in the budget-friendly zone, available through stores such as The Good Guys and Big W. Expect HD, Full HD and UHD on LED screens, with one 4K model available at the time of writing. Some units are equipped with built-in soundbars for improved sound quality, so that you won’t need external audio devices.
While JVC doesn’t offer any specific tech-forward features, it does produce solid TVs, with most being priced at around the $400 mark. You can expect USB and HDMI ports, as well as PVR recording to USB functionality. You can also expect built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity to access online content as well as watch videos and shows from the internet or your smartphone. Plus, you can connect external devices including a keyboard or mouse for ease of use.
JVC received four stars for overall satisfaction, with three stars on picture quality, sound quality and smart compatibility. It scored the only five-star rating for value for money, and was joint top for ease of use.
JVC’s TV range includes:
Online super retailer Kogan is probably best known for its range of cheap, grey-market electronics, as well as prepaid phone plans. But it also has its own brand of televisions. Kogan has a modest range of TVs, from regular HD to 4K quality. Many feature smart capability as standard, with built-in Netflix apps. Many also run on the Android operating system, so you’re afforded familiarity and thousands of apps on Google Play. Some of its units also feature a Parental Lock function and sleep timer, giving you an option for the kids’ room. According to Kogan, you can just pop in their favourite movie, set the timer and let them watch worry-free.
You can get quite a lot of ‘bang for your buck’ with Kogan, with a 24 inch LED TV starting out at $149, while the 32 inch models are around $200. If you’re looking for larger screens, many of the 65 inch TVs cost around $1,000, while its 75 inch models go for a maximum price of $2,500.
Kogan earned four stars on value for money but just three stars in all other rated variables including picture quality and overall satisfaction.
Kogan’s line-up includes:
TCL is a Chinese multinational electronics brand, offering solely TVs in the Australian market. A generally cheaper brand, TCL may represent a great option for those on a budget, or those looking for a second TV for the kids’ room. As for the range, most TVs come in HD or ‘ultra’ HD guise, and some bargains can definitely be found. There are also QLED and QUHD models with sizes starting out with 32 inch models and maxing out at 85 inch.
Its latest models are also boasted for Quantum Dot technology. As for prices, a 32 inch TV costs less than $300. If you’re after something a bit bigger, a 55 inch smart TV costs around $1,000, which is evidently a lot less than some of the bigger players in the TV market. There is one outlier in the range, however – an 85 inch Premium QLED Private Theatre – valued at $19,999 RRP.
TCL achieved three stars for overall customer satisfaction in our 2019 review and three stars in every other category, except on value for money where it scored four stars.
TCL’s models include:
Rounding out the table, Soniq is yet another budget-oriented brand. Soniq is no slouch, however, as it offers over 40 TV models in Australia, with many being extremely cheap. Soniq separates each category by 3D, Chromecast, Ultra HD, Smart and LED LCD TV ranges. Its Borderless 3D range is boasted for super slim designs to enhance the viewing experience.
Soniq is a brand best found at JB Hi-Fi locations around Australia, and JB Hi-Fi’s penchant for providing hot sales and other discounts means a Soniq TV could potentially be snagged for pretty cheap, making it a great budget TV if that’s what you’re looking for. Some can cost less than $250, while some over 60 inches with smart features and 4K quality can often be had for less than $1,500.
However, price alone is evidently not enough to win over consumers, as Soniq rated four stars on value for money with three stars in most other categories, plus two stars on smart compatibility.
Soniq’s TV range features:
While the following brands did not receive the minimum sample size required to be included in our 2019 review, they may still be worth considering if you’re in the market for a new TV:
Bauhn offers a range of technology products and accessories, from smartphones to TVs. Its models are sold exclusively through ALDI stores on a promotional basis, so you will have to keep an eye out for the supermarket chain’s weekly special buys to get your hands on one of Bauhn’s TVs. From 40 to 75 inch, expect HD LED TVs with standard HDMI connectivity, USB playback and PVR functions to record your favourite TV programs. With an aim to offer value for money, Bauhn TV prices start from $299 and max out at around $1,600.
Hitachi aims to transform your audio-visual experiences and bring compelling technology to your living room. It has a number of TVs available in Australia with sizes from 24 inches to 75 inches. Expect smart functionality for accessing your favourite streaming services including Netflix and Stan as well as browsing through your social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter straight from your TV. Prices start from around $250 for its 24 inch LED LCD TV and max out at $2,000 for a 74 inch UHD Smart LED TV.
Philips is a Dutch multinational electronics company, offering a range of products from clothes irons to blenders and yes, TVs. The Philips 6700 Series boasts 4K Ultra HD picture quality, plus built-in Smart TV features. Some units can also be paired with a compatible DVD player and sound system to enhance the viewing experience. Philips TVs can be had for between $200 and $800, making it a budget friendly option to consider.
So, what should you look for in a new TV? There are many different terms flying around these days, so it can be hard to keep up. We list a few specific factors to consider when buying a new TV, including price, size and type.
Overall, we found Aussies spend an average of $1,496 on new TVs. That may seem like a lot, but when you consider that the likes of LG have TVs costing $40,000, it suggests there are still plenty of people buying cheaper models for just a few hundred bucks. Indeed, there are plenty of bargains to be found – you can pick up a 55 inch Kogan 4K Smart TV for under $600, for example, so it’s always worth shopping around.
Our 2019 survey of consumers who have recently bought a new TV also found:
If you’re serious about home theatre, then you can buy the biggest TV you can afford! However, if your TV viewing habits are a bit more ‘normal’ then there are other factors to consider when deciding which size is best, including how far you’ll be sitting from the TV, which is somewhat dependent on the size of your room. It’s recommended that you sit 1.5-2.5 times the diagonal width of the TV away with HD TVs, and 1-1.5 times the diagonal width of the screen away from your 4K TV to ensure you’re putting extra strain on your eyes and posture.
This is likely a lot closer than you think, but it pays to test out screen sizes in-store, keeping in mind your room size and how far away your couch will be. Beyond that, a third (35%) of respondents to our survey said their TV size is between 50 and 60 inches, so it might pay to go with the masses on this one.
There are a number of different types of TVs on the market and here is a quick list of what all the acronyms mean:
There’s never been a better time to buy a new TV. Manufacturers are constantly trying to outdo each other by including and developing their advanced technologies to make consumers’ viewing experience second to none. As a consequence, those wishing to be at the forefront of technology may have to be prepared to pay a premium, with TVs often costing $5,000 or more. In this case, it can be worth looking at brands with reputable warranty periods and servicing to ensure your prized possession is well taken care of should anything go awry. In any case, you can essentially expect to get what you pay for, and the bigger brands have a good reputation for a good reason.
Picture credits: Andrey_Popov/shutterstock.com, Dusan Petkovic/shutterstock.com
*Prices taken from Appliances Online and respective retailers, correct as of August, 2019
Our latest customer satisfaction research saw a number of brands rated best in different categories:
TV resolution refers to the number of pixels that the TV can display. The two resolution options available include:
The difference between the two is that Ultra HD TVs feature four times the pixels of Full HD TVs.
Screen technology is not as easy to explain as TV resolution because each brand comes up with a lot of their own terminology for this.
Alongside TV resolution, you also need ‘high dynamic range’ (HDR) for the TV to be able to produce increased contrast, colour and brightness. There are three different types of HDR including:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a new TV in the last 2 years – in this case, 1,162 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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See our Ratings Methodology.
*Product availability and price range are current as of the stated date, may be subject to change.
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