Canstar Blue’s 2021 TV review has seen Sony, Samsung, TCL, LG, Panasonic, Hisense, Kogan, Bauhn and JVC compared and rated on their picture & sound quality, ease of use, smart compatibility, design, value for money and overall 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 offer 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 LG, Samsung or Sony? 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 1,200 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, smart compatibility, value for money, design and overall satisfaction. It’s worth noting that these ratings incorporate feedback received on all types of TV technology, including LED, LCD, OLED, QLED, 4K and 8K. So, what did we find?
Here are the best TV brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Sony and Samsung were crowned joint winners in our televisions ratings for 2021, with both brands scoring five-star reviews for picture quality, design and overall satisfaction. Sony additionally received the top score for sound quality, as did Samsung for smart compatibility.
Five-star ratings were few and far between in our latest review, with most brands scoring four stars in most research categories and for overall satisfaction, while JVC landed on three stars overall. Bauhn was the only other brand to score five stars in any category, namely for value for money and ease of use, even beating Sony and Samsung on those drivers of satisfaction.
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.
See what the best-rated brands featured in our ratings have to offer in terms of specs and prices.
Sony is a Japanese multinational consumer and electronics company, and is a longstanding brand in the TV world. It mainly features smart OLED, 4K, LED 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 Cognitive Processor XR syncs colour, contrast and detail to create a closer-to-reality feeling and offers users a more immersive experience.
Compared to some other brands, Sony TVs are a little bit dearer. For sizes starting at 43 inches, you can expect to pay close to $1,000, while screen sizes above 65 inches can fetch prices over $5,000. The bonus is that smart Android and Googe TV functions come as standard across most Sony models.
Sony’s range includes (but is not limited to):
Known for its tech-forward approach, Sony earned five stars for picture and sound quality, design and overall satisfaction. It received four stars for ease of use, smart compatibility and value for money.
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. Samsung is also behind the popular ‘The Frame’ smart TV series (pictured) which allows users to switch to Ambient Mode, transforming the TV screen into an artwork (instead of having a boring black screen), with customised colour frame options available to match your decor. You can also display photos, the time or the weather onscreen. The brand’s Lifestyle TV range also features ‘The Terrace’ – an outdoor TV for your deck or patio space, and the very innovative ‘The Sero’ which features a mobile-optimised screen that rotates depending on your content.
As for the Samsung range, many models are enormous in size, boasting curved screens for a wider viewing experience, with various types such as the latest Neo QLED line, QLED, 4K and 8K models available.
Most Samsung televisions cost upwards of $3,000, while some Neo QLED models can fetch up to $6,500. 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’s range includes (but is not limited to):
Samsung was rated five stars for picture quality, design, smart compatibility and overall satisfaction. It got four stars for sound quality, ease of use and value for money.
TCL is a Chinese multinational electronics brand, which offers not only TVs and audio-visual accessories, but also mobile phones and appliances including fridges and air conditioners.
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. The range includes LED, QLED, plus 4K and 8K smart TVs, with sizes starting out with 32-inch models and maxing out at 85-inch. Its QLED 4K TV features ‘Quantum Dot’ technology for enhanced image quality and colour volume. As for prices, a 32-inch TV costs less than $400. 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.
TCL’s models include (but are not limited to):
TCL achieved four stars for overall customer satisfaction and in all other categories in our latest ratings.
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 and NanoCell TVs. In fact, LG’s 4K series claims to boast 20% more colours than regular LED TVs.
One of its latest models (86UP8000PTB) comes with an Alpha 7 Gen3 AI Processor that, in combination with the visual effects of 4K UHD, is claimed to enhance picture and sound sources to offer a ‘true’ home cinema experience.
LG is also known for producing some huge TVs, with models above 80 inches, with an 86-inch model costing more than $5,000. If you’re after a standard 32-inch TV without the bells and whistles, LG has these from about $699.
Some LG models include (but are not limited to):
LG scored four stars for picture quality, sound quality, ease of use, smart compatibility, design and overall satisfaction. It got three stars for value for money.
Panasonic officially pulled out of the Australian and U.S markets for televisions, although fridges, microwaves, air conditioners and the likes will still be sold. As a result, Panasonic TVs have become hard to come by, although you may be able to find some ad hoc models online or on marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. Panasonic offers mostly OLED and LED televisions, some with 4K quality. The models equipped with an OLED TV panel are stated to offer a ‘picture-perfect slice of reality’ with the ultimate contrast.
Hisense is a multinational white goods 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 U9G – is boasted for its unique backlight technology which has 1,000+ local dimming zones and 10,000+ Mini-LEDs. In addition, you’ll get all the usual features you have come to expect in a modern TV in the range, including smart capabilities, HD or Ultra HD on an LED/LCD screen. Hisense offers your typical screen sizes 40-inch, 55-inch, 75-inch and so on, and offers several 100-inch models, although these come with hefty price tags.
Hisense’s range features (but is not limited to):
Hisense rated four stars for overall customer satisfaction and in all other categories in our latest ratings.
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 $1,500.
Kogan’s line-up includes (but is not limited to):
Kogan scored four stars in most areas, including for sound quality, smart compatibility, value for money and overall satisfaction. It got three stars for picture quality.
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 32 to 82-inch, expect smart Ultra HD and LED TVs with 4K TV resolution, 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 $1,200.
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 etc. You can also expect built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity to access online content as well as watch videos and shows from your smartphone. Plus, you can connect external devices including a keyboard or mouse for gaming.
While the following brands did not receive the minimum survey sample size required to be included in our 2021 review, they may still be worth considering if you’re in the market for a new TV:
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 LED LCD, JVL TVs, Google Chromecast, Android TVs and Web TVs. Its Android TV models also come with Google Assistant built-in, so you can ask questions, browse content and control smart devices around your home with just your voice.
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 $200, while some over 60 inches with smart features and 4K quality can often be had for less than $1,400.
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 $349 for its 32-inch HD Smart LED TV and max out at $1,695 for a 75-inch UHD Android QLED TV.
Philips is a Dutch multinational electronics company, offering a range of products from clothes irons to blenders and yes, TVs, including 4K UHD TVs with Ambilight, and smart TVs to stream your favourite shows on-demand.
Some units can also be paired with a compatible DVD player and sound system to enhance the viewing experience. Philips TVs can cost between $200 and $700, 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 $984 on new TVs. That may seem like a lot, but when you consider that the likes of LG and Samsung have TVs costing upwards of $10,000, 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 latest 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 not 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 (34%) 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 even developing advanced technologies to make the 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.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock.com.
*Prices are taken from retailer websites, correct as of November 2021.
Our review incorporates feedback received on all types of TVs, including Ultra HD, Full HD, 4K, 8K, LED, OLED, QLED, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision. Read on to find out what this all means.
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 two years – in this case, 1,223 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.
Here are the past winning brands from Canstar Blue’s TV review:
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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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