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The five best TVs for watching the NBA Playoffs

Sony, Hisense

For sports fans looking to upgrade their TV to catch all of the action of the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals -- which are happening through mid-to-late June -- we're here to help. Pick a screen size large enough to provide immersive viewing, but not too large to fit into the right room. We recommend at least a 65-inch screen, although larger is certainly better. When it comes to display, OLED tech offers the best detail, with bright and accurate colors.

A 4K resolution TV is an absolute must, but if you want to splurge, consider an 8K TV that uses AI to upscale 4K content to near 8K quality. The experience of watching live sports on an 8K TV is like nothing we've seen before, especially with an added soundbar or surround sound system.

You also want a TV with a high refresh rate (120Hz or faster) if you want to catch fast action with no blur, pixelation or stuttering. We also recommend a maximum brightness of at least 800 to 1,000 nits, along with a wide viewing angle. That way, everyone in a room can catch every frame in any lighting or seating situation.

If all that is too much to remember, we get it. Here are the best TVs for catching all the NBA Playoff action, all in one place.

The best TVs for watching the NBA Playoffs

Our team of in-house consumer technology experts has selected these five TVs as being among the very best options for watching any live sporting events, including NBA Playoffs. Even without cable TV, you can catch the games by subscribing to Hulu + Live TV (which includes ESPN+).

Best TV for watching the NBA Playoffs: Sony Bravia 65" Class A95L OLED 4K TV (2023)

Sony QD-OLED 65 inch BRAVIA XR A95L Series 4K Ultra HD TV

Display Type: OLED | Resolution: 4K | Refresh Rate: 120Hz | Operating System: GoogleTV

This is part of Sony's premium Bravia XR lineup, so you can expect superior picture and sound quality. A 55-inch and 77-inch version of this TV are also available. All take advantage of Sony's Cognitive Processor XR to deliver bright and accurate colors, with pure blacks and bright whites. 

You get 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Also integrated into this TV is an advanced Sony sound system that supports Dolby Atmos using two built-in speakers and two subwoofers. And to take full advantage of the smart TV features, the GoogleTV OS is at your disposal. This gives you quick and easy access to all of the popular streaming networks.

The Sony XR A95L features a minimalist design that draws your eyes to the screen, where billions of colors form a clear, vibrant and smooth image. While native 4K content looks amazing, this TV does an excellent job with AI upscaling to present lower-resolution content with decent detail. Like all OLED TVs, this one also does a nice job minimizing unwanted glare and reflections.

And to make high-action live sports (including the NBA Playoff games) look smooth and detailed, the A95L offers a 120Hz refresh rate. We chose this as our top pick because watching sports on an OLED display offers the very best color and clarity, with fluid action. You'll pay a bit more for this technology, but for many, it's well worth it.

Best budget TV for watching the NBA Playoffs: Hisense 65" Class U8 Series Mini-LED 4K TV (2023)

Hisense 65-Inch Class U8 Series Mini-LED ULED 4K UHD Google Smart TV (65U8K, 2023 Model)

Display Type: Mini-LED | Resolution: 4K | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Operating System: GoogleTV

Falling into the very affordable range, the Hisense U8 is available in five sizes -- from 55-inches up to a massive 100-inches. The TV uses mini-LED technology to deliver excellent detail, brightness and color. You get a maximum screen brightness of 1,500 nits, plus Quantum Dot technology that can display more than 1 billion shades of color. The U8 also supports Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, HDR10+ Adaptive and HLG -- allowing for accurate colors, really deep blacks and bright whites.

Even without adding a soundbar or surround sound system, this TV gives you a five-speaker, 2.1.2 channel sound system that supports Dolby Atmos. The speaker system can generate up to 50 watts of audio power. 

When it comes to watching live sports and high-action movies, it's the up-to-144Hz refresh rate and the local dimming technology from the mini-LEDs that bring the programming to life. It's all powered using the GoogleTV OS, which makes it easy to find whatever you're in the mood to watch, from any of the streaming services you subscribe to.

Other features built into this TV include Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit compatibility, Apple AirPlay, Chromecast, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, an Ethernet port, four HDMI ports, two USB ports and a digital audio outlet port. The TV comes with a voice remote. We're fans of Hisense because the company offers high-end TV technology at a low-to-mid range price. For less than $900, you get a 65-inch, 4K resolution TV with a super-fast refresh rate with the latest mini-LED technology. This does a really nice job showcasing high-action sports and action movies, without breaking the bank.

Best TV for live-action snobs: LG 65-inch OLED Evo C4 

LG 65-Inch Class UQ7570 Series 4K Smart TV

Display Type: OLED | Resolution: 4K | Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Operating System: WebOS 24

The just released 2024 version of the LG OLED Evo C4 TVs are a perfect choice for watching any live sports, including the NBA Playoff games. Not only are these TVs equipped with a stunning OLED display that offers 4K resolution and a fast 144Hz refresh rate, but they're packed with other features that make whatever you're watch look fantastic, fluid and authentic.

Available in a 42-inch, 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch or 88-inch model, the new LG Evo C4 TVs offer 100% color volume and color fidelity, so not only is everything you see highly detailed, but the TV can showcase truly accurate colors with impressive contrast. And when you're watching compatible content, you'll be amazed by the TV's use of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to further enhance picture and sound quality.

The Evo C4 TVs are powered using LG's latest a9 AI Processor Gen 7, so even if you're not watching native 4K content, in realtime the TV enhances the quality of whatever is on the screen to as close to 4K as possible. One feature we really love is that the TV allows you to watch two things at once on a split screen. And if you plan to use the TV for gaming, it supports Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium, as well as VRR. Built into the TV is a special game dashboard and game optimizer (which further enhances the visuals within a game). 

When when it comes to connecting components to the TV, there are four HDMI ports, along with other port types (like USB and ethernet) built in. Of course, the TV supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for maximum versatility. The new 2024 LG OLED Evo C4 TVs are brand new and have only been available for a few weeks, so they're in high demand. At the moment, this is truly one of the best OLED TVs available for watching sports or anything else for that matter. This is another higher-end, 4K resolution, OLED display with a fast refresh rate that makes action-oriented content, like NBA games, look ultra-smooth. It's this combination of technologies, from a well-known brand, that make the 2024 edition of this Evo C4 TV a worthwhile investment for sports enthusiasts.

Best TV for casual sports fans: TCL 65" Q Class 4K mini-LED QLED (65QM850G)

TCL 65 inches QM8 QLED 4K Smart Mini LED TV with Google (65QM850G, 2023 Model)

Display Type: QLED | Resolution: 4K | Refresh Rate: 120Hz | Operating System: GoogleTV

Thanks to more than 2,300 local dimming zones, a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits, TCL's Motion Rate 480 technology and a refresh rate of 120Hz, this smart TV with a QLED display is ready to showcase live sports using more than one billion sharp and vivid color with ultra-smooth motion.

For sound, this TCL TV has regular speakers, an integrated subwoofer and offers Dolby Atmos support. All of these technologies are controlled using the Google TV OS, so all of your favorite shows and streaming services are always easy to find and watch. And when it comes to gaming, the display's refresh rate can be boosted to 240Hz using TCL's Game Accelerator 240 technology and AMD FreeSync support.

Meanwhile, movie fans will enjoy clarity, with enhanced color and contrast, because this TV supports Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG to provide more lifelike visuals. As a result, everyone in your household -- whether they're sports fans, movie buffs or gamers, will discover this TV offers an impressive viewing experience at an affordable price.

We recommend this TV for casual sports fans (as opposed to hard-core fans) because the display relies on QLED, not OLED technology, although it still takes advantage of a high refresh rate. Someone who wants to witness every minute detail in a sporting event will want the added clarity, contrast, definition and accurate color representation that only a more expensive OLED display can provide.

Best TV for real sports obsessives: Samsung 65-inch Neo QLED 8K TV (QN900D)

Samsung Neo QLED 8K QN900C

Display Type: Neo QLED | Resolution: 8K | Refresh Rate: 240Hz | Operating System: Tizen

The 2024 Samsung 65-inch Class Neo QN900D QLED 8K TV is truly a premium smart TV and one of the most advanced on the market. In this case, you get a super-thin display with no visible bezel. It uses Quantum Matrix Pro technology, mini-LEDs and 7,680 x 4,310 pixels to deliver a picture quality that's unparalleled by any of Samsung's other TV offerings.

The TV's Neural Quantum Processor 8K does an amazing job upscaling non-native 8K content using a vast palette of vibrant and accurate colors. The anti-reflective display also offers a very wide viewing angle. And for sound, the TV supports Dolby Atmos, Object Tracking Sound Pro and Symphony 3.0. 

Regardless of what you watch, the Samsung Neo QLED 8K TV creates detailed and fluid viewing that offers a stunning preview of the future of TV. If you're planning to catch any or all of the NBA Playoff games at home, this is the TV you want. It excels when it comes to showcasing live sports in a way that's so realistic, you'll feel like you're sitting in the stadium. This is a result of the Samsung NQ8 AI Gen 3 processor that automatically adds depth and contrast with AI-based motion enhancement (which kicks in when watching sports or other high-action content).

The 8K-resolution technology, combined with the up to 240Hz refresh rate, showcase more detailed and smoother action than what's ever before been possible on a consumer television. A 65-inch, 75-inch and 85-inch version of the QN900D is currently available. This 2024 model of Samsung's 8K QN900D generates a crystal-clear picture thanks to its superior AI-based upscaling and Neo QLED technology. When it comes to watching live sports, you won't find anything better in any TV designed for in-home use.

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