How we test TVs

Our test includes an assessment of picture quality, sound quality and ease of use.

Pointing a remote at a TV playing sport.

Our new test places more focus on picture scores, which really are the most important feature for a TV.

When we put TVs through their paces, our focus is getting as close as we can to real world experiences. We want to watch what you watch, not just what makes the TV look good.

Choosing what to test

Every year, from March to June, manufacturers generally release more models than we can possibly test. We liaise with manufacturers to find out what will be released and plan our testing based on that information, along with market information on what sold well the previous year.

How we test

New TV technology is giving us brighter, more saturated pictures and bigger screen sizes. UHD TVs (also called 4K) and TVs with higher refresh rates are entering the market in larger numbers and at lower prices.

Our testing is a comparison of the relative merits of each TV against the others in the test. We use reference TVs to check our scoring is consistent and ensure each batch is compared to a known quality level.

Our technical staff have 30 years of testing televisions between them. They’ve seen the progression from bulky cathode ray tube TVs, to plasma sets, on to LCD and now OLEDs. In that time, they’ve sat on standards committees to ensure the TV you buy is safe and have had an influence in getting MEPS (mandatory energy performance standards) implemented, so TVs now use significantly less energy.

First we gather technical information about the TV including its weight, measuring the available screen area, connections (such as WiFi and bluetooth) and any other materials supplied with the TV, such as 3D glasses and cables.

New TV connections are always replacing old ones. For example, with USB inputs, we now report the number of USB2 and USB3 inputs a TV has. These transfer information much faster than the older USB inputs and are becoming more important as higher resolution content requires larger data transfer sizes and speeds. Similarly, we report less on analogue connections as these are becoming obsolete.

Each TV is given time to warm up, then our tester sets the TV to get its colour as close as possible to the industry colour-balance standard (D65). We do this because we know TV and movie producers generally use this standard when creating their content. However, many TVs are set to a much cooler temperature in the factory because bluer pictures tend to look brighter, sharper and more contrasted, which looks better in a show room.

Compare all the televisions in our test database.

TV test results and buying advice

TV test results and buying advice

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TV test results and buying advice

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Member comments

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David Ellis B.
03 Oct 2020
Category for gaming

I'd like to see a category for how well these TVs handle gaming. I'm currently looking for a TV that will be almost used full time for games, so seeing test results for this would be very helpful.

28 Dec 2019
Relationship between HD, SD, 4K/UHD

Viewing some TV Test results I notice one Samsung UA43RU7100SXNZ
had HD Picture OK 68%
SD Picture Good 74%
4K/UHD Very Good 85%
I can understand HD being lower than UHD , but how can SD be higher than HD? These are all measures of the resolution of the picture, which resolution has been defined by the "density" of the pixels at each of the three levels.

Consumer staff
06 Jan 2020
Re: Relationship between HD, SD, 4K/UHD

Hi Josie,

Each of the scores is related to how well the TV displays images at those resolutions. The testers look at a variety of content and compare against a reference screen. So in this case the TV handled SD pictures better than it could handle HD ones.

Kind regards,

Hadyn - Consumer NZ writer