Need to know
- LG and Samsung dominate the TV market in Australia, with TVs across a range of prices and sizes.
- Both brands make good-quality TVs but which brand is right for you depends on a number of factors.
- CHOICE experts have been testing TVs for more than 50 years. Our detailed reviews can help you find the best TV for your needs.
Researching which new TV to buy is a big job, made more difficult by all the terminology and new features available in modern TVs: LCD or OLED? HD or 4K? And what about the size?
Once you've decided on these factors, you'll be faced with the next big question: which brand?
If you're looking for a new TV, chances are that Samsung and LG are on your radar. And for good reason: they're the two biggest names in the TV world, and their products frequently top our TV reviews. (Although not all of them top the charts, so check our expert TV reviews before you buy so you don't end up with a dud.)
"Several years ago the Australian TV market had a healthy level of competition, with Sony, Panasonic, LG, Samsung and Sharp fighting it out in Australian lounge rooms," says CHOICE TV expert Denis Gallagher.
"Today it's basically a battle between Samsung and LG, with Hisense playing an increasingly significant role, particularly for mid priced TVs."
Samsung vs LG: Which brand is best?
Everyone has different priorities when it comes to choosing a TV, whether that's certain features you're after, a specific size you want to suit your living space, high sound quality or a budget you need to stick to.
It's also important to consider the brand itself, including things such as how reliable the brand's products are, their track record in customer service and customer satisfaction, the type of warranty they offer and whether technical support or repair is available if something goes wrong.
About Samsung and LG
Both LG and Samsung are reputable, large-scale companies who've been on the scene for quite some time. They're both South Korean manufacturers, although hardly any of their TVs for the Australian market are made in Korea any more. They produce a large range of products including whitegoods, vacuums, air conditioners and home appliances.
LG is typically known for its OLED TVs, which it's been producing for more than a decade. OLEDs have steadily improved in terms of screen quality and brightness to the point where OLED models routinely take out some of the highest CHOICE Expert Rating scores.
Samsung offers an alternative premium TV option with their Neo QLED TVs, but have recently added a couple of OLED TVs to their range. (Not sure what OLED and QLED mean? We cover this below.)
LG uses Web OS while Samsung uses Tizen. Both operating systems cater heavily to a Smart TV environment, with a strong focus on streaming apps, connectivity with other devices in your home and the use of a voice assistant.
"Updates to the operating systems will provide additional functionality and features such as extra streaming channels or improved smart home control," says Denis.
"However, sometimes a feature you like will be removed, which can be frustrating. After a few years, updates on features will be less likely as many improvements require the latest processing chip. Don't worry – you'll be left with a TV that performs just as well as before, but not as well as the latest and greatest model."
Read more about what changes to your operating system can mean.
LG TVs are predominantly made in Indonesia; Samsung TVs are generally manufactured in Vietnam (although one model we've tested is from Mexico).
Both brands offer a one-year stated warranty. Some of the more expensive models offer warranties up to 5 years. (Don't forget that you're still covered by the Australian Consumer Law regardless of the manufacturer warranty.)
Overall brand vs individual model
While both LG's and Samsung's reputations are well-founded, buying based on brand alone can sometimes leave you disappointed. The performance, features and usability of specific product models can vary significantly – so don't assume that all products from a reputable brand will give you what you want.
The best thing to do is to focus on individual models by checking CHOICE reviews to find the best TVs before you buy, but there are some feature and function differences between LG and Samsung that may appeal to your particular needs.
Which company is the CHOICE Best Brand winner?
LG is undoubtedly ahead on our CHOICE Best Brand TV scores: it's taken out the gong for the last seven years.
Not only that, but it's ahead on just about every score that contributes to a brand's Best Brand score: reliability, customer satisfaction, average test score, and more.
Samsung's scores certainly aren't to be sniffed at, though: it's not far behind for many of the scores. Sony is also a strong contender.
Here's how they stack up:
|Best brand score||81%||73%|
|Average test score||79%||73%|
|Customer satisfaction score||89%||86%|
|Number of models tested||24||25|
|Number of recommended models||11||3|
*Recommended ratio: We calculate the percentage of TVs that we recommend for each brand. The greater the number of models that earn a recommendation, the higher the recommended ratio score.
Range and price
The LG TVs in our review range in price from $895 for a 50-inch LCD TV through to $3495 for a 65-inch OLED TV.
The Samsung TVs in our review range in price from $445 for a 32-inch LCD TV through to $2895 for a 64-inch LCD TV.
"While smart TVs made dramatic improvements in connectivity and ease of use several years ago, this rate of improvement has become incremental over the last year or two," says Denis.
"So don't be afraid to purchase a TV that was released in 2022 if you can find it for a good price – you'll get similar features and performance for less money."
The LG remote (left) has more defined buttons, while the Samsung remote (right) is more minimalist in its design.
The remote control is crucial to the TV's operation and makes up a significant part of the CHOICE Expert Rating for a TV.
"One of the biggest differences between LG and Samsung TVs is the remote control," says Denis.
"The remote for the Samsung is an attractive design but not intuitive, while the LG remote offers much better control over common menu selections.
"Both remotes allow you to perform many actions to control the TV, but the Samsung remote requires more button presses to get the job done."
If you are comfortable with the use of voice assistants such as Google, Siri or Alexa and don't mind drilling through menus rather than buttons on your remote then the Samsung solution should not cause you concern.
If you have trouble seeing the buttons on your remote and prefer to have clearly defined buttons to perform specific tasks (e.g. changing channels, launching Netflix, changing the input, etc.), as well as colour-coding to find your Freeview TV channels, then the LG remote may be more suitable.
LCD vs OLED screens – which is better?
Here are the basics of what you need to know about LCD vs OLED:
- LCD TVs are typically brighter than OLED. In rooms where lighting is inconsistent, they may perform better than OLEDs. However, colours don't tend to be quite as rich or vibrant, and dark scenes can look a little grey.
- OLED screens are usually more expensive than LCDs and can provide superior contrast and viewing angles, as well as being slimmer. But OLED technology can't get as bright as LCD, so you'll need a darker room for optimal viewing.
An LCD screen type that is also attracting attention is QLED (quantum light emitting diode). Samsung TVs have typically come with QLED screens, but they've made a foray into OLEDs in recent years. QLED replicates the contrast and vibrant look of an OLED while delivering a brighter picture.
"If the TV is well made, the LCD or OLED credentials will make very little difference to the quality of the image. A good image is a good image. We've seen great performance from both screen types.
"There are differences but for the most part they're a good deal less important than the quality of the manufacturer," says Denis.
How can you tell which screen type is right for you? Denis breaks it down:
- If you can control the lighting in your 'TV room' (making it dark by closing the curtains, for instance), then an OLED TV presents a good option for a cinematic experience at home.
- If you are in a room with challenging lighting conditions (shadows and streams of sunlight that hit the TV screen, and rooms that have lots of natural light), then you may want to consider a QLED or an LCD with stronger backlighting.
Default picture setting
Most people watch their TVs on the default picture setting – after all, who wants to waste time fiddling around with settings when you've got a brand-new TV you're itching to watch?
For the most part, what you'll get straight out of the box is going to give you great picture quality. Our experts actually test TVs on their default settings as we know that that's how most people use them.
But what the default setting looks like can vary from brand to brand, and that's especially true of LG TVs compared to Samsungs – they deliver quite different out-of-the-box experiences in terms of colour.
Playing around with the settings will give you a much better watching experience, and it's worth spending the time to tweak it to your liking
"LG TVs tend to have a cooler range on the default picture setting," says Denis.
"On the other hand, Samsung has decided to deliver a much more vivid colour gamut for its out-of-the-box mode."
While that vividness might be eye-catching, you might not like it as much when you're watching at home over time. This is where changing the settings can really enhance your TV watching experience.
"Playing around with the settings will give you a much better watching experience, and it's well worth spending the time to tweak it to your liking," Denis says.
"Try changing the brightness and contrasting colour settings to see what you prefer, but also make sure you know how to get the picture setting back to default as you could end up making it worse."
LG OLED in standard picture mode.
If you want to take things to the next level, you need to know about Filmmaker Mode. It's a preset picture mode in your TV that's designed to make your screen look more cinematic, so what you're seeing is as close to what the director intended it to be.
It was developed in collaboration with a number of prominent directors such as Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan, and many other directors have endorsed it.
In Filmmaker Mode, the colours, tones, etc are closer to the director's original intentions.
Filmmaker Mode has only been around for a few years, and it's not available in every brand or model. All recently-released Samsung and LG TVs have filmmaker mode, however, so it's worth giving it a try on your new TV.
"We've found that Samsung TVs tend to look much better on Filmmaker Mode than on the default settings, so if you buy a Samsung, try switching to Filmmaker Mode when you watch movies to see if you prefer it," says Denis.
Read more about the finer details of this setting: Filmmaker Mode explained.
Samsung vs LG: Comparing the TVs
If you want to go big and your budget is in the $2500–3000 range, these ones are likely on your shortlist.
They're quite similar TVs in many aspects, as this is one of Samsung's recent ventures into OLED screens. They have almost exactly the same features and have comparable performance on a number of metrics.
They've both been tested in our CHOICE labs to our exacting standards. Full TV reviews are available exclusively to CHOICE members.
At the smaller end of the scale, these LCD TVs have petite screens with prices to match.
Once again, they have virtually the same features and were neck and neck on a number of the tests our experts assessed them on.
Our detailed reviews cover a range of test measures, from standard and high definition picture quality, 4K video picture quality, user interface scoring, sound quality and more. CHOICE members can access the full reviews. If you're not yet a member, you can join CHOICE to see all our reviews.
Can I connect a Samsung device to an LG TV? (And vice versa)
If you have a Samsung device but you're looking at an LG TV, don't worry – they'll still talk to one another. And the reverse is true, too: LG products will connect to Samsung ones.
So if you have an LG phone, tablet, soundbar, DVD or BluRay player, laptop or Bluetooth speaker, you'll still be able to cast, mirror, screen share or otherwise connect them to a Samsung TV – and vice versa.
The process is pretty much the same as connecting any device to a TV, regardless of the brand. Find out more and read the how-tos from our experts:
Should I buy a 4K Samsung or LG TV?
Nowadays, 4K is pretty much standard for TVs. (Ultra-high definition and 4K mean basically the same thing.)
For context, only four of the 51 TVs in our current review aren't 4K or UHD and they are all 32-inch displays.
If you already own a 32-inch or 42-inch HD TV and you're happy with it, don't worry about replacing it with a 4K modelDenis Gallagher, CHOICE TV expert
"If you already own a 32-inch or even 42-inch HD TV and you are happy with it, don't even worry about replacing it with a 4K model. You won't notice the improvement in resolution until you watch video on a 55-inch TV or larger, so you're wasting money on 4K for a smaller TV," Denis says.
We actually score TVs on their 4K picture quality when we test them, so you can check how well each TV delivers 4K picture in our detailed TV reviews.
What about 8K? It's not necessary at the moment, Denis says. "There's no 8K content currently, and in any case Australia's relatively ordinary internet speeds will make streaming 8K video virtually impossible."
How we test TVs
Our expert testers have 35 years' experience testing TVs between them – they're some of the most experienced TV testers in the country. It's safe to say that they know their stuff.
Here's how they put TVs through their paces to find out which are the best:
- We use a colour-calibrated reference TV to compare each of the models we test – this makes sure our scoring is consistent.
- Tests take around three weeks from start to finish as they're so detailed. The results then go through our rigorous verification process, so you can have confidence in our results.
- To score picture quality, we assess how well the TV can handle a number of different source materials (such as movies, sports, 4K and more). This includes both a technical and subjective assessment.
- We obscure brand and model names during the test so there's no chance of bias.
- A panel of three experts assesses SD, HD and 4K HDR content on each TV.
- We assess technical footage to check for things such as, jaggies (diagonal lines that appear as jagged or broken lines), and judder and blur at a number of different frame rates.
- Since the remote control is such an important part of using your TV, we assess how easy each model's remote is to use.
- We also assess the on-screen user interface, smart functionality and sound quality.
Learn more about how we test TVs at CHOICE.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.