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TVs to avoid buying

Keen for a new screen? Our lab tests reveal the models to steer clear of. 

TV screens with thumbs down symbols signifying poor performance
Last updated: 07 April 2021

With winter on its way and the colder weather creeping in, you might be considering hibernating with a brand new TV. After all, not much beats a cosy blanket, snacks and a serious Netflix binge-fest or movie marathon. 

TV sales pop up regularly, but do be careful – retailers might reduce some good-quality stock, but they also offload plenty of ordinary models, too.

Choice lab expert Scott tests a TV

CHOICE test coordinator Scott in our TV labs.

To help you sort the star performers from the B-grade extras, our TV experts test about 80 models in our lab each year, covering more than 90% of the market. This includes leading brands such as LG, Panasonic, Sony and Samsung, to lesser known brands such as Changhong, Bauhn, Chiq, Ffalcon and Aldi's house brand, Bauhn.

In our most recent lab tests, we found some impressive units alongside some seriously poor performers (see our full TV reviews.

Here are the models that rated lowest:

1. Ffalcon 40F1

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 58%
  • Size: 40 inches
  • Price: $299

This small TV from the curiously named brand Ffalcon (not a typo) doesn't soar at all. The lowest rated TV in the test, it scored a dismal 56% for high definition (HD) viewing and an even sadder 51% for standard definition (SD). It's also hard on the ears, scoring just 45% for sound quality.

In its favour, it boasts a good user interface and remote, very good energy use, and a sensor to adjust the TV's brightness to ambient light. But they're the only positive things our testers had to say about this one. Read our full review of the Ffalcon 40F1.

ffalcon 40f1

The Ffalcon rated just 51% for SD viewing – the lowest in our test.

2. Linsar LS32CHD12V

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 60%
  • Size: 32 inches
  • Price: $249

Sadly, this bargain buy from Linsar doesn't tick many boxes, scoring an ordinary 60% for HD and 62% for SD. Worse still, it managed just 40% for its electronic program guide (EPG) and 45% for sound quality, with our experts noting it sounded "dull, flat, harsh, hollow". Ouch! 

On the upside, it scored much better for its user interface, energy use and remote, but with so many flaws, you might not be reaching for that remote too often. 

3. Linsar LS40CFHD

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 63%
  • Size: 39 inches
  • Price: $399

This model performs notably better than the previous two, but that's not saying much really. Overall, it still delivers a fairly average viewing experience, managing just 60% for HD picture quality and 66% for SD.  

But it's not all bad news – it scored well for energy efficiency, user interface and its remote. But those ticks are snuffed out by an abysmal sound quality rating of just 15%, which means you'll need to shell out for a soundbar if you want to enjoy your favourite shows. Or use subtitles. Read our full review of the Linsar LS40CFHD.

4. Hisense 40S4

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 64%
  • Size: 39 inches
  • Price: $495

We've tested some solid performers from Hisense, but sadly this smaller unit isn't one of them. It had barely passable picture quality for HD (scoring 54%) and didn't do much better for SD (60%).

Like the Linsar, sound quality is severely subpar, with a lowly mark of just 20%. Our experts noted the audio was extremely tinny, low in volume and that "a phone would sound better". Pass!

Admittedly, it did perform better for smart TV features, energy efficiency, user interface and its remote. But it's little comfort when the picture and sound quality fall by the wayside. Read our full review of the Hisense 40S4.

hisense-40s4_5

According to our testers, the Hisense's audio quality sounded worse than a phone speaker.

5. Bauhn ATV65UHDG

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 64%
  • Size: 65 inches
  • Price: $699

Aldi's bargain-brand Bauhn TVs pop up in their Special Buys sales and usually sell out in a day. Their 65-inch model is very cheap for its size but, sadly, our testers found you get what you pay for. 

It does well for energy use and smart TV features, but all-important picture quality was average at best, scoring a sorry 59% for SD viewing and just 54% for HD. 

Unlike other models here, this unit also offers Ultra HD (4K) viewing, but with a score of just 50%, it's pretty ordinary too. Sound quality rated equally poorly, with our experts noting muddy, rumbly audio in their tests.

Our experts have also tested Aldi's 58-inch and 48-inch models and they rated even worse – something to keep in mind if you're tempted to line up for the next TV sale. Read our full review of the Bauhn ATV65UHDG.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking and corrections at CHOICE.