Don’t be fooled — having an expensive TV doesn’t always mean better picture quality

SEATTLE — Our televisions are often the central entertainment hub of the household, where everyone gathers at the end of the day to tune into their favorite movies or TV shows. Many people go above and beyond in decking out their entertainment system, but once you pass a certain price point, you may be wasting your dollars for the same quality.

A new study conducted by PerfectRec reveals that TV models priced at $1,300 and over don’t actually provide much additional value. The study analyzed 262 popular TV models available across Amazon, BestBuy, Walmart, and Target.

How much should you pay for a TV?

Many consumers think the more you spend on a TV, the higher quality you will get. This is true while the prices are under $1,000. After hitting a grand, however, there are rapidly diminishing returns for 65-inch TVs, according to researchers. What does that mean for you? Forking over the big bucks will only improve picture quality in small increments after a certain point.

The team also found that $1,250 is the sweet spot for picture quality on 60″ to 69″ TVs. The same has also been found for 75-inch models. Once you pass this price range, picture quality doesn’t improve all that much. In fact, unless you want to pay hundreds or thousands more, you most likely won’t even be able to tell the difference in picture quality.

This makes sense for retailers trying to nab a few extra bucks off of you when shopping for a TV. While picture quality may improve with minuscule upgrades, their claims promising higher quality are most likely nothing to write home about compared to models around $1,000.

Couple watching show on TV
(© Andrey Popov –

Many consumers are more than willing to spring for more expensive TVs. Companies know this and therefore hike up the prices or apply what is referred to by study authors as “the Videophile tax.”

Today, new models are bursting onto shelves every day, but carry empty claims when it comes to improved picture quality. For example, the study finds Sony’s A95K TV is very similar in screen performance scores to its direct competitor, the Samsung S95B, yet it is double the price.

“The surprising thing we found with TVs is that at the top of the market you have an explosion of price with very little, if any, improvement in picture quality,” says founder and CEO of PerfectRec, Joe Golden, in a statement. “If having the most expensive TV on the market is important to you, go for it, but just be aware that paying top dollar in the hopes of getting better picture quality is like expecting movie theater popcorn to taste better just because it costs more.”

Survey methodology:

PerfectRec analyzed 262 popular TVs that are available in the U.S. market. The analysis included TVs from the following brands: Amazon, Hisense, Insignia, LG, Samsung, Sony,  TCL, and Vizio. Price is the lowest U.S. retail price available as of June 5th, 2023 according to PerfectRec scraping of major national retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy as well as manufacturer websites.

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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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  1. Picture quality is a function of broadcast resolution and maybe something as simple as choosing the right brightness and contrast settings, which are not always the best in the showroom. I am surprised you don’t put more weight on reliability, if for example Sony build quality is better than Samsung. However, there is a point where what you say rings true. Until recently we had a Bang & Olufsen shop just around the corner – it’s now closed. At one point they offered a reduction on a large model, maybe 55″ at that time. Just the SAVING through their offer was equal to the full cost of a Sony TV of the same specification!

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