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Samsung TV vs Sony TV: which is the best TV brand?

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Which TV is better: a Samsung TV or a Sony TV? You’re likely weighing the pros and cons of these two TV brands when you are looking for a new one. How do you choose the right one?

Both Sony and Samsung make great TVs. These brands are featured in our best televisions guide as well as our picks for the top gaming TVs, and best 4K TVs that you can purchase today.

Most people will be satisfied with any brand of TV. However, while both Samsung and Sony are top-of-the-line TVs currently on the market, there are differences in their product ranges.

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These differences include their premium technologies, like OLED and QLED. They also differ in how their TV sets generate sound, which format support they offer, and their processing strengths.

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You can read our best Sony TV and best Samsung TV guides for a deeper look at each TV range. You can read our detailed comparison of Samsung TVs and Sony TVs to find out what you are getting or losing by choosing one.

Samsung TV vs Sony TV: overview

Let’s start by taking a look at the brands. Samsung, a South Korean manufacturer, is the world’s largest producer of televisions. LG and TCL are close behind. Sony is not far behind, and the Japanese manufacturer remains a formidable force.

Sony and Samsung offer a wide range of TVs, from 32-inch TVs to 75-inch screens, to accommodate budgets of all sizes. There are also a few 85 inch models available from both brands.

They sell televisions worldwide, with presences both in the UK and US, unlike Philips or Panasonic, which do not have licenses in North America.

Both brands also make many consumer products other than televisions. To learn more about Sony’s latest-generation gaming console, read our PS5 Review or our PSVR Review.

Both Samsung and Sony are fighting for territory in the highly competitive smartphone market. This guide will not compare their handsets, but you can read our separate guides to the best Sony smartphones and best Samsung smartphones if interested.

Samsung TV vs Sony TV: features

Both TV brands have different operating systems.

Samsung chooses the Tizen OS smart platform to power its majority of new TVs. Tizen OS is easy to use and not too cluttered. You can keep track of the most used apps by using the constantly refreshed’recent box.

Overall, Tizen offers a competent user experience. However, the universal search function on Tizen is not as effective as LG’s webOS platform.

Sony uses Android TV on the other side. It offers more content and menus than its rival. Although it’s less cluttered than its competitor, you have more options.

Sony’s Android TV cleverly layers a YouView platform guide platform on top. This addresses one of Android TV’s biggest weaknesses, catch-up TV provision. The YouView app makes sure that all catch-up services are available and is accessible via a rolling 7-day EPG.

To learn more about the differences between Tizen TV and Android TV, read our best smart television platform guide.

Voice assistants? Many Sony TVs have Google Assistant integration. Android TV is a Google-developed platform. This integration makes sense.

Sony has added the Amazon Alexa Music, Cameras, and TV Control app to some of its newer TVs, as well as some older mid-range models. This app allows you to control third-party smart speakers and products using basic Alexa capabilities, such as the Amazon Echo and Ring security cameras. You can also use Alexa voice commands to turn on the TV’s volume and power settings.

Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant is available on mid-range and higher sets. However, it is known to be slower than Alexa or Google Assistant in terms smarts and voice recognition. It’s sufficient for the basic TV functions you will be using Bixby for. You can also link your TV with an Alexa speaker, if necessary.

Samsung TV vs Sony TV: panel technologies

The premium TV market today is split into OLED and QLED. This is basically an LED-LCD panel with quantum dots.

Samsung TVs mainly use QLED, although not exclusively. The brand has been pushing QLED screens for years, and they are well-known for their bright 1000-2,000 nit screen, which allows vivid HDR scenes to be created and high impact TV images.

These are definitely brighter than OLED (organic led) displays used by Sony to make its high-end sets. However, it isn’t a fair comparison.

OLED screens are typically darker, but they have a natural color contrast due to the organic film used for production. OLED screens are also self-emissive. Each pixel emits its own light which allows for precise control over light and dark. Blacks look exactly like blacks. While overall brightness may suffer, brighter sections don’t bleed into the surrounding areas of OLED displays (as is often with LED).

OLED screens can sometimes be described as having ‘burned in’ images. However, this is a common myth and you would need to work the screen very hard to have this happen.

This debate has been covered in detail in our QRLED vs OLED guide. However, for now, it will suffice to say that OLED can be used to play high-quality video formats in dark environments while Samsung’s sets are better suited for such formats. While OLED’s displays have a lower contrast (comparatively), they make up for this with bright, impactful displays. Both are premium panel technologies that are impressive and will be loved by most people.

Samsung TV vs Sony TV: picture quality

You may find that a middle-range TV will have support for high dynamic range (HDR). However, there are many forms of HDR.

Every HDR TV supports a base HDR10 format. This has a wider range of colors and better contrast than regular SDR television. While most TV content is still in SDR format, more HDR movies, shows, and programmes are being made every year.

There are also two HDR formats, which add “dynamic metadata” to TV images. These alter the TV’s picture settings depending upon the scene and the types of images displayed.

Dolby Vision is the first, supported by Sony and LG. It can be found on TVs across Vizeo and TCL as well as Hisense. HDR10+ is also supported by Samsung and Panasonic, though Panasonic has now shifted to offer both formats on their premium and mid-range TVs.

Here’s the quick version: The quick version? Sony TVs have Dolby Vision, while Samsung TVs feature HDR10+.

 

Dolby Vision, which has a 12-bit color gamut, is the more advanced format. It is more common to find it (both the Google Chromecast and the Apple TV 4K use Dolby Vision).

While it is true that HDR preferred format is not a concern for those who spend a lot, they should consider which services they will be using HDR content.

The Sony A8F OLED TV. (Image credit: Sony)

Samsung TV vs Sony TV: audio performance

Samsung and Sony are at odds over the best solution for integrated audio.

Since its inception, Sony sets have been shipped with Acoustic Surface Audio technology. This vibrates the TV panel to emit sound. Although it sounds smart, the Acoustic Surface Audio technology can sometimes sound a little distorted and glass is not the best material to channel audio. It is still available in many of Sony’s premium TV lineup.

OTS (Object Tracking sound) is Samsung’s TV sound system. It adds directionality and movement to the screen like Acoustic Surface Audio. To achieve this effect, it uses software that is paired with small conventional drivers.

These features are extremely expensive, but they’re mainly for 8K QLEDs from Samsung and 4K OLEDs from Sony. There’s also less difference in the 20W speakers of the TV brands at the mid-range.

 

You can read more in our Sony Acoustic Surface Audio Vs Samsung OTS comparison guide.

Verdict

Both Samsung and Sony are competent mainstream TV manufacturers, so you won’t be disappointed if you make a purchase from either.

Both companies have already unveiled many new features and devices for 2022. The truly next-generation Sony A95KQD-OLED TV is the first major manufacturer to unveil a QD-OLED, beating out giants such as LG and Samsung.

Samsung’s 2022 Neo QLED TVs are now available with mini-LED. However, Samsung’s Micro LED TVs and long-rumored Samsung QDOLED will be on the market in the coming year.

We have very few complaints about Samsung and Sony’s premiums sets. The picture quality is excellent in both formats. If you are committed to HDR10+ or Dolby Vision, this may make it easier for you to choose.

Samsung’s QLED displays will be brighter than other models. If you are more of a daytime watcher than a dark-in-the-dark cinephile then the brighter displays might be what you want. Sony’s OLEDs, on the other hand, will provide a sharp picture with amazing contrast that is more suitable for late-night movie viewing.

 

Samsung sets will generally be slightly cheaper than other TVs, which is why they managed to surpass Sony in spite of being a new player in the market. OLEDs will be more expensive than equivalent QLEDs.

You can’t go wrong if you don’t need specific features. When shopping for a new TV, be sure to pay attention to key differences in format support, smart TV platform, and audio departments.

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