Best TVs Not Made in China

Best TVs Not Made in China

The rise and fall of the non-Chinese television

The first electronic television was invented by Philco Taylor Farnsworth from Utah in 1927 but even by 1946 only 0.5% of U.S. households owned a TV set. By 1954, 55.7% of households had them, and by 1962, 90% did. During this time a staggering number of U.S.-based brands popped up to meet the insatiable demand of consumers who wanted to watch Lucille Ball, Steve Allen, and Gunsmoke. And the manufacturing was done in the United States.

In 1995, the last original U.S.-based manufacturer, Zenith, ceased to exist as an American-based brand then it was sold to South Korea’s LG Electronics. Every one of the the great Amercan brands you know–RCA, General Electric, Westinghouse, Sharp–were in name only, a nameplate to stick on a foreign-made brand in hopes that unsuspecting consumers wouldn’t notice or care.

Today, there are only a handful of TV brands left outside of China: Samsung and LG (South Korea), Sony (Japan), Philips (EU) and Vizio (US). A company in China had attempted to acquire Vizio in 2016, but that deal never happened so as of now they’re still a US company (they recently had their long-awaited IPO).

What brands do I avoid?

Pretty much every other brand you’ve heard of: TCL, HiSense, Seiki, Insignia are 100% based in China. Just recently, Japanese electronics giant Panasonic announced that they were outsourcing their TV production to TCL. And many recognizable brands like Toshiba, Sharp, Westinghouse have also been subsumed by China-based companies.

This is a prime example of where uneducated consumers don’t understand how state capitalism works. Do you ever wonder how brands like HiSense or TCL got so popular so quickly?

First, years of taking notes from manufacturing other countries’ products allowed China companies to mimic their technology to achieve a product that may not be equal to offerings from LG, Samsung, or Sony, but are “good enough”.

Second, the CCP then subsidizes these companies so that they can offer comparable models at highly discounted prices to their competitors. The CCP is playing the long game: they’ve know that once they’ve cornered the market they’ll be able to charge whatever they want. It’s precisely the same kind of anti-competitive behavior that the U.S. Government has broken up when it happens within its borders, but is powerless to do anything about when a state does it.

And of course, it’s American consumers who ultimately make it happen when they rush to Walmart or Amazon and buy the cheap China brand to save a few dollars. This takes money away from companies that do real innovation and funnels it to allow the CCP to gradually take over the entire industry.

Are any TVs not made in China?

Here’s where it gets complicated. As we’ve seen in posts for other kinds of products, you simply can’t find a TV where 100% of the components are made outside of China. For example, LG Electronics (who builds TVs) sources its WOLED panels from LG Display, who had produced their panels in South Korea but is shifting production to Guangzhou, China. So regardless of what TV you buy, a portion of it is going to prop up the CCP.

But you can stem the bleeding. For one thing, if you buy from the big non-China brands: Samsung, LG, Sony, Philips and Vizio, at least you can support some non-China employees, such as their product development, marketing, or administrative departments.

And ideally, you’ll want to find a company that at the very least assembles their products outside of China, even if many or most of the parts are made in China. This is where the large form factor of the TV helps. A manufacturer in China could assemble a 65″ or 75″ TV and ship it 7,000 miles away, but at that size and weight it’s probably more cost effective to build a plant that’s closer to their target market and hire locals to assemble the product. So at least there’s some benefit to the local economy.

Manufacturers tend to be coy about where their parts come from and where their products are assembled. If you read what their PR departments post as a response to Amazon questions a typical responses is something vague like “our TVs are built all over the world”, so we don’t know if 99% of a TV was made in China and the other 1% was divvied up between other countries.

A little Internet sleuthing helps, however. As of 2021, Samsung has recently ceased TV production in China. Sony TVs intended for the North American market are assembled in Mexico. LG TVs are also produced in Mexico for the North American market and in Poland for the European market. Vizio does maintain manufacturing facilities in Taiwan and Mexico, so there’s a decent chance your North American-based set was made there.

The only way to tell for sure is to visit your local electronics store and see for yourself what the “Made in” or “Assembled in” label says on the particular unit you’re looking for. You can also search for “China” or “Made in” in Amazon reviews to see if anyone reported widespread sales of China-made units to the US.

Best TVs Not Made in China – Quick Ranking

# Preview Product Rating  
1 best oled tv not made in china LG OLED C1 4.7 View on Amazon
2 best led tv not made in china Sony X90J 4.5 View on Amazon
3 best 8K TV not made in china Samsung QN900A 5 View on Amazon

1. LG OLED C1 – Best Overall

best oled tv not made in china

LG took home the “best TV” prize at CES 2021 with this model. The C1 is the next-generation of the 2020 CX model that made just about every consumer electronics publication’s “best of” list for 2020. The C1 comes in 48″, 55″, 65″, 77″ sizes and a brand new 83″ model.

LG’s lineup can be a confusing mess of alphabet soup, but all you need to remember is that there are three ranges of LG OLEDs for 2021: The A1 sits at the low end (sacrificing things like refresh rate for price) while the G1 sits at the high end (adding some bells and whistles like an art gallery-worthy design). But the C1 is by most accounts the one to get as it manages to offer exceptional performance at a reasonable price.

LG also offers LCD sets, but OLED is the way to you. OLED is made up of organic material, so pixels “light up” themselves as opposed to traditional LED screens which are lit by a backlight. The results are much blacker blacks, much more accurate and vivid colors, and a near-infinite contrast ratio. It features Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos sound, a 120Hz refresh rate for gaming, and an α9 Gen4 AI Processor 4K chip to optimize content in real time.

The unit is an astounding 2mm thick. The low input lag makes it good for gaming and just perusing the built-in interfaces.

If you’re a Sony fan, their top-of-the-line A90J series is certainly worth a look too. It sits at a premium price point that puts it outside the range of most consumers, but if you can afford it, more power to you!

Pros

  • NOT made in China (at least most likely not if you live in the EU or the Americas)
  • Named best in show at CES 2021 and rated as the top TV by multiple reviewers
  • OLED technology results in vivid colors, infinite contrast, and true black through self-lit pixels
  • Price point is high but reasonable

Cons

  • As with all OLED sets, is susceptible to screen burn-in if left on the same image too long
  • Some reports of challenging setup

2. Sony X90J – Best LED TV

best led tv not made in china

Sony’s TV lineup also consists of OLED and LED models. While their OLED models are excellent TVs, especially for home theater setups, most reviewers give the overall OLED edge to LG.

However, there may be reasons you’re in the market for an ordinary LED panel. The most common reason has to to with screen burn-in. There is no more helpless feeling than paying thousands of dollars for a new OLED TV or smartphone, and then after accidentally leaving it on having images burned into it. With traditional LED TVs, that’s never aa concern–you can leave it on the same channel as long as you like or use it as a computer monitor.

Not surprisingly, Sony has squeezed a lot out of the TV. It achieves a high contrast ratio and decent blacks without OLED. Its fast response time, HDMI 2.1 ports, and 120Hz refresh rate make it very good for gaming.

The X90J replaces the X900H from 2020. Some say that the Samsung QN90A series is also a great choice, but Sony’s price point certainly makes it more appealing.

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Pros

  • NOT made in China (at least most likely not if you live in the EU or the Americas)
  • Not susceptible to screen burn-in
  • Achieves near-OLED quality through Sony’s proprietary features, such as Cognitive Processor XR, XR Triluminous Pro, and Full Array LED
  • Good for gaming, thanks to BRAVIA Game Mode that provides increased frame rate and reduced input lag
  • Premium set at a more affordable price

Cons

  • Typical poor Sony user interface design

3. Samsung QN900A – Best 8K TV

best 8k tv not made in china

This is the top of the line TV from Samsung. Its quantum dot technology allows for a full range of vivid colors even at high brightness levels where OLED starts to falter. It also introduces a new backlighting technology using Quantum Mini LEDs that are 1/40th the height of conventional LEDs and which can be packed together in tight spaces, allowing for stunning brightness and contrast and deeper blacks that rival or surpass OLEDs, all without burn-in.

And of course, it supports 8K resolution. There’s not a whole lot of 8K content out there, but it will also upscale 1080p and 4K content.

Many call this TV the very best TV you can buy right now anywhere. The price tag is a whopping $5000, but if you have that kind of disposable income, you will definitely get what you pay for.

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Pros

  • NOT made in China (at least most likely not if you live in the EU or the Americas)
  • Most advanced TV available anywhere today
  • QLED technology gives OLED-like color, contrast, and black results without burn-in
  • Supports 8K resolution with upscaling from 4K and HD

Cons

  • Pricey

Do you know of other TVs not made in China worthy of mention here? Let us know in the comments!

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