flagship and gaming TVs can cost a pretty penny over $2,000, but did you know that you can get an amazing big screen for less than $1,000 or even $500? It might sound crazy but it’s entirely true, without breaking the bank you can get a 4K TV equipped with the latest quantum dot or even OLED technology.
Of course you’ll have to make a few concessions like only 60Hz TV sets and limited viewing angles, but these are small prices to pay for saving on a great TV. There’s a lot to dive into, but we’ve saved you from that trouble by rounding up the best budget TVs.
TL;DR – These are the Best Budget TVs
1. Hisense 65” U6H Quantum ULED 4K TV
Best Budget TV
Last year’s Hisense U6G stood out for hitting the pinpoint sweet spot between performance and affordability. The U6H continues to build upon its predecessor with a new ULED panel, which features full array local dimming, 48 local dimming zones, and up to 600 nits of peak brightness. Combined with support for HDR formats that include Dolby Vision and HDR 10+, the U6H has plenty of tools at its disposal to deliver an incredibly detailed picture for a price that won’t break the bank.
Hisense isn’t done, however. The U6H marks Hisense’s transition to the Google TV operating system, and the display offers gaming-friendly features like a variable refresh rate of 60Hz. It also offers both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and supports Dolby Atmos to help make it sound as immersive as the display. Perhaps the U6H’s most intriguing component is its processor, called the “Hi-View Engine (4K).” This processor acts as the brains of the entire ensemble, automatically adjusting the picture in real time for the best quality. All together, it’s a wildly capable 4K TV for a ridiculously inviting price tag.
2. TCL 55” 5-Series 4K QLED TV
Best Budget TV under $500
Naturally, the TCL 5-Series is a step below the prowess of TCL’s 6-Series – but it’s not as significant of a step down as it used to be. This cheaper model features a QLED panel that supports Dolby Vision, plus it has the same AiPQ Engine that can be found at the heart of the 6-Series. Basically, the 5-Series has many of the same capabilities of the 6-Series all for less than $500.
Keep in mind that the 5-Series will have familiarly poor viewing angles like the 6-Series. It also has some upscaling hiccups, and suffers from a worse refresh rate than its more expensive sibling. For those reasons, it won’t necessarily be for everyone. Still, on a list chocked full of great budget TVs, the 5-Series might be the best score here. It’s not the best display on this list, but it certainly nets the best bang for your buck.
3. Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2021 4K TV
Best Budget Gaming TV
The Vizio M7 Series does several things exceptionally well, and chief among them is gaming. The display’s ProGaming Engine processor offers features like AMD FreeSync and Auto Game Mode, which allow for smoother graphics and lower input lag. Vizio measures the M7’s input lag at less than 10ms while offering a variable refresh rate of 60fps at 4K. Those are solid, gaming-focused specs for any display, much less a 4K TV that typically runs a hair over $500.
It’s not just a gaming TV, though. Vizio boasts Quantum Color to display over 1 billion distinct colors. Depending on the size of your model, the M7 will have a full array, backlit panel with up to 30 local dimming zones. This allows the M7 to crush contrast by boosting vibrant colors and delivering deep black levels. And, with Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built right in, streaming content is as easy as it gets. The M7 has been known to have some scattered blooming issues, and does struggle with a rather narrow viewing angle. But those are small prices to pay for an otherwise excellent gaming experience.
4.TCL 55” 6-Series 4K QLED TV
Best Budget budget TV for Movies
Simply put, the TCL 6 Series makes movies look good. Nearly every aspect of this popular TCL model is tailor-made to make movies look masterful, from its QLED panel featuring mini-LED backlight technology, to its support for Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10+ and more. When you factor in the TV’s AiPQ Engine, which uses machine-learning algorithms to enhance colors and clarity, it’s clear why the 6-Series is such a highly-regarded TV for movie watching. Especially in this price range, it’s going to be hard for the cinema fans out there to find a better deal.
The 6-Series is another TV that has been dealt a handful of challenges, viewing angles among them. But those flaws feel far smaller when you consider gaming features like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Game Mode. This isn’t quite the gaming juggernaut that its Vizio counterpart has proven to be. But it’s an absolutely worthwhile option for anyone who hopes to mix a healthy dose of gameplay into their movie watching.
5. Amazon 65” 4K Fire TV Omni Series
Best Budget TV for Streaming
TVs with Roku and Google TV operating systems (looking at you, TCL and Hisense) are all the rage in today’s smart display landscape. That said, it’s hard to beat being able to pull up your favorite show or movie simply by using the sound of your voice. What’s more, Alexa doesn’t stop at streaming. It incorporates several skills and smart home capabilities into your display, including the ability to start something like a Zoom call or get access to live feeds from your connected security cameras elsewhere in the home.
The actual specs of the TV aren’t half bad, either. With support for Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG, the Omni Series possesses the rare combo of above average picture quality and an impressive list of complimentary features. Speaking of which, Omni Series TVs can wirelessly pair with Echo Bluetooth speakers Using the Alexa app to add an additional audio boost to the content you choose to stream.
6. Samsung 85” AU8000 Crystal UHD 4K TV
Best Budget Big TV
In the case of this 85-inch behemoth from Samsung, the word “budget” is a relative term. It’s far and away the most expensive TV on this list, and there are other, cheaper 85-inch models from the likes of TCL and Hisense that we could have chosen instead. However, the AU8000 represents the best middle ground in the big TV market, offering respectable picture quality without forcing you to take out a second mortgage.
You won’t find support for a wide variety of HDR formats here, or a full array backlit panel, or even HDMI 2.1 connections. What you will find, however, is a decently well-rounded picture with surprisingly low input lag that excels most with the likes of TV shows and sporting events. In other words, it’s the ideal giant TV to invite friends over for either the big game on Sunday, or the latest episode of whatever streaming series you’re all currently obsessed with. The sheer size of it will be sure to wow, but the picture quality itself isn’t anything to scoff at either.
7. Vizio 55” OLED 4K HDR TV
The best budget OLED TV
Much like the Samsung monster above, the Vizio OLED H1 doesn’t exactly meet the threshold for “budget” for some consumers. It is, however, a verifiable budget pick when looking at the larger selection of available OLED TVs on the market. With the Vizio OLED, you’re getting some of the best qualities about these highly sought-after TVs while paying a fraction of the typical price for the privilege. The outstanding colors, unrivaled black levels, and meticulous attention to detail are all present in the Vizio OLED to one degree or another.
As with any OLED, you do run the risk of permanent burn-in if you leave a static image on the Vizio’s screen for too long. As far as reasons not to buy this 55-inch marvel, though, that’s pretty much it. The contrast, black levels, and overall picture quality found in the model make the Vizio OLED one of the best deals around if you’re searching for a high-end display without a high-end cost associated with it.