Best Cheap TVs
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Best Cheap TVs
icarmen13/shutterstock

TUNE IN TO SAVINGS

For sports fans who want a brand-new, big-screen TV for Super Bowl Sunday or couch potatoes ready to curl up with a new season of a favorite show, the range of choices in cheap TVs is more appealing than ever. Ultra-high-definition TVs with 4K resolution are now available to budget shoppers, and overall picture quality and performance have gotten steadily better. Cheapism.com dug into online reviews and product specifications to come up with the best TVs under $500. Most are smart TVs that make it easy and convenient to stream online content from services such as Netflix. The top picks have at least 50-inch screens, but consumers looking for smaller or larger TVs also will find options in this lineup.

*Prices and availability subject to change.

Insignia NS-50D510NA17
Courtesy of bestbuy.com

INSIGNIA NS-50D510NA17


Good 50-Inch HDTV Under $500
Est. Price: $280 | Buy it from Best Buy

Pros:
- Very low price for a 50-inch HDTV.
- Easy to set up, buyers say.
- Sharp, clear picture, according to reviews.
- Simple, easy-to-use remote.
- Better overall quality than expected for the price.

Cons:
- 1080p display feels dated now that 4K resolution is available under $500.
- No internet connectivity or smart TV streaming features.
- Color is okay but not great, experts say.

Takeaway: This cheap 50-inch TV from Best Buy's Insignia brand may not be a 4K smart TV, but at less than $300, who cares? Experts say the difference between 1080p HD and 4K is hardly noticeable on a screen this size, and buyers can add streaming capability with a device such a Roku Streaming Stick for less than $50.

Samsung UN50MU6300FXZA
Courtesy of amazon.com

SAMSUNG UN50MU6300FXZA


Good 50-Inch 4K Smart TV Under $500
Est. Price: $478 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Supports 4K and HDR content and does a nice job upscaling 1080p content to 4K, experts say.
- Reviewers admire the color accuracy and screen uniformity.
- Smart Hub streaming interface offers many popular apps and supports voice commands.

Cons:
- Display isn't especially bright.
- HDR content isn't as vibrant as expected.
- Lower contrast than cheaper competing TVs.

Takeaway: Samsung is one of the most respected TV brands, and the 50-inch MU6300 model offers lots of features at a competitive price, including 4K resolution and HDR, which amps up contrast and color for a better, more realistic image.

Vizio D55-E0
Courtesy of walmart.com

VIZIO D55-E0


Good 55-Inch 4K Smart TV Under $500
Est. Price: $498 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- 55-inch screen with 4K resolution.
- Full-array local dimming helps improve contrast and overall picture quality.
- Supports popular streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon, and Google Play.
- Built-in tuner for over-the-air signals via antenna, a major boon for some consumers.

Cons:
- Vizio Internet Apps Plus streaming interface feels outdated to expert reviewers.
- Picture quality is middling in experts' eyes; colors are sometimes undersaturated and limited in range.
- Input lag, the time it takes the TV to display a signal from a source such as a video game console, is higher than average.

Takeaway: The Vizio D55-E0 is one of the few cheap TVs that includes full-array local dimming, although it has fewer zones than pricer models. Spending a little more to step up to our pick from the brand's E-Series also gets you a better streaming platform and HDR -- but no tuner.

Vizio E55-E2
Courtesy of bestbuy.com

VIZIO E55-E2


Best 55-Inch 4K TV Under $500 for Picture Quality
Est. Price: $500 | Buy it from Best Buy

Pros:
- Excellent contrast helped by full-array local dimming.
- HDR content looks especially bright and colorful on this cheap 55-inch TV.
- Vizio's SmartCast interface supports Google Home voice commands and is updated more frequently than most built-in streaming platforms.
- Excellent color accuracy and outstanding screen uniformity, according to reviews.
- Recommended by Digital Trends.

Cons:
- SmartCast requires a second screen, such as a smartphone or tablet, and isn't as well liked as the Roku streaming platform.
- No tuner, so there's no support for over-the-air channels.

Takeaway: Our other pick for best cheap TV has a better smart TV platform, but the 55-inch Vizio E55-E2 has the most impressive picture quality among the models we researched. HDR and full-array local dimming contribute to the best-looking screen under $500.

TCL 55S405
Courtesy of amazon.com

TCL 55S405


Best 55-Inch 4K TV Under $500 for Streaming
Est. Price: $400 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Built-in Roku streaming platform is easy to use and offers access to lots of content.
- Inexpensive for a 4K TV that includes HDR, which delivers very good contrast.
- Excellent color accuracy, according to expert reviews.

Cons:
- Screen uniformity is a little uneven; some parts of the screen appear brighter than others.
- Not as bright as competitors overall.

Takeaway: The 55-inch model in the TCL S405 series is our pick for the best TV under $500 overall. It's widely praised by reviewers because of the excellent Roku streaming platform, many features for the price, and very good picture quality.

Insignia NS-39DR510NA17
Courtesy of bestbuy.com

INSIGNIA NS-39DR510NA17


Bonus: Cheap 39-Inch Smart TV
Est. Price: $220 | Buy it from Best Buy

Pros:
- Roku smart TV interface is favored among expert reviewers.
- HD picture is clear and brighter than average.
- Wide viewing angles.
- Buyers are satisfied with the picture quality and overall value.

Cons:
- 1080p resolution feels dated, although experts say 4K wouldn't make a noticeable difference on a screen this size.
- Color accuracy is a little off with the default setting, though much better when using Movie mode.
- Backlight is a little dim around the edges and corners of the display.

Takeaway: If you need a spare TV on the cheap, perhaps for the kids or for a bedroom, this cheap 39-inch TV from Best Buy's in-house Insignia brand has surprisingly good picture quality for just a little over $200, and it's a Roku smart TV to boot.

LG 43UJ6300
Courtesy of amazon.com

LG 43UJ6300


Bonus: Cheap 43-Inch TV With HDR
Est. Price: $327 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Supports 4K and HDR content; many competitors at this price do not.
- Picture is sharp with bright colors and good contrast.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Surprisingly good audio quality.
- 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 1,500 reviewers on the Best Buy website.

Cons:
- Picture deemed a little too dark in expert testing.
- Settings may need to be tweaked to make the picture look just right.
- Some reviewers find the instruction manual lacking.
- WebOS smart TV interface includes ads.

Takeaway: For those who want a smaller but still sizeable smart TV with HDR and an impressive 4K display, the LG 43UJ6300 is a good choice. It's surprisingly cheap given its features, picture quality, and premium brand name.

Vizio M65-E0
Courtesy of amazon.com

VIZIO M65-E0


Bonus: Best TV Under $1,000
Est. Price: $998 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Excellent overall picture quality for the price, with very good contrast and range of color in expert testing.
- Support for 4K and HDR content, which looks great to experts' eyes.
- Smart TV with built-in Chromecast system.
- CNET Editors' Choice.
- PCMag Editors' Choice.

Cons:
- Limited number of streaming apps available through the TV interface, although users can access more using Vizio's SmartCast on a mobile device.
- No tuner built in, so no direct access to over-the-air programming.
- Smart TV interface is a little sluggish.

Takeaway: The Vizio M65-E0 impresses experts with amazing picture quality, especially when showing HDR content. Although its streaming platform isn't as robust as Roku, this TV outperforms competing sets that cost much more. (For an even cheaper 65-inch TV, look to Vizio's D-Series and E-Series; the 65-inch models are bigger versions of our top budget picks from Vizio.)