You can still get good TVs for under $500. They tend to be a bit lighter on features compared to more expensive models, but they can still offer some pretty good picture quality. New TVs are very close to coming out, but it's going to take a while for them to come down in price. Here are our recommendations for the first months of 2017:
Best picture quality under $500
The Samsung UN40KU6300 UHD TV is simply a step above every other model under $500. It’s a versatile cheap TV with good picture quality.
It has a great native contrast ratio, which helps achieve deep even blacks. It also gets quite a lot brighter than any other TV under $500. It’s a great gaming TV since it has low input lag that stays low even when playing HDR games and great handling of motion.
It does have a few shortcomings: For this price, you can only get the smaller 40” model, and you do have a fairly narrow viewing angle, but this is an inevitable trade-off for the deep contrast that this TV has. Overall, it's hard to find a better TV at this price today.
Best value for size under $500
For a large TV that is also very affordable look no further than for the TCL 55FS3750 1080p TV. It’s great value and has an excellent smart platform.
Its picture quality is good, and it handles reflections better than some of the more expensive models. With good response times and decent brightness, this is a good TV for watching sports. However, its viewing angles are particularly narrow so consider that if you plan to place it in a wide living room. It’s also only 1080p, but this shouldn’t be too big of a drawback for most people (learn more about 4k vs 1080p).
If you’re looking for a cheap and large TV, the TCL 55FS3750 offers value that is difficult to match.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs under $500 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
A few examples of budget TVs that didn't make the cut:
- TCL 50UP130. Pretty much the same as the 55US5800, but you end up paying extra for the fancier remote. See our review
- Samsung UN40J6200. A great 1080p TV but stocks are hard to find due to its age. See our review
- LG 43UH6100. Bad picture quality for the price. See our review
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs that are less than $500. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.