A 32-inch television is an ideal purchase for anyone looking for affordable access to their favourite shows, films or games consoles. In a marketplace bustling with 4K 50-inch TV screens and ever-increasing lists of features, the modestly sized and reasonably priced 32-inch TVs remain a popular choice.
Their not-too-big but no-too-small stature makes them the top choice for bedrooms, kitchens and smaller living rooms. They are also the perfect option for anyone looking to buy a child their first television, as the TVs have access to Freeview channels, plenty of connections for DVD and Blu-ray players, and even gaming consoles, but won’t go breaking the bank. Some models are also smart TVs, granting access to a wealth of online entertainment from the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and YouTube.
To help you find the very best 32-inch TVs, we’ve rounded our favourite options on the market. Read on to find out more.
The best 32-inch TVs shortlist:
Are you looking for some extra guidance?
If you'd like some more information on TV, head down to the bottom of this page for our FAQ guide. Here we break down some of the jargon surrounding resolutions and explain how to pick the right size TV. We also take a look at what it means for TV to be smart, and how you can transform non-smart TVs with streaming devices. We also pick our favourite 32-inch TVs based on image quality and the best 32-inch TVs for children.
6. What is HDR?
The best 32-inch TVs:
Full-HD from a trustworthy name
With a full-HD screen and user-friendly smart interface in the form of Toshiba Smart Portal, this is a compelling television for the price. Its screen has the power of HDR and HDR10, so the quality of the picture is very vibrant and clear. It'll also link up with Alexa and Google devices, allowing for voice control to change the channel, volume or to load up apps. Plug a USB or hard drive, and you'll be able to pause live Freeview, too.
|• 1080p screen good contrast||• Poor energy rating|
|• Reliable smart features|
|• Good amount of connections|
|Connections:||HDMI x3, USB x2, VGA x1, WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet|
A nice entry-level smart TV that'll link up with Alexa
LG's screen delivers a very nice image, which is bright and detailed (thanks to the onboard HDR and processing cores). In our opinion, one of LG's real strengths is its user-friendly OS and smart features. The sound is also good, offering a decent amount of power for such a small set. For newcomers to the world of smart TVs, this is a comfortable place to begin. It also works with Alexa, which allows for voice control and syncing with Echo smart speakers.
|• User-friendly||• Only 720p|
|• Nice sound|
|• Stylish stand|
|Screen:||720p, HD Ready|
|Connections:||HDMI x3, USB x2, Optical, WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet|
Samsung's offering from 2020 still punches above its weight
Samsung's name is one that can be trusted, no matter the device, and that certainly rings true with the 2020 model of its T5300, full-HD 32-inch TV. Samsung's HDR tech manages picture detail, helping components of an image stand out and come alive. Ultra Clean View also helps the image to impress viewers and the colour representation is bright and vibrant. The smart OS used here is Tizen, which is simple to use, quick and reliable. As well as Prime Video, Netflix and BBC iPlayer, there's Apple TV, Now TV and Disney+ support.
|• Excellent 1080p screen||• Some apps need reinstalling to fully function|
|• Well-implemented smart features|
|• Nice colours|
|Connections:||HDMI x2, USB x1, Optical, WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet|
A good choice for a bedroom
TCL's 32-inch smart TV is a tidy and affordable option. The 32ES568 uses Android OS, so the user interface is simple to navigate and reliable. This means that you have access to smart apps like Netflix and YouTube. There's a built-in Chromecast screen-sharing feature - this lets you use apps like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub on a smartphone and then stream the content to the TV.
|• Covers the basics||• Thin sound|
|• Very affordable||• Not Full-HD|
|• Chromecast adds huge value||• Basic TV set|
|Screen:||720p, HD Ready|
|Connections:||HDMI x2, USB x1, Chromecast, Optical|
A cheap TV with good build-quality and screen performance
This basic Philips TV has a great build quality and some nice features that help elevate the image quality over similarly priced models. Inside the 32PHT, Philip's Pixel Plus HD helps maximise any media source's performance on the set, so older programs, films and games look more pleasing to the contemporary viewer. Freeview is built-in, but streaming services will need to be access via a device like a Fire TV Stick or Roku Express.
|• Super simple||• Not a smart TV|
|• Affordable||• Not Full-HD|
|• Nice 720p picture||• Basic TV set|
|Screen:||720p, HD Ready|
|Connections:||HDMI x2, USB x1|
Make your TV smart
Some of the 32-inch TVs that we’ve recommended above are standard TVs. These TVs, like the Philips 32PHT, don’t have any smart features, so are unable to connect to the internet and unable to provide you with access to streaming and on-demand apps like Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer or YouTube.
Streaming is an increasingly popular method of accessing entertainment. You don’t need to worry if your TV of choice doesn’t have smart features, because you can transform your TV into a smart TV using a simple and affordable streaming device.
The two we’ve selected here are, in our opinion, the easiest and quickest to use on the market. The devices simply plug into a free HDMI connection in the back of your TV and link up to your WiFi. This device then acts as its own TV system, being controlled via the provided remote controlling and giving access to smart TV features.
Please note: Some streaming services require a subscription, like Netflix, Prime Video and Now TV. On-demand platforms do not require a subscription but will ask you to sign up for a free account. These on-demand services include All 4, ITV Hub, UKTV and BBC iPlayer (though access to the BBC app does require you have a TV license).
To find more about the best smart TV apps, read our guide.
What TV is best for children?
If you’re looking for a TV for a child’s bedroom or playroom, we’d recommend opting for a TV that’s budget-friendly and simple to use. For that reason, we would recommend either the Philips 32PHT or TCL 32ES568. These TVs provide access to Freeview channels and have connections to hook up consoles, like the Nintendo Switch.
If you’d like a smart TV, giving access to the likes of YouTube and Netflix (both of which can have child-friendly accounts setup), then the Toshiba 32LL3C63DB is our recommendation. Again, there are plenty of connections for consoles and Blu-ray/DVD players.
All three of these TVs can be wall-mounted, too.
If you’re a parent and you’re looking to buy your child their first gaming console, click here to read about the AskAboutGames Get Set Go campaign, which aims to provide parents with tips and information on consoles and video games.
What is the best 32-inch TV for image quality?
While 32-inch TVs cannot match the image quality found on 4K models, that doesn’t mean they cannot impress. From our selection, we recommend either the Samsung T5300 or Toshiba 32LL3C63DB for the best image quality. Both TVs have full-HD resolutions, good quality screens and nifty little processes going on in the background to ensure that the picture always looks its best.
Screen Resolution guide:
Full HD/1080p: 1920×1080
Ultra HD/4K: 3840×2160
What size TV do I need?
The answer to this question is very much a decision arrived at after deliberation between your available space, budget and requirement. However, it tends to be sensible to have the smaller TVs in smaller rooms, larger in the biggest rooms.
If you're too close to a TV, no matter how high quality the image, it's going to look blown out and poor. Too far, and you may as well watch Netflix on your phone.
Here’s a rough guide to give you an idea of the minimum distance you should have from your TV when viewing HD content:
Read more: What size TV should I buy?
What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?
High Dynamic Range smart TVs can reach brighter and darker colours than regular HD TVs. This means the picture on-screen appears more like a real-life image.
What is Freeview Play?
Freeview Play is a service that combines on-demand and catch-up television streaming into one place, allowing you to browse forward to what’s upcoming, and backward to see shows from the previous week.
What can a smart TV do?
A smart TV is a television that can connect to the internet independently from any extra gadgets like an Amazon Fire Stick or a set-top box. They’re typically pre-loaded with a selection of recognisable on-demand catch-up apps, such as BBC iPlayer, All 4, and ITV Hub, and subscription services such as Amazon Prime Video or Netflix. A smart TV will also allow the user access to other internet services, such as news apps, weather services, internet browsers and social media apps like Facebook.
Some models also offer additional features, such as Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio connections, and smartphone and tablet connections.
Please note: The selection of apps available pre-loaded or available to download may differ between smart TV manufacturers and models, so it’s worth double-checking the model you’re considering.
Is it worth buying a smart TV?
If you’re someone who loves to watch TV, whether it be soaps, Nordic noir dramas, reality shows or blockbuster movies, then a smart TV is likely to be worth it. The internet connection offers up plentiful access to free and paid-for content via apps, whenever you want it.
If you’re in doubt, read on for our discussion on the best smart TV apps.
What are the best apps for a smart TV?
In our opinion, the best apps are the ones that offer you the best entertainment choices, the most useful features and reliable quality of service. Here’s what we recommend:
The pioneering subscription service that changed TV and film. The Netflix app allows you to access thousands of titles, both existing and original exclusive productions, such as Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Sex Education, The Witcher and The Stranger. The app itself is extremely reliable and simple to use, and there are several subscription package choices.
Another top-quality subscription service, offering an array of films and TV shows, including The Office US, The Hunters and Man In The High Castle. Prime Video often has a great selection of the latest movie releases and offers you the option to purchase or rent other titles that may not be included in your subscription. Like Netflix’s app, the Prime app is extremely easy to use. Bonus: If you subscribe to this service, you’ll automatically get access to Amazon’s Prime delivery service and basic music streaming package.
This on-demand catch-up app gives you access to the best of the BBC. Programs are available to watch for up to 30 days after their original broadcast, and you can restart and rewind live programs. You’ll also have access to a large back catalogue of BBC programming, including brilliant shows like Killing Eve, Doctor Who, Would I Lie To You? and Have I Got News For You, as well as award-winning documentaries like Blue Planet II. You’ll need a TV license to use this service.
All 4 is Channel 4’s answer to the BBC’s iPlayer. The content included covers Channel 4, E4, More 4 and Vice TV. The back catalogue available on the app will allow you to comfortably binge on comedies like Black Books, The IT Crowd and Peep Show, or catch up on The Great British Bake Off, 24 Hours In Police Custody and Gogglebox. This is a free service, but you’ll have to suffer through the occasional advert break.
This is an important app for anyone who loves any one of the plethoras of YouTube personalities, gamers or influencers. Much like the smartphone app, this smart TV app will allow unlimited and free access to countless hours of independent entertainment. YouTube does offer a subscription service, known as YouTube Premium, but this doesn’t restrict the free access to a vast selection of content.
Here, you can sign in to your Spotify account and access your favourite tunes through the smart TV. You can start a free Spotify account and start listening to the latest music immediately with occasional 30-second advert breaks, or you can sign up to Spotify Premium to have uninterrupted streaming. The app is super easy to use, reliable and great for a party.
There’s a huge array of other apps out there, offering great services and features – we just consider the above to be an excellent combination. Depending on personal preference, you could easily supplement this selection with weather, social media, news and music applications.
For these features to work, you’ll need an internet connection via WiFi or Ethernet connection with a good broadband connection and high or unlimited data limits. Apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Spotify Premium will require a subscription fee and will not allow you to access content without signing up.
William Lobley is a Senior Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.
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