4K TVs are not some futuristic feature suggesting great things in years to come. Netflix and Prime Video each have a growing catalogue of 4K content. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are both 4K machines, and Blu-rays are available as 4K Ultra High-Definition disks. In fact, most brand new TV sets will have a 4K resolution.
This resolution, which kicks out four times the resolution you’ll find with standard full HD, allows you to see your favourite TV shows and films with new clarity. Colours will appear deeper, more crisp and vibrant, your perception of on-screen depth will increase, and the level of detail that will suddenly jump into focus is a real treat.
Luckily, you don’t need to break the bank to access all that 4K TV can offer. Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best 4K TVs for under £500.
The best 4K TVs under £500 shortlist:
• Hisense 50AE7400FTUK
• LG 50UP77006LB
• Philips 43 Inch 43PUS8505
• JVC LT-43CF890 Fire Edition TV
• Hisense 50A7100FTUK
• Sony Bravia KD49X70
• Toshiba 50UL2063DB
What can a sub-£500 4K TV offer?
You may be thinking that if you’re spending under £500 on a new 4K smart TV, then you’re going to have to compromise on a lot. Thankfully, this doesn't have to be the case.
While it’s sensible to temper your expectations when looking for a budget TV, there are many truly exciting 4K TVs that will make you question why anyone would spend more. Samsung and Sony are prime examples of this. The tech giants are well known for creating high-end smartphones, tablets, laptops and smart TVs. However, they’ve managed to use the knowledge gained from the cutting edge products to create affordable solutions, loaded with excellent tech and crystal clear screens.
Want to know more about resolutions? Read our comprehensive guide here
As smart TVs, all of the solutions we’ve listed are capable of accessing on-demand and streaming services, like Netflix, Prime Video and BBC iPlayer, and hosting apps to keep you up to date with everything from the weather to the latest social media trends.
The best 4K TVs under £500 in detail:
Best TVs under £500
1. Hisense 50AE7400FTUK
A well-featured bargain to challenge the biggest names in the biz.
Pros: Hisense has experience putting together compelling TVs for reasonable prices - often, however, this comes with the sacrifice of a refined image. With the 50AE Hisense has righted this flaw by bringing cinematic expert Dolby on board to take care of the image processing, via the ever-impressive Dolby Vision HDR. This delivers a clear and deep visual quality, really adding a sense of depth to the display. Sound is taken care of by DTS Virtual:X, which works to widen the field of audio and promote elements for improved clarity. For example, dialogue is separated and processed, making it stand out from background noise.
Cons: The price brings the TV in direct competition with offerings from Samsung and LG, both of which offer excellent TVs at this price point.
Specifications: 50-inch LED 4K screen, HDR10+, VIDAA U4.0, Dolby Vision, DTS Virtual:X, Bluetooth, 3 HDMI, 2 USB
2. LG 50UP77006LB
Pros: The LG 50UP77006LB is a great TV that cuts back on extravagant features to deliver on the basics. Its 4K UHD panel provides a shape image, with contrast being processed via Active HDR and dynamic colour for a more arresting experience. Upscaling is here too. The OS is home to a fully-fledged streaming suite that includes Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV and Amazon Prime. The sound is processed via LG AI Sound, which helps build atmosphere and help voices to cut through the mix clearly. Voice control compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Cons: There aren't all that many HDMI connections, so if you need to set up more than a Blu-ray player and one video game console, you'll need a HDMI switch.
Specifications: 50-inch 4K UHD, Active HDR, webOS, AI Sound, Bluetooth, 2 HDMI, 1 USB
3. Philips 43 Inch 43PUS8505 TV with Ambilight
With this option from Philips, you're getting much more than just a good screen.
Pros: The Philips 43PUS has a unique feature: Ambilight. This feature casts a glow from the rear of the screen, freeing your entertainment from the border, creating an immersive viewing experience. The 4K Dolby Vision and the HDR10+ work to create a superb image with traditional or streamed content, console gaming, or even upscaled legacy media. The abundant image customisation options are also a real boon, offering ample fine tunings to really perfect the visual performance. The Android OS is a pleasure to use.
Cons: However, setting the TV up can be a time-consuming process - if you're not TV literate, it'll be worth having the manual to hand. The sound profile is a little uninspiring, but the available customisation options combat this to a certain degree.
Specifications: 53-inch LED 4K screen, HDR10+, Android OS, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Ambilight, Micro Dimming, 4 HDMI, 2 USB, 1 component
4. JVC LT-43CF890 Fire Edition TV
Great for those who just love to stream - click the link to see the 50-inch and 55-inch versions, which are both under £500 too.
Pros: The JVC LT-43CF890 uses the Fire TV OS for a unified browsing experience, showcasing primarily Prime Video content alongside other popular streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. The 4K UHD resolution is backed up by HLG, HDR10, and Dolby Vision, which all work to ensure that the image you see is as sharp as possible. It's a budget option, but on the whole, this TV is a user-friendly and economical way of bingeing UHD content.
Cons: The interface is aimed at Prime Video members (though non-members can still access other services through apps) and it lacks the refinement found on other models listed here.
Specifications: 43-Inch LED 4K UHD screen; HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; Native contrast: 4,000:1; Refresh rate: 50Hz; 350 nits, HDMI 2.0 x4 (ARC compatible x1); Composite x1; USB 2.0 x2, DTS-HD; DTS Virtual X, WiFi built-in; Ethernet, Bluetooth, Fire TV OS
5. Hisense 50A7100FTUK
A great 50-inch TV with nice features coming in well under budget.
Pros: The Hisense 50A7100FTUK is designed for a smooth user experience. The VIDAA 2.5 Smart TV OS is Amazon Prime, Netflix, Freeview Play, and YouTube enabled, and all of these are accessed through dedicated remote buttons for fast browsing. Hisense has provided two inbuilt viewing enhancement features; the HDR (which offers fantastic contrast and true-to-life colour enhancement), and DTS Sound Studio (automatic volume levelling, bass enhancement, speaker EQ and dialogue enhancement).
Cons: Though the visual display is 4K HDR, the picture colour and clarity don't have that all-important 'wow-factor', perhaps due to the absence of the local screen dimming found elsewhere. Spending some time fine-tuning the TV settings can resolve some of these issues.
Specifications: 50-inch LED 4K screen, HDR, VIDAA 2.5, DTS Sound Studio, Bluetooth, 3 HDMI, 2 USB
6. Sony Bravia KD49X70 49-Inch LED 4K UHD TV
A Sony Bravia TV always delivers the goods and right now this 49-inch option does so in 4K UHD - all for under £500.
Pros: The Sony's processor is the X1, a smart and capable chip that delivers excellent clarity across video of any resolution. Motionflow XR helps all fast-paced forage appear smooth and fluid, and the TRILUMINOS display delivers vibrant and clear colours. To top it all off, Android TV is onboard as the smart platform - it's incredibly easy to use, and supports Chromecast and Google Assistant voice control.
Cons: The speakers are lacking bass - but this could be remedied with a budget soundbar.
Specifications: 49-inch 4K UHD LED screen; Android TV OS; Google Assistant and Chromecast compatible; 3 HDMI inputs, 3 USB inputs.
7. Toshiba 50UL2063DB
An exceptionally low price for a 4K TV, without too many sacrifices. For those looking for a bigger fix, the 55-inch variant also comes in at under £400.
Pros: Home entertainment Godfather Toshiba offers up the 50UL2063DB as a more than acceptable 50-inch contender. The TRU picture works to upscale content to provide a smooth and enhanced viewing experience. Dolby Vision HDR operates to improve image contrast and brightness and Dolby Atoms takes care of the surround sound, pumping out the audio through some quality Onkyo speakers. The dedicated gaming mode is a welcome touch, as it automatically enhances the vibrance of the display to suit video game content.
Cons: On occasion, some users have reported wireless connectivity issues. We didn't suffer from this, but it could be countered with a cabled Ethernet connection, which will probably provide improved internet speeds anyway.
Specifications: 50-inch 4K UHD LED screen; Toshiba Smart TV OS; Alexa compatible; Bluetooth and Audio Out; 3 HDMI inputs, 2 USB inputs.
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:
40-inches - 80 inches (6.7 feet)
50-inches - 100 inches (8.3 feet)
55-inches - 108 inches (9 feet)
60-inches - 120 inches (10 feet)
75-inches - 150 inches (12.5 feet)
Screen Resolution guide:
Full HD: 1920×1080
Ultra HD/4K: 3840×2160
What’s 4K and what is Ultra HD?
These terms refer to the same thing – TV resolution. 4K screens offer four times more pixels than HD screens, with 8.3 million pixels working across the screen. This means clearer, accurate images.
What’s HDR and HDR10+?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It works to get as much light, crispness, and depth into your picture. Whites are brighter and blacks are darker. It offers a huge range of over one billion colours. HDR10+ is an extension of this, but the use of metadata creates an even more refined picture.
What is Dolby Vision?
Dolby Vision is Dolby’s HDR and HRD10+.
What is 4K?
smart TVs have resolutions with approximately a 4,000 horizontal pixel count. Put simply, screens give you the pixels, HDR takes care of making them look good.
What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?
High Dynamic Range smart TVs are able to reach brighter and darker colours than regular HD TVs. This means the picture on-screen appears more like a real-life image.
LED screens use a backlight to provide the image. With OLED, the pixels produce their own light which gives greater accuracy to the image. If you're interested in getting one of these TVs, make sure you check out our best OLED TVs guide.
Samsung does not make OLED TVs, they make QLED. QLED is a Samsung property that replaces Liquid Crystals (found in LCD) and replaces them with Quantum dots, which Samsung believes to produce much more vibrant and bright colours and sharper images. QLED technology does tend to make a TV cheaper than its OLED competitor. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, why not check out our comprehensive QLED TV roundup.
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.
*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.
William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming, and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.
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