You can get good cheap TVs. 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 best TVs under $500 for the first months of 2017.
Best TV under $500
The Samsung UN40MU6300 UHD TV is the best TV under $500. It’s a versatile cheap smart TV with good picture quality.
It has a great contrast ratio, which means it has deep and even blacks that are essential for a great picture. The MU6300 also has low input lag, making it a good choice for a gaming TV. It doesn't have the widest viewing angles, but it deals with reflections and gets bright enough to be suitable for most environments. It's only available in 40 inches under 500$, but it's still the best TV you can get at this price.
If you're looking for something even cheaper, the TCL 49S305 1080p LED TV is a great alternative. Unlike the Samsung, it isn't 4k, but that isn't that big of a deal for smaller sizes.
It has some of the best smart features we've tested with its Roku TV platform. It doesn't have top of the line picture quality, but it's still a good pick if you're looking for a simple and cheap TV.
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. This cheap LED TV offers 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 cheap 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.