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The 5 Best 4k TVs Under $500 - May 2019
Reviews

Best TVs Under $500
223 Televisions Tested
  • Store-bought TVs; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

A few years ago, if you wanted to buy a decent LCD TV, chances are that you wouldn't be able to find any good models under $500. Although the best models are still priced higher, you can find models that can serve you well in this price category.

We've tested 83 TVs and below are our recommendations for the best TVs under $500 you can buy in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best budget TVs and the best smart TVs.

Note: Since new TVs tend to launch at very high prices, it's unlikely that these newer models will become reasonable choices until the latter half of the year. Because of this, the 2018 models remain as picks in our recommendations.

  1. Best 4k TV Under $500: Vizio E55-F1

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3

    Test Benches:

    • 1.3: Spring 2019
    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    7.7
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
    Score components:
    7.1
    Movies
    What it is: Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
    Score components:
    7.4
    TV Shows
    What it is: TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    7.6
    Sports
    What it is: Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
    8.5
    Video Games
    What it is: Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
    7.3
    HDR Movies
    What it is: HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
    Score components:
    8.1
    HDR Gaming
    What it is: HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
    8.2
    PC Monitor
    What it is: PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k

    The Vizio E Series 2018 E55-F1 is the best TV under $500. It has a decent picture quality, with great dark room performance thanks to the deep uniform blacks that the high contrast ratio delivers. Motion handling is decent and the fast response time only leaves a small blur trail behind fast-moving content. Gamers will enjoy the low input lag that makes the TV very responsive. This is very apparent when you use the TV as a PC monitor.

    Unfortunately, the Vizio, just like most VA panel TVs, has bad viewing angles and is not a good choice if you have a wide seating arrangement. Also, it can't get very bright and is the best choice for those with very bright rooms.

    Overall, the Vizio E Series 2018 is a good TV for the price, and it will keep most of its owners happy.

    See our review

  2. Wide-Angle Alternative: LG 49SK8000

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    IPS
    Resolution : 4k

    If you don't sit directly in front of your TV but have a wide seating arrangement, then check out the LG 49SK8000. It is smaller than the Vizio E Series 2018 and blacks tend to look like gray in a dark room. The LG can't get very bright and is more suitable for a dim room. On the upside, it has an IPS panel that delivers a decent picture quality that remains accurate when viewed from the side. It has a remarkably low input lag and a very fast response time which will keep gamers, and those wishing to use it as a PC monitor, happy.

    See our review

  3. Alternative With Wide Color Gamut: TCL 55S517

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k

    If you want a TV that can deliver a wider color gamut than the Vizio E Series 2018, then check out the TCL 5 Series 55S517. The S517 does not have local dimming or a BFI feature like the Vizio does, and reflections might be more distracting. On the upside, the S517 has a decent picture quality with deep blacks and a wide color gamut that can display HDR content full of rich colors but cannot get bright enough for highlights to pop. The S517 supports motion interpolation that will please those soap opera effect fans. Gamers, on the other hand, will appreciate the very low input lag of S517.

    See our review

  4. Best Value For Size Under $500: TCL 55S405

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3

    Test Benches:

    • 1.3: Spring 2019
    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    7.3
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
    Score components:
    6.5
    Movies
    What it is: Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
    Score components:
    7.2
    TV Shows
    What it is: TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    7.1
    Sports
    What it is: Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
    8.3
    Video Games
    What it is: Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
    6.7
    HDR Movies
    What it is: HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
    Score components:
    7.8
    HDR Gaming
    What it is: HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
    8.0
    PC Monitor
    What it is: PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k

    The best value for size in the under $500 category is the TCL 55S405/55S425. It is a good entry-level 55" TV. It has a decent picture quality with deep blacks thanks to its native contrast ratio, but lacks local dimming support to further improve dark room performance. It has a very low input lag and a fast response time that delivers a crisp image with little blur behind fast-moving content. It is a good choice for use as a gaming TV, although it lacks some of the more advanced gaming features like FreeSync. The TCL runs the excellent Roku TV smart platform that gives you access to many apps and streaming channels, where you'll surely find what you need.

    On the downside, it does not have wide viewing angles and can't deliver a great HDR performance because it can't get very bright and it does not have a wide color gamut.

    Overall, the TCL S405/S425 is a decent TV, that will serve you well for its cost.

    See our review

  5. Larger But More Expensive Alternative: Vizio D60-F3

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k

    If you want an even larger TV than the TCL 55S405/55S425 and don't care much about the smart features, then get the Vizio D Series 4k 2018 D60-F3. You will not get the Roku TV smart platform, but instead, you will get a TV that can get much brighter to suit your bright room. The picture quality is decent and blacks are deep in a dark room, but its HDR performance is only mediocre. The Vizio has a low input lag and a very fast response time that will please most gamers. Overall, it is a decent 60" inch TV that you can get for less than $500.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Samsung NU7100: Good TV, but the Vizio E series is better. See our review
  • Toshiba Amazon Fire TV 2018: Decent TV with excellent integration with Amazon Alexa. See our review
  • LG 49UK6300: Decent TV, but the TCL S517 is worth the extra cash. See our review

All Reviews

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).

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.

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