A few years ago, if you wanted to buy a decent LCD TV, chances are that you would not 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 that price category.
Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot at the end of the year and especially after Black Friday.
The best TV under $500 is the Vizio E Series 2018 E55-F1. It is a good 4k UHD TV with decent picture quality and an excellent contrast ratio that delivers deep, uniform blacks that look great in a dark room. It has a fast response time, so fast sports action has only a small blur trail. The input lag is low and this makes the Vizio very responsive to your actions which is great if you play video games or use the TV as a PC monitor.
Unfortunately, the viewing angles are bad and the picture quality deteriorates when you are not sitting directly in front. The Vizio E55-F1 can have minor gray uniformity issues but that depends on your panel.
Overall, the Vizio E Series 2018 performs well in most usages and will hardly disappoint anyone.
If you have a large room with lots of seating space, the viewing angles of the Vizio E55-F1 might not be ideal; we then suggest going for the Sony XBR43X720E. However, the screen size is 43 inches compared to the Vizio’s 55 inches, for approximately the same price. You also won’t be able to observe deep blacks due to the sub-par native contrast ratio and there is no local dimming feature on this IPS panel. Nevertheless, you will still get a decent picture quality and excellent low input lag if you choose to go with the Sony X720E.
If you want a TV that can deliver better HDR performance than the Vizio E Series 2018, get the TCL 5 Series 49S517. Unfortunately, the TCL does not have a local dimming feature and cannot handle reflections as well as the Vizio. The S517 has a wide color gamut and can display HDR content full of rich colors and highlights that pop. The overall picture quality is decent with deep blacks and an optional motion interpolation feature. Finally, the TCL S517 is a good choice for gamers as it has a very low input lag.
If you want the best value for size TV under $500, then get the Insignia Fire TV NS-55DF710NA19. It is a basic entry level 4k LED TV that accepts HDR content although it cannot deliver the creators intent. It has a high native contrast ratio and a decent picture quality, but apart from the large size and the excellent integration with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, the Insignia Fire TV does not have many features where it performs well. It is, however, one of the cheapest 55 inch TVs available in the market.
Overall, it is a good choice for a large secondary TV where picture quality and performance are not the primary concern.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 4k 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.