A new TV is a great tech upgrade for your home but they can be seriously expensive with many worth more than your car. If you have a limited budget there's good news, as 4K smart TVs are available for under £500/US$500 now and we've tested a wide range of cheap options.

Technology in this market can be confusing - there's a lot more to TV specs than the resolution and size - not least because the brands can't slap a lot of nice-sounding words on the box.

What you will be getting here is a 4K (Ultra HD) resolution at the least and likely HDR support in one form or another. There will inevitably be sacrifices to make but often only things tech-savvy users will notice. Read our in-depth buying advice below the chart if you need more information on what to look for.

What you consider to be 'cheap' depends on various things, but we're aiming for the best TVs under £500/$500 here. Although we may include some that go slightly over that caps if they are particularly good and bear in mind that larger sizes cost more so it may only be smaller options that typically come in under the threshold.

We have a chart of the best smart TVs if you do have a little more to spend. Find the best Samsung TV for you in our buying guide.

The budget TV market has never been so good so you'll be sure to find a cheap set that's right for you from the selection below, all tested by our experts.

Best budget TVs 2021

1

JVC Fire TV Edition - Best Overall

JVC Fire TV Edition
  • Pros
    • Alexa built-in
    • Good HDR support
    • Four HDMI ports
  • Cons
    • Sluggish at times
    • Cluttered interface

This collaboration between JVC and Amazon delivers the latter's Fire TV operating system direct into a TV, saving you from the need for a separate streaming stick.

Specs are strong for the low price - though watch for the jump in display quality from the 40in model to the 49in and 55in variants - and even the audio's alright, but the software is what this TV is really about.

With built-in Alexa support, voice search, and easy access to a load of apps this has plenty to offer, making it one of the better budget buys.

Read our full JVC Fire TV Edition review

2

TCL RP620K Roku TV - Best for Streaming

TCL RP620K Roku TV
  • Pros
    • Excellent Roku platform
    • Freeview Play
    • Dolby Vision
  • Cons
    • Upscaling could be better
    • Limited brightness

On the surface, TCL’s Roku-powered TV is essentially the same as Hisense’s version but the RP620K pips it with slightly better brightness and support for Dolby Vision – the HDR standard best for lower brightness panels.

Upscaling from HD could be better but there’s lots to like here aside from the price. The image is crisp and vibrant from a UHD source and there’s decent sound quality, too.

Low input lag makes it good for consoles but it’s the Roku platform with its user-friendly interface and almost endless streaming options that is the star of the show here.

Read our full TCL RP620K Roku TV review

3

Samsung TU7100 - Best Picture Quality

Samsung TU7100
  • Pros
    • Vibrant picture
    • Tizen OS
    • Low input lag
  • Cons
    • Two HDMI ports
    • No Dolby Vision

The Samsung TU7100 (TU7000 in the US) is a bargain for anyone looking at getting a TV on the cheap. It's available in a huge range of sizes starting at 43in and larger options still come in at under £500.

One of the main downsides to consider is the limit of just two HDMI ports, although this can be helped with a splitter or AV box.

What you are getting is decent picture quality with Samsung's Crystal UHD technology, and budget buyers are unlikely to be affected by the downsides. It's mainly brightness that's a little lacking here like most budget TVs.

You're also getting the fantastic Tizen OS with an easy-to-use interface and one of the best selections of streaming services, meaning you might not need to buy anything to plug in.

Read our full Samsung TU7100 review

4

Hisense Roku TV (A7200UK) - Stylish TV with Roku

Hisense Roku TV (A7200UK)
  • Pros
    • Excellent streaming support
    • User-friendly
    • Low input lag
  • Cons
    • No HDR10+ or Dolby Vision
    • Cheap remote
    • Inconsistent lighting

Another Hisense and Roku collaboration for 2021 has resulted in another one of the best budget TVs you can buy.

This is still excellent picture quality for under £500 a good sizes even if the lighting is a little inconsistent. The typical lack of brightness means no support for HDR10+ or Dolby Vision doesn't matter too much either.

While the A7200UK is still undercut by the JVC, it comes highly recommended due to its Roku software making it great for simple plug and play streaming. There's also low input lag making it a good choice for gamers, too.

TCL's version just has better brightness and Dolby Vision support.

Read our full Hisense Roku TV (A7200UK) review

5

Hisense U7QF - Best HDR Performance

Hisense U7QF
  • Pros
    • QLED panel
    • Good HDR performance
    • Unfussy interface
  • Cons
    • Average sound
    • Limited streaming apps

As is so often the case with Hisense, the U7Q offers you the chance to own an excellent TV without breaking the bank.

Apart from simply getting a stylish set in large sizes for under £500, the U7Q has incredibly good HDR performance normally reserved for much higher-end TVs. Quantum Dot panel technology, Full Array Local Dimming, Ultra Smooth Motion and wide HDR standard support will leave you dazzled.

There's good gaming performance too, even if it doesn't support 120fps for next-gen consoles. Sound quality is mediocre but that's to be expected and the combination of Freeview Play and Vidaa U4 OS gives you plenty to watch - albeit without Disney+, Apple TV and Sky Now TV.

This is one of the best TVs you can get for under £500.

Read our full Hisense U7QF review

6

Samsung TU8500 - Best for Gaming

Samsung TU8500
  • Pros
    • Good streaming support
    • Voice control
    • Dual LED backlight
  • Cons
    • No Dolby Vision
    • Limited brightness
    • No Freeview Play

If you can't afford a flagship TV but want a big brand with decent specs then Samsung's 2020 mid-range offers a nice balance of price and quality.

This set might not have the best HDR performance but the dual-LED backlighting system gives picture quality more punch and 4K content looks sharp. The TU8500 is also a great choice for gaming thanks to its low input lag.

It also looks nice with slim bezels but more importantly has an excellent Tizen smart operating system with plenty of benefits including a vast array of streaming services and Samsung's clever Ambient mode.

Read our full Samsung TU8500 review

7

Hisense A7500F - Best Netflix Integration

Hisense A7500F
  • Pros
    • Sharp and vibrant picture
    • Good gaming performance
    • Wide HDR support
  • Cons
    • Limited viewing angles
    • No local dimming

Over the years Hisense had become the go-to brand for affordable TVs with nice design and decent specs.

That's still true of the A7500F which provides you with a large 4K screen complete with Dolby Vision HDR, all inside a pretty sleek uni-body chassis.

There's plenty of detail on offer here as well as a wide colour gamut and excellent gaming performance, too. We also like the fuss-free Vidaa smart operating system.

It's not perfect though as the contrast isn't great, there's no local dimming and viewing angles aren't so good either.

Read our full Hisense A7500F review

8

Toshiba U29 - Best Value at Large Sizes

Toshiba U29
  • Pros
    • Very cheap
    • Big sizes
    • Decent picture and sound
  • Cons
    • No HDR10+
    • Limited viewing angles

The Toshiba U29 should be considered remarkable value. Any 4K HDR at these prices will turn heads, but the fact that this one performs well warrants a thumbs up.

While not a top flight picture performer, we reckon it’s ideal for second room duties or if you simply can't afford anything more expensive. And it comes in large sizes for not much money if you have a big living room to fill.

While the interface might not be quite as good as rivals, there's Dolby Vision support here which is the better HDR standard for sets with lower brightness.

Read our full Toshiba U29 review

9

TCL C715K - QLED on a Budget

TCL C715K
  • Pros
    • QLED panel
    • Wide HDR support
    • Android TV & Freeview Play
  • Cons
    • Sluggish interface
    • Three HDMI ports

This is the best set we've seen from TCL to date, largely thanks to its inclusion of QLED tech for such an affordable price.

There are plenty of other good things going on, too, such as wide HDR support, the inclusion of Freeview Play and the excellent Android TV operating system. It's pretty stylish to boot.

The C715K isn't flawless though and the price means something had to give. In this case, it's namely being limited to three HDMI ports and sluggish performance when using the interface.

There's tough competition at this price point so rivals from the likes of Hisense and JVC can offer a more well-rounded experience.

Read our full TCL C715K review

10

Toshiba WK3C - Best for Small Sizes

Toshiba WK3C
  • Pros
    • Very cheap
    • Small sizes
    • Freeview Play & apps
  • Cons
    • Only 720p
    • Poor sound
    • Low brightness

It might be limited to 720p resolution, but the WK3D isn’t vying for a spot in the main living room. 

Instead, this telly is a great option for those looking for a screen in the kitchen, bedroom or somewhere like a kid's playroom - albeit without built-in Disney+ support for the little ones. It’s extremely affordable and comes in sizes as 24in. 

Limited brightness means the inclusion of HDR is somewhat undermined but there’s a reasonable amount of streaming apps along with Freeview Play and the TV can even function as a Bluetooth speaker. 

Read our full Toshiba WK3C review

How to choose a budget TV

As mentioned at the top, cheap TVs are better than ever but you will still be missing out on some features and quality compared to more expensive models. Even if the manufacturer or retailer can make it appear not to be the case.

4K and HDR

All the TVs tested here are 4K (aka Ultra HD or UHD) that's four times the resolution of Full HD and if you're looking at buying a TV with the latter then something has gone wrong.

Getting a cheap TV with this resolution is the norm but not all 4K TVs are created equal.

They tend to offer lower brightness and typically don't have local dimming (this means the TV can dim small areas of the panel to make blacks darker). Or if they do, there are not as many zones as high-end models.

Lower brightness means HDR performance is limited as a good backlight is needed. Also, be careful about HDR standards as there a quite a few: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and HGL are the most common.

Dolby Vision is favoured by Netflix while HDR10+ is supported by Amazon Prime Video. So check the specs if there's a particular streaming service you use more than others.

HDMI

It's easy to forget about boring ports when being dazzled by HDR standards, but it's worth checking simple things like how many HDMI ports a TV has.

To cut costs, TV makers might only offer two or three - not ideal if you want to plug in lots of devices.

Also, be aware of HDMI versions as you might be limited to older ones, or typically, only one port is a more recent version.

TV streaming

Ideally, you want HDMI 2.0 for 4K at 60fps (frames per second). If you want full support for next-gen consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X for gaming at 4K at 120fps, you need HDMI 2.1 but that's out of reach for budget TVs at the moment. Read more about console TV compatibility.

OS and apps

Things are certainly a lot better than they used to be and all TVs here are 'smart' in one way or another.

In basic terms, they all have internet access via Wi-Fi and operating systems (OS) providing you with a user interface and apps to watch content like BBC iPlayer and Netflix.

While some might come with Android TV, others will have a custom OS. Make sure to read our full reviews to find out what they are like and if any major services are missing.

If it is basic, you can always plug in a streaming stick or box to improve things without spending much extra.