Buying a new TV doesn't always have to mean you'll be spending above and beyond $1,000. In fact, you can score an excellent set for less than half of that, and that doesn't mean you'll be stuck with a sub-par display, either. We're talking $500 or less for 4K resolution, HDR capabilities, incredible smart features, and more.
The makers of all the best TVs on the market, including Samsung, LG, Hisense, and TLC, all offer competitively-priced, sub-$500 TVs that you'll find in sizes ranging from 43 inches to 55 inches (and some even larger), with smart features and picture specs sure to fit your needs. And while they may not be the latest-and-greatest OLEDs or QLEDs, we've put together this list of some awesome TVs that more than fit the bill when it comes to features, performance, and value.
Hisense 50-inch H8G Quantum
The best overall
- Very good black levels
- High brightness
- Impressive contrast
- Solid HDR performance
- No HDMI 2.1 feature support
- Needs moderate color correction
Why you should buy this: It's got an ultra-bright display for amazing HDR and Dolby Atmos, too.
Who it's for: Movie fans searching for a TV that will look amazing even in bright rooms.
Why we picked the 50-inch Hisense H8G Quantum 4K UHD TV:
Hisense is another brand that is quickly establishing a reputation for high-quality TVs that are also incredibly affordable, which is why we chose the HG8 as our top pick for the best 4K TV under $500. The H8G pulls together some very impressive features like a quantum dot LED display, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos compatibility, and full-array local dimming. These are the kinds of things we're used to seeing on much more expensive models.
The literal highlight of the H8G is its brightness. Whether it's displaying standard or high dynamic range content, the display can get much brighter than most of the other TVs on this list, which not only helps with combatting brightly lit rooms but also lets HDR material pop more spectacularly.
The H8G uses a VA LCD panel, which means that viewing angles aren't quite spot-on, but the contrast is excellent, and blacks are nice and inky. To get way better contrast ratios, you'd need to spring for an OLED TV at more than double the price of this Hisense model.
With Android TV, you get some great extra features, too. Chromecast is built-in, as is Google Assistant, which you can access from the voice-based remote control. Just like with a Roku TV, you can use voice commands to control the TV and volume, open apps, and manage playback. But because it's a Google Assistant device, you can also ask it to do any of the things a Google smart speaker can do, like provide weather forecasts, or answer nagging questions about who directed that movie you just watched.
The Hisense H8G is also a pretty good choice for gaming and sports, with 240Hz motion control and several auto game mode enhancements.
Hisense 55-inch U6H ULED
The best Google TV under $500
- Brilliant QLED picture
- Excellent Google TV platform
- Great for gaming
- Compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa
- Only 60Hz refresh rate
- Is prone to light blooming during dark scenes
- Only supports Dolby Vision for HDR
Why you should buy this: You love Hisense as much as we do, and you're looking for an awesome 55-inch 4K TV for under $500.
Who it's for: Google TV diehards and those looking for a great TV with an even better smart TV engine.
Why we picked the Hisense 55-inch U6H ULED:
It's not hard to see that we're big Hisense fans at Digital Trends. That's because when it comes to shopping on a budget, Hisense offers some of the very best bang for your buck, even next to brands like TCL and Vizio (although we love these names, too). And if you're looking for a great 4K TV under $500 with a Google TV OS, there's no better option than the Hisense 55-inch U6H ULED.
Essentially, ULED is Hisense's in-house moniker for what is actually QLED technology — a layer of quantum dots arranged in front of an LED backlight, adding extra punch and kick to a TV's colors. Over the last few years, Hisense has been doing great things with QLED lighting, and the U6H is no exception here. This is a bright TV built for modern viewing, with four HDMI 2.1 inputs for all your next-gen gaming requirements, and support for Dolby Vision HDR.
Sadly, the refresh rate only tops out at 60Hz, and there's some trouble with light blooming during dark scenes, but the Google TV OS makes up for some of these picture detriments. If you're looking for the best smart TV streaming experience you can find, Google TV is a great choice for all things web-connected. Not only can you stream from a diverse collection of content apps, including big hitters like Netflix and Disney+, but the platform even suggests movies and TV shows based on your viewing habits.
The Hisense 55-inch U6H isn't a perfect TV, but considering the overall brightness, color, and contrast, on top of the Google TV platform, $400 is a beyond-reasonable purchase price.
If the U6H ULED isn't hitting the sweet spot and you're still interested in a Google TV, we've got a roundup for that, too.
LG 50-Inch UK9000
The best for voice assistants
- Supports multiple voice assistants
- Great picture and 4K upscaling
- WebOS platform is sleek and easy to use
- Includes Filmmaker Mode
- Aggressive WebOS advertisements
Why you should buy this: You want a great TV that is compatible with a number of today's leading voice assistants.
Who it's for: Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit households.
Why we picked the LG 50-Inch UK9000:
As part of LG's 2022 lineup, the UK9000 features the company's incredible a5 Gen 5 AI processor, the brains and brawn behind the powerful 4K picture that this TV delivers. Visually, the UK9000 delivers excellent brightness levels, great color volume, and some of the most effective 4K upscaling we've seen at this price.
But after picture quality, the real win with this set is its across-the-board compatibility with some of the most popular voice assistants. Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit are the main players here, and once the UK9000 is connected to your network, you'll be able to use the assistants to control your smart home equipment, search for movies and TV shows, adjust volume, and more.
The onboard WebOS system is an LG TV staple, and it's better than ever with the UK9000. Providing access to all the best streaming apps, from Netflix to Disney+, LG's smart TV platform also allows you to create multiple user profiles, allowing each member of the household to have their own customized look and feel for the UK9000's WebOS experience.
Vizio 50-inch M-Series Quantum 4K LED TV
QLED for gamers at a great price
- Great for gamers
- HDR support
- ARC/eARC for lossless sound
- Built-in AirPlay 2 and Chromecast
- Built-in audio is lackluster
- Brightness could be better
Why you should buy this: It’s one of the few QLED TVs in this price range with features tailored specifically for gamers.
Who it's for: Gamers looking for a quality display to accurately portray what they’re playing.
Why we picked the 50-inch Vizio M-Series Quantum 4K UHD TV:
Quite frankly, the Vizio M-Series Quantum is an amazing all-around TV, but we're highlighting it for its unusually strong support for console and PC gaming.
Variable refresh rate (VRR) is one of the most important features a TV can have when it comes to gaming. The M-Series Quantum has VRR, but not just standard VRR — it sports AMD's FreeSync, which is used by Xbox consoles, as well as many PC gaming rigs. VRR ensures that the TV always stays in sync with a game's changing frame rates. TVs that can't do this create a "tearing" effect, which can be jarring and negatively impact overall gaming performance.
Add to this Vizio's V-Gaming Engine, which automatically adjusts several other settings to reduce input lag and response times, and support for 60Hz 4K signals, and you've got a great 4K gaming TV for a great price.
The M-Series Quantum has comprehensive HDR support, with HDR 10, HDR 10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG compatibility, plus HDMI ARC/eARC for lossless sound quality when connected to a compatible soundbar or A/V receiver.
Vizio has added a lot of other valuable features to its smart TVs recently, like Apple's AirPlay 2, Apple HomeKit, and Chromecast. It will also work with Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa if you have a smart speaker for one of these assistants. Plus you can use your voice to control major functions via the included voice remote.
These all make the 50-inch Vizio M-Series Quantum a very capable smart TV.
55-inch TCL 5-Series Google TV
Killer QLED value
- Great brightness, colors, and contrast
- Intuitive Google TV interface
- Supports Google Assistant
- Only 60Hz refresh rate
- Not the best off-angle viewing
Why you should buy this: You're a fan of the TCL name and want to nab an awesome 55-inch TV for under $500.
Who it's for: Google TV fans, TCL devotees, and pretty much anyone that wants a top-notch TV for a solid price.
Why we picked the 55-inch TCL 5-Series:
We would have felt in wrong completing this list of stellar $500-or-less entries without including a model from TCL. And while we so very badly wanted to feature the 6-Series as our TCL go-to, the prices were just a little too high to make sense for this roundup. Thus, we'll shine some light on the 5-Series instead.
Powered by a Google TV interface, and featuring QLED lighting and up to 60 zones of local dimming, the TCL 5-Series brings a solid picture across the board. There's even onboard support for Dolby Vision, an HDR format that pushes the TCL's brightness and color capabilities to the next level.
Compared to the higher-priced 6-Series model, you'll be missing out on 120Hz inputs, which is a bummer for next-gen gamers, although it's pretty difficult to find any 120Hz-ready TV for less than $500. That being said though, the TCL 5-Series is still an excellent choice for any and all 4K sources, along with whatever lower-res HD content you'll be upscaling.
Samsung 43-inch AU8000
The best mid-sized 4K TV
- Excellent smart-TV capabilities
- Great black levels and contrast
- Good for bright rooms
- Minor motion judder
- Latency can be an issue
Why you should buy this: It's one of the best small-sized TVs on the market.
Who it's for: Those looking for a great picture for a bedroom, dorm, or small living room.
Why we picked the Samsung 43-inch AU8000:
Samsung often features prominently in leading TV roundups, netting a ton of love from us across multiple categories, from performance to smart TV capabilities. When it comes to buying a TV for your bedroom, it can be tempting to dive for the bargain-bin model. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but in most cases, spending an extra hundred dollars or so can get you a much better set. Such is the case with the Samsung 43-inch AU8000.
Right off the bat, Samsung comes out swinging with this small-sized entry – at least in terms of picture quality. Equipped with a VA panel, the AU8000 delivers contrast levels typically reserved for larger and higher-priced TVs. While there's no local dimming to be found here, the AU8000 is great for dark room viewing. Consider it our top pick for late-night Netflix binges.
Samsung's Dynamic Crystal Color and HDR10+ support add vibrant and lifelike colors to the mix. Admittedly, there's a little too much latency at times, especially when it comes to low-lit scenes – an issue that, combined with the set's edge lighting, can make transitions a bit hit or miss. These are small troubles, though, and hiccups that are more than made up for by the set's overall color, contrast, and brightness.
Smart TV devotees will be more than pleased with the AU8000's Tizen-powered OS, offering hundreds of apps to choose from, voice controls, and assistant support for Alexa, Google Assistant, and Bixby.
The Samsung 43-inch AU8000 may not be the strongest set in terms of performance, but for a bedroom, dorm, or compact living room, it's one of our favorite small-screen options, with plenty of features and smart add-ons to round things out.
Toshiba 55-inch C350 Fire TV
For fans of the Fire TV platform
- Runs on the Fire TV platform
- Very affordable
- Multiple size options
- Good for gaming
- Lacks HDMI 2.1
- No Dolby Atmos support
Why you should buy this: You want a killer deal on a bigger-sized screen with smart features.
Who it's for: Fans of the Amazon Fire TV platform.
Why we picked the Toshiba 55-inch C350 Fire TV:
It's tough to find a decent 55-inch 4K TV for under $500 from any brand. While Toshiba isn't exactly making headlines these days when it comes to home entertainment tech (at least not as much as the competition), the company still produces a number of top-notch TVs, with this 55-inch C350 Smart Fire TV being the proof.
Built on Toshiba's 4K Regza Engine, the C350 produces a vibrant UHD picture with great color and contrast to match. While there are no HDMI 2.1 inputs and a lack of Dolby Atmos, the set does support HDR — specifically, Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10. The C350 also features decently low lag on all its inputs, so gamers rejoice, this is a solid bet for the button-mashers of our readership, too.
And in terms of its smart TV interface, you'll be using Amazon's Fire TV platform to do all your movie and TV show streaming. The included remote even has Alexa built directly into it for quick voice controls.
It may not be at the top of the pack when it comes to picture and sound features, but the Toshiba 55-inch C350 Smart Fire TV (also available in 43-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch sizes) is a great sub-$500 buy for those looking to rock a 4K TV with a great smart interface.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, but stick to the brands that have a good track record for quality products. We're very confident that our picks above will satisfy your desire for a good TV.
The answer to that depends on the brand, but you'll be looking at around 60 inches or less. As prices have increased, the screen sizes you can get for $500 have been getting smaller.
Yes, though its HDR performance (often a function of peak brightness) may not be quite as striking as that of more expensive screens – so set your expectations accordingly.
In short: No. OLED TVs are still very expensive to produce, and at the moment, only one company (LG Display) makes them for non-industrial applications. This may change as Samsung and other companies enter the OLED market.
That's contingent on the television, but if you find something with minimal input lag and advanced game modes you should be impressed.
Yes, so long as your computer has an HDMI output. Adapters can be used for other output types but frequently do not pass along audio.
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