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The best 4K TVs under $500: premium picture on a budget

Hisense 55-inch U6K, 2023 Model
Hisense 55-inch U6K ULED
The best 4K TV for under $500
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Roku 55-inch Class Plus Series QLED
Roku 55-inch Class Plus Series QLED
Another killer QLED
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TCL 55-Inch Q7 QLED 4K Smart Google TV (55Q750G)
TCL 55-inch Q7 Series
The best TCL for under $500
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TCL 55-Inch Q6 QLED 4K Smart TV with Google TV
TCL 55-inch Q6 QLED
Killer QLED value
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Amazon Fire TV 55" Omni QLED Series 4K UHD smart TV, Dolby Vision IQ, Fire TV Ambient Experience, local dimming, hands-free with Alexa
Amazon 55-inch Omni QLED
Amazon’s brightest TV
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If you’re buying a new TV, there’s a very good chance it’s going to be a 4K model, especially if you’re looking at a 50-inch set or larger. The Ultra HD standard has been the norm for several years now, but that big bump in pixel count doesn’t always translate to higher prices. While most bigger TVs can cost well over $1,000, you can score an awesome 4K model for less than $500.

It’s true. And we’re not talking about TV brands that the world has never heard of before. Companies like Hisense, TCL, and even Samsung and Sony produce some terrific 4K models for $500 or less. These may not be flagship-level QLEDs or OLEDs, but if the most important part of your new TV purchase is improved resolution and 4K upscaling, the TVs below are near-perfect.

Our list of the best 4K TVs under $500 is frequently updated, as some models are right at the $500 cutoff. When these sales end, we do our best to scout for new 4K models that fit our criteria, so be sure to check back soon!

The Hisense U6K.
Hisense

Hisense 55-inch U6K ULED

The best 4K TV for under $500

Pros
  • Powerful picture
  • Good price
  • Supports all major HDR formats
  • Integrated Google Assistant and Chromecast
Cons
  • Only 60Hz refresh rate
  • No HDMI 2.1 inputs

Hisense is one of the top brands in the midtier TV bracket, and we’re simply bewildered by the kind of picture quality its low-cost sets are able to achieve. Year after year, Hisense continues to rise through the ranks of TV makers, and the 2023 U6K ULED is one of the company’s finest budget entries thus far. Now when we say “budget,” that doesn’t mean you can expect some lousy brightness and colors for the sake of saving a dollar or two, because the U6K performs like a chart-topping set. Hisense’s Mini-LED backlighting is the true backbone here, delivering the kind of precision dimming and peak brightness levels (up to 600 nits) normally reserved for $1,000-plus models.

Other awesome features include quantum dots for bigger and bolder colors, Filmmaker Mode for giving you the kind of cinematic experience normally reserved for the silver screen, and support for all major HDR formats, including Dolby Vision, HDR10/HDR10+, and HLG. Do keep in mind that the U6K maxes out at 60Hz, even though Hisense has thought to include a Game Mode Plus to help reduce input lag and improve motion performance (but it’s still not 120Hz).

On the sound front, your ears will be elated to learn that the U6K supports Dolby Atmos should you want to get into all that surround sound with either a full speaker setup or a soundbar, which you should probably get anyway as the built-in sound of the U6K isn't anything to write home about. Google TV is the operating system of choice here, which means you'll have access to all the streaming services and apps you need, plus its Chromecast built-in feature means you can mirror your phone and other devices to it, too.

Hisense 55-inch U6K, 2023 Model
Hisense 55-inch U6K ULED
The best 4K TV for under $500
roku plus series tv review
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends

Roku 55-inch Class Plus Series QLED

Another killer QLED

Pros
  • High brightness
  • Brilliant color
  • Snappy operation
  • Impressive sound
  • Great remote
Cons
  • Poor off-angle performance
  • Contrast suffers in high-brightness scenes
  • Some motion blur

Anyone looking for eye-catching QLED brightness and color for under $500 will not be disapppointed with the Roku 55-inch Plus Series QLED. It rocks one of the best smart TV platforms you can find on a TV and it’s got incredible picture to boot.

While QLED displays are typically reserved for midtier and flagship TVs, we’re seeing more and more budget-friendly sets hit the market with these ultra-colorful screens -- and now Roku is joining the party! The Roku 55-inch Plus Series QLED is right at our price cap, and let’s just say that for the kind of brightness, color detail, and incredible HDR performance (HDR 10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG) you’ll get to experience, we wouldn’t bat an eye even if it cost $200 more.

That's not to mention you’ll be working with Roku’s amazing smart TV platform to gain access to your favorite movies and shows from services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. DT's TV reviewer Caleb Denison thinks that Roku's Plus TVs will stand up well to similarly priced LG and Samsung TVs, but its biggest competition will be against the likes of TCL and Hisense in this coveted price range.

There’s one thing to keep in mind, though: the Plus Series tops out at 60Hz. That won’t be a big deal for some, but gamers may want something a little on the faster side. Then again, we suppose the inclusion of Roku’s awesome Voice Remote Pro might sweeten the deal enough. Not only can you program the controller to store shortcuts for your favorite apps, but the lost remote finder is a godsend for the black hole that lives beneath the couch cushions.

Roku 55-inch Class Plus Series QLED
Roku 55-inch Class Plus Series QLED
Another killer QLED
tcl q7 qled tv review
Chris Hagan / Digital Trends

TCL 55-inch Q7 Series

The best TCL for under $500

Pros
  • High brightness
  • Great contrast
  • Vivid color
  • Great for gaming
Cons
  • White balance is just bad
  • Color is technically inaccurate
  • Inconsistent picture quality from streaming apps

One rung below the laurel-grabbing TCL QM8 Series, the company’s Q7 lineup is a terrific range of QLEDs that maxes out at 85 inches. Our focus today is on the 55-inch version, which normally sells for over $500. But with newer 2024 models hitting shelves over the spring and summer, we think we’ll start seeing the 55-inch Q7 remain under $500.

One of the main calling cards of the Q7 Series is its phenomenal brightness levels, both in HDR and SDR picture modes. This, in addition to the Q7’s anti-reflective panel, bodes well for folks who watch a lot of TV in well-lit rooms. We were also impressed by the contrast levels the Q7 is able to pull off. It’s nothing like an OLED or QD-OLED, but if you watch movies and shows at night, you’ll notice little to no light blooming whatsoever.

The Q7 is also great for gaming. The HDMI ports have very low input lag, and the TV’s native 120Hz refresh rate is terrific for high-action content. You’ll want to do some calibrating when you first get the TV out of the box, as many of the default picture settings aren’t very good. But once you spend 20 or 30 minutes fine-tuning those pixels, you’ll see just how amazing the Q7 can look and feel!

TCL 55-Inch Q7 QLED 4K Smart Google TV (55Q750G)
TCL 55-inch Q7 Series
The best TCL for under $500
The TCL 55-inch Q6 QLED.
TCL

TCL 55-inch Q6 QLED

Killer QLED value

Pros
  • Stunning brightness and colors
  • AMD Freesync and VRR support
  • Supports all major HDR formats
  • Solid price
Cons
  • Only 60Hz refresh rate

If you're a movie fan or a next-gen gamer who wants to get the best PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S experience possible — and for a relatively good price — the TCL 55-inch Q6 QLED could be your pick.

Gamers, take note: There’s a 55-inch 4K QLED that costs less than $500 that prioritizes motion performance over anything else! The hero of the day is the TCL 55-inch Q6 QLED, and while the TV’s native refresh rate is only 60Hz, TCL made sure to include AMD Freesync and VRR that bump the frame rate up to 120Hz to help cut down on lag and frame drops. This 2023 TCL TV also puts out one heck of a picture. With its excellent brightness and vivid colors, you’ll feel like you’re watching a TV that costs way more than $500.

Is there a catch? Not really, although the Q6 only utilizes Direct LED lighting, compared to the more encompassing full-array backlighting on TCLs like the QM8. This missing feature translates to a little less pop in the brightness, color, and contrast departments, but it’s also why the Q6 is able to sell for less than $500. But don’t let a little less LED action deter you, because the Q6 still uses quantum dots to give some extra punch to its colors.

Oh, and while it also supports every major HDR format (Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG), it does not support Dolby Atmos sound, but instead supports DTS Virtual:X: Advanced, which has some pretty solid immersive 3D sound as well. The TCL Q6 is a Google TV-driven television with three HDMI inputs, including one eARC port for connecting to consoles, TVs, and more.

TCL 55-Inch Q6 QLED 4K Smart TV with Google TV
TCL 55-inch Q6 QLED
Killer QLED value
amazon fire tv omni qled review art mode with widgets
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Amazon 55-inch Omni QLED

Amazon’s brightest TV

Pros
  • Excellent Fire TV experience
  • Great smart home hub
  • Adequate picture performance
  • Fun features
Cons
  • Lacks HDR punch
  • Price-to-picture performance ratio is off

A few years back, Amazon started making its own TVs, and let’s be honest: They weren’t exactly amazing. But the company’s main demographic isn’t flagship TV diehards — it’s budget-minded folks who want a solid TV for a friendly price. That being said, Amazon’s latest addition to its first-party lineup, the Fire TV Omni QLED, bridges the gap between sale-price and mid-range QLED sets.

For those unaware, the Omni QLED uses quantum dots to enhance the TV’s colors. When you add in ultra-bright backlighting, you get a brilliant blend of powerful brightness, rich color tones, and excellent contrast levels. Even though in our our review we thought the Omni QLED picture didn’t achieve the kind of brightness we're used to seeing from higher-end QLEDs, especially when it comes to HDR performance, for the price the Fire TV Omni QLED does just fine for most people. If you’re going to be doing a majority of your TV watching at night or in a basement TV room, for example (when window lighting isn’t as much of an issue), the Omni QLED is a good choice.

On the OS side of things, we do love the Fire TV UI, and controlling your smart home devices using hands-free Alexa (the voice assistant is built into the TV) is quite the thrill.

We’re also big fans of Amazon's Ambient Experience, which lets you display beautiful artwork on your TV screen, on top of notifications, sticky notes, news headlines, and more.

Amazon Fire TV 55" Omni QLED Series 4K UHD smart TV, Dolby Vision IQ, Fire TV Ambient Experience, local dimming, hands-free with Alexa
Amazon 55-inch Omni QLED
Amazon’s brightest TV

Frequently Asked Questions

Are 4K TVs under $500 any good?

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.

What size 4K TV can I afford for $500?

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.

Can I buy a 4K TV with HDR for less than $500?

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.

Can I get an OLED TV for less than $500?

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.

Are 4K TVs under $500 good for gaming?

That's contingent on the television, but if you find something with minimal input lag and advanced game modes you should be impressed.

Can I use a 4K TV for under $500 with a PC?

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Michael Bizzaco

Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from A/V components and smart home devices to encryption software, cloud backup platforms, search engine tools, and more. He has written for Digital Trends for over three years, covering entertainment content, A/V, and smart home devices.

Simon Cohen

Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial audio, whole-home music systems, wireless earbuds and headphones, 4K HDR TVs, and soundbars. He has written for Ozy.com, Mobilesyrup, Driving.ca, and VentureBeat, and appeared as a guest tech expert on international TV and radio programs, including BBC Radio, CTV News Channel, and CBC Radio. He is currently a full-time contributor to Digital Trends' Audio/Video section.

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The LG G2 placed in a living room environment.

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TCL's 5-Series 4K QLED Google TV.

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A Vizio 65 inch TV hangs on a living room wall.

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