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The best 4K TVs under $500

This article was last updated by Digital Trends staff writer Nick Woodard on 3/27/2020. 

The best 4K TV under $500 is the 55-inch TCL 6-Series. Striking the perfect balance between smarts and picture quality, it bundles a crystal-clear 4K Ultra HD screen and is filled to the brim with useful features, including Dolby Vision HDR and Roku OS for one-click streaming from Netflix, Disney+, and virtually any other streaming service you can name.

But that’s not to say the TCL 6-Series is your only option. If you’re loyal to another manufacturer or are in the market for something built with a specific viewing habit in mind, there are several other fantastic 4K TVs on the shelves for less than $500 — such as the 55-inch LG UM7300AUE and 65-inch Vizio V-Series — any one of which will make a great choice at a great price.

With brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony starting to roll out their 2020 models, there might be a whole new set of budget TVs on the horizons. Until these displays are completely released, however, these are the best TVs you can buy for the buck.

Can’t find what you want here? Check out our lists of the Best TVs under $1,000 and the Best TVs for 2020.

Best 4K TVs under $500 at a glance

The best 4K TV under $500: 55-inch TCL 6-Series

Why you should buy this: It’s big, brimming with features, and looks fantastic.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a large, versatile 4K TV that doesn’t cost a ton of dough.

Why we picked the 55-inch TCL 6-Series 4K TV:

First, we have to come clean. The TCL 55-inch 6-Series is currently not under $500, which technically prices it out of this list. That said, if you can spare $50 more, this is the hands-down best TV available in this price range.

TCL has fast become one of the leading television manufacturers. Its recipe for success? A partnership with streaming titan Roku that sees its flexible Roku OS smart software bundled on all of its latest televisions, offering customers instant access to a bottomless collection on-demand content through leading providers like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu right out of the box.

Priced to cater to budget shoppers, the TCL 6-Series has no trouble holding its own against more costly alternatives from rivals LG and Samsung. This isn’t a bare-bones 4K Ultra HD viewing experience. Far from it, in fact. There’s Dolby Vision HDR, which is used to draw additional detail from supported content, and voice control for hands-free navigation.

Here’s a look at some of the instructions you can mumble its way:

  • “Play Breaking Bad on Netflix.”
  • “Switch to HDMI 2.”
  • “Mute the volume.”
  • “Turn off at 11 p.m.”

Factor in three HDMI slots for hooking up all your accessories, be it a streaming device (although seeing as this particular model comes bundled with Roku streaming software, you shouldn’t need one), a gaming console, a DVR, or maybe even all three, and — ding, ding, ding — we have a clear winner.

The best 4K TV under $500 for movies: 65-inch Vizio V-Series

Vizio V Series

Why you should buy this: You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger TV for a more affordable price.

Who it’s for: Movie fans searching for the biggest feature-packed screen possible on a budget.

Why we picked the 60-inch Vizio V-Series:

It’s truly remarkable what TV manufacturers are able to pack into budget displays these days. A few years ago, it would have been unheard of to find a 65-inch TV for less than $1,000. Now, not only is that entirely possible, but these screens are providing serious bang for the buck.

What Vizio provides with its 65-inch V-Series is a 4K display with Dolby Vision HDR, capable of producing a wide range of colors across the picture. It’s also got a full array backlight screen, allowing for better contrast and blacks compared to an edge-lit screen.

The Vizio has plenty of features to make streaming movies a breeze, including built-in Chromecast support, Apple AirPlay 2, and voice control to toggle between content without using a remote. Vizio’s interface isn’t our favorite TV operating system, but it still does plenty to give you everything you need to stream freely.

The V-Series comes with three HDMI inputs, a single USB port, as well as ARC, Analog and Digital Audio outputs, setting it up well as a versatile addition to your home theater.

The best 4K TV under $500 for gaming: 55-inch LG Nano 8 Series

LG NanoCell TV 8 Series

Why you should buy this: It’s one of the few 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 55-inch LG Nano 8 Series:

The original MSRP for the LG NanoCell TV priced it just out of this list, at $599. But the TV recently dropped by $100, and that can only mean good things for budget-minded gamers.

Not to downplay the LG 8 Series’ other features, like local dimming or  a quad-core processor, but a few features in particular stick out for gamers. The screen has what LG describes as an “Intense Black” canvas, meant to create an immersive experience for gameplay, and to bring out more of the hidden details and color on your screen.

The 8 Series also has Auto Low Latency Mode, designed to deliver impressive graphics with minimal stutter at fast speeds. With input lag widely regarded as one of the biggest annoyances of modern gaming, this feature positions the NanoCell TV as a solid gaming option.

The best 4K TV under $500 with a wide-angle picture: 55-inch LG UM7300AUE

Why you should buy this: It has an IPS rather than a VA screen, which delivers a superior viewing angle.

Who it’s for: Those looking for a TV to sit at the center of their home entertainment setup, immersing everyone in the room.

Why we picked the 55-inch LG UM7300AUE:

The 55-inch-inch LG UM7300AUE delivers what we deem to be the best viewing angle of any 4K TV under $500, ensuring everyone in the room is immersed in the on-screen action, even if they aren’t sitting right in front of the screen — without suffering notable color or contrast degradation. How? Because it’s an IPS screen, rather than a standard LCD.

It’s a thumbs-up in the software department, too. The LG UM7300AUE has a ton of smarts that are otherwise reserved for high-end televisions that retail for north of $500, including both gesture and voice control (without the need for additional hardware, like an Amazon Echo or Google Home), and the maxed-out, latest version of the firm’s webOS smart software.

Included in the box is LG’s love-it-or-loathe-it Magic Remote that lets you use either gestures, the on-remote buttons, or the manufacturer’s trademark Intelligent Voice Control to interact with the TV. By default, you’ll be expected to wave the remote around to move the cursor over to the menu option you wish to select, but with the touch of a button, you can dictate your commands.

Here’s a taste of the sort of directions you can throw its way:

  • “Play Designated Survivor on Netflix.”
  • “Switch over to HDMI 1.”
  • “Find A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • “Mute the volume.”
  • “Turn off after this episode of Friends.”

Since it’s armed with webOS, the TV is also a direct portal into the wonderful world of streaming. You’ll have nearly instant access to a seemingly endless catalog of both on-demand and live content from the likes of Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, Hulu, and Netflix. There are also several more niche services available within a few clicks, such as Sling TV, Vudu, and YouTube TV.

The best 4K TV under $500 for sports: 55-inch TCL 5-Series

Why you should buy this: It’s big, overflowing with streaming services, and looks great.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a large, versatile 4K TV that can tap into all the latest sports streams — no cords attached.

Why we picked the 55-inch TCL 5-Series:

The main thing to look for when buying a 4K TV for sports is a 120Hz native screen. Here’s the kicker: That’s more of a high-end feature that’s reserved for costlier TVs, so those looking for something with similar performance for less than $500 should expect a screen that’s capable of achieving a 120Hz refresh rate through a combination of software features that reduce motion blur.

With that in mind, the best 4K TV under $500 for sports is really just the best 4K TV under $500, but seeing as its older sibling is near-enough the same and costs a fraction of the price, it’s we think it’s a better buy. Just like the TCL 6-Series, the TCL 5-Series has a slew of features that are ideal for tuning in to the latest sporting event, like Roku OS smart software.

There are dedicated MLB, NBA, NHL, and UFC applications, for example, as well as ESPN and FuboTV, which can be used to stream the action live or catch up. Sure, you’ll have to fork out a few bucks for the convenience, but it’s still a no-cords-attached solution to a viewing predicament that would usually involve a costly cable subscription and a monthly sports add-on.

Research and buying tips

Are 4K TVs under $500 any good?

Almost all new TVs are 4K nowadays, so there are plenty of fantastic options to choose from in the sub-$500 sector.

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. With Sony TVs, for example, that lowers to 49-inches or less.

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

Yes, though its HDR performance may not be quite as striking as that of premium screens — so set your expectations accordingly.

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

In short: No. OLED TVs are still considered the proverbial gold standard for TVs, alongside QLED, so they command a top-tier price.

Are 4K TVs under $500 good for gaming?

That’s contingent on the television, but if you find something with minimal input lag — like the Vizio E-Series — you should be impressed.

Can I use a 4K TV 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.

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