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2021’s best TVs for under $1,000

Remember when owning an HDTV meant laying out the ultra-big bills at your local electronics depot? While TV prices can still soar well into the thousands of dollars, you don’t necessarily need to spend top-dollar to land yourself a great set. In fact, one of our favorite TVs you can buy right now is the Hisense 65-inch U7G. Tailor-made for gamers, the U7G boasts unbelievable motion refresh, minimal input lag, quantum-dot lighting, support for today’s leading Dolby codecs, and more.

The U7G is going to be a great choice for most people, but it’s not the only TV that provides quality at an affordable price. If you’re looking to save even more, take a look at our picks for the best 4K TV deals and the best TVs under $500.

Best TVs under $1,000 at a glance

65-inch Hisense U7G Android Smart TV

2021 Hisense U7G 4K TV.
Hisense

Why you should buy this: You’re looking for a premium picture, unbeatable motion, and a future-proofed set for the gaming hardware of today and tomorrow.

Who it’s for: Any TV-watcher, from casual evening-viewers to gaming connoisseurs.

Why we picked the 65-inch Hisense U7G:

Whatever you’re buying a TV for, the 65-inch Hisense U7G is guaranteed to check all your requirement boxes. In fact, we think this is one of the best TVs you can buy right now — bar-none. Over the last several years, Hisense has been rising through the ranks of TV stardom, with more and more models creeping into the brick-and-mortar palaces we frequent most.

The U7G is available in three sizes (55-, 65-, and 75-inch screens). The 55- and 65-inch models come in under $1,000, with the 75-inch going for $1,200. Picture-wise, Hisense has loaded the U7G with as much image-tech as possible, including exclusive ULED technologies, a suite of resolution-boosters that work with the set’s 4K panel to upscale colors, contrast, brightness, and motion. Quantum Dot-lighting is one of the staples of a Hisense TV and the U7G is no exception. Be prepared for bold colors like you’ve never seen before — at least for this price.

One of the major considerations of any large-TV purchase is gaming, and rest assured, Hisense has got the gaming realm covered. Game Mode Pro is a built-in picture preset that channels the U7G’s high-speed HDMI inputs to deliver top-notch motion, less input lag, screen jitter, and other kinds of gaming-centric distortions. Simply put, your PS5 or Xbox experience can’t get much better.

Add in Dolby Vision HDR and Atmos support, an intuitive Android TV smart interface for all your streaming needs, and Google Assistant, and it becomes clear why the 65-inch Hisense U7G is one of the top TVs you can buy right now.

55-inch Hisense H9G Quantum HDR TV

Hisense H9G Quantum HDR TV on a table.

Why you should buy this: You won’t find darker darks or brighter brights without spending a lot more money.

Who it’s for: Those who want to place their TV anywhere and still get top-notch picture quality.

Why we picked the 55-inch Hisense H9G Quantum HDR TV:

One of the keys to good picture quality, especially when watching HDR content, is brightness. If your TV can’t get bright enough, you won’t see as many colors, and it won’t produce sufficient contrast. In a darkened room, this is less of an issue, but if you want to watch TV in a room that gets lots of natural light or in a room that’s brightly lit most of the time, a bright TV is critical.

That’s where the 55-inch Hisense H9G Quantum HDR TV shines (literally). It’s one of the brightest TVs we’ve ever tested — at any price — which is why it has earned a spot on this list as well as our best TVs list.

That extra brightness (and impressive dark performance, too) really comes in handy when watching content in Dolby Vision or HDR10, which the H9G supports. It’s also key to enjoying good ol’ SDR movies and shows.

Better yet, Hisense makes getting the most out of the H9G very easy: Instead of tweaking both SDR and HDR settings separately, you can adjust one, and the other will adapt to your preferences automatically. As our reviewer said, “Just sit, click, watch, and know you are getting the best picture performance.”

The H9G uses the Google-created Android TV operating system, which means it has Google Assistant built-in (you can access it via the included voice remote) as well as Chromecast — perfect for shifting your favorite movies and TV shows from your phone or tablet to the big screen.

The only thing you should be aware of before buying the Hisense H9G is that it’s not ideal if you want to be future-proofed for gaming. It doesn’t have any HDMI 2.1 ports, and no gaming features like variable refresh rate (VRR) or automatic low-latency mode (ALLM).

Read our in-depth Hisense H9G Quantum review

55-inch TCL 6-Series

TCL's 6-Series Google TV with mini-LED backlighting.
TCL

Why you should buy this: It’s as close as you can get to OLED picture quality for on or near $1,000.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for the best possible picture quality and features for the lowest possible price.

Why we picked the 55-inch TCL 6-Series 4K TV (2020):

Previous 6-Series models were already so good, they completely changed our perception of the TCL brand, elevating it from so-so budget territory to the status of a genuine competitor to brands such as LG, Samsung, and Sony.

This 6-Series solidifies that reputation, largely thanks to TCL’s pioneering efforts with Mini-LED backlighting. It effectively swapped hundreds of large LED bulbs for many thousands of smaller LEDs, which gives the 6-Series the ability to control local dimming at granularity we’ve only seen once before (in TCL’s own 8-Series). To say that it improves picture quality is an understatement. It brings QLED displays closer to OLED performance for black levels and contrast than they’ve ever been before.

There’s also plenty of format support to love: Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR10, and, of course, the excellent Roku OS running the show — they’re all here. (If you’re more of a Google TV OS person, you may want to check out the latest TCL 5- and 6-Series TVs, too) New for this model is a THX-certified gaming mode, AMD’s FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) technology, and auto game mode. Gaming at 120Hz is possible, but it caps at 1440p. Still, with the Mini-LED backlighting, shadow details are so good, and the motion so smooth, you might not mind the lower resolution.

The Roku OS offers a ton of great features, from an intuitive interface to thousands of streaming apps. As such, it should come as no surprise to hear that it’s a one-stop-shop for live and on-demand content, providing an instant portal to the likes of Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, Hulu, Sling TV, and Netflix, along with a wide array of lesser-known services, so you can stream to your heart’s content.

It’s compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant should you wish to control the TV via one of these smart speakers, or you can simply use the remote’s built-in voice control. Just hit a button on the remote and you’ll be able to throw all sorts of vocal instructions its way, from commanding it to search a particular movie or show across all your preferred content providers to adjust the volume level.

Here’s a quick look at some of the commands the TCL 6-Series understands:

  • “Find The Big Bang Theory.
  • “Switch over to HDMI 3.”
  • “Play Designated Survivor on Netflix.”
  • “Switch off after this episode of Friends.”

Read our in-depth TCL 6-Series (2020) review

55-inch TCL 5-Series (2020)

The TCL 5-Series TV.
TCL

Why you should buy this: Great picture quality, leading-edge features, and an incredibly affordable price.

Who it’s for: Anyone who needs a new TV and doesn’t want to spend a lot of money.

Why we picked the 55-inch TCL 5-Series (2020):

TCL has proven over and over again that it makes the most affordable high-quality TVs on the planet. Right now, the best example of that is the TCL 5-Series (2020). TCL basically took all of the qualities of last year’s 6-Series (one of our favorite TVs) and repackaged them into an even more affordable model.

What you get is a bright, colorful image thanks to its quantum dot-enhanced backlight, deep blacks, screen size, and superb viewing angle that will find a home anywhere from the bedroom to the basement.

It supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, the two most common flavors of HDR, it is an excellent 4K upscaler so that your non-4K content looks as good as possible, and it’s gamer-friendly with an auto game mode that provides low input lag and fast response times.

Four HDMI ports give you plenty of connection options, including HDMI ARC, which lets you connect an A/V receiver or soundbar with just a single cable. There’s no Dolby Atmos support, but as long as your receiver or soundbar supports it, you’re good to go.

Because it’s a Roku TV, the whole experience is powered by Roku’s incredibly simple yet powerful software, with thousands of streaming apps available.

The 5-Series is compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-powered smart speakers. The included Roku remote doesn’t have a microphone, but if you download the free Roku app on your smartphone you can use it for voice searches and for private listening.

All in all, the TCL 5-Series is an exceptional value in a 55-inch 4K HDR smart TV.

Samsung 65-inch TU-8000 Series UN65TU8000FXZA

The Samsung 65-inch TU8000.

Why you should buy this: Those who want to save without skipping on resolution upgrades.

Who it’s for: Gamers on a budget and those with old home theaters in need of an upgrade.

Why we picked the Samsung 65-inch TU-8000 Series UN65TU8000FXZA:

Samsung’s affordable TV doesn’t skimp on resolution with a Crystal processor-powered 4K display with automatic upscaling for content. The “Crystal” label also extends to the TV’s color range and color tuning, giving you superior, accurate colors so you can enjoy visuals as they were meant to be seen. Speaking of — this model also comes with HDR support, so content that offers HDR optimization will look even better with no need to change any settings on your own.

The TV comes with Samsung’s OneRemote remote control, which can be programmed to control multiple smart devices … but if you prefer to avoid using remotes as much as possible, it also supports both Alexa and Samsung’s Bixby voice assistants for quick commands. Plus you have settings like Auto Game Mode, which makes automatic changes to minimize input lag, will pair perfectly with consoles.

We’re also big fans of the Samsung UN65TU8000FXZA’s design, which includes a slim, bezel-less design, sturdy support, and a nifty track to hide cables so they won’t dangle behind the TV.

Vizio 65-inch M-Series M65Q7-H1

The Vizio 65-inch M Series.

Why you should buy this: It has console-friendly features and excellent HDR support.

Who it’s for: Gamers who want the best results for under $1,000.

Why we picked the Vizio 65-inch M-Series M65Q7-H1:

One problem that many “smart” TVs have is that their smart features really aren’t that useful. Basic access to apps over Wi-Fi is something that we already get from our consoles, receivers, and set-top boxes, so there’s not really much for the TV to do. One way to fix that is to add voice assistants for easier control, which many of our picks have. This 65-inch Vizio model takes another popular track and adds built-in support for Airplay and Chromecast, making it easier to switch streaming from your favorite mobile devices to your TV whenever you need to.

The TV also sports a 4K resolution and excellent support for both Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+, which will optimize the latest content so it looks better than ever. Meanwhile, Vizio reports that its Quantum Color technology offers a 75% greater color range from a standard 4K TV — a significant claim, although the color on this model does look excellent, especially for the price.

Finally, the izio 65-inch M-Series M65Q7-H1 Vis a great pick for gamers. It includes automatic optimization for both the Xbox and PlayStation and matches refresh rates to help reduce game stuttering. It even supports AMD FreeSync for more advanced screen tear prevention.

What size TV do you need? Here are a few tips for picking the right size TV for any room, including ideal viewing distance and picture quality versus size.
TV Size

Research and buying tips

What size TV can I afford for $1,000?

You’ll be able to find a TV as large as 75 inches for under $1,000.

Can I get an OLED TV for less than $1,000?

Not yet — or very rarely for special deals. OLED TV technology still is primarily available on high-end models that soar beyond the $1,000 mark. But that may not be the case for long. Vizio is selling its first OLED TV models, with a 55-inch size, that sells for $1,300.

Can I use an HDTV or 4K TV with a PC?

Yes, as long as your computer has an HDMI output. If not, you can try using an adapter, but adapters usually don’t transmit audio.

Do TVs under $1,000 work with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri?

Using either Google Home, Fire TV, or an Amazon Echo, you can pair many modern TVs with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Many newer TVs have these options built-in, so you can use them without buying a separate appliance.

Unfortunately, no current models of TVs have Siri built-in, so you’ll have to try a workaround. For example, TVs that support AirPlay 2 and HomeKit let you control them by using Siri on an iOS device, such as an iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Mac.

What outputs should TVs under $1,000 have?

The No. 1 thing to consider is HDMI in terms of outputs and inputs. We recommend purchasing a TV with HDMI ARC, which means your TV audio can stream to an A/V receiver or a soundbar. Every TV we’ve included on this list has at least one HDMI ARC post, and most have three total HDMI posts. This means you’ll have plenty of image and audio channels available to connect gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes into your system. Getting the latest generation of HDMI is also important for enabling the latest visual/audio options.

What is the best month to buy a TV?

Let’s get the obvious out of the way — Black Friday and the surrounding holidays tend to have the best deals for things like TVs, so November and December are clear choices. But if you missed a deal or it ran out of stock, these can also be annoying months to buy. We suggest also looking for deals in January, where brands discount in preparation for the Super Bowl, as April and May, when many TVs go on sale.

Which TV brands last the longest?

With proper care, TVs can last for many years. But Samsung and LG have particularly good reputations for durable TVs that can handle long-term use without developing annoying issues like damaged pixels, while still offering top-notch quality.

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