You won’t find a better 4K TV for under $500 than the 55-inch TCL 5-Series. Striking the perfect balance between features 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, Roku OS for tapping into all the leading streaming services, and voice control.
That’s not to mean it’s your only option, though. If you’re loyal to another manufacturer or want something suited to a specific purpose — watching movies, for example — there are several other fantastic 4K TVs on the market for less than $500, like the 49-inch LG 6-Series, 60-inch Vizio D-Series, and 55-inch Vizio E-Series.
Best 4K TVs Under $500 At A Glance
Why you should buy this: It’s big, brimming with features, and looks fantastic.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants a large, versatile 4K TV without spending a ton of dough.
Why we picked the 55-inch TCL 5-Series 4K TV:
TCL is one of the leading budget 4K TV makers, thanks to its ongoing partnership with streaming giant Roku. The collaboration results in customers having instant access to a slew of on-demand content from the likes of Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, Hulu, and Netflix — without the need for a streaming stick, set-top box, or anything of the sort.
What’s more, Roku’s streaming software on the TCL 5-Series is home to a bunch of live TV channels, available through DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV. Granted, a membership to each of them will set you back a few bucks per month, but if you’re serious about cutting the cord, you’ll save a few dollars over the course of a year.
That’s because you can access nearly the same selection of content a $105-per-month Xfinity TV subscription delivers, all for around $40 per month through a combination of both live TV and on-demand streaming services. So after around four months of owning the TV (and pulling the plug on cable), you’d be saving somewhere in the region of $65 per month.
The 55-inch TCL 5-Series also comes equipped with all the standard features you’d expect to find on a 4K TV, such as multi-format HDR for turning what would otherwise a be faint, low-light scene into one overflowing in detail, as well as some higher-end tools, like voice control. That’s right — you can mumble commands at the television and it will execute them.
Here’s a look at some of the instructions it understands:
- “Play Breaking Bad on Netflix.”
- “Switch to HDMI 2.”
- “Mute the volume.”
- “Turn off at 11 p.m.”
Not bad for a television that costs less than $500, right? Just add in the fact that it has three HDMI slots for hooking up all your accessories, be it a streaming device (though, seeing as this particular model comes equipped with the aforementioned Roku streaming software, you shouldn’t need one), a games console, a DVR, or maybe even all three, and we have a clear winner on our hands.
Why you should buy this: It’s super-sized, can upscale HD to 4K Ultra HD, and has all the smarts.
Who’s it for: Movie fans in the market for a huge, feature-rich 4K TV at a competitive price.
Why we picked the 60-inch Vizio D-Series:
Once retailing for $700, this fantastic 60-inch Vizio D-Series has been reduced to a smidgen less than $500. But what makes it so good for movies? Well, the answer is three-fold. First, it’s equipped with the firm’s trademark Spatial Scaling Engine that spins HD and Full HD content into a 4K Ultra HD, so you’ll be able to enjoy the classics in a souped-up resolution.
Second, akin to most 4K TVs on the market, it has multi-format HDR, which can be called upon to draw additional detail, like a slight inscription on a wall in a dark room (think Indiana Jones), from low-light scenes. And third, the D-Series has a 120Hz effective refresh rate, so you won’t miss a second of action in an intense car chase (now think Fast & Furious).
Being a Vizio, the D-Series is about as smart as smart TVs come, having been implanted with a Google Chromecast Ultra. That can be tapped into in order to access a plethora of streaming services, including Google Play Movies & TV, Hulu, and Netflix. It also comes preloaded with Vizio’s WatchFree service for one-click access to more than a hundred free live TV channels.
Those with a large collection of Blu-rays will feel right at home as there are three HDMI ports dotted around the television. Two are located on the rear for more permanent fixtures, such as a Blu-ray player and an Apple TV, and there’s one on the side for accessories that tend to be moved around a lot, or disconnected when not in use — a relative’s games console, for example.
Why you should buy this: It’s large and has a dedicated Game Mode with minimal input lag.
Who’s it for: Gamers looking to spruce up their home entertainment setup on a budget.
Why we picked the 55-inch Vizio E-Series:
Planning on taking to the battlefield in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare through a 4K TV? Look no further than this 55-inch Vizio E-Series, which comes bundled with all the features you could ever need to harness the most immersive experience from your PlayStation or Xbox; there’s a Gaming Mode to reduce input lag, multi-format HDR, and a 120Hz refresh rate.
But what does that translate to for us mere mortals? Combined, it will ensure you’re getting the smoothest, clearest picture possible, regardless of whether you’re taking a relaxing cruise around the streets of England at night in Forza Horizon 4, or are one game away from taking home the title in an intense Search and Destroy tournament in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
On the rear, there are three HDMI slots, so you’ll be able to hook up your Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 Pro, and Xbox One X at the same time, taking advantage of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (so long as you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home to hand) to switch between them without having to reach down the back of the sofa in search for the remote control.
Just as we’ve come to expect from Vizio, there are a bevy of features on board the E-Series that are bound to prove useful when playtime’s over, the most notable of which is a baked-in Google Chromecast Ultra for streaming movies and shows through the world’s leading streaming services, including Google Play Movies & TV, HBO Go, Hulu, and Netflix.
Why you should buy this: It has an IPS rather than a VA screen, which delivers a superior viewing angle.
Who’s it 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 49-inch LG SK8000PUA:
The 49-inch LG SK8000PUA 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 basic LCD, with in-plane switching. Yum.
It’s a thumbs-up in the software department, too. The 49-inch LG SK8000PUA 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 a number of more niche services available within a few clicks, like Sling TV, Vudu, and YouTube TV.
Why you should buy this: It’s big, overflowing with streaming services, and looks great.
Who’s it 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 4K TV:
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 high-end 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 you can buy, so we’re sticking with our overall top pick: the 55-inch TCL 5-Series. In fact, this particular television has an abundance of features on board that are ideal for tuning in to the latest sporting event, be it a Grand Prix or even the Super Bowl, through Roku’s collection of streaming services.
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 at a later date. 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, fused with a monthly sports add-on.
Research and buying tips
Almost all new TVs are 4K nowadays, so there are plenty of fantastic options to choose from in the sub-$500 sector.
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.
Yes, though its HDR performance may not be quite as striking as that of premium screens — so set your expectations accordingly.
In short: No. OLED TVs are still considered the proverbial gold standard for TVs, alongside QLED, so they command a top-tier price.
That’s contingent on the television, but if you find something with minimal input lag — like the Vizio E-Series — 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.