The best 4K TVs under $500: which is the best?

There was a time when 4K resolution alone would guarantee you’d be spending upwards of $1,500 on a TV, regardless of the size. But we’re more than a decade away from the singular fanfare of a high pixel count, which means 4K TVs cost much less moolah. In fact, did you know that you can actually find several UHD sets that sell for less than $500 and they won’t fall apart the moment you look at them? Hyperbole aside, our proclamation is true, and we’ve rounded up the very best 4K TVs for under $500 that you can buy online and in stores right now.

The Hisense U6K.

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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

The LG 50-Inch UK9000.

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LG 50-Inch UK9000

An awesome LG LED

Pros

  • Supports multiple voice assistants
  • Great picture and 4K upscaling
  • WebOS platform is sleek and easy to use
  • Includes Filmmaker Mode

Cons

  • Aggressive WebOS advertisements

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 displays excellent brightness levels that is great in dark rooms of brighter rooms, excellent color and contrast with support for HDR10 and HLG HDR formats, 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 home 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.

LG’s 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. Of course, if that’s not your thing, you can always connect your preferred streaming device and have it your way.

Although the UK9000 does not support Dolby Atmos sound, it does support Dolby Digital for up to five channel of surround sound, which is still pretty decent, and lastly the UK9000 has three HDMI inputs, including one eARC input.

LG 50-Inch UK9000

LG 50-Inch UK9000

An awesome LG LED

The TCL 55-inch Q6 QLED.

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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

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 (55Q650G, 2023 Model) Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR Pro+, Game Accelerator Enhanced Gaming, Voice Remote, Works with Alexa, Streaming UHD Television

TCL 55-inch Q6 QLED

Killer QLED value

The Toshiba 55-inch Fire TV C350 (2023).

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Toshiba 55-inch C350 Fire TV

For fans of the Fire TV platform

Pros

  • Impressive picture quality
  • Very low price
  • Fire TV includes built-in Alexa support

Alexa fans and those looking to score the best deal possible on a 55-inch 4K TV should take a hard look at the 2023 Toshiba C350 Series. Toshiba and Amazon’s Fire TV platform go together like peanut butter and jelly, and now that the next generation of the incredible C Series is on the shelves, we can sing the praises of this powerhouse combo. The real highlight is Toshiba’s Regza Engine 4K, the company’s picture-processing tech that optimizes each and every frame to ensure you’re getting as much visual kick as possible. And when you factor in the Dolby Vision and HDR10 support, you’ll be blown away by the kind of cinematic sharpness the C350 is capable of. Unfortunately, we’re only working with a 60Hz refresh rate on this model (noticing a pattern here?).

One of the other big pros here is Fire TV. Not only will you be able to access top movies and shows from services like Prime Video and Netflix, but you can also use Alexa to search for flicks and episodes, and do it all with your voice through the included voice remote.

Sound-wise, the C350LU is stacked for the price, with support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual: X surround sound formats, meaning you’ll get immersive sound from your 5.1-channel (or more) sound setup or compatible soundbar.

Toshiba All-New 55-inch Class C350 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Fire TV (55C350LU, 2023 Model)

Toshiba 55-inch C350 Fire TV

For fans of the Fire TV platform

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






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