If it’s been a few years since you’ve upgraded your television, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are now lots of models that offer top-of-the-line technology at reasonable prices. “You can get a heck of a lot of value in a TV under $1,000,” says Steve Koenig, vice-president of research at Consumer Technology Association. “The TV market is saturated in great deals. It’s a very competitive market and all of that plays to the buyer’s advantage.”
While most TVs with features like 4K resolution and HDR (which provide a wider range of colors and greater color contrast) were out of thrifty shoppers’ reach just a year or two ago, today they’re considered the standard for televisions, with screens as large as 65 inches. Nearly all options in this price range are also smart TVs, meaning they’re Wi-Fi–enabled for connecting to apps like Netflix or Hulu. We spoke to three TV experts who recommended the following options, all of which are budget-friendly but still offer a high-quality viewing experience and wide variety of features.
Best 55-inch TVs under $1,000
This solid 4K HDR option comes recommended by Kevin Roberts, a home theater designer, salesman at Towne TV, and self-described “huge Sony fan” who’s been selling TVs since 1985. Compared to similar-sized TVs in the same price range, this one has a better color chip and a picture better for side-viewing (which those who regularly sit at an angle from the screen will prefer, according to Roberts). It’s not the biggest TV on our list, but he says the viewing experience makes up for the small sacrifice in size. “You really want to make your investment in the best picture quality. You are better off spending the money on a good 49- or 55-inch TV than buying a 65-inch low-end TV that does not have a good picture.”
Another model recommended by Roberts, who says this and the Sony TV are among “the best models for the money for picture, sound, smart apps, and durability.” This Samsung also comes with a soundbar — a gadget most experts recommend pairing your flat screen TV with, because thin televisions have tiny speakers — at no extra cost. “Look for bundled deals. Those are a great way to get that total package for a single price,” according to Koenig.
Best 60-inch TV under $1,000
If you want something a bit bigger, this 60-inch TV is a great bargain, according to Mark Steinberg, a senior technologist at B&H Photo. “It’s really pretty decent for the money,” in part because it comes equipped with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Chromecast, so “it has tons of content you can access, and it’s a pretty nice picture,” he says. In addition to 4K resolution, it also has HDR, which isn’t always the case with $500 sets.
Best 65-inch TVs under $1,000
All the experts agree that 65-inch TVs are generally the largest size you can get for less than $1,000 that will still offer an impressive picture. Steinberg says this one has “a million features” — including Chromecast and apps like Netflix and YouTube built in. “It looks great; overall it’s a very nice design, and it’s hard to find a better value at this price.” He also likes how the TV appears nearly frameless to the eye, thanks to its thin bezel.
Steinberg also loves this slightly cheaper 65-inch TV, which he says is easy to use and highly functional. “[TCL] partnered with Roku and they use the Roku operating system on their TVs,” he explains. “It’s one of the best interfaces.” A single (voice-controlled) remote allows you to access the TV’s built-in apps, your cable box, and any connected video game consoles. But “the sound is a little bit lacking on [this TV],” according to Steinberg, who says that can be “easily remedied with a soundbar, and you don’t have to spend a fortune on those.” At just $100, this Vizio soundbar will do the trick and keep you within your $1,000 budget.
The color range and contrast on this set aren’t quite as good as they are in the other 65-inch options, but Steinberg says its $500 price tag is “a super-duper deal.” This TCL model still features the Roku interface and 4K resolution, and has a USB and two HDMI inputs to connect it to other devices.
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