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Having a limited budget doesn't mean you have to settle for a sub-par television, and the best TVs under $500 still offer plenty of great features. Top brands like LG, Sony, and Samsung have budget-friendly models with smart features like voice commands, streaming capabilities, and even built-in web browsers. TCL is another great brand for budget-conscious shoppers, and their televisions use the Roku streaming platform to give you access to thousands of shows, movies, and songs to stream whenever you like. Insignia televisions use the Amazon Fire platform, letting you use your Amazon Echo smart speaker for expanded voice controls and better smart home network integration.
Televisions on the lower end of the price spectrum can still offer great picture resolutions either in 1080p full HD or 4K UHD. Some cheaper 4K TVs even support HDR technology to deliver excellent detailing and contrast for a more true-to-life picture. Other models have Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to screen mirror your smartphone or tablet as well as connect external audio equipment like soundbars, speakers, and subwoofers for a custom home theater setup. No matter what your needs or how small your budget, there is a TV that will suit your home, apartment, or dorm. We've gathered up a list of the best TVs to buy for under $500 to help you decide which is right for you.
Roku built in
No native voice controls
When it comes to finding the right TV, there’s a lot to take into consideration, like quality, size, and the most important detail, price. Thankfully, the TCL 4K Roku TV checks every box.
With a crisp and clear picture thanks to 4K Ultra HD, high dynamic range (HDR), and direct-lit LED, you can watch movies and TV in brilliant quality. Plus, the built-in Roku provides access to over 500,000 movies and shows. And with multiple inputs, you can plug in your devices, thumb drives, headphones, and more to watch the way you want.
The possibilities are endless with the TCL; you can download the mobile Roku app and control the set from your phone, any new apps you add from Roku upload quickly, and it even comes with an easy-to-use remote.
Available in various sizes, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit at a price that won’t hurt your wallet.
The colors pop in a vivid but not artificial way and yield realistic, even pristine, image quality. - Yoona Wagener
Amazon Alexa/Echo compatible
Fire TV operating system
No Bluetooth connectivity
Staying in budget is crucial when it comes to buying electronics, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality to save a buck. With the Insignia Fire TV, you can get everything you want for a price you won’t regret. Delivering sharp, true-to-life picture quality with 4K Ultra HD, this is the first Fire device to support HDR, offering brighter colors and deep contrast.
The Fire TV gives you access to hundreds of streaming apps and thousands of movies and shows, and you can control your TV with ease by connecting your Alexa or Echo; use your voice to change the channel, switch apps, or play games. And with three HDMI ports, you can connect other devices like your game consoles, speakers, and so much more to enhance your experience.
Available in 43-, 50-, and 55-inch flavors, the Insignia Fire is a TV that fits your home, your life, and your budget.
The Insignia NS-43DF710NA19 is a 4K UHD television with HDR support, and the picture quality is a massive improvement over lower resolution (1080p, 720p) televisions, especially if you have hardware or media that’s capable of taking advantage of the increased resolution. Game consoles like the 4K-capable Xbox One X and PS4 Pro look great, as do UHD Blu-rays. - Jeremy Laukkonen
Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant compatible
Smart TVs have become an essential part of home entertainment, and this model has the most to offer for family movie night or binge watch parties with friends. This TV uses Samsung's Universal Guide to put all your favorite streaming apps in one convenient location for easier browsing. It even suggests new things for you to watch based on your browsing history so you can keep up to date with the latest shows and movies.
This model is built around a UHD processor to deliver superior native 4K resolution and better upscaling of standard and full HD media without sacrificing picture quality. With the built-in Bluetooth connectivity, you can hook up soundbars for a home theater or headphones for private listening without disturbing others. You can also connect your Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices for hands-free voice controls.
No built-in TV tuner
If you’re looking for a smaller screen to fit a more narrow space, or perhaps to put in the kid’s playroom, Toshiba has one of the best offers out there. Fitting both your space and your budget, it has all the features you'd want or need with the impressive Amazon Fire platform.
Access the latest streaming apps and programs right on your TV so you can watch all the hit shows and movies available. You can also access it using Alexa thanks to the built-in AI program. Plus, there’s a decent number of ports that will allow you to easily connect all your devices.
Just because you’ve got a smaller screen doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the brilliant picture quality your favorite shows were meant to be seen in.
1080p full HD
Not 4K UHD
If you're working with a tight budget when shopping for a new TV, check out the TCL 32S325 32-inch model. This TV has a price point under $150, so even the most money-conscious shoppers can fit it into their budget. Like the other TCL models on our list, this one is built around the Roku streaming platform for easy access to your favorites apps for movies, shows, and music. The direct-lit LED panel gives you great 1080p full HD resolution and contrast for tons of detail and color saturation.
You can connect your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices for expanded, hands-free voice controls. This TV has three HDMI inputs, a USB port, RF, and composite video connections that will allow you to connect all of your media devices, game consoles, and sound equipment quickly and easily. It also has a headphone jack for private listening so you don't disturb others.
Built-in dual-band WiFi
Getting a great quality TV with all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean sticking with the sometimes over-priced mainstream brands. The Hisense 50R7E proves a new name can bring about the same, if not better quality at a reasonable price.
With a brilliant 4K Ultra HD picture, you can enjoy your movies and shows in the best definition out there—over eight million pixels fill the screen to provide a crisp, clear picture in the high quality they deserve.
Plus, with the built-in Roku, you’ve got access to thousands of TV shows and hit movies, all accessible with the included remote or on your phone when you download the Roku app.
You’ll have no trouble streaming with the dual-band wireless network, which will make the most of modern routers and give you lightning-fast connection speeds without the mess of cables.
WiFi connectivity issues
Features are a big draw when it comes to buying a brand new TV, but so many come with unnecessary add-ins that the process of finding what you want can be frustrating. Thankfully, the LG 55UM7300PUA Smart TV has all that you’ll need.
While Smart TVs are widely available, not all of them come with the added bonus of a built-in assistant, but this particular LG TV does. Including Amazon’s Alexa, you can do everything with your voice—control your media, access apps, make lists, set alerts, and browse the web. Don’t have Alexa? The ThinQ AI can work with Google Assistant too.
Including the Smart TV guide, a brilliant picture with 4K resolution, and easy setup, the LG Smart TV is exactly what you need to add the best possible viewing experience to your home.
Dolby Vision HDR
Four HDMI inputs
Automatic Game Mode
No Bluetooth Connectivity
Getting the perfect TV for gaming all comes down to two important features: picture quality and connectivity. Every gamer knows getting the sharpest and clearest picture is crucial to keeping up with the latest games and consoles, but if you don’t have the appropriate ports, then you can't even get started.
With this TCL TV, you're getting everything you need. With brilliant 4K UHD paired with Dolby Vision high dynamic range, you’ll play today’s hit games in the highest picture quality available. Plus, four HDMI inputs allow you to hook up your consoles with ease, alongside one USB and one headphone jack.
If you need a TV that can keep up with the latest games while providing the best picture, the TCL delivers everything you need without breaking your budget.
The TCL 50S425 is a great, well-rounded smart television that uses the Roku streaming platform which allows you to download apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ right to the TV. With the Roku app, you can turn your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote for easier browsing and searching. If you prefer the Amazon Fire TV platform, the Insignia NS-43DF710NA10 is an excellent option. It delivers great 4K resolution with HDR support for enhanced detailing and contrast, and it is available in several screen sizes to suit almost any room.
About Our Trusted Experts
Taylor Clemons has been reviewing and writing about consumer electronics for over three years. She has also worked in e-commerce product management, so she has the knowledge of what makes a solid TV for home entertainment.
Jeremy Laukkonen is a former automotive mechanic turned tech writer. Working on cars taught him to break down complex technical ideas into understandable sections. This knowledge and skill set allows him to provide the best reviews for customers at all levels of tech savviness.
Yoona Wagener has a background in content and technical writing along with experience in providing tech support and help documentation. These skills let her provide detailed reviews for consumers who may or may not be familiar with the latest home entertainment technologies.
Having a budget under $500 can make it tough to find a good quality television that offers a decent balance between picture quality, screen size, and smart features. Luckily, most top brands like TCL, LG, and Sony have a range of models that cater to more budget-conscious consumers looking to either purchase their first smart TV or upgrade their current home theater configuration. Lower-priced televisions can still give you the option of 4K resolution so you can stream high quality video or use a UHD DVD player, as well as compatibility with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or Google Home for hands-free voice controls and smart home network integration.
Some have Bluetooth connectivity for screen mirroring your smartphone or tablet or wirelessly connecting external soundbars, speakers, and subwoofers for a custom audio setup. There are even budget models that have dedicated game modes that lower input latency and boost color and contrast. In this buying guide, we'll break down a few important factors to consider when looking to purchase a TV priced under $500 to help you choose what best fits your needs.
Lower-priced televisions offer fewer smart features than their more expensive counterparts, but you can still get a quality model on the cheap. TCL offers several models that run on the Roku platform, allowing you to download apps right to the TV so you can watch your favorite shows and movies without the need for any extra equipment. With the Roku app, you can turn your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote for easier searching and browsing. Insignia uses the Amazon Fire TV platform and has several apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video pre-loaded for quality streaming right out of the box. Insignia televisions also have Alexa built-in for hands-free voice controls without needing an Amazon Echo or other smart speaker. Samsung televisions use their proprietary Bixby virtual assistant, but are also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for customers who prefer them. Some other brands like LG and Sony have compatibility with Apple Homekit, allowing you to use Siri for voice commands.
Screen mirroring is becoming more and more popular for home entertainment, and a few of the more budget-friendly televisions allow it via AirPlay2 for iOS devices and Chromecast for Android. Screen mirroring lets you share your smartphone or tablet screen for more ways to watch videos and view pictures with friends and family. Bluetooth connectivity also lets you stream music from your phone, tablet, or laptop to your TV for room-filling audio and a more immersive listening experience. Televisions with Bluetooth connectivity also allow you to wirelessly connect soundbars, subwoofers, and speakers so you can set up a surround sound system for the ultimate home theater configuration.
With 4K resolution becoming more and more mainstream, it's easier to find budget-friendly televisions that support it. You can still purchase a full 1080p HD model if you like, but with the rise of 4K content, you'll want a model with UHD capabilities to keep up with current video streaming trends. A full HD 1080p resolution television uses older technology to produce a middling resolution picture. This was popular several years ago when HD video first became available. Televisions that utilize 4K resolution give you four times the pixels as a 1080p television, allowing for better detailing and a more true-to-life picture. The difference between 4K and 1080p is clear to see, and when you do see it, you'll want to opt for the better picture.
Televisions that have 4K resolution often support HDR, high dynamic range, technology to produce color and contrast levels that closely mimic what you would see in the real world. This technology comes in four variations: HDR10/10+, HLG (hybrid log gamma), Dolby Vision, and Technicolor HDR. There isn't much difference between each variation of HDR besides which company has licensed the use of the technology. Each variation uses the same basic principles to produce enhanced color volumes and contrast for better detailing and more life-like pictures.
A high refresh rate is also needed to make a great picture. Models that support 4K resolution as well as HDR technology often have a refresh rate of either 60Hz or 120Hz. A refresh rate is how many times a TV changes the image on screen per second, so 60Hz means it changes 60 times a second and 120Hz means it changes 120 times a second. A high refresh rate makes motion blur a thing of the past, leaving you with smooth action even during intense and fast-paced scenes, so you never miss a detail. One downside is that you may get the "soap opera" effect when a video, show, or movie doesn't support a high refresh rate. This gives the picture a fuzzy, inferior quality and brings movement into uncanny valley territory. To fix this, you can turn off automatic refresh rate options in your television's settings menu when you plan on watching older movies and shows.
The technology that a television uses to produce a picture plays a large part in how much it costs as well as the quality of the image on screen. TVs that use LCD screens are generally much more affordable than their LED-based counterparts. But LCD screens are an older technology. They use an electrical current running through liquid crystals and a fluorescent backlight in order to produce colors and details. This results in a much less clear picture with muddier colors and contrast. Models that use LED screens have individually lit pixels, allowing for pixel-precise color, detail, and contrast. Televisions that use LED screens often have localized dimming zones that completely turn off the LED bulbs for deep, inky blacks to starkly contrast brighter colors. Another advantage of an LED screen is that LED bulbs are more energy efficient than fluorescent lights, meaning it costs less to operate, saving you money on your electric bill. LED televisions are also more lightweight and can be more thin than LCD models because of the newer technology, giving them a more sleek, modern look that will better blend into your home decor.