The 9 Best TVs to Buy in 2017 For Under $500

It's easy to buy a new TV without breaking the bank

For many, buying a new TV means saving up and choosing wisely. And shopping for a new TV can be an overwhelming experience with all the new technologies, extra features and available add-ons to consider. You’ll need to look at screen size, screen resolution, refresh rate, available connectors and screen types (LCD, LED LCD and OLED). To help, we have put together the top nine TVs under $500, and all are packed full of great features, so continue reading to see which is best for you.

This 43” 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV from LG Electronics is praised by consumers as one of the best TVs of 2016. It achieved such popularity because it offered drop-dead gorgeous picture quality and smart functionality at a value price point.

The TV's 8.3 million pixels shine bright and have radiant color, while True Black Panel antiglare film makes blacks even darker for eye-popping contrast. LG’s UHD Mastering Engine further enhances color and contrast for arresting clarity. Unlike most TVs in the sub-500 price range, this one has a 120Hz refresh rate, so action movies and video games are crystal clear even at fast speeds. Even older media looks great, thanks to 4K Upscaler, which enhances HD or SD quality to near-4K quality.

The TV also comes with LG’s award-winning WebOS 3.0 interface, hailed as the most streamlined and easy-to-use smart functionality on the market. Wireless streaming puts 50+ free streaming channels at your fingertips, as well as popular apps and streaming services. While performance lags a bit behind more expensive models, the picture quality makes this the best entry-level 4K TV on the market.

The fact that you can buy a decent 32-inch TV for less than $200 these days is pretty astounding. You’ll have to make some sacrifices, of course, but Samsung’s no-frills J4000 knows what’s important. Its Wide Color Enhancer provides an enriching color experience and its quick 60 Clear Motion Rate and processing speed keeps up with all the action you could want in HD720p. Perhaps the J4000’s best feature, though not typically a talked-about one, is its viewing angle; you can watch it from wide-off angles and still get a great picture.

The J4000 struggles when it comes to producing deep black levels and it’s not a smart TV like many cable-cutters look for nowadays. Still, the built-in audio system will offer an immersive surround sound experience that can be enhanced by its somewhat limited connectivity options: two HDMI ports and one USB.

As if binging on Netflix wasn’t easy enough, Hisense makes it even easier with its 48H4C with a built-in Roku player. The 48-incher makes flipping through inputs a thing of the past by putting your favorite services such as Hulu, Prime Video, HBO NOW and YouTube just a few clicks — or voice commands — away. (Remember, you’ll need a paid subscription to access the services.) And you can watch it all in Full HD 1080p resolution and LED backlighting.

The unit itself is 9.7 by 42.6 by 26.8 inches, weighs 27.1 pounds and has a built-in tuner to receive free HD over-the-air content. It also has ports galore: three HDMI ports, one AV, one USB, a digital audio out and a headphone output. You’ll get great depth right out of the box and although the blacks may seem a bit washed, some minor adjustments and dimming will bring life-like detail to the picture.

Ringing in at just shy of $500, Samsung UN40KU6300 not only produces the best picture, but also looks pretty attractive itself. The 40-inch LED screen is framed by a half-inch of brushed gunmetal and it sits on a Y-shaped base (which unfortunately doesn’t pivot). Its 4K UHD resolution means it has 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which is four times sharper than the 1,920 x 1,080 pixels found in a full HD TV. The PurColor feature enhances color to bring out life-like details while the UHD Dimming scans the image and adjusts brightness to deliver deeper darks and brighter whites. “It virtually eliminates the ‘halo’ effect and image distortion, so you’ll enjoy a crystal clear picture,” claims Samsung.

Several Amazon reviewers say the TV doesn’t stand up to its UHD Dimming claims, but it might be something you have to look carefully for to notice. Either way, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many other unhappy reviewers on Amazon, as the TV has earned an impressive average rating of 4.5 stars, thanks in large part to its picture quality.

Gaming equipment can be expensive, but the 43-inch TCL 49S305 is proof that it doesn’t have to be. At 1080p, the picture quality won’t knock your socks off compared to more expensive options. Still, it’s pretty decent for the price. The refresh rate is 60Hz, which is perfectly suitable for gaming given that console video games are capped at 60fps anyway. Colors appear slightly undersaturated, though you’ll get good shadow detail.

With the stand, the Smart LED TV measures 38.3 x 24.4 x 7.5 inches and weighs 16.8 pounds. On a previous version, its connectivity ports awkwardly faced down on the back of the TV, but this model fixes that, so its three HDMI ports, 3.5mm headphone jack, cable/antenna connector, USB port and optical audio output take less maneuvering to reach. To save precious time, you can personalize the home screen to gain easy access to your favorite channels, streaming services, and of course, gaming consoles.

With so many ways to connect, a device has to really go above and beyond to earn the title of best connectivity. The 43” TV from Chinese electronics manufacturer LeEco does just that with their latest 4K Ultra HD Smart LED product.

This TV is stacked with inputs. It has 2 HDMI 2.0 ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports, all smartly placed to be easily accessible while keeping wires hidden from view. In fact, the whole TV is very design conscious with an ultra-slim profile and attractive black and aluminum frame. Wireless connectivity includes dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 for easy access to the smart functionality, which runs on the Android ecosystem.

On top of the great connectivity, the TV boasts impressive specs. The 4K image is powered by a 64-bit 1.7 GHz Multi-core CPU processor and DDR3 RAM for a fast and powerful performance. Sound is powered by Harman/Kardon and decodes Dolby signals for a cinematic listening experience.

This 50-inch LED TV comes with built-in 802.11ac dual-band WiFi that easily connects to your home network. Unfortunately, there’s no ethernet connection, but unless you struggle with getting a consistent connection in your home, that shouldn’t be a problem. For the budget price, you’ll be pleased with its 1080p resolution and 60GHz refresh rate (120Hz CMI) that produce accurate colors and solid contrast.

The TV itself has a pretty basic design, but its remote and on-screen menus stand out for their superb usability. Central to the remote is the familiar purple cursor control of other Roku devices. It has just 20 buttons (half that of a standard remote), including shortcut buttons to four popular apps: Netflix, Amazon Instant, Rdio and Vudu. Aside from those, very few other buttons are necessary for navigation. The on-screen menu has tiles that make it easy to jump to your favorite apps, but if you’re more of a cable fan, you can set it to always power on to a designated input like your cable box.

“Bigger is better” is the rule of thumb for TV screens, but sometimes you need to go small. For example, you might need a small TV in your RV to keep the kids occupied on long drives, or maybe you just moved into a small dorm room, or maybe you just want a small screen in the kitchen to have the game on when you’re cooking. For all of these scenarios, this 24” TV from Sceptre is a great buy.

It is just over $100 and has a sharp LED-backlit screen that displays in radiant 720p resolution at 16:9 ratio. Setup is simple and can be done anywhere with an HDMI input to stream high-definition sound and images. You can play media via a USB port or through the built-in DVD player. The brushed-metal finish makes this TV look nicer than the price tag suggests, but the speakers are on the quiet side. 

New 50-inch TVs are few and far between at the sub $500 price range, but this model from Hisense fits the bill and includes gorgeous 4K resolution to boot. The Hisense 50H6C can confidently fill up a living room or office with its 2160p resolution that displays picture in gorgeous 4K Ultra-HD display. It even upscales current HD to UHD for the best picture available in all media.

It is wall-mountable and looks great in all light conditions. The included speakers even offer rich sound, although it pairs great with a soundbar or home theater system to make your living room come alive. Hisense includes wireless connectivity for streaming via WiFi, as well as smart functionality. While the UI is not quite up to par with the big-name competitors, it feels great to access popular streaming content from the TV menu at such a small cost.


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