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Update, 01/17/2022: We’ve revamped our recommendations with the latest and greatest TVs. Take a look!

What to Look For in a Budget TV in 2023

Like most consumer electronics, budget TVs are far more capable and feature-rich than ever before. As a result, you no longer need to break the bank to get a good TV. But not all affordable televisions are made equal, so you must keep a few things in mind while selecting a new budget television. There’s a difference between a cheap TV and a budget one, after all!

Most importantly, pick a television with 4K resolution. 4K TVs used to be expensive, but nowadays they’re just as affordable as their 1080p counterparts. With such a small difference in price, there isn’t much reason to invest in a resolution lower than 4K. As you are likely to use a television for several years, you want it to be sufficiently future-proof, and 4K resolution gives you that, whether you’re currently watching 4K content or not.

Secondly, you’ll want to choose a brand known for quality products and good after-sales support. Several brands in the budget segment offer TVs with enticing features, but many of them have poor long-term service support. Apart from premium brands everyone knows about, Hisense, TCL, and Vizio are great TV brands, especially in the budget segment. They offer proper service support and are excellent value TVs.

With these two things out of the way, let’s jump into the best budget televisions on the market. If you want a deeper dive into the most important TV features and technologies, we have an excellent guide covering everything you need to know before buying a TV.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best budget for a TV?

There is no single price bracket to get a great TV. TVs are mostly priced based on the technologies and features present in them. So your TV price will depend on which features you are looking. But if you don’t want the absolute best picture quality or the latest technologies, you don’t necessarily need to spend the big bucks to get a good TV. As of 2023, there are quite a few excellent TVs under $1,000, including our recommendations. 

How do I find the best settings for my TV?

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If you have bought a new TV or are planning to get one, the reviews website Rtings.com is a good resource for getting the best settings for a TV. It publishes the recommended settings for each television it reviews. But if you cannot find your television on the website, you can ask TV enthusiasts on the AV Forums and Reddit for help.

How do I clean my TV screen without damaging it?

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A dry microfiber cloth is your best option to clean your TV screen without damaging it. But if you are dealing with a pesky stain, you can spray distilled water on the cloth to make things easier. Remember, any cleaners with alcohol content, paper towels, or abrasive pads can harm the screen or any coatings present on it. 

Does the refresh rate matter for a TV?

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Refresh rate can matter depending on what you are doing on your TV. For example, a higher refresh rate helps deliver a smoother experience if you are gaming. Similarly, if your TV has a 120Hz refresh rate and you are watching a piece of content mastered in 24fps, your TV will have an easier time avoiding judder as it’ll simply duplicate each frame five times to match the display refresh rate. Otherwise, it’ll either depend on a variable refresh rate (VRR) feature, if available, or show content with judder. 

Do I need to worry about burn-in on my TV?

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Burn-in is mainly associated with OLED displays. The OLED screens use organic material, which can degrade over time. So, when the degradation is uneven, it appears as a burned-in image on the screen. Fortunately, as the OLED technology has matured, burn-in has become less of a problem thanks to several safeguards built into the OLED TVs. So, unless you are constantly watching content with static elements, burn-in will likely not be a problem for you. 

Best Budget TV Overall: Hisense U6H

Hisense U6H on green and blue background
Hisense

Pros

  • Quantum dots for vibrant colors
  • Full-array local dimming
  • VRR and ALLM support
  • Dolby Vision HDR support

Cons

  • 50-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch models have narrow viewing angles
  • No HDMI 2.1 ports
  • 60Hz refresh rate

The Hisense U6H tops our recommendations for the best budget TV thanks to its impressive value proposition and respectable feature set. In addition, the TV comes with several advanced technologies traditionally reserved for much pricier models, such as quantum dots, full-array local dimming, and variable refresh rate (VRR).

While quantum dot technology enables the TV to display richer and more lifelike colors, the full-array local dimming helps enhance its contrast ratio. Keep in mind that although the TV’s 50-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch models have a VA-type panel with an excellent native contrast ratio, the 75-inch model comes with an IPS-type panel with a worse native contrast ratio.

The U6H also gets plenty bright to deliver a good experience in a brightly-lit room as it can effectively counter glare. Its relatively high brightness also helps with HDR content. Speaking of HDR, it supports all major HDR formats, including Dolby Vision.

You will be happy to know that this Hisense TV has no trouble upscaling lower-resolution content, including DVDs and cable channels.

In other features, casual gamers will appreciate the presence of VRR support, a low input lag, and ALLM. Unfortunately, the TV tops out at a 60Hz refresh rate and has no HDMI 2.1 ports to deliver 4K 120fps gaming. So if you want to enjoy 120fps gaming, our slightly expensive gaming pick will be more suitable.

Lastly, you’ll find the Google TV operating system on the U6H. It’s fast and gives access to all popular streaming apps.

Best Budget 55-inch TV

Hisense 55U6H

Part of Hisense's ULED lineup, the 55U6H is an excellent value for money. It has quantum dot technology, local dimming, and four HDMI ports.

Best Budget Gaming TV: Hisense U7H

Hisense U7H on pink and yellow background
Hisense

Pros

  • Native 120Hz refresh rate
  • Two HDMI 2.1 ports
  • AMD FreeSync and HDMI Forum VRR support
  • Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive support

Cons

  • Narrow viewing angles
  • More expensive than Hisense U6H

The U7H sits one step above the U6H in Hisense’s TV portfolio. It offers everything you get with the U6H, but one of the differentiating factors between the two TVs is U7H’s solid gaming features. For example, the TV has a 120Hz refresh rate display and two HDMI 2.1 ports, so you can enjoy 4K 120fps gaming on your PS5 or Xbox Series X.

Plus, the TV supports VRR, including AMD FreeSync. There won’t be any screen tearing when playing games on a console or gaming PC with an AMD graphics card. And its low input lag ensures you get a responsive gaming experience.

Even beyond gaming, the U7H is an excellent television and can deliver an impactful HDR experience thanks to the TV’s high peak brightness and wide color gamut. The company has also included Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive support, so you’ll have no trouble enjoying HDR content on streaming services or physical media.

Like the U6H, Google TV handles the software duties on the U7H, and it’s snappy and easy to use.

Sadly, it’s not without issues. The TV has narrow viewing angles, and one of the two HDMI 2.1 ports on the TV also doubles as an eARC port. So if you connect a soundbar to the TV, you will only have one HDMI 2.1 port left for gaming consoles and PCs. Lastly, all the upgrades in the U7H make it more expensive than the U6H.

Best Budget 55-inch TV

Hisense 55U6H

Part of Hisense's ULED lineup, the 55U6H is an excellent value for money. It has quantum dot technology, local dimming, and four HDMI ports.

Best Budget Roku TV: TCL S555

TCL 55S555 on pink background
TCL

Pros

  • Quantum dot tech and full-array local dimming
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
  • Low input lag
  • Easy-to-use smart TV platform

Cons

  • Narrow viewing angles
  • 480p content isn't upscaled properly
  • Can't pass Dolby Atmos or DTS:X audio via eARC
  • 60Hz refresh rate

If you prefer Roku OS over Google TV, there is no better option than the TCL S555. It’s a fantastic budget TV, right up there with the Hisense U6H. Like the Hisense model, it also includes quantum dot technology, giving you a wide color gamut and excellent color fidelity. Plus, TCL has included full-array local dimming to produce deep blacks and enhance the overall contrast ratio of its display.

Its other features include support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ formats and four HDMI 2.0 ports. One of these is marked eARC, but it’s seemingly unable to pass Dolby Atmos or DTS:X audio to a connected soundbar. Instead, both audio formats are downmixed.

The S555 is also a decent TV for gaming as it offers a low input lag, VRR support, and ALLM. But you will get little use out of VRR as the panel tops out at 60Hz.

On the software front, the Roku OS is arguably one of the easiest-to-use smart TV operating systems in the market, and it works flawlessly on the S555. It also includes apps for all the popular streaming services.

Unfortunately, as the TV uses a VA-type panel, it has narrow viewing angles, which means colors appear washed out if you view the screen from an angle. The TCL S555 also has trouble upscaling 480p content. However, 720p and 1080p content is unscaled without problems.

Best Budget Roku TV

TCL S555

There is little competition for the TCL S555 among Roku-powered budget TVs, but that doesn't mean it slacks off in performance.

Best Budget TV Under $800: TCL 55R655

TCL 55R655 on green and blue background
TCL

Pros

  • Bright, vibrant picture
  • Roku OS is easy to use
  • 144Hz refresh rate and two HDMI 2.1 ports
  • Solid HDR performance

Cons

  • Poor viewing angles
  • Issues upscaling 480p content

TCL’s 6-Series R655 is excellent, and its 55-inch model is perfect if you want something under $800. The television delivers fantastic picture quality with top-notch HDR performance. And this is possible because the company has included everything from quantum dots to Mini-LED backlighting to ensure that the R655 packs the best TV technologies.

It’s also one of the only TVs on the market to support a native refresh rate of 144Hz, which means gamers will get an even smoother experience granted their games and the PC can support it.

Additionally, the TV has VRR, including NVIDIA G-Sync support, so there is no screen tearing across a range of refresh rates, and you can pick from two HDMI 2.1 ports to connect your gaming PC or console. Moreover, the eARC function doesn’t block one of the 4K/144Hz HDMI ports.

In other highlights, the TCL R655 has a premium design and good build quality. So it’ll look great in your living room. Plus, the TV software is powered by Roku, an easy-to-use platform with a great selection of streaming apps.

Unfortunately, like the TCL S555, the R655 can’t upscale 480p content properly and has narrow viewing angles.

Best Budget TV Under $800

TCL 55R655

With solid picture quality, a premium design, and a 144Hz refresh rate, the TCL 55R655 is the TV to beat under $800.

Best Budget TV Under $500: TCL 55S546

TCL 55S546 on purple background
TCL

Pros

  • Quantum dot technology for lifelike colors and a wide color gamut
  • Excellent contrast ratio
  • Low input lag

Cons

  • Light blooming
  • Trouble upscaling 480p content
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Low HDR brightness

Part of TCL’s 5-series, the 55S546 is an affordable 55-inch 4K television that gives the most bang for the buck if your budget is limited to $500. This QLED TV offers excellent picture quality considering its price and has all the basics (and more) to provide a good experience.

One of its key highlights is the superb contrast ratio, made possible by the full-array local dimming implementation. Of course, the blacks aren’t as dark as an OLED TV, but you still get pretty deep blacks. However, local dimming results in light blooming, but it won’t mar your TV viewing experience.

Instead of Roku OS like other TCL picks on this list, the 55S546 runs on the Google TV platform. So you get an excellent app selection on the Google Play store and the Google Assistant for voice control. You can also connect a USB webcam to the TCL TV for video calls via the Google Duo app.

Although we suggest going for our gaming pick if gaming matters to you, this TCL TV isn’t bad for occasional games. Its low input lag results in a responsive gaming experience, and VRR support helps with screen tearing. However, as the panel is 60Hz, you won’t get the full benefit of the VRR feature.

Being an affordable TV, the 55S546 has a few shortcomings. For example, like other TCL TVs, it can’t upscale 480p content properly and has poor viewing angles. It also doesn’t get very bright in HDR. So HDR content will look pretty flat on the TV. Our best overall pick is more suitable if you need better HDR performance.

Best Budget TV Under $500

TCL 55S546

The TCL 55S546 is a great choice for anyone restricted by their budget. It produces vibrant pictures and has an excellent contrast ratio.

Best Budget TV Under $300: Vizio V435M-K04

People watching Vizio V435M-K04 in living room
Vizio

Pros

  • Good contrast ratio
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
  • Low input lag and VRR support
  • Wi-Fi 6E support

Cons

  • Trouble upscaling 480p content
  • Doesn't get very bright
  • No HDMI 2.1 ports
  • 60Hz refresh rate

While one wouldn’t expect much from a television priced below $300, the Vizio V435M-K04 is surprisingly capable. Of course, it’s less feature-rich than our other recommendations, but it still delivers a decent performance.

You get dynamic HDR support, including Dolby Vision, a feature you won’t find on many TVs in this price bracket. The company has also included three HDMI 2.0 ports, including an eARC port that can flawlessly deliver Dolby Atmos or DTS:X audio formats to a connected soundbar. Plus, you get Wi-Fi 6E support. So you’ll get improved Wi-Fi performance if you have a compatible router.

The Vizio TV is also great for casual gaming as it has a low input lag and supports VRR and ALLM features. But the display panel is 60Hz, so you’ll only get tear-free gaming between 40Hz and 60Hz refresh rates.

In other features, while the V435M-K04 can upscale 720p and 1080p content without issues, it has trouble doing the same with 480p content. The TV is also not very bright to provide an impact HDR experience, but it has a reasonable contrast ratio and can display deep blacks, thanks to its VA-type LCD panel.

Finally, like other Vizio TVs, it uses the SmartCast operating system, which supports Chromecast and AirPlay 2. But the app selection is limited. Thankfully, you still get apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and YouTube.

Best Budget TV Under $300

Vizio V435M-K04

This Vizio TV packs in a lot for a low price. It has Dolby Vision HDR support, VRR, eARC, and a good contrast ratio.

The Best TVs of 2023

Samsung S95B
Best TV Overall
Samsung S95B
Hisense U6H
Best Budget TV
Hisense U6H
Samsung QN900B
Best 8K TV
Samsung QN900B
LG C2
Best Gaming TV
LG C2
Sony A95K
Best TV for Movies
Sony A95K
TCL 6-Series R635
Best Roku TV
TCL 6-Series R635
Hisense U8H
Best LED TV
Hisense U8H
Profile Photo for Gaurav Shukla Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla is a technology journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting and writing about consumer technology. His work has appeared in Android Police, XDA Developers, and NDTV Gadgets 360.
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