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Best TVs under £1000: 4K, HDR and budget TVs

Best TVs under £1000 Buying Guide: welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s guide to the best TVs under £1000 that you can buy in 2021.

After a house and a car, a TV could be one of the biggest purchases of your life. And seeing as you'll be stuck with it for at least a few years, you don't want to make the wrong decision.

That's where we come in. We've previously rounded up the best TVs money can buy, as well as the best options at 55 inch and 65 inch sizes, small TVs, plus our pick of the best Samsung TVs and LG TVs. Now it's the turn of TVs under £1000.

Whether you want a big screen TV, smaller model for a second room, or just want a good all-rounder, there's something for you.

You can expect to get a 4K model, even at this sort of price, and HDR will be supported, too - but check which specific formats it can handle. It's also well worth finding out which streaming apps are built in, as well as whether it's got enough HDMI inputs for your physical sources.

The TVs below are a varied bunch, but they've all got one thing in common: they all come recommended after extensive use in our testing room. So which is right for you? Let's find out...

Best TVs under £1000: Sony KD-49XH9505

(Image credit: Sony / Hanna, Amazon Prime)

1. Sony KD-49XH9505

The XH9505 is the latest in a long line of superb 49-inch 4K TVs from Sony.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 49in (also available in 55in, 65in, 75in 85in) | Type: LCD | Backlight: Direct LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | Operating system: Android TV 9.0 | HDMI inputs: 4 | ARC/eARC: eARC | Optical output: Yes | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 63 x 109 x 6.9cm

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, rich picture performance
Vastly improved sound
Snappy user experience

Reasons to Avoid

Same design as last year
Some backlight bloom

There's a lot of pressure on the 49-inch KD-49XH9505 (XBR-49X950H in the States), as all three of its predecessors have taken home What Hi-Fi? Awards.

The company has basically reused the shell of last 2019's KD-49XG9005, which is a bit of a shame as it's fairly thick and has awkward-looking feet that give the set an overly wide footprint. But the set looks fairly smart in its own right. You do also get a better remote that's neatly laid out and doesn't require line of sight in order to send commands to the TV.

Most importantly, the ageing shell has been stuffed with upgraded kit, including Sony's flagship processor, the X1 Ultimate, which brings with it lots of picture improvements. All told, this is a punchier and more richly coloured performer than its predecessor, with more dark detail and the excellent motion processing for which Sony is renowned. It sounds impressively weighty and solid, too.

Other than a bit of blooming from the direct LED backlight, this is an absolute corker, and the current benchmark for 49-inch TVs.

Read the full Sony KD-XH9505 review

Best TVs under £1000: TCL 55RP620K

(Image credit: TCL)

2. TCL 55RP620K

This Roku-powered TV is great for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 55in (also available in 43in, 50in and 65in) | Type: LCD | Backlight: LED edge lighting | Resolution: 4K | HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | Operating system: Roku | HDMI inputs: 4 | ARC/eARC: ARC | Optical output: Yes | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 72 x 123 x 8.4cm

Reasons to Buy

Complex, natural colours
Good contrast control
Superb smart platform

Reasons to Avoid

Short on dark detail
No motion processing
Sound lacks weight

On a performance-per-pound basis, this TCL is very hard to beat. The integrated Roku platform means the set is packed with streaming apps and is very easy to use, and the performance is much better than you'd expect from a set costing so little.

Compared to most TVs at the budget end of the spectrum, the RP620K produces richer, more vibrant and truer colours, better blacks, and more convincing contrast and texture. There's no real motion processing on board, but the native handling is decent.

While not exactly cinematic, the integrated speaker system is clear and controlled, so will do the job if you're unwilling or unable to add a soundbar.

All told, this TCL is a very solid buy. It might not be the AV equivalent of fine dining but it’s more sophisticated than the chips and gravy of Hisense’s even cheaper Roku TV – and just as tasty. If you want a big TV on a budget, there's currently nothing better.

Read the full TCL 55RP620K review

Best TVs under £1000: Hisense Roku R50A7200GTUK

(Image credit: Future / The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things, Amazon Prime)

3. Hisense Roku R50A7200GTUK

An impressively complete package at a very low price

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 50in (also available in 43in, 55in, 65in) | Type: LCD | Backlight: Direct LED | Resolution: 4K | Operating system: Roku | HDR support: HDR10, HLG | HDMI inputs: 3 | USBs: 1 | Optical output: Yes | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 66 x 113 x 8.6cm

Reasons to Buy

Excellent upscaling
Bold, colourful picture
Superb Roku UI

Reasons to Avoid

Sonically lightweight
Colours can be heavy-handed

The Hisense Roku R50A7200GTUK is likely to be the cheapest 50-inch TV we’ll see on sale in the UK this year from a major manufacturer. It promises a good-sized, punchy 4K HDR image and all the major apps and services you could need, without so much as an additional box or stick in sight.

It’s a pledge that Hisense delivered so well in 2020 with its R50B7120UK model that it has decided to leave the recipe pretty much as it was for its 2021 Roku TV.

Neither the picture nor the sound are perfect, but both are surprisingly good for the very low asking price. Add in a brilliant feature set and an unbeatable content offering, and you've got a great performance-per-pound proposition.

Read the full Hisense R50A7200GTUK review

Best TVs under £1000: Polaroid P49UPA2029A

(Image credit: Future / American Gods, Amazon Prime)

4. Polaroid P49UPA2029A

This supermarket special Polaroid 4K TV is much better than you might expect

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG | HDMI inputs: 3

Reasons to Buy

Bright, sharp and detailed
Good selection of apps
Surprisingly decent audio

Reasons to Avoid

Lack of black depth
Colours could be more nuanced
More premium TVs are punchier

Even the most optimistic of tech buyers would have limited expectations of a TV costing just £349, particularly one branded Polaroid and exclusively available through Asda supermarkets.

But the Polaroid P49UPA2029A smashes those expectations. It’s a 49in TV that crams in 4K, a healthy smart TV platform and support for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, yet costs more or less a third as much as the Sony KD-49XH9505 at the top of this list.

Clearly this Polaroid isn't up there with the Sony in terms of performance, but you might be surprised at just how accomplished it is for the money. Bright, sharp and detailed, and more than capable of making the most of 4K HDR signals, it really is worth a trip to Asda.

Read the full Polaroid P49UPA2029A review

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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