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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 2022.

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 the 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: Philips 48OLED806

(Image credit: Philips/Prey, Netflix)

1. Philips 48OLED806

Simply the best picture around at this most convenient of sizes

Specifications

Screen size: 48in (also available in 55in, 65in, 77in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Operating system: Android TV 10
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 62 x 107 x 6.8cm

Reasons to buy

+
Sharp and punchy but natural
+
Full apps and HDMI 2.1 features
+
Dolby Vision and HDR10+

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound can be bettered
-
Tricky to adjust for the best picture

In a world of ever larger TVs, the 48-inch OLED remains a beacon of hope for those with more modest needs. The Philips 48OLED806 is one of the second generation of such televisions, which promise genuine flagship performance at a more manageable screen size – something that’s impossible to find on the LCD side of the market.

You might have a smaller living space, or want a great gaming TV, a screen for the bedroom or perhaps the 48-inch option is a compromise with your less AV-enthusiastic housemate. Whatever the situation, the 48-inch OLED is an excellent choice, and the Philips 48OLED806 is the best 48-inch OLED you can currently buy.

It takes more effort than most to find the best picture settings, and the default picture presets offered for each signal type are often less than ideal (Dolby Vision signals don't activate a proper Dolby Vision mode, for example), but with a bit of tweaking the OLED806 can be made to look both very accurate and supremely sharp and punchy. The performance is further enhanced by the beautiful Ambilight technology, which extends the onscreen action to the wall around the TV in the form of coloured light.

Best TVs: Samsung UE43AU7100

(Image credit: Samsung/ Money Heist, Netflix)

2. Samsung UE43AU7100

You don’t need a bottomless bank account or a cavernous room to enjoy great picture quality

Specifications

Screen size: 43in (also available in 50in, 55in, 58in, 65in, 70in, 75in, 85in)
Type: LCD
Backlight: LED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+
Operating system: Eden (Tizen)
HDMI inputs: 3
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 56 x 96 x 6cm

Reasons to buy

+
Balanced, consistent picture quality
+
Strong smart features
+
Excellent value for money

Reasons to avoid

-
Some mild colour compression
-
Sound doesn’t project well
-
Limited gaming features

Look up ‘unassuming’ in the dictionary and you’ll probably find a picture of the Samsung UE43AU7100. This 43-inch LCD TV doesn’t flaunt a particularly flamboyant design, doesn’t sell for a particularly outrageous price – either high or low – and its features list is certainly no Lord Of The Rings-style epic.

You don’t have to spend long in the UE43AU7100’s company, though, to realise that a TV doesn’t have to be an extrovert to stand out from the crowd. Solid processing and a thoughtful, balanced picture that actually seems to have had some care and attention lavished on it can be more than enough.

While inevitably for its money it’s not without its limitations, the UE43AU7100 delivers an impressively balanced, consistent and immersive picture. Particularly great to see at this price point is how deep its blacks are. Dark elements of mixed light and dark images enjoy rich and deep black tones, while full-on dark scenes appear with startlingly little of that grey or blue wash over them that so often blights such scenes on relatively affordable LCD TVs.

OLED TV: LG OLED48C1

(Image credit: LG/ Netflix, On My Block)

3. LG OLED48C1

Simply one of the easiest to live with TVs you’ll find anywhere, this LG OLED is an excellent choice

Specifications

Screen size: 48in (also available in 55in, 65in, 77in, 83in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: webOS 6.0
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 62 x 107 x 4.7cm

Reasons to buy

+
Good tonal details
+
Exciting, punchy picture
+
Brilliant for gamers

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound could do with more punch

LG's new C1 isn't a huge improvement on the CX it replaces, but it didn't really need to be. The picture performance and feature set were already exemplary, and LG has slightly improved the former with its new Cinematic Movement motion processing and enhanced de-contouring feature (which reduces banding), and slightly improved the latter with a better menu system and a more complete app selection (all UK catch-up apps are present).

As before, the C1 boasts four 40gbps HDMI 2.1 sockets with support for eARC, 4K@120hz, ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). VRR is supported in all three current formats, the most important HDMI VRR format, Nvidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync Premium.

There's an HGIG option in the menus, too, which delivers more accurate contrast with HDR games. Since launch, LG has even added support for 4K@120Hz with Dolby Vision.

LG also now has a dedicated Game Optimiser menu that gives you quick access to all of those game-related settings as well as features that adjust gaming picture performance, either based on the genre of the game you’re playing or through manual tweaking of the detail in the brightest and darkest parts of the picture.

In short, there's no better-specified gaming TV out there, and it's great with movies and TV, too.

Read the full LG OLED48C1 review

50-inch 4K TV: Sony XBR-50X90J

(Image credit: Sony / Lost In Space, Netflix)

4. Sony XR-50X90J

Charge of the bright brigade

Specifications

Screen size: 50in (also available in 55in, 65in and 75in)
Type: LCD
Backlight: Direct LED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Google TV
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 65 x 112 x 7cm

Reasons to buy

+
Very punchy HDR
+
Good value
+
Sounds impressive for its size

Reasons to avoid

-
Blacks could be deeper
-
Some backlight blooming
-
Lacking key UK catch up apps

The X90J’s pictures aren’t exactly shy and retiring – and that’s fine by us. Exceptional amounts of brightness make it onto the screen with startling consistency, delivering some of the most flat-out punchy and bright HDR pictures we’ve ever seen on a 50-inch TV.

It’s not just brightness for brightness sake, either. Sony is unashamedly using it to deliver as uncompromising an HDR experience as it can within its backlight limitations. So daylight HDR scenes look more natural and realistically bright by far than they do on any other current TV in its size and class.

Even more impressively, the XR-50X90J has enough headroom with its brightness to ensure that the brightest highlights of already bright HDR images enjoy that extra step up in intensity that usually only the most premium TVs provide.

The price you pay for this superb brightness is slightly elevated black levels and occasional backlight blooming, but neither issue is a huge deal-breaker, and you can also add excellent motion processing, natural colours and decently dynamic sound to the list of the Sony's strong points.

It's also got two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K at 120Hz, making it a good option for next-gen gamers. VRR support is due to be added, too, although this has been promised for a while. On the subject of promised features, apps for BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 are currently missing from the X90J's smart platform. Will they ever be added? Sony has always said 'yes', but we're not so sure.

Still, if you've already got a dedicated streamer and you like the sound of Sony's brightness-first approach, the X90J is a strong option at its size and price.

Read the full Sony XR-50X90J review

Best TVs under £1000: TCL 55RP620K

(Image credit: TCL)

5. 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)

6. 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  decided to leave the recipe pretty much as it was for its successor.

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: Toshiba 50UK3163DB

(Image credit: Toshiba/ Guilty, Netflix)

7. Toshiba 50UK3163DB

The boldest 4K HDR picture we’ve seen from a sub-£500 TV

Specifications

Screen size: 50in (also available in 43in, 58in, 65in)
Type: LCD
Backlight: Direct LED
Resolution: 4K
Operating system: Toshiba
HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
HDMI inputs: 3
USBs: 1
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 70 x 113 x 2.5cm

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptionally sharp 4K pictures
+
Superbly punchy HDR
+
Good smart features

Reasons to avoid

-
Black levels aren’t the best
-
Gaming features are limited
-
No Disney+ or Apple TV apps

We’ve seen a pretty dizzying mixture of the decent, the bad and the ugly from Toshiba’s recent TV efforts. 

With this in mind, it was pretty much impossible to predict what we were going to get out of the new 50UK3163DB when it landed on our test benches. Certainly we could never in our wildest dreams have predicted that it was actually going to end up dazzling us with arguably the most aggressively ‘next-gen’ pictures we’ve seen from any sub-£500 TV to date.

Inevitably for its money, the Toshiba 50UK3163DB isn’t perfect. Black levels are average, its pictures sometimes border on harshness, and its colours sometimes look rather washed out.

Its entirely healthy obsession with trying to give you the maximum 4K and HDR bang for your buck may well win it plenty of fans, though. Especially in shops where it can be shown running side by side with its subtler rivals.

Read the full Toshiba 50UK3163DB review

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.