Best cheap TV Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best cheap 4K TVs you can buy in 2020.
If you want to upgrade your TV but don't want to spend a huge amount of money, then our round-up of the best cheap 4K TVs is for you. The best budget TVs combine impressive pictures, good sound and the necessary features for enjoying the ultimate home entertainment experience available, including 4K and HDR picture processing, and streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix.
The TV industry moves faster than most, with big brands such as Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony bringing new TV technology every year to deliver genuine performance advances. And it's not just the screen manufacturers. Broadcasters and streaming services have pushed HD, 4K and now HDR (high dynamic range) video, in an effort to lure new viewers and improve the quality of their content. (Just don't think about 8K TV.)
The good news is this technology does trickle down, meaning the best budget TVs can still deliver great picture quality and have the latest apps, specs and features. Read on for our pick of the best cheap TVs to make your buying decision simple.
How we choose the best cheap TVs
Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year, including a lot of TVs of all shapes, sizes and types. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them?
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years' experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics. We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our in-house testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency.
All the TVs we review are tested in comparison with rival products in the same category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity.
From all of our TV reviews, we choose the top products to feature in our Best Buys, such as this one. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended below, or on any other Best Buy page, you can rest assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi?-approved product.
For a size of TV that is all too often overlooked, we’re delighted to see that Samsung has served up a stunner for the average household with the modestly priced and brilliantly performing UE43RU7470 range. It’s worth noting that the Samsung UE43RU7470 is said to be technically identical to the other TVs in the range, including the UE43RU7400 and UE43RU7410.
It offers all the expected connections and streaming video apps, plus supports wi-fi and the Bixby voice assistant. Everything that should be delivered in 4K with HDR is, with the TV supporting HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG. There’s no Dolby Vision, though, which is a shame, but also the norm for Samsung TVs.
In terms of performance, you're treated to a subtle, colourful picture that is more natural than some previous models. There’s a richness and variety that Samsung’s Dynamic Crystal Colour technology helps create. Detail is good, even when upscaling lower resolution material. This Samsung seems like impossibly good value. And it is.
Read the full review: Samsung UE43RU7470
This is the best cheap 50 inch TV you can buy. The Hisense R50B7120UK is a direct LED-backlit TV, with a 4K resolution, HDR support and all of the apps you could possibly need, thanks to the excellent Roku TV platform (it's the first Roku TV to land in the UK). And all at a staggeringly low price.
It may not look much but in terms of features and connectivity, it surely offers everything you need, from HDMI, optical, USB and headphone connections, to Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Freeview Play, Apple TV, Disney Plus, Spotify, and plenty more). The universal search could be better but the content is certainly there.
The picture itself is good straight out of the box, too, though tinkering a little with the contrast, brightness and colour settings will yield even better results. Motion is handled confidently, colours are bright and dynamic but never artificial, and while absolute detail in dark scenes can be bettered by more expensive TVs, any flaws here never distract from what is a watchable picture. We can't help but give a hearty recommendation for this budget 50-inch 4K TV.
Read the full Hisense R50B7120UK review
The Samsung UE43RU7020 is the smallest size of the lowest range of Samsung’s 2019 TV range. And if you want an affordable but still recent Samsung TV, then this might be the one.
It is a couple of rungs down the ladder compared to the TV above, so you do lose some features. There's no One Remote or Bixby, but potentially more significant to performance, it also loses Samsung’s Dynamic Crystal Control colour technology, which is replaced by the technically less advanced PurColor. You do however still have all the main streaming video apps, presented in a usable interface, and with plenty of HDR video support alongside the 4K resolution.
In terms of performance, this TV delivers excellent, deep black levels, thanks to an impressively uniform backlight considering the price. 4K detail is good, too, though it doesn't quite match the model above for contrast or colour performance, and viewing angles aren't as strong.
This is still a fine ‘small’ TV - and if you see a deal, it's well worth snapping up.
Read the full review: Samsung UE43RU7020
This Philips 50-inch 4K HDR TV has the company's eye-catching Ambilight picture technology, all that screen, and all the smart TV apps you need. What’s more, it delivers a picture performance that’s genuinely brilliant for the price. It can be a little bit fussy to use but there's no arguing with the deal on offer here.
Play some 4K content and this Philips offers striking but nuanced colours, with natural skin tones. There's texture to background details and impressive close-up insight, even when dropping down to HD video. Black levels don't always reveal every dark detail but you do get rich, inky dark scenes, so it's a reasonable compromise.
For its price, even the sound quality is acceptable - it is a very slim TV after all - and the improved interface is OK if not as intuitive as some rivals. A fine value 4K TV, and definitely one to check out if you're on a budget.
Read the full Philips 50PUS6703 review
Looking for a 4K TV in a sensible size and at an extremely reasonable price? You’ve found it. A few years old now, this is still available at a very tempting price and while this Samsung MU range TV may not have all the bells and whistles of Samsung's top-of-the-range sets, it does come with an impressively good picture performance for the money, as well as just enough apps and features.
Amazon Video and Netflix are here, as is HDR support and a smattering of HDMI inputs. It's simple to get started and one of the easier TVs we've reviewed when it comes to getting the picture looking spot-on.
While it’s fair to say that the impact of 4K is more keenly felt at larger screen sizes, there’s no denying the improvements to sharpness and detail seen even on a 40in display. You get a crisp, detailed picture, with solid contrast and colour reproduction. The upscaler is very good, too, so you get great results from 4K, HD and SD.
Read the full review: Samsung UE40MU6400U
The Panasonic TX-40GX800 is an edge-lit LED TV, which makes for a nice, slim design that will happily be the focal point of any small lounge or bedroom. Borrowing processing tech from the company's class-leading OLED TVs, it's no slouch on the picture front.
For a 40-inch TV at this price point, we would expect a good-looking 4K set with as much HDR codec support as possible and we might also hope that Dolby Atmos featured. Thankfully, the Panasonic TX-40GX800 does all of this – it's perhaps just a little bit more expensive than we might like given the size and overall performance. But it's still a fine 40-inch TV.
Read the full Panasonic TX-40GX800 review
A 55-inch set, this is a big, cheap OLED TV. And with this Hisense O8B using an LG panel, it’s tempting to assume that you’ll get a similar performance for significantly less money. And that's almost true. It's well connected, has all the inputs, outputs and features you would expect, including support for the latest HDR video formats: Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG.
You have to do some tweaking but once set up, you're treated to an image that’s rich without being noticeably unnatural, sharp without obvious over-processing, and bright without looking blown out.
It also features most of the big-name apps you would expect, and has a simple operating system that's a doddle to navigate.
Downsides? Motion processing could be better, and colours more nuanced. That means it can't quite match the performance of the LG C9, which is now not a lot more money. But it remains a good TV in its own right.
Read the full review: Hisense H55O8BUK
Despite its affordable price tag, this Panasonic majors on supporting just about every HDR format going - crucial if you want to see 4K video looking its best. In fact, Panasonic thinks HDR is more important on budget sets than premium sets, and certainly the evidence here is pretty compelling.
The picture produced is natural, clean and crisp, and delivers smooth motion. Black levels are pretty good, too. It can't match flagship TV performance (which we wouldn't expect at this price), and off-axis performance struggles the same way most cheaper LCD TVs do, but otherwise we can't complain about this Panasonic.
Amazon and Netflix are here in all their 4K HDR glory, there are enough HDMI and USB connections, plus optical and headphone outputs. Despite typically lightweight sound from a flatscreen TV, we still think the performance here is good enough to make this a great budget 50-inch 4K TV.
Read the full review Panasonic TX-50GX800B
An LG OLED panel with Philips' Ambilight TV technology sounded good to us and luckily this TV turned out to be as good as it sounds. In fact, even without Ambilight it would be one of our favourite televisions of the last couple of years. Add it on, and you've got an amazingly compelling little package on your hands.
The Android OS interface ensures most of the apps you'd expect to be here are present, though Amazon Video was missing when we tested it. Ah well, you can't have everything. But the picture quality more than makes up for the odd app omission: objects look reassuringly solid, with a palpable sense of three-dimensionality. Colours are lush and vibrant, and the contrast between light and dark parts of the picture is stark.
In short, this is a superb TV, and yet another enhancement of LG’s OLED tech. If HDR is your prime concern (and it should be) this should be right at the top of your new TV shortlist.
Read the full Philips 55POS9002 review
For a bargain price, Hisense will sell you a 43in 4K HDR screen with an edge LED backlight. The HDR is actually something of a busted flush, but the H43AE6100UK is in many ways quite the bargain. Hisense takes the liberty of pre-installing most apps so that they’re more or less ready to go when you are, and that includes Netflix and Amazon, both in 4K and HDR.
Colours are decent – vibrant within the set’s brightness limits but also natural and relatively nuanced. There’s reasonable detail and sharpness, too. And while there’s no motion processing setting as such, movement is no more juddery or blurry than that from many more expensive televisions.
This is true whether you're watching in 4K or HD, though only in standard dynamic range. Unfortunately, the HDR performance proves poor but for this money, in every other aspect, it's cheap and cheerful. And if you don't watch HDR sources you'll find plenty to like.
Read the full Hisense H43AE6100UK review