Budget Ultra HD 4K TVs break cover at CES 2014

Bendy TVs, curved TVs, 4K, OLED, smart TVs – we've seen them all this year at CES. And most of them, if they make it into production, will probably cost an arm and a leg.

But hang on a minute: we've just spotted two 'budget' 4K Ultra HD TVs, one from Polaroid (remember them?) and another from Australian budget brand Kogan.

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Polaroid's brought its latest televisual efforts along to CES – and has grabbed headlines with its 50GSR9000 4K TV, which is set to retail for a mere US$1000. That's a highly-affordable £607 in real money.

Of course, for £600, you're not going to get the same quality as the astronomically-priced sets from the likes of LG and Samsung. The 50GSR9000 isn't actually manufactured by Polaroid, instead being produced by Empire Electronics under license.

The budget 4K TV packs three HDMI inputs, but lacks smart TV features. And while the image is pin-sharp from the front, viewing angles are limited. The design is pretty basic, too – a bulky, plasticky frame surrounds the screen.

Still, at this price you can hardly complain; you're getting 4K TV for a fraction of the price of rival sets, bringing Ultra HD within the reach of ordinary buyers for the first time.

And Polaroid isn't the only one with a budget 4K set. Australian brand Kogan has unveiled its own 4K Ultra HD 55in LED smart TV powered by Android for Australian $1000 (£550). As well as its 3840x2160 resolution, the set has Google Play access, wi-fi, ethernet, USB and microSD ports.

Who says cutting-edge technology has to be expensive?

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By Andy Clough

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.