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Best TVs under $1000: get an awesome new TV in 2021

Best TVs under $1000 Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best TVs under $1000 you can buy in 2021.

So you want a TV that combines impressive picture quality with top streaming apps for under $1000? It's a tough ask, but we've searched far and wide, testing some of the best budget TVs in the States, to find the best TVs under $1000. Choose wisely and you can have your cake and eat it (in front of an awesome 4K HDR TV).

Those of you who have walked the TV aisle at Walmart or Target will know it's possible to pick up a 4K TV for as little as $300. But, in our experience, very few sub-$1000 sets offer great all-round performance. Compromises are often made in key areas, meaning you might get a bargain, but you won't get a good home theater experience.

To help you make a good choice at the checkout, we've highlighted our favorite value-orientated 4K TVs under $1000 below. They range from $300 to $999 in price, but all deliver excellent spec, features, picture and apps for the money... 

Best TVs under $1000 2021

(Image credit: Sony / Hanna, Amazon Prime)

1. Sony XBR-49X950H

The best sub-$1000 TV you can buy right now.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with direct LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 4 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 109cm x 63cm x 7cm

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, rich picture performance
Vastly improved sound
Snappy user experience

Reasons to Avoid

Same design as previous model
Some backlight bloom

On the hunt for an affordable Android TV with an exceptionally lifelike picture? This Sony knocks it out the park. Launched in 2020, the 49-inch X950H LCD TV impresses with a snappy interface, Dolby Vision HDR support and sharp picture.

NetflixDisney+, Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+ are all on board to scratch that streaming itch, while Google Play Movies & TV delivers pay-as-you-go 4K content with HDR10. Sony has even thrown in AirPlay 2, which lets you stream Apple TV content from an iPhone/iPad to your TV.

Of course, the X950H's main draw is its rich but natural color palette and excellent ability to display dark detail. Motion performance is impressive and gamers should be satisfied to hear that input lag is just 21.1ms. 

All told, this set's mix of performance and technology makes it the best TV under $1000 right now. And from one of the most respected TV brands in the business, too.

Read the full Sony XBR-49X950H review

Best TVs under $1000 2021

(Image credit: Future / How to build a girl, Amazon Prime)

2. Samsung UN55TU8000

This awesome 2020 TV delivers an impressive performance.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 78 x 123 x 25cm (with stand)

Reasons to Buy

Brilliant HDR picture
Bags of tonal detail
Punchy colours

Reasons to Avoid

Not particularly bright
Uninspiring sound

If you can stretch your budget a bit further, make a beeline for the Samsung 8 Series – it's one of the best TV bargains in the States right now. 

The 8 Series sat just below the company’s flagship QLED panels when it originally launched in 2020, and continues to deliver impressive picture quality at an affordable price.

It's packed with streaming apps including Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu, YouTube, ESPN and plenty more besides, so there's no need to add a streaming stick. You also get three HDMI inputs, a decent interface for browsing all that content and voice control if you want to get smart.

And here's the kicker: the picture is better than most rivals at the $600 price point. Colours are vibrant, black levels are solid and performance is good across 4K, HD and even SD pictures. Sound is basic but a soundbar would fix that. For the money, this is the smart TV equivalent of drinking champagne on a beer budget.

Read the full Samsung UN55TU8000 review

Best TVs under $1000 2021

(Image credit: Future / Future Man, Amazon Prime Video)

3. Hisense 50R7E

A solid 4K HDR set enhanced by Roku TV.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with direct LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions: 72 x 113 x 26cm

Reasons to Buy

Strong upscaling
Clean, dynamic image
Intuitive, app-packed Roku platform

Reasons to Avoid

Not terribly sharp
Lacks some dark detail

It may look rather ordinary but this 4K HDR smart TV is staggeringly-good value for money thanks to a generous list of features that includes the app-packed Roku TV smart platform. 

From Amazon Prime Video to Netflix, Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max and Spotify, cheap TV provides access to almost every major streaming service. Connectivity is good, too, with three HDMI sockets plus USB and headphone connects.

As for the picture, motion is handled confidently and colours are strong. As we said in our review, this model "treads a tightrope between punch and finesse". Better yet, it compromises in all the right places and comfortably outperforms its low price tag.

Hisense has replace this model with a newer set, but you can still find them online. If you're after one of the the best TVs under $1000, snap one up before stocks run dry.

Read the full Hisense R50B7120UK review

Best TVs under $1000 2021

(Image credit: TCL)

4. TCL 55S425

A superb 55-inch 4K Roku TV for the value shopper.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 78 x 123 x 25cm (with stand)

Reasons to Buy

Affordable 4K TV with HDR
Solid Roku TV experience
Good for gaming

Reasons to Avoid

No local dimming
Unimpressive motion handling
Limited HDR support

There are plenty of cheap 55-inch 4K HDR TV to chose from but few offer decent colour handling, a sharp picture and a brilliant smart TV platform. Step forward, the TCL 55S425.

The main attraction here is the presence of the slick Roku TV interface, which provides easy access to a host of major streaming services (Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, YouTube TV and more). You also get a basic Roku remote control with one-touch access to Hulu, Netflix and Sling TV.  

Of course, even the best TVs under $1000 make a few compromises. The lack of local dimming is to be expected at this price and the models listed above do a better job at handling motion. 

That being said, the picture is sharp and gamers will appreciate the super-speedy 14ms response time. So all in all the TCL 55S425 Roku TV is a strong option for those seeking a bargain 4K TV.

Read the full TCL 55S425 Roku TV review

Best TVs under $1000 2021

(Image credit: Vizio)

5. Vizio V505-G9

One of the better affordable TVs you can buy right now.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 112cm x 71cm x 25.6cm

Reasons to Buy

Decent picture quality
Good HDR format support
Built-in Google Chromecast

Reasons to Avoid

Basic port selection
Middling HDR performance
Quiet audio

When it comes to pure bang for buck, the Vizio V505-G9 knocks it out of the park thanks to support for Dolby Vision HDR, good color handling and Vizio's SmartCast software. Built-in Chromecast is the frosting on this high-tech cupcake.  

You won't be spoilt for connections and there's no Bluetooth but you won't be short of good quality streaming apps. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube TV are joined by Vizio’s own dedicated channel, called WatchFree, which streams more than 100 TV channels over the internet.

The remote is rather basic and the picture quality won't blow you away, but there's decent color handling and brightness, which should help make the most of this set's wide HDR support. Gamers might want to skip this TV, though, as 4K gaming is limited to 24Hz.

Gaming aside, the V505-G9 is a good all-rounder and well worthy of a spot on our list of the best TVs under $1000.

Read the full Vizio V505-G9 review

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