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Unless you’re still using a box, most television sets these days support HD-quality images. But if you want to get the full viewing experience from your favorite shows, movies or video games, it may be time to upgrade to a 4K TV.
As the name suggests, 4K (or “Ultra HD”) TVs have four times as many pixels as a standard 1080p set, resulting in clearer, more well-defined images. The higher pixel density brings out more vivid details and textures, delivering theater-quality resolution and incredibly life-like images that put you right in the center of the action.
The best 4K TVs are also packed with a ton of upgraded tech features, to deliver more stable images with less banding or blurring on screen. It’s great for watching sports or an action film, and essential for fast-paced gaming, where the little details can make a big difference.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a 4K TV, we’ve found five, well-reviewed options that deliver exceptional picture quality, reliable performance and a ton of bonus features, all housed in big-screen packages.
They all come in under $500 too, making this one of the easiest and smartest purchases you’ll make all year.
1. Insignia 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD – Fire TV Edition
If you’re looking for a great starter 4K TV, you can’t go wrong with this 50-inch model from Insignia. Reviewers love its easy “plug and play” setup, while the built-in Fire TV and included voice remote lets you control your viewing experience using just your voice – searching for shows, controlling the volume and switching between inputs has never been easier.
The Insignia is fast and reliable, powered by a multi-core CPU for quick and fluid responsiveness. If you’re a serious film buff or avid gamer, reviewers say the images could be sharper, and many note that the sound quality is “tinny” and lacks bass. Note that this is also an LCD TV with an LED backlight and not an LED TV, though casual viewers won’t notice much of a difference.
2. TCL 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku TV
California-based TCL is one of the fastest-growing TV brands in North America and a lot of that has to do with its best-selling Roku TV. An affordable, entry-level option in the Smart TV market, the Roku TV lets you access thousands of movies and shows, through a simple, intuitive interface that can be easily customized to your favorite programs and settings. The TV’s direct-lit LED screen gets you reliable picture quality and solid contrasts, and users praise its ability to define dark tones and colors, even in low lighting.
This is a great option for small spaces, bedrooms, offices and dens. This 65-inch TV is also a favorite for gamers, which isn’t surprising considering TCL is the official TV of the Call of Duty World League (CWL), the premiere esports league for the world’s best Call of Duty players.
3. LG 65-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV
Another big 65-inch unit, this highly-reviewed Smart 4K TV from LG packs a ton of features into its sub-$500 price tag. Its HDR (high dynamic range) compatibility gets you a higher contrast ratio versus standard HD images, which brings out more depth, rich details and vivid colors that truly “pop.” The powerful quad-core processor and 4K Active HDR automatically enhance picture quality, while working to eliminate blurring and fuzziness. LG’s “color mapping technology,” meantime, actively works to correct any distortion on screen, to deliver more accurate and natural-looking pictures. This package from BestBuy includes a remote control and free stand.
4. Samsung 50-Inch Class Crystal 4K UHD Smart TV
This Samsung 4K TV is a solid starting point for your home entertainment system, delivering incredibly realistic images, crisp, elegant colors, and smooth, fluid motion (no choppiness or lagging here). Samsung’s color technology fine-tunes millions of shades of color to find the most accurate, vibrant settings for your movie, TV show or game.
What we like: like the other sets on this list, the TV’s 4K capability gets you four times the resolution of HD, but Samsung’s UHD engine will even “upscale” non-4K content to 4K for a better overall viewing experience. This TV also gets points in our book for its super slim and contemporary design, again, making it a great focal point for your home entertainment setup.
The smart TV is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, or Samsung’s voice assistant, Bixby.
5. Sharp 55-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV
This best-selling TV from Sharp is one of the best-reviewed online. Users praise its super slim design, dazzling imagery and full, robust sound. Reviewers say the image quality stays consistent whether you’re watching a film in low lighting, or blasting the game in a sunlit room. Unlike other television sets, which deliver more of a straight-on viewing experience, this Sharp TV provides a clear, focused picture whether you’re seated right in front, or off to the side of the screen. Built-in Roku technology lets you stream content and pair your favorite apps and devices easily.