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, video games or live sports, 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 professional-quality resolution and incredibly life-like images that will put you right in the center of the action.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a 4K TV, we’ve found six, well-reviewed options that deliver exceptional picture quality, reliable performance, — and a ton of bonus features. They all come in under $500, 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. Purchase: $279.99 on Amazon.com.
2. TCL 43-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. For its price point, you won’t get the bombastic sound quality of other sets on this list, and some reviewers say the screen loses some of its definition if you’re standing or sitting more than 5-10 feet away. Still, it’s a great option for small spaces, bedrooms, offices and dens. This 43-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. Purchase: $259.99 on Amazon.com.
3. LG 43-Inch UK6300 Series Smart 4K UHD TV
This highly-reviewed Smart 4K TV from LG packs a ton of features into its $300 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.” LG’s “color mapping technology,” meantime, actively works to correct any distortion on screen, to deliver more accurate and natural-looking pictures. The TV’s built-in WiFi lets you pair it with your favorite apps and streaming services, while its three HDMI ports and two USB ports let you connect a gaming console, camera, speakers or HD device with ease. This package from BestBuy includes a remote control and free stand. Purchase: $329.99 on BestBuy.com.
4. Toshiba 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV – Fire TV Edition
This Toshiba 50-inch Smart TV fires more than eight million pixels onto the screen for crisp, true-to-life images and brilliant colors. This Fire TV edition comes with Amazon Alexa built-in, letting you search for shows, control the volume, play music, launch apps and more with just your voice. You can even pair the TV to monitor and control your Smart Home devices. Reviewers love how easy this model is to set up and how seamlessly it integrates live over-the-air TV and streaming channels on one, unified home screen. Multiple input/output options let you connect your consoles and media using HDMI, USB or ethernet. The contrasts could be more dynamic and the sound leaves something to be desired, but let’s be honest, for all its features, a 50-inch Smart TV at this price point is pretty hard to beat. Purchase: $379.99 on Amazon.com.
5. Samsung 50-Inch 4K UHD 7 Series 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 “PurColor” 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. Purchase: $447.99 on Amazon.com.
6. Sharp 55-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV
This best-selling TV from Sharp features the largest screen on our list and is also one of the best-reviewed online. Users praise its super slim design, dazzling imagery and full, robust sound. Like the Samsung model, this TV upscales “regular” HD content to 4K, Ultra HD quality, delivering deep and vibrant colors, and letting you pick up subtle details on screen that you may otherwise have missed. 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 is cleverly designed with 178° horizontal and vertical viewing angles, that provide 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. Purchase: $449.99 on BestBuy.com.
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