4K resolution used to be an expensive step-up feature that was only available with a high-end TV. But nowadays, just about every television set with a screen size that’s 32 inches or bigger is available in 4K for prices that are basically equivalent to older, lower-resolution 1080p TVs. And if you’re shopping for a 50-inch screen or bigger, it’s hard to find any model that isn’t 4K.
The best 4K TV screen could be cheaper than you’d think. The popular TCL 4-Series, which I like a lot as an entry-level option, starts at a budget TV price of $230 for the 43-inch model. The 65-inch version has dropped to under $500
Best 4K TV for the money, periodTCL 6-Series
No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The latest version of the TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to improved color, and its well-implemented full-array local dimming helps make its viewing experience run circles around just about any other TV at this price. As if that’s not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.
Sizes: 55-, 65-inch. Read our TCL 6-Series (2019 Roku TV) review.$700 AT AMAZON$800 AT BEST BUY$800 AT WALMARTThe picture quality king, by a noseLG OLEDCXP series
What’s that, you say? You just want the best TV, money no object? Here you go. In my side-by-side tests, the 2020 LG CX is the best TV I’ve ever reviewed, barely beating the 2019 B9 (above), although the B9 is a superior value — almost as good and much less expensive. But if that “barely” matters to you, the CX might be worth the extra cash.
Sizes: 55-, 65-, 77-inch. Read our LG OLEDCX series review.$2,497 AT CRUTCHFIELD$2,500 AT BEST BUY$2,497 AT ABT ELECTRONICSBest alternative to OLEDVizio P-Series Quantum X
Can’t afford an OLED TV? Still willing to pay extra — but not that much extra — for a TV experience with good color and outstanding image quality? The Vizio PX is our pick for you, with superb light output no OLED can match, top-notch local dimming and all the high-contrast, high dynamic range joy that comes with it. Its closest competitor is the TCL below — but this Vizio is the superior value.
Sizes: 65-, 75-inch. Read our Vizio P-Series Quantum X review.$3,100 AT HSN$2,078 AT WALMARTBest budget 4K TVTCL 4-Series
Roku is our favorite platform for viewing content with live TV streaming apps like Netflix, and it’s an even better experience when it is baked into the TV. This TCL 4-Series can’t beat any of the models above on image quality — its 4K resolution and HDR compatibility don’t do anything to help the picture — but it’s perfectly fine for most people, especially at this price.
Sizes: 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75-inch. (The price shown below is for the 43-inch size.) Read our TCL S425 series (Roku TV) review.$229 AT AMAZON$230 AT BEST BUY$229 AT WALMARTBest picture quality in a non-OLEDTCL 8-Series
Speaking of top-of-the-line, this TCL features Mini-LED, a technology that isn’t found on any other TV currently available. The result is superb contrast and brightness that outdoes the Vizio PX by a nose, although it doesn’t quite hit OLED levels. We still consider the PX a better OLED alternative, however, because its picture quality is almost as good and it costs a lot less, especially in the 75-inch size.
Sizes: 65-, 75-inch. Read our TCL 8-Series (2019 Roku TV) review.$2,000 AT BEST BUYBest value in a premium-brand 4K TVSamsung Q70R series
Samsung’s QLED TVs are basically fancy LCDs — don’t confuse them with OLEDs. The Q70R has an excellent picture and plenty of Samsung design and features goodies for a price that’s relatively affordable, albeit not exactly “budget.” If you’re not interested in a TCL or Vizio and don’t want to splurge for an OLED, the Q70 is an excellent choice.
Sizes: 49-, 55-, 65-, 75-, 82-inch. Read our Samsung Q70 series (2019) review.$1,400 AT BEST BUYSecond-best 4K TV for the moneyVizio M8-Series Quantum
Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, no TV offers this much picture for this little cash. In my comparisons, the TCL won slightly in a couple of important areas, in particular HDR brightness and contrast and black levels. I’d also recommend the TCL to streaming-centric viewers because of its superior Roku smart HDTV system. All of that said, the Vizio is still an excellent choice and sometimes available for less than the TCL — just make sure you’re getting the M8, not the M7.
Sizes: 55-, 65-inch. Read our Vizio M-Series Quantum M8 series (2019) review.$650 AT BEST BUY