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Best cheap TVs

By Andrew Laughlin

You don't need to spend a fortune to get a new TV – great value sets are available for under £500. Here's how to buy the best cheap TV.

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Cheap TVs can also be cheerful

If you're not bothered about getting the latest TV technology, such as 4K Ultra HD, then you can find some great TVs at even 49-inch in size and available at affordable prices.

Every manufacturer offers a wide range of price options, so you don't necessarily have to pay top whack to get a good model, even if you have your heart set on a particular brand. Bear in mind, however, that the less you pay, the more the quality you'll get for your money can vary. 

Always check our reviews first before handing over your cash so you don't end up with a TV that is cheap but definitely not cheerful.

Best cheap TVs

Samsung UE40KU6400
Typical price £619.00
Which? score 72%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Best Buy
Picture quality:
4 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Screen size:
Member exclusive
Curved:
Member exclusive
Resolution type:
Member exclusive

This TV packs in a list of features as long as any. You can expect decent picture and sound quality, with the bonus of 4K HDR for a taste of the latest TV technology. And with a price tag that won't break the bank, this set offers a hint of premium in a modest mid-range package.

Samsung UE40KU6000
Today's best price £512.22
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Best Buy
Picture quality:
4 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Screen size:
Member exclusive
Curved:
Member exclusive
Resolution type:
Member exclusive

This TV offers many of the features you'd expect to see on more premium sets at a fraction of the price. It's not a high-flyer, but a solid performance across the board sees it deservedly sneak a Best Buy award.

Samsung UE40K5600
Typical price £400.00
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Picture quality:
4 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Screen size:
Member exclusive
Curved:
Member exclusive
Resolution type:
Member exclusive

Although not quite a Best Buy, this 5-series Samsung outscores many more premium TVs. You can expect good all-round performance, with touches of quality that belie its price tag.

Samsung UE32K5500
Today's best price £550.00
Which? score 69%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Picture quality:
4 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Screen size:
Member exclusive
Curved:
Member exclusive
Resolution type:
Member exclusive

Although not quite achieving a Best Buy, this is one of the best smaller TVs we’ve seen this year. It lacks the 4K found on bigger sets, but if you’re after a modest-sized TV with decent picture and sound quality, this is the one to go for.

Cheap TVs: What should I look out for?

  • Screen size: Cheap TVs tend to have screen sizes of 32-inch or lower, but, as you can see in the table above, you can find big screen model of even 49-inch in size that excel in our testing. However, if you see a 50-inch TV or larger that costs less than £300 - it's unlikely to be a winner. Always check our reviews to find the best cheap TVs.
  • Type: Most manufacturers now favour LCD TVs with LED backlighting (generally referred to as just LED TVs). These sets used to be expensive, but they've come down in price significantly and are now very affordable. Rival plasma technology is now dead and while OLED is emerging, sets with the screen technology are very expensive currently.
  • Resolution: HD-ready TVs are cheaper than Full HD ones and can have good picture quality, but it's best to go for Full HD if you can as that will enable you to get the best out of HD television and Blu-ray discs. 4K Ultra HD TVs are now available to buy, but it’s unlikely you'll find a decent one to buy at this price level.
  • Built-in tuner: Virtually all cheap TVs have a built-in Freeview tuner, allowing you to watch subscription-free digital TV, but try to go for one with Freeview HD. That means you can access HD channels such as BBC One HD and ITV HD without needing a separate set-top box.

What you won't get at this price

  • Smart-TV remote: Many cheap TVs now support smart features, such as web browsing and apps including BBC iPlayer and Facebook. However, you generally have to pay a bit more to get the special smart-TV remotes designed to use with them. With just a standard remote, we find navigation of the features can be frustrating.
  • Premium experience: If you're looking for stand-out, cinema-like picture quality (including 4K Ultra HD) and premium features, you'll have to increase your budget and go a higher-end TV. Same goes if you want a jumbo screen size of 50-inch or larger.
  • 3D: You generally won't find 3D supported on cheap TVs, meaning you can't enjoy 3D Blu-ray films or Sky 3D TV on-demand. If you do want to watch in 3D, you’ll have to visit the cinema or spend a bit more on a 3D-ready television.
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