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It’s almost time for 200 first birthdays, as the 4K TVs we tested from 2020 turn one. But the celebrations of these electronic sprogs may be short-lived, since the majority of 2020’s TVs will be off sale long before they turn two.
Such is the way of TVs, as LG, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony and the rest prepare to launch scores of sleek new sets for 2021.
There are only so many factories to churn these TVs out, only so many warehouses to store them in and only so much shelf space to display them on. The result: newer models usurp their (slightly) older siblings.
Being close to the end of their life does bring some benefits for the savvy shopper though – 2020 sets are currently abundant and cheap, so if you’re in the market for one there are few better times to hit that buy button.
How to buy the best TV: read our guide to find out about the TV features that matter, plus our pick of the best 2020 TVs we’ve tested
Why is now such a good time to buy a TV?
TV ranges are replaced each year, with only a handful carrying over. These tend to be high-end sets, such as OLEDs, and hold their value for longer.
Models released in 2020 have gone through the Black Friday sales, then the January sales and are now in an end-of-life sale of sorts, which means there are some fantastically cheap deals to be had.
Newer models are on the horizon, and upgraded processors, new backlight technologies and updated software should make 2021 TVs incrementally better than those that came before. However, because such a short time has passed since the 2020 models were released, there aren’t any seismic improvements that your average TV viewer should hold out for.
All that new tech will come at a premium for several months, too, and it won’t be until the end of 2021 that the new TVs start approaching the price you can get a 2020 model for now.
We’ve compared the prices of a selection of 2020 TVs with their 2021 equivalents below, so you can see the savings that can be made.
For more choice of decent TVs with tempting discounts, check our favourite TV deals.
2020 TV prices vs 2021 TV prices
To give you a better idea of the savings that can be made by opting for an older TV, we’ve compared the cost of the outgoing 2020 TVs to the equivalent 2021 models.
As we mentioned above, the 2021 models have newer tech and features, but based on their model names we can see that some are intended to occupy a similar position in each brand’s 2021 line-up. In some cases, you can save more than £,1000 by opting for the older model.
- Samsung QE55Q90T £1,124 (2020 model) vs Samsung QE55QN90A £1,999 (2021 model): £875 difference
Based on the similar model name, the 2021 set appears to be a direct replacement for the 2020 TV.
Samsung’s 2021 Neo QLEDs have smaller LEDs in the backlights for increased brightness and contrast control. This should make a difference to the picture, but that difference is unlikely to be worth more than £800.
(A 2020 Which? investigation into Currys PC World suggests that the firm has an issue with how it handles complaints about faulty products. So do consider this before making a purchase.)
- Sony KD-55A8BU £1,199 (2020 model) vs Sony XR55A90J £2,699 (2021 model): £1,500 difference
It’s harder to make a direct comparison between Sony’s high-end OLEDs, because the 2021 XR range is entirely new. The processor in the 2021 OLEDs is designed to understand how people watch TV and focus its efforts on the part of the picture our eyes are drawn.
It’s still an OLED, though, and the price is huge at launch, particularly when its older alternative – also one of Sony’s top-tier OLEDs – is available for more than £1,000 less.
2021 TV prices will drop over time
These are extreme cases, of course. We’re comparing (relatively) old TVs at their cheapest with brand-new ones at their most expensive. These 2021 models will drop in price over the next 12 months, and may even reach the same price as their 2020 equivalents. Unsurprisingly, this is when you should be buying a TV, not when it’s just come out.
Our experience in testing TVs for more than a decade has shown us that new technology improves picture and sound quality (no surprise there). But they’re almost never so impressive that we would recommend choosing a brand-new model over a top-rated and far cheaper one from the previous year, unless you get a kick from having the most up-to-date tech.
Amazing prices on 2020 TVs
The two 55-inch, high-end 2020 TVs we’ve shown above (the Samsung QE55Q90T and Sony KD-55A8BU) are good deals right now, and cost half what they did 12 months ago.
If you’re looking for a different-sized TV at a good price, here are some more options that we think are well worth a look.
43-inch 4K TV
LG 43UN81006LB (£379)
LG makes some of the best small TVs and the 8100 is a step up from its most basic models.
49-inch to 50-inch 4K TVs
LG 49NANO816NA (£479)
The additional layer of nano cells in LG’s mid to high-end TVs is designed to create more vivid colours. It’s easy to spot a Nanocell model because LG handily puts NANO in the model name.
Samsung UE50TU8500 review (£549)
This is one of Samsung’s top LCD TVs before the QLEDs start to take over. It may not have the QLEDs’ high-tech quantum dot display, but our experts were still impressed by some important aspects of the TV.
55-inch 4K TVs
- LG 55UN73006LA (£447)
55-inch TVs don’t really get much cheaper than this one. It’s one of LGs most basic models, but that’s not always a bad thing if it leads to a price this low.
Sony KD-55A8BU (£1,199)
We’ve talked about this already, but it’s worth mentioning again because the price is very good.
65-inch 4K TV
LG OLED65BX6LB (£1,599)
It’s LG’s cheapest 65-inch OLED and there’s not much it can’t do. The price is good, although there are several other OLEDs that cost around the same, such as the LG OLED65CX6LA, and Sony KD-65A8BU, so check our review to see if the BX is right for you.
All prices correct on 18 March 2021.