The best TV under £1000 to buy in 2020: 4K HDR smart TV deals

The best TVs for under £1000 include cheap OLED to bargain QLED sets – but all deliver world-class images and do big-screen blockbusters justice

Best TV under £1000 Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Hisense, Philips
(Image credit: Panasonic)

Why the Best TV under £1000? We chose this price limit for this roundup because it's well below what you'll pay for a real 'flagship' TV but still gives plenty of scope for getting a TV of very high quality. 

There was a time (not all that long ago) that getting a big TV with a full-on specification would cost you properly eye-watering amounts of money. Unless you wanted (and were prepared to pay for) an authentic ‘flagship’ screen, there would have to be sacrifices and compromises made if you want a TV under £1000.

Not any more. Admittedly, cheap OLED TVs for less than four figures are currently hard to come by (and often will be a false economy), which is why there's only one our list – the best OLED TVs tend to cost hundreds more. If you see one that cheap, be sure it's from a company such as LG or Philips who won't have cut corners.

But spending up to £999 will most certainly buy you an LED (or QLED) TV that will do justice to the ever-increasing amount of stunning 4K content available, and will get you plenty of HDR compatibility as well. It’ll make the absolute most of high-def stuff too, and there’s even a chance it can help antique standard-def content look acceptable. 

While TV manufacturers obviously reserve their up-to-the-minute technological tour de forces for the most expensive televisions, the gap between ‘top of the range’ and ‘staunchly mainstream’ is closing all the time. 

Yes, our picks of the very best TVs overall can get you even more cinematic image quality – but in many cases, you're paying for bigger-size panels. You'll be surprised at how much more you have to spend before the upgrades really start to make themselves visible.

For combining scorching picture quality, excellent design, superior sound and a whole raft of smart TV functionality, as well as cutting-edge HDR compatibility, there are half a dozen TVs here that really hit the spot.

Of course, if you want something even more affordable, we've also got the best TVs under £500.

What is the best TV under £1,000?

Our pick of the current best TV under £1,000 is the Philips 55OLED754. It gives you the fantastic contrast of a quality OLED screen, with a full suite of HDR support, too. And at 55 inches, it's still a generous size. Given the normal price of OLED TVs, it really is an astounding deal – and even the regular concern that OLED screens aren't that bright isn't an issue here, because it's still brighter than most similarly priced LED TVs, but with all the advantages of the infinitely rich detail in dark areas that OLED's self-emissive pixels give you.

OLED vs QLED: what they are, and which is right for you

If you want an LED screen, the Samsung QE55Q80R is an astoundingly good balance of picture quality and value for money. Bright QLED images are mixed with localised dimming to produce HDR that stops you in your tracks – and the saturated colours are equally stunning. It's excellent for movies and TV, but is also ideally suited to gaming, including for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. It just had a big price cut that brought it into our sub-£1000 budget, so when we say its image quality looks like should cost way more, remember that it very recently did.

How we chose the best TV under £1,000

From eye candy UHD visuals and superior sound to drop dead gorgeous design, these are the TV sets you should be shortlisting right now.

All demonstrably benefit from the extra clarity that 4K offers, a fact that will be particularly noticeable when upgrading from a 1080p telly. The good news is that there’s now less of a shortage of native UHD content to exploit this resolution boost. From Apple TV and the burgeoning UHD Blu-ray catalogue, to Netflix, Amazon and Sky, there’s plenty of stuff to show off your new panel’s prowess.

And of course gaming is increasingly a source of spectacular 4K, thanks to the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X (and soon the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X).

All these TVs feature HDR onboard. It’s worth noting that not all screens that claim to be HDR offer a genuine HDR experience, with properly bright spectral highlights. Many lower cost models are merely 'HDR compatible' (which means they know when they’re receiving HDR content, but they don’t have the wherewithal to do much with it). Naturally, we're looking for the ones that truly make the most of HDR.

The other area where corners are inevitably cut with less flagship TVs is sound. You can always add a soundbar or soundbase to rectify this sorry state of affairs.

Right, that’s enough of this introductory banter. Let’s take a closer look at these big-screen beauties…

The best TVs under £1,000 in order

Best TV under £1000: Philips OLED754

(Image credit: Philips)

1. Philips 55OLED754

The best OLED TV under £1000, and our pick overall

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes: 65 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x4, USB x2, component video, ethernet
Dimensions: 710x1230x50mm
Reasons to buy
+Ambilight is fun+Very affordable for OLED+All HDR formats covered+Rich OLED contrast and colours
Reasons to avoid
-Ordinary user interface-Can be tricky to balance motion just so

At the top of the page we suggested any OLED TV that ducked under four figures might be considered a false economy. Well, here’s the exceptional Philips OLED that proves the rule.

Pennies less than a grand buys you a blandly handsome, super-skinny TV with a stack of connectivity, a pretty humdrum user interface and the sort of inkily deep black tones for which OLED technology is widely celebrated. 

And with support for each and every HDR format included, there’s no chance your OLED754 will do anything but make your 4K content look its absolute best. Which means stable, detailed, dynamic pictures with strong contrasts and excellent motion-handling (once you’ve finessed the numerous motion settings available).

And, of course, this screen features Philips’ party-piece: Ambilight. At the back of the chassis, three sides of the TV are studded with little LEDs that shine on to the surface the screen is in front of, giving an impression of an image far bigger than the screen itself. Unique selling points are hard to come by in TV-land, and Ambilight is both amusing and effective.

Read our full Philips OLED754 review to see more on why we rate it so highly.

(Sadly, this TV is not available in the US.)

Best TV under £1000

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung QE55Q80R

The best overall TV under £1000, and astounding image quality for the money

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes available: 65 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x4, USB x2, composite video, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 1231x793x238mm
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic brightness and HDR performance+Local dimming+Excellent upscaling and detail
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision HDR

The Samsung QE80R starting its life at around £1,700, so it's basically half price now at under £900, but everything about it feels so much more expensive than the price suggests – and actually it did cost hundreds more until very recently. It's due to be replaced by a new model in Samsung's line-up soon, but the update won't be a ground-shaking improvement (and it'll be full-price), so picking up this TV for a song while stocks last might be the best-value AV buy you can make right now.

Its party trick is its maximum brightness, which is around 50% brighter than the likes of the fantastic LG C9 OLED TV can manage – and that TV costs hundreds more. In fact, it's around twice as bright as the Philips OLED TV recommended further down this list. That brightness is matched with the lush colours of QLED, making this a fantastically vibrant and punchy screen.

As an LCD screen, its ability to hands nuance in dark areas isn't as deft as OLED screens, but takes a damn good stab at it – it uses localised dimming to produce convincingly deep blacks with a minimum of light leakage from nearby bright areas.

Along with that, it handles the sharpness of 4K footage immaculately, and is an extremely talented upscaler of HD video – everything looks convincing.

It comes with an excellent smart platform too, including Apple TV and AirPlay 2, Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and everything else you could want, basically. It's even a perfect choice for gaming, because it includes an auto-switching game mode that reduces lag when you turn your console on.

Even the sound is pretty solid, though we still recommend a soundbar to really give it audio that matches its stunning image quality for the price. The one disappointment is the lack of Dolby Vision and native Dolby Atmos support, but it's not a dealbreaker when the core quality is this good.

Best TVs under £1000: Panasonic HX800


(Image credit: Panasonic)

3. Panasonic TX-58HX800

Even more TV for your money, and comprehensive HDR support

Specifications
Screen size: 58 inches
Other sizes available: 40, 50, 65 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x4, USB x2, composite video, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 820x1300x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Lots of screen for the money+Lavishly detailed 4K images+Every HDR base covered
Reasons to avoid
-Not that bright-Only three HDMI ports

You wouldn’t know to look at it, but the HX800 series is one of Panasonic’s most affordable LED ranges. You wouldn’t know it from a glance at the spec-sheet, either: the TX-58HX800 may only be an edge-lit design rather than feature the local dimming of its pricier stable-mates, but it holds a full hand of HDR compatibility, up to and including HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. 

And you wouldn’t know by operating it, because its My Home Screen 5.0 user interface is clean, rapid, logical, and can be customised in any number of ways, though it's lacking Disney+ support currently.

Most of all, though, you wouldn’t be able to tell this is more on the budget end by watching it. Given the best chance, with some dynamic HDR material, it reveals vivid, detailed contrasts and wide-ranging, punchy colours. It’s confident where motion and sport are concerned, and keeps picture noise to an absolute minimum. 

It's not the brightest here, it's true, (both sets above are much brighter), but the tuning on its picture for realism in films overcomes that easily – it still looks rich and engaging in ways that many TVs with brighter panels don't manage still.

Its 58-inch size is an unusual one so far (55-inch and 65-inch being more common), but we've heard from the industry to expect more 58-inch models in the future, so you can be ahead of the trend here.

In short, judged on its own terms – as a big 4K TV with an extensive specification and exemplary usability at a fiercely competitive price – the TX-58HX800 is just about as good as it gets.

Best TVs under £1000: Samsung QE49Q70R

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung QE49Q70R

Small Samsung QLED = big Samsung bargain

Specifications
Screen size: 49 inches
Other sizes available: 55, 65, 75, 82 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x4, USB x2, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 710x1100x70mm
Reasons to buy
+Detailed, composed, convincing images+Great interface+Minimal bezel
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of Dolby Vision support

Samsung will give you any number of reasons why its proprietary QLED technology is superior to the OLED alternative its rivals use in their flagship TVs. But we reckon one of the most compelling is QLED’s availability in sizes that can’t automatically be described as ‘massive’. 

This 49-inch charmer has more or-less everything offered on bigger, pricier QLED screens. So you get a stack of inputs, one of the best interfaces/operating systems around, support for a huge number of streaming and catch-up apps, two (count ‘em!) remote controls, minimal bezel around the screen, and HDR10+ support. Only a lack of Dolby Vision spoils the spec-sheet – it's a shame, since that's the advanced dynamic HDR option with the best support, but you still get regular HDR from those sources.

Best of all, the QE49Q70R looks an absolute treat. Just a little finessing of the picture settings will soon have you lapping up a picture that’s stable even under the most testing conditions of movement and contrast, lays bare even the finest details, and generates deeply inky (but still textured and subtle) black tones.

It upscales lesser material well, even making poverty-spec standard-def stuff palatable. Add in sound that’s robust by flatscreen standards, and the Samsung is a compelling proposition all round.

We've chosen the smaller model as our pick here, but you can go bigger – the 55-inch model also comes under budget. Of course, the 55-inch Q80R in the number one spot has fancier tech than this, but you could save a little more on the 55-inch Q70R and not feel like you're missing out.

•Check out our guide to Samsung's 2020 TV range, and how its new models compare

Best TV under £1000: Sony KD-49XG9005

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony KD-49XG9005

Best TV under £1000 for exquisite Dolby Vision HDR pictures

Specifications
Screen size: 49 inches
Other sizes available: None
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x4, USB x2, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 630x1090x70mm
Reasons to buy
+Gratifying 4K picture quality+Android 8.0 software+Good upscaling
Reasons to avoid
-Boneless audio quality-No HDR10+

Everything you might reasonably expect from a Sony product – build quality, standard of finish, straightforward covetability – is here in the KD-49XG9005. The biggest difference between it and some of Sony’s dizzyingly expensive TVs is the price.

OK, so it’s ‘just’ an edge-lit LED screen, and not an especially slim one – but the Sony has it where it counts. The operating system is slick, the specification is more-or-less bang on (only the lack of HDR10+ should be an issue of any kind, and it isn't a big issue currently anyway), perceived value is high… even the remote control is half-decent, which is by no means a given at any price.

Most importantly, it serves up lovely pictures. The Sony’s a master of colour temperature and balance, and it does great work giving black tones plenty of detail too. Edges are crisp, motion is handled well, and with some Dolby Vision material the purity of its contrasts is quite something. Heck, it even upscales high-def material to a very watchable standard. 

Sound quality is a bit of a let-down by comparison, but put a few quid aside for one of the best soundbars and your audio/visual experience will be complete.

Best TV under £1,000: Samsung QE55Q60R

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung QE55Q60R

Much of the flagship Samsung performance, not so much of the price

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes: 43, 49, 65, 75, 82 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x4, USB x2, ethernet
Dimensions: 710x1240x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Great colour balance+Splendid software+Good upscaling
Reasons to avoid
-Not all that bright-Not all that dark

Samsung has invested heavily in QLED technology – in the main, that’s because it sincerely believes in its benefits. But the fact that it sets the company apart from its biggest rivals (who use OLED for their pricier TVs) doesn’t do any harm either. But to create proper QLED traction, Samsung has to democratise the technology as widely as possible. Which is where the Q60R range comes in.

These are the most affordable QLED TVs Samsung builds. And though the need for a backlight means it doesn’t have the crowd-pleasing slimness of an OLED alternative, it is a) very much more affordable and b) capable of delivering engrossing and convincing images.

It’s a very accomplished upscaler of sub-4K content, keeping edges nicely crisp and not scrimping on the details. And with native 4K stuff, it’s genuinely impressive – it’s not the brightest TV this sort of money can buy (which has an effect on the wow-factor of HDR), but its colour balance is excellent and detail levels are high. Add in Samsung’s class-leading operating system and you have a very sumptuous TV – and this 55-inch model is a real sweet spot for size and value.

Best TV under £1000: Hisense H65U8BUK

(Image credit: Hisense)

7. Hisense H65U8BUK

If you want the biggest TV possible for under £1,000

Specifications
Screen size: 65 inches
Other sizes: 55 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x4, USB x2, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 840x1450x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Huge amount of screen for the money+Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos-capable
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+

There’s no two ways about it: if you want your thousand pounds to buy you the biggest TV possible, you’ll have a job improving on this 65-inch monster from Hisense.

It’s neither the most elegant, nor the most luxurious, TV you’ve ever seen. But the H65U8BUK has it where it counts - the specification is competitive (if you overlook the lack of HDR10+, but it's a fairly new technology still), the operating system is perfectly adequate and, most important of all, there are some real areas of picture-making expertise on show here.

As an upscaler, the Hisense manages to keep a grip on stability and doesn’t let too many jagged edges show. Up the video source quality to 4K, though, and although its backlighting means true black is hard to come by, its 4K images are stable, detailed and stay just the right side of ‘overblown’ where colour temperature is concerned. And, let’s not forget, this is as big a TV as less than £1,000 can currently buy. Look no further for your biggest bang for buck.