The best TVs under £1000 of 2021, with OLED TVs, QLED TVs and more

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

Included in this guide:

The best TVs under £1000, image shows TV sitting on black marble stand by a window with forest in behind
(Image credit: Sony)

In 2021, the best TVs under £1000 don't just represent a budget-conscious purchase. They're some of the best 4K TVs you can get, balancing good value with some seriously premium features. That price point is the tip-over mark, at which some key flagship TV features trickle down into the mid-range, giving you the option of some primo picture quality or a truly massive screen. Sometimes even both.

Software-wise the best TVs under £1000 generally get the same smart TV platforms as their more expensive relatives. This can often be the key to a TV which punches way above its weight: a good OS can make a TV easier to use and open up streaming options that a bad one can't. If a TV also inherits a processor capable of seriously good upscaling or eye-watering HDR, all the better!

We're not employing much hyperbole here at all. It is remarkable to sit and compare the best TVs under £1000 with the much more spendy best TVs; the latter may carry better panel tech, with the likes of the best OLED TVs and best 8K TVs doing things which simply cannot be done at this price point, but feature-wise things are often incredibly close.

HDMI 2.1 support is another strong feature, one we certainly weren't talking about in these terms a year ago, but one which has rolled down from the high end and is now far more common on the best TVs under £1000 than you might think. Seeing some of the best gaming TVs in this list is a real bonus, particularly if you've recently had your wallet lightened by a new next-gen console. 

Yes, you can go big. The best 55-inch TVs are probably the highlight examples of the best TVs under £1000, but if you want to go bigger you can as long as you're prepared to deal with the slight image quality dip that comes along with the best 65-inch and 75-inch TVs available in this price range. 

And if the best TVs under £1000 still seem a bit too expensive, never fear: the best TVs under £500 can offer some significant bargains which still perform well. It's also worth keeping appraised of the best TV deals, as you may be able to swipe a sub-£1000 bargain on a TV which would usually cost a lot more.

What is the best TV under £1,000?

Our pick as the current best TV under £1,000 is the LG BX OLED TV. This TV is only this cheap thanks to a recent price drop – it's the first time that an LG OLED TV has ever been this low-priced. You get simply the best HDR performance available for the money thanks to per-pixel lighting, LG's image processing is extremely strong for sharp 4K images and upscaling, and it's ideal for gaming, thanks to a really low response rate, plus support for 4K 120Hz and Variable Refresh Rate over HDMI 2.1 – all of which are perfect for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

If you find that the LG has had is price jacked back up, our other pick is the Sony KD-55XH9005. It's an LCD screen with direct array backlight, meaning it's impressively bright (useful for cutting through the light in bright rooms), but also has good local dimming for rich contrast. It provides really rich HDR performance, and Sony's processing is second to none, so 4K images look perfectly sharp, HD video is upscaled to 4K expertly, and motion looks smooth with seeming artificial. It's also geared up for gaming, with HDMI 2.1 support.

The best TVs under £1,000 in order

Samsung Q80A on white backgroundT3 Best Buy Award badge

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung QE55Q80A

The best TV under £1000 for most people

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes: 50, 65, 75, 85 inches
Inputs: HDMI x4, USB x2, ethernet
Dimensions: 1227.6x706.7x54.7 mm
Reasons to buy
+Bright HDR image quality+Great value for money+Next-gen HDMI 2.1 features
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't handle dark areas as well as OLED

Having received some impressive price drops since its launch this well-specced 55-inch set from Samsung is the overall best bang-for-buck TV at the time of writing, balancing image quality as well as features. And you get a nice bit of change from our price limit. There are TVs below that beat it in specific areas, but as a total package, this is such good value.

It's a QLED TV with a direct backlight and local dimming, which means it's both impressively bright and really colourful. It can go brighter than any OLED TV that's even close in price, which is ideal for watching in brighter rooms. You get so much dazzle and realism thanks to the bold screen – but it can also makes black areas look deep and richly dark. OLED TVs are still the king of nuance in dark areas, but this TV still acquits itself excellently.

The image processing is fantastic too – Samsung's Quantum Processor 4K is as advanced as anything else in a 4K TV, and upscales images to look good at 4K superbly, while also making motion look natural.

And the sound is provided by a series of speakers around the edge, with the TV analysing the picture and positioning sounds in the right direction, to add real dynamic action.

You've got Samsung's Tizen system to provide smart TV features, which means it's packed with useful streaming apps and services, and it's really easy to navigate and figure out.

And you get HDMI 2.1 connectivity on one of the HDMI ports, which means 4K 120Hz gaming and VRR are supported for next-gen consoles. Samsung's Game Bar also makes it easy to optimise your gaming setup – this is one of the best TVs for gaming right now.

Note that the 50-inch version of this doesn't have as bright a screen or as advanced speakers, which is why we like the 55-inch version. Also note that the 65-inch version only just breaks our price barrier, so you might want to consider stretching to that, if you got big-screen ambitions in mind.

lg a1 series 4k oled tv on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: LG)

2. LG OLED48A1

The best OLED TV under £1000

Specifications
Screen size: 48 inches
Other sizes: 55, 65, 77 inches
Inputs: HDMI x3, USB x2
Dimensions: 1071x618x46.9mm
Reasons to buy
+Impressive OLED HDR images+Dolby Vision & Atmos support+Great smart TV software
Reasons to avoid
-Weaker in bright light-Average audio-No HDMI 2.1

OLED TVs have self-lighting pixels, rather than using a backlight to generate their brightness – this means they offer unmatched precision for colour and contrast control. An OLED pixel can individually shine brightly, or dim itself right down the deepest black tone. It gives OLED TVs a realism that mid-range LCD TVs (like all the others here) just can't hope to match, and gives them a large contrast range that really makes the most HDR. The downside is that they don't go as bright overall, so are better in rooms where the light levels are easily controlled. Perfect for movie nights.

The LG A1 isn't as bright as more elite OLED TVs such as the Sony A90J, but then it costs just a fraction of the price. More importantly, it still gives you the incredible rich HDR performance. And LG's excellent and easy-to-understand smart TV platform is a real bonus.

The downsides of it being so well-priced are that it uses less advanced image processing than the LG C1 (though it's still very strong in that regard), and also doesn't feature the future-proofing of HDMI 2.1 that the LG B1 does. It also doesn't have very impressive audio – we'd recommend adding one of the best soundbars.

If you should see the 55-inch LG B1 dip under the £1,000 mark during sales, that would be our pick over the LG A1, because the image quality is the same, but you get HDMI 2.1 connections. But right now, that's above our price ceiling, and this gives you the same image quality, and both this size and the 55-inch model fit within out price ceiling, so you've got the choice.

Sony KD-XH9505T3 Award

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony KD-49XH9505

The best Sony TV under £1000

Specifications
Screen size: 49 inches
Other sizes available: 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Inputs: HDMI x4, USB x3, composite, ethernet
Dimensions: 1093x629x69mm
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic 4K HDR images+Strong upscaling and motion+Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+-No next-gen gaming features-2020 model

This was Sony's flagship LED 4K TV for 2020, packing in all kinds of advanced technology and processing for supreme picture quality… and it remains a great buy even in 2021, because it's now so much cheaper than it used to be. You can get either the 49-inch model we've highlighted here or the 55-inch version within our price ceiling.

The XH9505 includes Sony's X1 Ultimate image processor, which works on making sure that all the detail of 4K video is brought out, and on upscaling HD into 4K so it looks pristine on the screen, and there's no TV that does this better, meaning you get the most from this TV whatever you're watching. The same processor is the best out there for handling motion, making sure that fast-moving action is clear and smooth while still looking natural. And we really rate Sony's ability to take SDR video and punch up the colours and contrast to look closer to real HDR, but again without making things look artificial.

Combine that with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio support, plus eARC for lossless connectivity with a soundbar, and you've got a really well-equipped TV for movies and television. The Android TV operating system has all the key apps available, though is a little clunkier to navigate than some others. 

As our full Sony XH95 review tells you, this a glorious performer that even packs in strong sound quality, but the only downside is that it's missing HDMI 2.1 connectivity, so if you're a gaming fan, you might be better off with the Samsung Q80A or Sony X90J to future-proof yourself.

Samsung AU9000 on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung 65AU9000

The best 65-inch TV under £1,000

Specifications
Screen size: 65 inches
Other sizes available: 43, 50, 55, 75 inches
Inputs: HDMI x3, USB x2, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 1451.7x832.2x25.7mm
Reasons to buy
+Bold colours+Strong HD upscaling and 4K detail+Great smart TV software
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision or Atmos-Sound is mediocre

This is Samsung's highest-end TV from 2021 that isn't a QLED, which means that it doesn't feature quite the same punchy colours and brightness that those sets are known for… but it also means the TV costs a lot less, enabling this huge 65-inch model to squeeze into our sub-£1,000 budget.

And you won't feel like you buying a budget TV at all. The image quality is still really strong, and in particular the handling of 4K detail and the upscaling of HD mean that things look fantastic at the 65-inch size we're recommending (obviously, you can go smaller and save some cash). It's also really nice made, and certainly doesn't look like a more affordable model.

As we said in our full Samsung AU9000 review, this TV has "real and unarguable strengths when it comes to picture-making". We highlighted that contrast is much richer than you'd expect for the level of brightness, and the colour palette is still natural and vibrant despite not being powered by QLED.

The smart TV platform is the same system you get on Samsung's 8K super-TVs, so is easy to use and packed with useful features and streaming service support. And there's a great gaming mode, making this a strong choice for console lovers, despite its lack of HDMI 2.1.

The sound quality is the only notable weak spot – if you're going for images this big, you should budget for adding one of the best soundbars for Samsung TVs soon.

Sony X90J on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony XR-50X90J

The best Sony TV under £1,000 for future-proofing

Specifications
Screen size: 50 inches
Other sizes available: 55, 65, 75 inches
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 x3, USB x2, ethernet
Dimensions: 1119x649x70mm
Reasons to buy
+Excellent colour and HDR+Fantastic upscaling+Two HDMI 2.0 ports
Reasons to avoid
-Average sound-A bit reflective

This is Sony's mid-range blockbuster from its 2021 range, mixing the company's latest and greatest image processing with a really bright and impressive 4K LCD panel. Detail in 4K, and upscaling from HD, is all as good as any TV of any price offers really. It's the same story for handling motion, which is made more clear and crisp, but never becomes artificial.

Colour and contrast are handled expertly too, resulting in seriously impressive HDR performance – everything is super-sumptuous, but remains realistic. Dolby Vision support helps with that, and really gets the most from the X90J can handle when it comes to brightness and local dimming.

The Google TV smart software is much more use-friendly than the Android TV software that Sony used to use, and it makes it easy to find what you want from the big array of apps and streaming services.

It's equipped with two HDMI 2.1 ports for next-gen gaming, and is actually part of Sony's 'Perfect for PlayStation' brand, which means it not only supports 4K 120Hz gaming, but also offers more precise HDR reproduction from the PS5 than other TVs. Here's our full Sony X90J review.

Samsung Q60A on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung 55Q60A

The best budget QLED TV

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes available: 43, 50, 65, 75 inches
Inputs: HDMI x3, USB x2, ethernet
Dimensions: 1232x709x26mm
Reasons to buy
+Lovely 4K images+Great upscaling+Splendid OS
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision HDR-Sound is mediocre

Samsung's entry-level QLED of 2021 pushes a real sweet-spot in Samsung’s extensive range of 4K TVs. Pictures from 4K sources are outstanding: vivid-yet-natural colours, strong contrasts, lavish detail levels and smooth motion. Upscaling from lesser resolutions is accomplished too, with super-low picture noise and a fine colour balance. 

Add in a Tizen-based operating system/user interface that’s a match for the best around – responsive, logical and not too in-yer-face – plus an incredibly rapid sub-10ms response time when in ‘Game’ mode and the Q60A starts to look compelling. Then there’s the customary Samsung quality of build and finish – nothing about the way this TV presents itself suggests it’s built to hit a lower price.

Consider everything the Q60T does brilliantly, and you’ll find it easy to overlook its shortcomings, especially since there aren't many of them: the sound this Samsung makes in no way does justice to the pictures it delivers, like all Samsung TVs it goes without Dolby Vision, and though it's great for gaming in terms of its rapid response times, it doesn't support the new 4K/120fps and Variable Refresh Rate features of the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. If you're not a next-gen gaming nut and are happy beefing it up with a soundbar, those aren't even flaws at all…

Samsung AU7100 TV on white backgroundT3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung 75AU7100

The best 75-inch TV for under £1,000 – go huge for less

Specifications
Screen size: 75 inches
Other sizes: 43, 50, 55, 58, 65, 70, 85 inches
Inputs: HDMI x3, USB x1, ethernet
Dimensions: 1673x958x60mm
Reasons to buy
+Great quality, giant screen+Excellent smart platform
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision-Not the brightest

This is Samsung's most affordable TV model of 2021, which is why you can get such a ridiculous amount of TV for such a low price. But it won't feel bargain basement – you get really strong image processing, impressive colour reproduction and solid contrast for the price.

Compared to more expensive TVs, you don't get quite the same level of HDR performance, and low-quality daytime TV isn't going to upscale to its full 75 inches quite as well as something with more advanced processing, but in our five-star Samsung AU7100 review we said that it offers "detailed, composed 4K images", so you'l really make the most of its big size with quality video. It also handles motion better than the competition, so if you want something big for sports, it's ideal.

Samsung smart TV platform is one of the easiest to use, and comes with excellent support for streaming services and apps, so you'll have no problem finding what you want to watch, either.

You might want to think about adding a soundbar to make sure that the scale of the audio matches the size of the screen, but that's true of most budget TVs anyway.

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, but that's easily solved with one of the best soundbars. You can add one now (just factor it into your budget), or try without for a while and add one when you're ready.

Simon Lucas
Simon Lucas

Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? magazine and website – since then, he's written for titles such as Wired, Metro, the Guardian and Stuff, among many others. Should he find himself with a spare moment, Simon likes nothing more than publishing and then quickly deleting tweets about the state of the nation (in general), the state of Aston Villa (in particular) and the state of his partner's cat.