The best TV under £500: cheap 4K UHD and full HD best buy televisions

UHD 4K and full-HD with HDR TVs for bedrooms, games rooms and tighter budgets with big screens at small prices

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Can you get a great TV for under £500? You'll be pleased to know, the answer is, 'Yes, and in fact here is a buyers guide of all my favourites in that price bracket.' Welcome, my friends, to the Best TVs under £500.

You may have to take a hit in terms of the aesthetics, connections and build quality of the television, but for under £500 you can get a TV boasting 4K UHD resolution and HDR for images that really pop. Or you could settle for a full HD TV to use in your bedroom or elsewhere. 

Bottom line: you don’t have to forgo all the toys if you want a more affordable telly. From Ambilight mood lighting to 50-inch panels, what was once the preserve of the upper and midrange has made it down the 4K food chain.

When Black Friday comes along, you should see further cuts to the prices here, as sellers make room for newer TVs. TVs under £1000 could see cuts big enough to bring them into the sub-£500 bracket. Flagship, £1,500+ UHD OLED, LED and QLED Best 4K TVs should also see price snips. 

What is the best TV for under £500?

For image quality and overall excellence, my pick of the gogglebox bargains is the Philips 43PUS6262/05.  

For sheer value for money, it's also hard to beat the Hisense N5300 range, and the 50-incher is now under £500. In terms of inches-per-pound, that's hard to beat.

Of course, the ever-fluctuating nature of prices means that the best TV under £500 can change, as slightly older tellies that were in the £500-£1000 bracket get discounted. So keep an eye on our other TV buying guides as well.

Buying a sub-£500 telly: what you need to know

So what should you look for when buying a cheap 4K telly, and what compromises can you expect to make?

Screen sizes obviously vary dramatically, depending on brand and price. A growing number of manufacturers are now pushing out smaller (40-43-inch) panels to meet booming demand. Just don’t expect to see a huge jump in resolution over Full HD at this size. 

There’s an insurmountable relationship between screen resolution and viewing distance that means at a normal TV viewing distance, you’re unlikely to benefit from those extra pixels.  Step up to 50-inches or thereabouts though and you’ll begin to appreciate the extra clarity that UHD can offer.

All TVs worth their salt are net connected, via Wi-Fi or ethernet. Be sure the smart platform on your favoured set offers what you need in terms of catch-up TV and streaming services. It’s also worth double checking that your shortlisted set has enough HDMI ports for your games consoles, Blu-ray players and set top boxes – this is an area where compromises are often made to get the retail price down.

Freeview Play is a handy bonus as it serves as both your programme guide looking forward and also lets you seamlessly delve into catch-up TV that you might have missed, without needing to load up separate apps.

HDR (High dynamic Range) compatibility is a bonus, although 350-nit, entry-level sets typically won’t be bright enough to dazzle with spectral highlights in the same way an 800-nit Überpanel will. 

Okay, ready to buy? Let’s go window shopping.

The best TVs under £500, in order

1. Philips 43PUS6262/05

Best TV under £500, complete with HDR 10 and UHD 4K

Screen size: 43-inches
Other sizes available: 55-inch
USB: 2
Dimensions: 971 x 575 x 77mm
Reasons to buy
+Two-sided Ambilight light show+Freeview Play
Reasons to avoid
-Not ultra bright

Combining UHD resolution with Philips' patented Ambilight mood lighting, this highly affordable 6 Series Philips TV is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. While I'd expect 2160p resolution to migrate down the price range, it’s nice to see Ambilight at such an affordable price. 

The set’s design is fuss-free, with a slim bezel and simple, rather plasticky, pedestal. A clicky IR remote and quadcore processor combine to offer easy navigation, while Philips' own Smart Portal offers a variety of streaming diversions, led by the ubiquitous Netflix. 

As well as three HDMI inputs, there's a digital optical output to feed a soundbar or other AV system. 

Best of all, image quality is excellent for the price, with crisp Pixel Plus UHD detail and punchy contrast. The set recognises an HDR10 signal when it sees it, and uses Philips own HDR Plus to effectively tone map for the best results. Recommended.

Panasonic TX-50EX700B

7. Panasonic TX-50EX700B

Repeated price cuts have left this as a stone cold bargain

Screen size: 50-inches
Other sizes available: 40-inch, 65-inch
USB: 3
Dimensions: 1115x647x40 mm
Reasons to buy
+Superb smart portal Inventive+High-quality design
Reasons to avoid
-You’ll want a soundbar-Only three HDMIs

Panasonic’s mid-range EX700 range is available in screen sizes between 40- and 65-inches. The 50-inch TX-50EX700B sits in the sweetspot. It was the most affordable 4K HDR offering in Panasonic’s TV line-up last year, and it is now as cheap as £500-worth of chips.

Despite that, the spec is very, very impressive. The EX700 boasts effective image processing for smooth motion, and combines Bright Panel technology with wide colour gamut for an outstanding colour performance with punchy contrast. An HDR Brightness Enhancer give pictures real pop. 

Build quality and design are best in class. The set boasts a metal frame, and the curved stand can be either set to the full width of the TV, or used in a narrower gauge to fit a table top – what Panasonic calls 'Switch Design'. The pedestal can also be reversed, depending on which style you prefer.  

Connections include three HDMIs (all HDCP 2.2 compliant), a trio of USBs and component/composite legacy AV inputs.

The smart platform,  Panasonic’s My Home Screen 2.0, is one of the best out there. It’s minimal yet well equipped, offering Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube in 4K. The set also has a Freeview Play tuner, with full catch-up larder.

A (relatively) premium screen at a low price, in short. Get stuck in.

2. Hisense H50N5300

Best 50-inch UHD TV under £500

Screen size: 50-inches
Other sizes available: 43-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch
USB: 2
Dimensions: 719 x 1129 x 256 mm
Reasons to buy
+A lot of TV for your buck+Freeview Play
+Neat smart platform, with Netflix and Amazon
Reasons to avoid

Chinese TV giant Hisense is infiltrating the UK TV scene with some tempting tellies for the tight of purse. Could the budget jumbo-panel, the N5300 be its biggest mainstream seller yet? 

Certainly, this super-saver looks the part. You get a lot of screen for not much cash, and it appears suitably attired for a sub-£500 trolly-dash, with a Freeview Play tuner (landing via over-the-air firmware update by the end of September), the brand’s own Vidaa Lite smart OS, which is pleasingly minimalist,  and an a strong assortment of streaming apps, including Netflix 4K, Amazon Video, YouTube and Wuaki TV. 

Like others in this guide, the panel is standard 8-bit, and not wide colour. It’s also SDR (Standard Dynamic Range only). But given the screen size, we’re not complaining.

There are three HDMI inputs, plus an option for component hook-up for legacy gear. Audio comes via dbx-tv processing technology, with virtual surround sound, but there’s an optical digital output for a soundbar if the onboard sound system doesn’t move you.

3. LG 43UJ670V

Best Smart TV platform under £500

Screen size: 43-inches
Other sizes available: 49-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch
USB: 2
Dimensions: 974 x 571 x 79 mm
Reasons to buy
+Excellent webOS platform+Freeview Play+HDR HLG compatible
Reasons to avoid
Smallish screen size

Shop cannily and you’ll find this high-spec 43-incher for a sniff under £500. It comes with HDR-emboldened 4K visuals and LG’s rightly rated webOS 3.5 smart platform – just you and a clickable bar, that's our kinda night in. 

The set also boasts a Freeview Play tuner, with integrated mainstream catch-up. Streaming apps include Netflix 4K, Amazon Video, YouTube and Now TV.

The IPS panel used here means you’ll enjoy good off-angle viewing. For the best black level performance, view in a room with some ambient light, rather than full dark room conditions. A contrast booster provides a lift to SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) sources. 

The set supports standard HDR10 and HLG, although there’s no sign of Dolby Vision, which is favoured higher up the LG range. Ultra Luminance, a local dimming technique, is used to maximise peak highlights. 

Design amounts to an ultra thin bezel and curved pedestal stand, but I like it. To make the most of the integrated sound system, a DSP processor offers virtual surround effects. Connectivity is solid, with four HDMI inputs, a legacy AV connection, plus a digital optical audio output.

All in all, a formidable 4K package for the price tag.

4. Samsung 40MU6120

Best looking 4K TV under £500

Screen size: 40-inches
Other sizes available: 50-inch, 58-inch, 65-inch
USB: 2
Dimensions: 904 x 520 x 54 mm
Reasons to buy
+HDR compatibility+
Solid app support
Reasons to avoid
-40-inches is considered  small, these days-No Freeview Play

In more upmarket circles, Samsung is all about QLED, its metal-coated marketing alternative to OLED. But glance further down the range, and it’s clear the brand hasn’t abandoned the mainstream buyer. 

This 6 Series screen combines above average good looks with a specification that’s firmly forward facing; not only is this 2160p set HDR enabled, but it offers voice functionality via the slim remote.

It’s an 8-bit panel (standard at the budget end of the market), but Samsung offers a raft of colour enhancements, dubbed Active Crystal Colour technology, to really make hues pop. 

Design wise it’s on-trend, with a thin bezel, hairline finish and angular pedestal. Connected functionality is via the brand’s 2017 hub, which offers YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Video amongst other streaming apps. The TV also supports smartphone to screen mirroring, and DLNA media playback. 

Audio is via two downward firing speakers, with 20W of amplification. There’s a trio of HDMIs, plus an optical output for an external digital audio system. Small, but perfectly formed.

5. Sony KDL-40RE453

Best full HD TV with HDR under £500

Screen size: 40-inches
USB: 2
Dimensions: 910 x 543 x 70mm
Reasons to buy
+HDR on the cheap+Decent images for the price
+Especially good for gamers
Reasons to avoid
-Two HDMIs is a bit 2007-Fairly specifically aimed at PS4 owners

For most buyers, 4K and HDR are synonymous, but it is possible to have HDR on a lower resolution, full HD telly. TV brands are still looking to maintain interest in 1080p, and one way to do so is by including HDR support in smaller, cheaper screens. Sony was the first to offer HDR on HD, but this year will also see Panasonic joining in. It's almost a trend.

Where HD HDR makes most sense is for PlayStation 4 (non Pro) owners, as the machine supports HDR without extra resolution. 

Design-wise the KDL-40RE453 is, at worst, inoffensive and could even be described as quite sharp. The thin bezel frame has a faux aluminium finish that I rather like, coupled to a non-wobbly central pedestal. 

But why opt for an HDR HD screen over 4K, you may well ask? Apart from the fact you should be able to save a few quid – although not a guarantee given how cheap 4K TVs are getting – there's also an issue of brightness. On a small screen TV it may be difficult to see the extra resolution of 4K sources unless you sit close, but the larger pixels on an HD screen will naturally tend to look brighter than a screen with four times the pixel density. 

A 50Hz panel, the RE45 features a basic level of motion handling (rated Motionflow XR 400 Hz by Sony), but looks suitably filmic. Sony’s always reliable X-Reality PRO image processing is on hand to lift detail.

Connections are a bit limited, admittedly – just two HDMI inputs, a pair of USBs (one a fast v3 for timeshifting onto an external USB hard drive), and a digital optical audio output – but that's not shocking at this price.

Overall, the RE45 is an intriguing option, especially for PS4 gamers looking to eke maximum picture performance from HDR games, for minimum cash. Give it a gander – but keep an eye on those deflating UHD prices too…

• Sony also combines HDR with 1080p on the smaller, 32-inch KDL-32RE403.

6. Toshiba 55U6763DB

Ridiculously cheap 55-inch 4K offering

Screen size: 55-inches
Other sizes available: 43-inch, 49-inch, 65-inch
USB: 3
Dimensions: 965 x 560 x 89mm
Reasons to buy
+Tempting price tag
+Freeplay with smart portal
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR or wide colour gamut

Once a major force in the UK TV market, Toshiba went on a sabbatical when the going got tough. Now the brand is back, albeit under the stewardship of manufacturing colossus Vestel, and it’s disgorging some interesting 4K UHD sets into the sub-£500 mix.

The set may lack HDR compatibility, but it is a 4K (2160p) resolution telly for under 300 quid, but it. Please note that an incoming variant (43V6763DB) will add HDR10, but presumably for a bit more dosh. 

The speaker output is rated at 20W total, but you’ll probably also want to couple it with a low cost soundbar or soundbase. Connectivity is good, however, with four HDMIs, three USBs and even a Scart for those with dusty old legacy kit.   

This 4K cheapie offers a range of smart apps, courtesy of the Toshiba Smart Portal, which looks not unlike the smart portal also seen on Hitachi connected TVs. Streaming services include Netflix and Youtube; there’s also a Screen Share Miracasting, so you can throw JPEGs from a mobile device onto the screen.

There’s Freeview Play too, which offers full integration of the main catch-up TV services via a roll-back EPG. Those on a really tight budget could do worse.