Best HDTVs Under $500
There are more good HD TVs in the under-$500 price bracket than ever before. This “low-budget” segment is full of TVs that provide excellent pictures, “smart” features,” and ever-larger screen dimensions. Here are five top picks in the under-$500 HD TV category…
Looking for a Sub-$500 HDTV?
At 48 inches, the Vizio E480i-B2 is plenty big enough for most living rooms, and CNet’s editors say it delivers an "unbeatable picture for the money” (just under $500 at Dell Small Business, Amazon, and Home Depot). The display’s local dimming zones fine-tune picture quality to ambient lighting levels. The remote has dedicated keys for Netflix, Amazon Instant, and M-Go. Resolution is 1080p and the Vizio is Smart TV compatible.
On the downside, sound quality was rated “poor,” but perhaps better external speakers would help. The low-profile stand does not swivel.
The TCL Roku TV also sports a 48-inch, 1080p screen, and its street price is around $350. It gets praise for its easy-to-use, comprehensive Smart TV features. The Roku streaming media player is built right into this TV, including the same simple remote control. The bargain price means something was sacrificed, and it’s picture quality in this case. Blacks are not black enough, colors are not that vivid. But as a secondary TV that brings simplified streaming apps to the bedroom at a very affordable price, the TCL Roku is hard to beat.
Never heard of TCL? Me neither, but they build about 20 million TVs a year in their $4 billion factory in China. The TCL story http://www.tclusa.com/aboutus/ is interesting, especially the profile of CEO Li Dongsheng.
Like all the others menrtioned here, the Panasonic AS520 Series Smart TV is an LED TV with a street price of about $450. (Panasonic got out of the plasma screen market in 2014.) But this 39.5-inch, 1080p model delivers excellent picture quality with style. Colors are well saturated, skin tones are authentic, and the physical design is surprisingly good for Panasonic.
The AS520 can stream Netflix, YouTube, Pandora and other Internet-based apps with built-in Wi-Fi and Web browser. Of the 280+ customer reviews on the BestBuy website, 96% said they would recommend this product to a friend.
The Samsung UN32H6350 comes in 32 or 40 inch sizes; curiously, the larger screen sometimes costs less than the smaller one. You’ll generally see prices between $450 and $500, perhaps a bit more. A true 1080p either way, this model features accurate color and efficient video processing for smooth fast-action viewing. The blacks are not as black as they could be, but the Smart TV app suite is extensive. Samsung is still the only TV maker with HBO GO. Other notable apps include Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, and AOL On.
The RCA LED42C45RQ lists for $449 but it’s been sold at Walmart for as little as $279. This very affordable 42-inch HD TV offers full 1080p resolution and energy-efficient LED backlighting. The built-in 8-inch speakers deliver solid but not wall-shaking sound. At this price point you don’t see Web connectivity or streaming apps.
But of course you can add a Roku or similar device if you want some "smarts" to your TV experience. See my article Roku and Friends: Can You Cut the Cable? for a list of such devices.
There are higher-priced, more luxurious HD TVs that would be better suited for home entertainment rooms. But for the guest room, kitchen, or even the bathroom, it’s good to have solid choices under $500. Just keep the remote away from the tub.
Do you have a sub-$500 HDTV in your home? Tell me what you like or dislike about yours. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Mar 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Best HDTVs Under $500 (Posted: 16 Mar 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved