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Best cheap TVs 2023: Nine great value TVs

Introduction

If you’re on the hunt for the best cheap TVs and the best value models, we’ve got you covered with this list of the best budget TVs that we’ve tested.

The best TVs on the market are often out of reach for most of the market in terms of their pricing. As such, we’ve tried to make the TVs that feature on this list don’t exceed more than £1000, with the cheapest model available for less than £200. If it’s a bargain that you’re after, you’ll find one here.

When it comes to testing the TVs, we’ll approach them much like other TV that we come across, applying our testing methods which involves watching (and listening) to plenty of films and TVs to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each TV, using measurable tests (such as testing for brightness and colour accuracy), as well as simply living with them and using them like any one else would to gauge their overall performance.

We’ll also take into account smart features, how many apps and which apps they have, as well as listen to their audio performance and ascertain whether a soundbar might be needed to give the TV a boost or not so you can appropriately budget for your spend.

If you need more assistance in finding the best cheap TV, we include links to our in-depth reviews along with widgets that feature up to date prices so you can see how much each TV costs.

If you’re not after a budget TV or can spend more than the TVs listed here, have a look at our best TVs money can buy. Or you can peruse our best HDR TVs and our best OLED pages, while for the most advanced TVs on the market, head to best 8K TV.

Best cheap TVs at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test televisions

Every TV we review is put through the same set of tests to gauge its picture performance, usability, and smart features.

Tests are carried out over several days and are done by eye but supported with technical measurements. Testing by eye involves an expert watching a wide range of material to understand and determine a TV’s performance in fields such as brightness, contrast, motion processing, colour handling and screen uniformity.

We’ll consider the design of the TV in terms of build quality, study the spec sheets and see if the TV’s connections are up to spec, as well as playing video and audio content to ensure that the set handles playback as it claims. We also take note whether a product’s compatible formats and features are in line with industry trends or not to gauge whether it’s relevant for you.

Comparison to other related and similarly priced products is also important, to see if it’s missing any vital features and whether it impresses as a whole. After all this, we’ll come to a judgement on how the TV performs as a whole.

If you want to learn more, please visit our detailed page about how we test televisions.

LG OLED42C2

Best affordable small OLED
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Pros

  • Natural-looking SDR and HDR images
  • Excellent for gaming
  • Small size
  • Wide selection of apps
  • Currently cheaper than other 42-inch OLEDs

Cons

  • Rivals arguably offer upgraded picture quality
  • Doesn’t comfortably accommodate a soundbar

The LG OLED42C2 is its smallest sized OLED screen, and despite Black Friday now in the rear view mirror, it’s still retained its discounted price after the event, available for less than £1,000. If you’re looking to get a small OLED, now would be a great time to jump on the the 42C2 model.

It’s cheaper than its closest rivals in the Panasonic LZ980 and Sony A90K, and while it arguably doesn’t produce a better picture than either of those models, it does carry with it a range of features that we felt makes it an excellent choice for film fans, avid TV watchers and gamers.

The 42-inch C2 is great size for bedroom gaming, and comes with a bevy of high-end gaming features in VRR and 4K/120Hz, all of which are available across all the HDMI inputs. That means you won’t be restricted by which input you plug your PC or game console. This also helps in adding a soundbar to this model, as you won’t have to make decision between whether to plug a console or soundbar in due to the eARC port being shared with one of the gaming ports

Slotting a soundbar beneath this TV is tricky given the feet don’t elevate the screen that far off the table, and most soundbars will block part of the screen. The design is one we feel is best suited to being placed on a desktop/flat surface rather than wall-mounted, but irrespective of which orientation you decide to place the TV in, the connections are all side-facing which helps with plugging sources in.

Back on the gaming front and we measured latency measured at 12.9ms, which is quicker than most TV brands, though not as fast as Samsung’s TVs can be in general. Nevertheless, with VRR support, that figure can fall to almost zero in terms of lag. In terms of smarts the OLED42C2 has plenty, but avid TV fans will be impressed by the broad range of apps supported by webOS, with all the major apps included as well as Freeview Play that supports the likes of iPlayer and ITVX.

Other than the Sony A80J on this list, you won’t find another TV on this list delivers picture as good. 4K imagery was delivered in an impressively natural way, with a good range of colours, as well as excellent levels of sharpness and detail for its size. We measured brightness at around the 750 nit mark, which is plenty enough to act as a showcase for HDR content. We also observed it to be quite good at upscaling lower quality content, its pixel density helps to cover some of the jagged edges and blurriness with 480p content in particular.

Why a small soundbar would be recommended to go along with this TV, on its own it’s a decent sounding effort. Bass is punchy, and there are good levels of detail and sharpness to along with it. We do feel that with non-Atmos content it’s best to avoid the AI Sound Pro mode, which can be too sibilant. Stick with Standard or Cinema modes and you’ll be treated to a smoother, less shrill performance

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: LG OLED42C2

Samsung UE50AU9000

Best budget TV
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Pros

  • Impressive 4K picture quality
  • Great user interface
  • Elegantly slim chassis

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision HDR
  • Sounds weak and vague
  • Upscaling can be exposed on occasion

The Samsung UE50AU9000 is still our pick for the best budget TV in 2023 if you can still find it online. Its svelte depth of 26mm makes it great for wall-mounting and in terms of aesthetics the AU9000 is inoffensive – but we mean that in the best sense of the word.

This version of the Tizen interface (before it was refreshed in 2022) offers a stack of entertainment apps and settings that can be found through easily navigable menus. There’s no Freeview Play but the UE50AU9000 has every UK catch-up app available.

Gaming features are better than the pricier QN90A with VRR and ALLM capability on all three HDMI inputs, plus AMD FreeSync produces a consistent performance when connected to a PC.

Where the AU9000 falters compared to the QN90A is that it is not the brightest HDR performer, Samsung once again favours HDR10+ over Dolby Vision. Our reviewer found the set’s ability to keep white tones clean and detailed meant they popped against deep and detailed black tones for contrast that has an impact.

Its impressive backlighting control from the edge-lit panel ensures haloing (light around bright objects on screen) are kept to a minimum, while colours are naturally and convincingly portrayed. Its upscaling skills are equally assured, with 1080p content not ruffling the Samsung’s feathers and while its delivery of audio is not as confident as the Philips 58PUS8506, it is decent enough for daytime TV viewing.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full Review: Samsung UE50AU9000

Samsung UE43AU7100

Best budget TV for bedrooms
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Pros

  • Balanced, believable native 4K images
  • Effective smart TV interface
  • Good upscaling (up to a point)

Cons

  • Contrast suffers from lack of both brightness and blackness
  • No Dolby Vision HDR
  • Tedious sound

Some affordable TVs make you feel a bit cheap, but the Samsung AU7100 isn’t among them. Its bezels are slim, the plastic construction doesn’t feel overly dour, and the push-and-click feet are nicely functional with enough room between the screen and the surface to place a soundbar. We would say any prospective owners should consider having a wide surface as the feet are placed far apart.

As expected from Samsung, there’s no Freeview Play but all the UK catch-up apps are accounted for, along with other entertainment options such as Disney+, Netflix, NOW and Spotify. All three of its HDMI sockets cover Auto Low Latency Mode but we wouldn’t wholly recommend this TV for bedroom gaming for current gen consoles as it lacks features such as VRR. Samsung’s 50-inch AU9000 would be better if you have more room.

In terms of its picture performance, we found it engaging with native 4K images, and very watchable with 1080p content. Retrieval of detail is excellent for a screen of its size and price; colours are wide-ranging and deliver very subtle variations of shade, with plenty of detail to note in the darkest and brightest parts of the image, too. However, it lacks the more popular Dolby Vision format, choosing HDR10+ instead.

Its audio performance avoids coming across as shrill and does decent work with dialogue but it’s still a TV and a small one at that, so a soundbar is a must if you care about audio.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full Review: Samsung UE43AU7100

Sony XR-55A80J

Best budget TV for sports
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Pros

  • Detail, clear and colourful image from any source
  • Dynamic, direct sound
  • Excellent motion processing
  • Google TV smarts
  • Intelligent design

Cons

  • Dolby Vision performance less vibrant than rivals
  • PS5 owners get the best gaming performance

Sony’s A80J step down OLED from 2021 has dropped to £999 in the UK. If you are in the market for a bigger screen to watch movies and sports on, this would be our pick.

It’s a well built model, the feet design offers the option of two positions to place the TV in if you want it to sit flush to the ground or if you need space to add a soundbar beneath, an option we found to be very useful in adapting to our set-up. It’s not the slimmest of OLEDs, with a bulky rear panel that houses the processor, connections and speakers that might affect the aesthetics of hanging it on a wall.

In terms of its interface, Sony supports Google TV, which we found an improvement over Android TV in terms of usability and surfacing content. The curated aspect of the service could use more tweaking the recommendations it offers, but as a whole it feels more inviting and accessible than Android TV. There’s no Freeview Play but virtually all the apps you’d expect to find are available through the Google Play Store, with Dolby Vision HDR supported where available.

The A80J is not made for gaming, with only HDMI VRR available and no AMD FreeSync, Nvidia G-Sync or Dolby Vision Gaming available. If you do have a PS5 then it has specific features such as Auto HDR Tone Mapping to optimise the performance. We measured input lag at 16.3ms which is a solid result but the LG OLED65C1 and Samsung QN94A can eke out faster results.

The A80J doesn’t have the brighter OLED EX panel but it still manages a bright performance for an OLED TV, reaching 870 nits of peak brightness with HDR content. HDR content looks great, especially in Dolby Vision, with OLED’s naturally inky and deep blacks creating a wide sense of contrast with bright highlights. It can lack a little detail in the darkest parts of the image, but it is an attractive 4K HDR picture nonetheless.

Upscaling is an area we found this TV to be top notch with content at less than 4K resolution with a good, clean and natural look employed to 1080p content. And as usual with Sony TVs, its sense of motion is excellent. Watching tennis on this TV and there was barely any of the Soap Opera Effect that plagues other sets, motion on the A80J is convincingly natural and smooths out the image in terrific fashion.

The Acoustic Surface Audio+ system is a punchy and direct listen, especially after it’s been calibrated. It sounds sharp, but not overly so, is filled with detail and locks dialogue placement to its origins on the screen. You should still consider a soundbar to fill out the performance, but this is one of the better flatscreen audio systems we’ve come across.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Sony XR-55A80J

Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV

Best budget smart TV
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Pros

  • Good-quality, colourful picture performance
  • Wide streaming capabilities
  • Easy to set-up and use
  • Speedy gaming performance

Cons

  • Iffy sound
  • Inconsistent upscaling of SD sources
  • Limited HDR performance

In the budget TV market, the Hisense R50B7120UK Roku TV was one of the leading contenders. It has since been discontinued and replaced by the R50A7200GTUK model, and it repeats the same trick of before, packing in even more value at a similar price.

The number of smarts the Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV has is only behind the likes of Samsung models such as the QN90A and AU7100. There is Freeview Play (which Samsung lacks), and that brings the catch-up apps into play like iPlayer and ITV Hub. There’s a wide range of streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+ among others, and the Roku OS has been updated to support AirPlay 2 for iPhone screen mirroring and Apple HomeKit, with Alexa and Google assistant also available.

Build quality is fine, the slimness of the rear panel means the Hisense Roku doesn’t jut out much when wall-mounted, and with most of the connections side-facing it’s easier to plug sources in. Assembling the TV is simply a case of slotting in the feet, tightening the screws and turning the TV on.

Picture quality is similar as the B7120UK. We observed it lacked the contrast and brightness to produce a representative HDR performance with its peak brightness of around 300 nits, but its native 4K performance was full of detail and colours naturally portrayed – we don’t think many will be disappointed by what it serves up.

Sound quality, however, was a disappointment, struggling to convey the action scenes in a film like Tenet with dynamism or excitement, and proving to be messy when playing music through its speakers. As is the case with many of the best cheap TVs on this list, a soundbar would help.

While this TV is not due to be replaced just yet, it does have competition from other affordable Roku TVs from RCA and Metz. We’ll be trying to review those new models in the new year to see if they can oust the Hisense Roku set.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV

Samsung UE50TU7020

Best budget TV for upscaling
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Pros

  • Detailed, natural-looking image
  • Easy to set up
  • eARC support
  • Affordable
  • Fast gaming performance

Cons

  • Slightly sluggish UI
  • Only two HDMI inputs
  • Limited brightness for HDR

This Samsung model is an older one as it first appeared towards the end of 2020, but such is its popularity that it is still available towards in 2023.

Compared to Samsung’s recent ‘affordable’ small-sizes QLEDs, such as the QE43QN90A, the performance is downgraded, but the core feature set remains intact. We measured lag at 9.7ms, although bear in mind this set does not feature VRR or 120Hz gaming. There’s also an eARC port for the passthrough of lossless audio such as Dolby Atmos from the TV, a feature not common around the £350 mark.

The Tizen UI has all the apps you’ll ever need, including the UK catch-up apps, which is helpful as this lacks the Freeview Play that’s built into the Hisense and Toshiba models on this list.

Over the course of testing, we felt picture quality was strong for the money, upscaling of HD broadcast content was more consistent than either the Hisense Roku and TCL Roku TVs. Pictures were relatively free from artefacts; colour tones resolved in a natural manner, and detail levels good when upscaling.

The same applies to native 4K content, with black levels holding up well for decent contrast, although we find this set lacks the ability to convey detail in the darkest parts of an image, so you’re not seeing everything you ought to be. HDR performance is limited, as are viewing angles, but that’s to be expected. In terms of audio, this Samsung puts in a good effort in terms of clarity, but a soundbar would improve matters.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Samsung UE50TU7020

Sharp 65EQ3EA

Best budget 65-inch TV
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Pros

  • QLED TV with Dolby Vision support
  • Big, spacious Harman Kardon sound system
  • Android TV offers plenty of apps
  • Affordable for a 65-inch TV

Cons

  • Below average gaming skills
  • Red push to complexions in Dolby Vision
  • Black levels can look washed out

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember Sharp as the shirt sponsor of Manchester United. Since the 90s, it’s arguable that both institutions have fallen in stock, but in a quirk of coincidence, both are enjoying a resurgence, and the 65EQ3EA from Sharp sees it besting out other respectable brands with its performance.

Its smarts are provided by Android TV, ensuring you’re not left wanting for any entertainments when it comes to films, TV and music. We found Android is an easy interface to navigate, though in terms of curating content for the user, the results it provides could be more personal.

You also get Chromecast and Google Assistant to cast to the screen and for voice control operation of the TV respectively. If you’re a gamer, we wouldn’t recommend getting this screen. We measured lag at 50ms at 1080p resolution, which is slow if you’re into first person shooters or any type of game that requires a quick response time. a TV like the Samsung BU8000 is quicker, but that model suffers from a sluggish interface and inferior picture quality.

Unlike Samsung’s cheaper QLED TVs, the Sharp 65EQ3EA is kitted out with Dolby Vision, and it results in a colourful image with shows such as Stranger Things and Wednesday on Netflix. We did note that there was a orange push to complexions in Dolby Vision, but found it a minor issue overall. With HDR content, black levels aren’t quite as firm as we’d like, and this has the impact of affecting contrast, but this is still a more vibrant performance the the Samsung, and unlike the Philips PUS8807, you don’t have to fiddle with the settings as wring a good picture from the Sharp.

The audio from its Harman Kardon sound system is much better than we expected, a big spacious soundstage with dialogue that’s always clear and mostly free from sibilance in the content we watch. Bass won’t rival a soundbar but it’s a punchy performance that provides some excitement. It’s also compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, though you have to switch between the two in the settings to get the best performance. All-in-all, this is a solid 65-inch 4K TV for the outlay, and well worth considering if you’re after good smarts, picture and sound in one affordable package.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Sharp 65EQ3EA

TCL Roku 55RP620K

Best budget 55-inch TV under £500
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Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Great smarts and accessible interface
  • Dolby Vision support
  • Quick gaming performance

Cons

  • Picture quality could use more expression
  • Some overheating issues

The TCL Roku 55RP620K is a solid, affordable TV with the highlight being its Roku OS support. The number of apps, accessibility, and features make it a bargain buy.

It looks similar to the Hisense Roku TV, so its appearance is practical and functional – not an issue for the money involved. Our reviewer found assembly exceedingly simple with set-up taking just a few minutes.

The interface is the same as on every other Roku TV except it’s coloured red, and the accessibility it offers means you’ll never be deceived by how to navigate it. Apps are plentiful with nearly all the big names accounted for, making this a better choice than the likes of the Toshiba UL21 and Hisense A7G we’ve tested. The mobile app offers a slicker method of interaction than the stiff remote, too.

Smart features are numerous with AirPlay 2, HomeKit and Chromecast, which means you can stream from iOS devices, place the TV within Apple’s smart ecosystem and cast content from mobile devices.

Picture quality is not as good as the Hisense Roku model despite the upgrade of Dolby Vision HDR. We observed it had the same inconsistent quality with upscaling non-4K as the Hisense Roku, though its image quality is not as poor. HDR content can look plain, colours are subdued rather than expressive, and it can falter with black depth and sharpness.

Nevertheless, as a budget TV its picture performance is fine, but we’ve found that Philips PUS8807 series offers a better Dolby Vision performance. There’s less to say about the sound, which is flat and lacks dynamism. Purchasing a soundbar would improve it.

The RP620K is still available, but TCL Roku have launched a range of affordable QLED TVs in the RC630K series that supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+. We will be looking to review those TVs early in the new year.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: TCL 55RP620K

Toshiba WK3C

Best budget HD TV
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Pros

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Simple interface
  • Alexa built-in

Cons

  • Limited to HD
  • No Disney Plus, Apple TV or NOW apps
  • The audio lacks some punch

At less than £200, Toshiba WK3C should interest anyone after a simple, casual TV for a small room. From a design perspective, the Toshiba WK3C is not the most eye-catching, but it isn’t designed to be. This is a functional TV in every sense of the word.

As far as ports go, the WK3C has an assortment of digital and analogue connections that includes three HDMI ports, a composite video input for hooking up analogue sources and satellite and antenna aerials for the likes of Freesat and Freeview.

We found the WK3C’s smart TV interface to be intuitive enough to navigate, and smarts are delivered with built-in Alexa functionality. Freeview Play and catch-up apps such as BBC iPlayer and All4 are onboard, but this TV misses out on the likes of Disney Plus, Apple TV and NOW. Given the lack of 4K support that’s not a big miss, but if you want those options, we’d suggest picking up a streaming stick to go with this TV.

The lack of a game mode means this TV is not as suitable as the Samsung AU7100 for a spot of gaming. It also isn’t a 4K screen with its resolution of 1366 x 768, although it does have HDR10 and HLG support. Across testing we assessed contrast to be decent for a TV at this price, delivering a punchy image and detail that is commendable, although we observed the Toshiba has a habit of producing sharp and noisy picture. Where audio is concerned it’s decently balanced but lacks punch and turning the volume above 50% invokes some bad distortion.

Reviewer: Hannah Davies
Full Review: Toshiba WK3C

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FAQs

What’s the best TV under £500?

If you’re after a decent-sized set then the 50-inch Samsung TU7020 would suit the bill. Picture quality is very good, The Tizen Eden interface has the widest range of streaming apps on the TV market and its gaming performance is class-leading. It only has two HDMI ports and its HDR performance is limited.

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