The best TV under $1000: budget-friendly 4K TVs, QLED TVs and more

The best TV under $1000 include cheap QLED and LED sets – but all deliver world-class images and do big-screen blockbusters justice

Best TV under $1000
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(Image credit: Samsung)

The best TVs under $1,000 should deliver the ideal balance of quality, features and value. While there are plenty of mid-range TV sets in this price range, many are now including more advanced features found in premium displays. This makes finding a premium-feeling Smart 4K TV under $1,000 an easy task if you know where to look.

Nowadays, budget-friendly displays offer the same Smart TV software and technology found in higher-end models. This includes compatibility with the latest HDR formats, premium UHD image processing and built-in streaming. You may not be getting the latest cutting-edge TV at these prices, but the displays here offer as close to the experience of one without the premium price tag.

It's no surprise that features found in the best TVs – even the money-is-no-object ones – are starting to show up in some of these TVs under $1000. While you may not find premium technology like OLED displays or 8K visuals in TVs under $1000 just yet (you can check out our best OLED TVs and best 8K TVs guides for those), new models are due in 2021 and beyond that will be cheaper than ever. We may start to see TVs under $1000 include these premium features sooner than we think.

Now, we have TVs under $1000 that feature HDMI 2.1 support – a feature only found on some of the best gaming TVs. Just a year ago, finding HDMI 2.1 support on displays within the price range was unheard-of.

This cheaper price range is also key for the growing number of people who want to go bigger without breaking the bank. You can some of the best 55-inch TVs under $1000, but if you're happy to step down in features slightly you may even get some of the best 65-inch and even 75-inch TVs at budget prices.

Of course, the more money you spend the better the picture quality gets and additional features are included lower priced models won't have. However, many of these budget-friendly models deliver exceptional picture quality, excellent design and a bevvy of Smart TV features.

If you want something even more affordable, we've also got the best TVs under $500. Sometimes more expensive TVs drop under $1000 during sales and special offers as well, so keep your eye on our list of the best TV deals to save even more.

What is the best TV for under $1,000?

Our pick of the current best TV under $1,000 is the Sony X90J. It's an LCD screen with direct array backlight, meaning it's really 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 a really low response rate, support for 4K at 120Hz over HDMI 2.1, and with Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode coming with an update – all of which are perfect for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

The best TVs under $1,000 (ranked)

Sony X90JT3 Best Buy Award badge

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony XR50X90J (X90J)

Best mid-range 4K TV

Specifications
Screen size: 50 inches
Other sizes available: 55, 65, 75 inches
Inputs: HDMI x4, USB x2, composite, ethernet
Dimensions: 44 1/8 x 25 5/8 x 2 7/8 inch
Reasons to buy
+Excellent color reproduction+Great upscaling+Ready for next-gen consoles+Fresh Google TV interface
Reasons to avoid
-Only two HDMI 2.1 ports-VRR not ready at launch-Sound quality just OK-Noticeable glare

This mid-range 4K LED model replaces our previous top model, the Sony X900H and features a brand-new processor. Like the X900H, it still has two HDMI 2.1 ports, making it ideal for use with next-gen gaming consoles, like the PS5. Though variable refresh rate is currently not featured. 

The X90J uses the new Google TV platform, rather than the old Android TV used on on the X900H. Thanks to the Cognitive Processor XR and the XR Triluminos Pro engine, it has great color reproduction, with sharp and smooth edge detail. 

While just a few months old, you can pick up this 50-inch model below its $1,099 retail price, edging it into the sub-$1000 list. If you want to go bigger, it also comes in 55, 65 and 75-inch versions. 

Read our full Sony X90J review

Best TV under $1000 in 2021: Sony X950HT3 Award

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony XBR-49X950H

The best 50-inch TV under $1000

Specifications
Screen size: 49 inches
Other sizes available: 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Inputs: HDMI x4, USB x3, composite, ethernet
Dimensions: 43 x 24.8 x 2.7 inches
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic 4K HDR images+Top-tier upscaling and motion+Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+-No next-gen gaming features

This is Sony's flagship LED 4K TV for 2020, packing in all kinds of advanced technology and processing for supreme picture quality… and somehow you can get one of these sets for under $1000!?

Only the smallest size of this model comes within our budget, but 49 inches is still a generous size, but one that's small enough to fit in most living rooms without a problem. But crucially, there's still all of Sony's wizardry going on here.

The X950H 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. 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 colors 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.

The only disappointment here is the lack of gaming features ready for the PS5 and Xbox Series X – there's no Variable Refresh Rate and no support for 4K video at 120fps. The Sony X900H TV is the Sony TV to get if you want those features, which ironically is the model down from this one in Sony's current selection – it starts at 55 inches at the same price as this. 

Want to know more? Read our full Sony XBR-49X950H review

Best TVs under $1000 in 2021: Samsung Q60TT3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung QN65Q60T

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, ethernet
Dimensions: 57.1 x 32.6 x 2.3 inches
Reasons to buy
+Lovely 4K images+Great upscaling+Splendid OS
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision HDR-Sound is mediocre

The Q60T range is pushing to give you the lush colors of QLED at the lowest possible price – or, to think of it another way, to give you the biggest QLED screen possible for your budget. Pictures from 4K sources are outstanding: vivid-yet-natural colors, strong contrasts, lavish detail levels and smooth motion. Upscaling from lesser resolutions is accomplished too, with super-low picture noise and a fine color balance. The downside is that its brightness is lower than more expensive models, and it doesn't have the same fine control over contrast.

It still uses Samsung's Tizen-based operating system/user interface that’s a match for the best around – responsive, logical and not too in-your-face – plus offers an incredibly rapid sub-10ms response time when in ‘Game’ mode. 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, especially when you look at what kind of price you can get a 65-inch model for (and even a 75-inch model breaks our barrier less than you'd think).

Read our full Samsung Q60T review

Best TVs under $1000 in 2021: Samsung TU7000T3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung UN75TU7000

The best 75-inch TV for under $1,000 – big screen, mid-range budget

Specifications
Screen size: 75 inches
Other sizes: 43, 50, 55, 58, 65, 85 inches
Inputs: HDMI x2, USB x1, composite video, ethernet
Dimensions: 65.9 x 37.7 x 2.4 inches
Reasons to buy
+Unarguable price/performance ratio+Really good upscaling+Best-in-class user interface
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision-Impoverished sound

The Samsung TU7000 is a great value TV with commendable picture quality. Though this is the entry-level model in Samsung's Crystal UHD TV range, you still get some impressive specifications. And all for roughly an eighth of the price of its new 8K flagship in the same size. 

For your $900 you get a decent selection of connections, including a couple of HDMI inputs (one with eARC), a USB socket, a CI slot, an ethernet socket and a digital optical output. There's also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2. For gamers, it's worth noting that the HDMI inputs support Auto Low Latency Mode, too. 

Where the TU7000 really shines is in picture quality; it provides impressively deep black tones and equally admirable white tones, with plenty of detail and luster. Detail is respectable throughout and movement is dealt with intelligently. 

The downside is that, despite the 20W of speaker included, the audio performance is somewhat lacking. There's a decent mid-range but dynamics are sparse. We advise investing in a soundbar to do this screen justice. 

The TU7000 comes in a range of sizes from 43in upwards, with this 75in being the largest in the range. Though there are better all-round packages (including the Samsung Q60T above), if you want to go big, this is a great choice for the money. 

Read our full Samsung TU7000 review

best TVs under $1000 in 2021: Sony XH90T3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony XBR-55X900H (X900H)

The best TV under $1000 – the best balance of size, image quality and features

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes available: 65, 75, 85 inches
Inputs: HDMI x4, USB x2, composite, ethernet
Dimensions: 48.5 x 28 x 2.9 inches
Reasons to buy
+Excellent rich HDR image quality+Great value for money+Next-gen HDMI 2.1 features

After recent price drops, this impressive 55-inch set from Sony is now our overall pick as the best TV under $1,000. Some of the TVs below beat for image quality in certain areas, but nothing gives you this quality of picture at this size with such great technical features to make sure it's future-proof.

This LCD TV gives you bright HDR images that really dazzle with color, but it's also quite capable when it comes to darker scenes, though not as strong as the Philips OLED TV below, of course. But it makes up for that with Sony's excellent processing, which makes motion look natural and smooth, and is fantastic at upscaling from HD to 4K, so everything looks detailed and crisp. Support for Dolby Vision makes the most of its HDR screen, though there's no HDR10+ here (the rival to Dolby Vision used on Amazon Prime Video).

It uses Android TV for its smart TV functionality, which means it's really well-equipped for streaming apps, though the interface isn't quite as tidy and smooth as Samsung or LG TVs. And as a bonus, the built-in sound is better than most mid-range TVs – you won't have to immediately add your own soundbar (though you might still want to).

The Sony X900H features HDMI 2.1 functionality, including support for 4K video at 120fps, which makes it perfect for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. It will also support Variable Refresh Rates and Auto Low Latency Mode via an update coming shortly. eARC HDMI support is here too, for high-resolution audio output to your sound system.

Combine all that, and you get the best overall TV package under $1,000. For more info, read our full Sony X900H review

hisense u6g 4k tvT3 Award

(Image credit: Hisense)

6. Hisense U6G

The best 55 inch TV for under $1000 – includes Dolby Atmos support

Specifications
Screen size: 55 inches
Other sizes: 43, 50, 55, 58, 65, 70, 75 inches
Inputs: HDMI x4, USB x2, composite video, optical audio, component
Dimensions: 33 x 53.6 x 6.4 inches
Reasons to buy
+Dolby Vision & Atmos support+Super crisp 4K ULED display+Android TV dashboard
Reasons to avoid
-Poor built-in speakers (expected)-Very basic look and feel

While many probably don't think of Hisense when they think of solid 4K TVs, the brand has been stepping up its game over the past couple of years.

Releasing this budget-friendly wonder, the U6G ULED Smart TV is a solid contender for one of the best TVs under $1000 today. The package itself is a bit simple and plain, but what's on the inside is what truly counts on this budget-friendly display.

For the price, the image quality the Hisense U6G can provide is unmatched. It features full HDR10+ support along with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos as well. For cinephiles and gamers on a tighter budget, the Hisense U6G can provide a great alternative to the comparable and pricier Sony and LG models.

This display also comes with a ton of ports to setup your home theater as you see fit. A total of four HDMI inputs along with two USB inputs, composite and component, as well as digital optical audio, complete this displays roster making it perfect for streaming devices, consoles, PCs and other devices.

Available in sizes ranging from 50 inches to 75 inches, the U6G is a solid budget TV for those who don't need the added luxuries of higher-end models. The 55 inch is probably the best value for the dollar, but sizes up to 65 inch can be nabbed for under $1000.

How we chose the best TVs 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 models 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 catalog, to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, 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 mere '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 on lesser TVs is sound. You can always add one of the best soundbar or soundbases to rectify this sorry state of affairs.