With the World Cup just around the corner, and a tsunami of new TV technology incoming, it’s high time you treated yourself to a fantastic new flatscreen. But when your budget is capped at £1,000, what sets are the best to shortlist?
The good news is your budget will buy you a telly equipped with all the toys you’re hankering after: 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution and HDR (High Dynamic Range) compatibility are a given. Offering four times the pixel count of Full HD and the promise of more naturalistic images, any such UHD TV will represent a significant improvement over a rank and file Full HD model.
Smart TVs have been commonplace for some time, but these connected platforms are also finally coming into their own, with innovative features and even integration with voice control ecosystems from Amazon and Google.
But buying smart isn’t just a case of waiting for sales and retail promotions. A little homework will pay dividends. If you’re buying principally to watch sports, how good is a set’s motion handling? As you move up and down the price scale, image processing is usually the first aspect of a screen to be compromised.
Similarly, not every mid- or lower-range screen offers the same level of HDR performance, and there could be huge discrepancies in audio performance. A slick narrow bezel design may look fashionably minimalist, but if TV’s sound system sucks, maybe your cash is better spent elsewhere?
The good news is you don't have to wade through reams of tech specs to come to a conclusion – we've done the leg-work for you by finding the best TVs available for under £1,000. If you want the best budget TVs, you’ve come to the right place!
What is the best TV under £1,000?
If you only have £1,000 to spend on a new TV, how should you spend it?
If you're looking for the best TV for the money, bar none, it's the Sony XE83 Series. Our favorite model of the bunch is the Sony KD-55XE8396, a 55-incher with 4K, HDR support and built-in Android TV and Chromecast.
That said, there are a few other cracking TVs out there for less than a grand; so here, kicking off with the Sony, are the five best TVs under £1,000, ranked by their price-to-performance ratio…
1. Sony KD-55XE8396
A mid-range screen with high-end ambitions
For a mid-range set, this Sony edge-lit UHD model, available in a wide variety of screen sizes, is enviably well specced.
Although we’re focusing on the 55-inch version - as it currently represents a cracking deal in terms of price and panel size – all of the XE8396, models are HDR compatible, and boast an easy to accommodate design with minimalist wireframe pedestal.
The smart platform, like all Sony 4K screens, is the Android TV OS. In truth, we think this is a little cluttered and clunky, but with a YouView app layered on top of a Freeview HD tuner, there’s at least a full complement of Catch-up TV services available, including BBC iPlayer, ITVHub, My5 and All4. You’ll also find YouTube, Amazon Video and Netflix all streamed in 4K.
Image quality is high, thanks largely to Sony’s top notch X-Reality Pro picture processor. This Triluminos display also has a ravishingly wide colour gamut. While compatible with HDR10, the XE8396 isn’t able to deliver the really bright spectral highlights HDR is famed for, but pictures still look pleasingly dynamic.
2. Samsung QE55Q6FAMT
Released late last year, the Q6F is big, bright and beautiful
Samsung’s first generation entry-level QLED is now available for less than half its original launch price, and as such is quite a bargain for the brand’s fans.
This is an edge-lit LED LCD set, but Quantum Dot technology is used to create a wider colour range and better off-axis viewing then standard LED models. The set is also 4K HDR compatible, and has HDR+ processing to intelligently upscale standard dynamic range sources. Its HDR performance is satisfying bright.
The Q6 is also good with motion control, making it a great buy for watching footie.
While the TV set set lacks Freeview Play, Samsung’s own Tizen Smart platform features catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5, as well Netflix, Amazon (both in 4K) and YouTube.
Overall, design and build quality are high and audio is surprisingly effective, thanks to a 40W sound system. Connectivity includes four v2.0 HDMIs and three high-speed USBs. All that said, it's one glaring weakness is that Samsung’s tethered One Connect input junction is a bit of a pain to squirrel away - interior designers beware!
3. LG 65UJ634V
It's not an OLED, but LG's mid-range screen still looks out of this world
If you’re looking for a big brand mega-screen, this LED edge-lit monster from LG should be high up your list - though, if 65-inches is a tad too big, it comes in a variety of smaller screen sizes, too.
Built around an IPS panel, LG's 65UJ634V offers a wide viewing angle and has a vivid colour performance. HDR support is wide ranging. As well as HDR10, this screen is compatible with the Dolby Vision dynamic metadata standard (found on select UHD Blu-rays) and HLG broadcast HDR format.
And when it comes to smart connectivity, it doesn’t get much better than LG’s webOS and Freeview Play. You’ll have access to all key catch-up TV services (namely BBC iPlayer, ITVHub. All4 and Demand5), plus Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. There’s also NowTV, which offers access to Sky channels without a long term contract.
The caveat here, however, is a meager three HDMI v2.0 inputs, which could limit your connectivity options. Partner it with a multi-input soundbar or an AV receiver, though, and you’ll be well fitted for a long time to come.
4. Hisense H55N6800
A TV where you get more than you pay for
If you’re window shopping for a whopping 4K HDR screen, then Hisense demands your attention with this impressive upper-budget barnstormer.
Image quality is surprisingly fine: The N6800, which is compatible with the basic HDR10 standard, is inherently bright enough to make peak white highlights zing, and there’s plenty of fine detail and nuanced colour on screen. Likewise, usability is best-in-class thanks Freeview Play, with its roll-back programme guide and comprehensive Catch-Up TV selection.
Gamers have reason to be happy with this one, too: We measured input lag at 29.1ms, which should be fast enough to keep you on your toes.
There are caveats, though: It comes stocked with only four HDMI inputs, two support 4K at 60Hz. There’s also three USBs, plus composite and component AV.
And, inevitably, the set’s audio system is limited. Despite going loud, it sounds thin. You’ll probably want to budget for a soundbar.
5. Philips 55PUS6272
Embrace this warm, glowing Ambilight TV
Philips' best selling 6-series range offers a compelling mix of picture quality and functionality. The provision of Ambilight is a huge point of difference between it and its many rivals. Ambilight, Philips' proprietary mood lighting can be used to mimic the colours on-screen, casting vivid hues back onto your living room wall, or used simply paint your wall space in solid shades. When integrated with a Hue smart lighting system, Ambilight becomes even more spectacular.
Image quality is reassuringly sharp too, courtesy of some elegant picture processing technology. While HDR compliant, its peak brightness is limited to around 350 nits. Consequently, we think it actually looks its best with SDR content, be it 4K Sky or BT TV, as well as HD sources. Audio quality can best be described as functional.
There are only three HDMI inputs, but all are HDCP 2.2 compatible. There’s also component AV and twin USB ports. The tuner is Freeview Play, which means a full house of catch-up TV players, plus Netflix and YouView.
It’s worth noting that Philips 6-series is also available in a 6262 iteration, but that cheaper line features two-sided Ambilight, rather than three, and comes with a slightly less fancy pedestal design. It pays to step-up.
Ultimately, though, this screen is greater than the sum of its parts.
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