The 3 best 4K TVs under $500 in 2020

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Studies show that watching content from a big television screen actually improves attentiveness and mental activation (over the much smaller screen on something like your phone). Pair a larger size with a crystal-clear display comprised of at least 8 million pixels, and it's hard not to feel immersed — but what if you're not willing to drop upwards of $1,000 for it? Luckily, the best 4K TVs under $500 do exist if you know where to look, but a 4K resolution shouldn't be your only determining factor. Before you make any purchases, consider the TV's size, operating system, and extra features, too.

Size is pretty self-explanatory when it comes to TVs, but there are a few things to know before you choose one: First, televisions are measured diagonally from the top corner on one side to the bottom corner on the other, so plan accordingly when it comes to your wall space or TV stand. Second, generally the bigger the size, the more expensive the TV — and this is especially true for 4K TVs — so if you're looking for one more than 60 inches, you might need to adjust your $500 budget.

Next, since the vast majority of 4k TVs out there are smart to allow you to easily stream, consider the operating system you go with. All the popular TV operating systems have their pros and cons: In terms of pros, WebOS is highly customizable, Tizen is sleek and responsive, Android offers exclusive benefits for Google phone users, Fire TV is easy to navigate, and Roku is affordable. Ultimately, it's a matter of personal preference, but try to pick one that's familiar and compatible with your existing electronics.

Finally, there are the extra features, which could include everything from Bluetooth capability and built-in virtual assistants to cable management systems and game-friendly modes. The 4K televisions below all offer quality video at shockingly affordable prices.

1. The overall best 4K TV under $500

It's really hard to ignore the more than 9,000 reviews and 4.6-star overall rating on this Samsung 4K smart TV, just like it's hard to ignore the vivid, fine-tuned colors, ultra-fast processor, and intuitive operating system that comes with a sleek, all-controlling remote. This TV also has Alexa and Bixby built right in so you can switch apps, change the channel, search for specific content, play music, and control the rest of your smart devices using only your voice. Last but not least, the cable-management stand and slim frame make for a modern, minimalist appearance without the extra clutter. While the 55-inch is at the top of the $500 budget, it also comes in smaller sizes for less.

  • Operating system: Tizen
  • Sizes under $500: 55-inch, 50-inch, 43-inch

One reviewer wrote: "This tv is amazing especially for the price. I buy multiple TVs every year for my business [...] This [is] far and above the best bang for buck 4k TV I have ever seen. It rivals so many higher models from other manufacturers."

2. The best cheap 4K TV

To get a 50-inch 4K smart TV that's less than $300 is pretty rare but the TCL smart TV is a great affordable option — especially considering it has more than 200 reviews and a 4.5-star rating. In addition to its 4K resolution, it's also a Roku smart TV which means you can connect to all your favorite streaming services.

  • Operating system: Roku
  • Sizes under $500: 50-inch, 43-inch

One reviewer wrote: "This is a great TV for the price. The picture is sharp and clear. [...] It didn't take me long to set the TV up and to update the apps and services I use to it. [...]"

3. The most customizable 4K TV

This one is for the techies and gamers out there. The LG smart TV (which runs on the highly customizable WebOS platform) has incredible features for those who like to fine-tune their watching and playing experience. Of course, it offers 4K resolution with pristine colors and movement, but it also has an automatic low-latency mode to minimize lag, scene-by-scene picture adjustment, Sports Alerts, Bluetooth surround-sound abilities, and built-in Apple AirPlay 2 and Apple HomeKit. Control all of that with the Magic Remote or your voice.

  • Operating system: WebOS
  • Sizes under $500: 55-inch, 50-inch, 53-inch

One reviewer wrote: "I literally couldn't be happier. I love my TV, I love its features, I love the magic remote control that works as a mouse for PC's or laptops, the image quality, the sound quality, you can connect a Bluetooth device like I did with my audio system [...] the TV already goes beyond high expectations."

Also great: A 65-inch customer-approved smart TV for just a little bit more

If you want a bigger TV with 4K resolution and don't need a whole lot of extra features, consider spending just a little bit over $500. For well under $600, you can get a 65-inch with built-in Roku. It's compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, not to mention more than 5,000 other streaming channels. This one doesn't have too many fancy features, but it does have more than 30,000 reviews, all because it offers a "great picture" for a "great price," according to reviewers. You can also get this customer-approved pick with a 4.6-star rating in 55-, 50-, and 43-inch sizes for less than $500.

  • Operating system: Roku
  • Sizes under $500: 55-inch, 50-inch, 43-inch

One reviewer wrote: "Great size 65" TV for a great price! [...] Awesome 4K set at a great value. I highly recommend for those who don’t want to spend big bucks on unnecessary bells and whistles."

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