© Provided by What Hi-Fi?Best TVs under £1000: 4K, HDR and budget TVs
Best TVs under £1000 Buying Guide: welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s guide to the best TVs under £1000 that you can buy in 2021.
After a house and a car, a TV could be one of the biggest purchases of your life. And seeing as you'll be stuck with it for at least a few years, you don't want to make the wrong decision.
That's where we come in. We've previously rounded up the best TVs money can buy, as well as the best options at 55 inch and 65 inch sizes, small TVs, plus our pick of the best Samsung TVs and LG TVs. Now it's the turn of TVs under £1000.
Whether you want a big screen TV, smaller model for a second room, or just want a good all-rounder, there's something for you.
You can expect to get a 4K model, even at this sort of price, and HDR will be supported, too - but check which specific formats it can handle. It's also well worth finding out which streaming apps are built in, as well as whether it's got enough HDMI inputs for your physical sources.
The TVs below are a varied bunch, but they've all got one thing in common: they all come recommended after extensive use in our testing room. So which is right for you? Let's find out...
There's a lot of pressure on the 49in KD-49XH9505 (XBR-49X950H in the States), as all three of its predecessors have taken home What Hi-Fi? Awards.
The company has basically reused the shell of last year's KD-49XG9005, which is a bit of a shame as it's fairly thick and has awkward-looking feet that give the set an overly wide footprint. But the set looks fairly smart in its own right. You do also get a better remote that's neatly laid out and doesn't require line of sight in order to send commands to the TV.
Most importantly, last year's shell has been stuffed with upgraded kit, including Sony's flagship processor, the X1 Ultimate, which brings with it lots of picture improvements. All told, this is a punchier and more richly coloured performer than its predecessor, with more dark detail and the excellent motion processing for which Sony is renowned. It sounds impressively weighty and solid, too.
Other than a bit of blooming from the direct LED backlight, this is an absolute corker, and the new benchmark for 49in TVs.
Read the full Sony KD-XH9505 review
This is one of the cheapest 4K TVs that Samsung currently offers. But fear not, it still boasts Samsung's core performance and feature set, at a smaller size and a lower price. In short, it's pretty much the best cheap TV you can buy.
Most 43in TVs offer about a tenth of the features of a bigger set, but not this one. The Tizen operating system is identical to that found on pricier sets, with the same winning UI and stacked app selection. It's 4K, naturally, HDR formats are well catered for (with the exception of Dolby Vision, which no Samsung sets support), and it supports Auto Low Latency Mode, which switches the TV to game mode when it detects a gaming signal. That's a feature missing from many much pricier sets, such as the 48in Sony in the top spot on this list.
The contrast ratio isn't as impressive as an OLED or QLED TV, of course, but that's to be expected. The blacks are actually surprisingly deep for a TV this affordable, and there's a hefty amount of punch. The TU7100 is a sharp and detailed performer, too, and it handles motion with a good balance of smoothing and authenticity. It's an excellent picture performance for a TV of this size, and you'd have to spend a fair bit more to get a significant improvement.
Read the full Samsung UE43TU7100 review
Samsung's 8-series has traditionally been positioned just below the company's glamorous range-topping QLEDs. In the past, it has proven to be the sweet spot where picture quality and price intersect to maximum effect. And so it proves once more.
The TU8000 is astonishingly good value. For comparatively very little money you're getting a 55-inch TV that performs brilliantly, particularly with HDR content, and one that boasts the best, most app-laden operating system available at any price.
Its sound quality is only so-so and the Samsung is lacking the outright brightness and next-gen HDMI features of its more premium siblings, but it's still undeniably brilliant for the money.
Read the full Samsung UE55TU8000 review
The Panasonic TX-58HX800B may be towards the bottom of the 2020 Panasonic TV range, but to consider it a low-end set would be a mistake. Indeed, it looks more like a pricier OLED, thanks mostly to the edge-lit LED backlight.
Performance is stunning, especially with dark detail. The colours falter slightly with SDR content, but upscaling brings a wealth of picture detail that otherwise would've been missed. But edge lighting does have its downside.
The screen occasionally leaks a bit of light close to the edge of the frame and the whole panel could be a little better shielded from its light source. But that's just a symptom of mid-range edge-lit LEDs. It's not too noticeable, and is a small compromise given the saving compared to an OLED set.
This Panny's motion handling is superb, too, and the sound has a sense of spaciousness that could convince you you don't need a soundbar (though obviously we would recommend one).
Despite being a little pricier than some mid-range rivals (and its predecessor), the HX800 remains an excellent performance-per-pound proposition.
Read the full Panasonic TX-58HX800B review
This is the price where TVs tip over from budget to mid range. And this set is the new best in class.
The feature set is very impressive, with ALLM, eARC, 4K and three formats of HDR supported. There's no VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), but at this price, that's hardly surprising. The Tizen OS is the same as seen on Samsung's flagship TVs, which means a slick user interface and apps galore.
It comes with Samsung's standard remote, plus its One Remote, which is more ergonomic and has a stripped-back selection of buttons that cover all of the bases. Voice controls are handled by Amazon's Alexa or Samsung's Bixby personal assistants, with Google Assistant due to land soon via a firmware update.
Picture-wise, it blows most of the similarly priced competition out of the water, with deeper blacks and bright white highlights. On the motion side of things, it displays a satisfyingly natural degree of smoothing, and manages to dig up plenty of detail. At this price, there really is no competition.
Read the full Samsung UE50TU8500 review
The Sony KD-49XG9005 has recently had a discount that brings it just below £1000, and means it can go straight in at the top of this list.
Brilliantly balanced, natural colours, lots of detail and super-sharp edges combine to deliver a picture that's both authentic and enticing, not to mention consistent across all sources. And it requires almost no tweaking to get the TV performing at its best.
The Android TV operating system, while still a bit behind the Samsung and LG alternatives, is steadily improving and boasts all of the apps you're likely to need. Sony has also added YouView to ensure all of the usual UK catch-up services are on board.
Read the full Sony KD-49XG9005 review
Looking to go big for relatively little money? Then you simply have to check out the TX-58GX800B. The 50in version of this TV is already good value, but for just a little extra cash you can add an extra 8in of screen, turning an engaging viewing experience into something really cinematic.
Not that size and price are the only things that this Panasonic has going for it. It also boasts both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, an operating system that looks a bit basic but is very simple to use and contains all of the vital apps, and a performance that's effortlessly natural and detailed.
The viewing angles aren't amazing and you really need to add a soundbar to get an audio performance worthy of the picture, but for the money this is an absolute belter.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-58GX800B
This is the best cheap 50-inch TV you can buy. The Hisense R50B7120UK is a direct LED-backlit TV, with a 4K resolution, HDR support and all of the apps you could possibly need, thanks to the excellent Roku TV platform (it's the first Roku TV to land in the UK). And all at a staggeringly low price.
It may not look much but in terms of features and connectivity, it surely offers everything you need, from HDMI, optical, USB and headphone connections, to Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Freeview Play, Apple TV, Disney Plus, Spotify, and plenty more. The universal search could be better but the content is certainly there.
The picture itself is good straight out of the box, too, though tinkering a little with the contrast, brightness and colour settings will yield even better results. Motion is handled confidently, colours are bright and dynamic but never artificial, and while absolute detail in dark scenes can be bettered by more expensive TVs, any flaws here never distract from what is a watchable picture. We can't help but give a hearty recommendation for this budget 50-inch 4K TV.
Read the full Hisense R50B7120UK review
Even the most optimistic of tech buyers would have limited expectations of a TV costing just £349, particularly one branded Polaroid and exclusively available through Asda supermarkets.
But the Polaroid P49UPA2029A smashes those expectations. It's a 49in TV that crams in 4K, a healthy smart TV platform and support for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, yet costs more or less a third as much as the Sony KD-49XG9005 at the top of this list.
Clearly this Polaroid isn't up there with the Sony in terms of performance, but you might be surprised at just how accomplished it is for the money. Bright, sharp and detailed, and more than capable of making the most of 4K HDR signals, it really is worth a trip to Asda.
Read the full Polaroid P49UPA2029A review