If you’re like most people, then your television is the absolute center of your home, and possibly your universe. Since it holds such a venerated position, it should be a quality piece of equipment that can turn any Netflix binge into an artistic experience. Capable of fitting with your decor, able to connect to your stereo, and big enough to incite just a hint of envy in your friends, a good TV is the cornerstone of an attractive home or apartment. But, since it is going to wear out and you need to be able to upgrade to the newest picture box, your TV also shouldn’t cost too much.
While early televisions were pretty similar, with the leaps forward being made in overall resolution, you can’t buy any one TV and expect it to last you for a decade. You’ll be staring at a washed-out picture that has a 0% Wow Factor. To avoid having a beat-up box that can’t cut it, and get one that will do you proud, we suggest choosing one of the 6 best TV’s under $1,000. The price is right and the quality is high.
Sony KDL50W800C 55-inch
Pro: 3D is not overbearing or intrusive
Con: Uses a power adapter
Triple Dimensions: Among affordable televisions, this is the one for people who can’t stand blur and require that every movement be easy to see. It starts off with a native 120Hz refresh rate, but thanks to the glory of Motionflow XR 960, you’ll never again be staring at color streaks when capturing fast movement. The edge-lit LED screen avoids any direct lighting for a more immersive display that draws you in, giving a deeper picture with greater life. Plenty of standard inputs will let you hook up whatever you like and Smart functions come standard for those who don’t want to hook up anything other than their WiFi. HD movies, sports, and games all jump out of the screen thanks to the inclusion of X-Reality PRO, which enhances colors across the spectrum. Oh, and it’s 3D if that’s your thing.
Vizio M552i 55-inch
Pro: Keyboard Remote
Con: Speakers are only passable
Feature-Packed: Vizio is a winner across the board, but nowhere do they shine brighter than in their M-Series line. Among those gems is this lovely choice that is sure to suit any buyer and any budget. Starting at under $200 for a 32-inch, you can easily get a 55-inch for only $800. Each model has a full array of LED backlights complete with zoned dimming system for giving deeper blacks and a stellar contrast that makes colors pop. Tons of HDMI inputs accommodate all your system accessories while motion resolution is crisp and free of blurring. At 240Hz the refresh rate is quick and clean. Loads with your favorite video apps right out of the box and the active pixel tuning stays on point when gaming. Our suggestion is to go with the 55-inch model or the 60-inch if you can find a sale.
LG 42LE5400 60-inch
Pro: Still affordable at larger sizes
Con: Limited input options
Simple Beauty: We went back a few years to find this one with the idea that some people prefer simple quality to lots of features. You won’t find it loaded down with Smart options and WiFi connectivity, but you will get true, effective 240Hz motion rates along with a little more size than you’ll find elsewhere for far less than you would pay for a brand spankin’ new version fresh for this year. You’ll get a couple of HDMI plugs and a USB port, but this isn’t as heavily connected as many others. Instead, it offers dazzling bright colors and abyssal blacks that you can get lost gazing into. Highly energy efficient, you’ll also be able to cut down on your electric bill as you watch every episode of Hell’s Kitchen back to back to back.
VIZIO M55-C2 55-inch
Pro: The smoothest Smart TV experience you’ll have at this price
Con: Angle injures picture quality
Personal Best: This TV will give you 8.3 million reasons to love it because that’s the kind of incredible pixel count you’ll get. It’s strong even among the budget 4K crowd and all you need to do is select the size and price you want. A hex core processor gives it loads of speed to handle motion, dual-band WiFi allows it to use the most screaming fast connections around, a total of 5 HDMI ports let you hook up the whole damn neighborhood, and the 360Hz with 120Hz refresh rate is extremely strong. The real story here is in the upscaling wherein HD signals can be transmuted into UHD for your viewing pleasure. It’s the upgrade you’ve been looking for while you wait for the world to catch up to 4K.
Panasonic TC-50CX600U 50-inch
Pro: Natural, dynamic lighting
Con: You’ll need to stick to smaller sizes to stay on budget
Personal Touch: You’re not going to be getting as much pure real estate with the 600U as you might with other Panasonic models, but it comes loaded with gooey 4K goodness and the ability to customize your experience with the Life+ Screen interface so that you spend less time digging through menus and more time enjoying your entertainment. Able to capture 98% of the colors set forth in DCI standards, it has immense clarity and precision, rather than size, and an eye-popping, jaw-dropping pixel density. You can even use the graphical interface to do standard browsing should you feel like avoiding the computer.
Samsung UN50J6300 55-inch
Pro: Apps and connectivity are easy to use
Con: 120Hz refresh rate
Loaded: Samsung makes beautiful equipment, but this is a work of affordable art. A full 4K television that is ready for the future of video, complete with Smart TV features that puts all your favorite video apps right on the screen with truly easy connectivity. The Quad Core processor is ideal for console gamers or sports fans who like to catch every second of the action. Primary and secondary color blending offer up a more natural display that looks organic while UHD dimming makes blacks go dark as pitch while whites are sterling and stunning. Various contrast zones lend more depth to each frame that won’t bend when you change angles.