Best TVs to Buy on a Budget in 2018

Posted Wed May 23, 2018 at 02:15 PM PDT by
TCL 6 Series

With so many awesome home theater gear options out there, figuring out exactly which model to buy, or what features you need, can be daunting. Thankfully, High-Def Digest has you covered. Welcome to Home Theater 101 where we'll be explaining emerging technologies while also recommending the very best possible A/V gadgets n' gear you can buy at your particular budget level. 

TVs are the central component of any home theater setup. But while fancy flagship display models are very enticing, most buyers don't have an extra $4,000 sitting around to shell out for a 65-inch OLED Ultra HD set. With that in mind, we're going to list a few great budget-friendly TV options available now, proving that solid quality can still be found without having to break the bank 

Featuring a wide array of strong bang-for-your-buck Ultra HD displays, these are our picks for the year's best budget TVs. So, without further ado, here are HDD's 

BEST TVs TO BUY ON A BUDGET IN 2018

Note: All listed prices reflect current Amazon or Best Buy discounts at press time and do not include taxes or shipping.

TCL 43S517 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku TV ($380) - For those looking to enter the world of Ultra HD without breaking the bank or taking up their whole living room, this 43-inch 4K HDR model from TCL is a very strong performer for its price. Though it uses an inferior edge-lit backlight, the display offers many of the same features found on the company's step-up 6-Series, including Dolby Vision and HDR10 support, along with the Roku smart TV platform, wide color gamut capabilities, the new iPQ Engine, and HDR Pro Gamma feature. And if you're looking for something larger, models are also available in 49-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch sizes. 

Order from Best Buy 

(Note: Best Buy model does not include Voice Remote)

VIZIO E-Series 65" 4K Ultra HD TV ($800) - Offering some notable improvements over last year's E-Series, the new 2018 version provides an upgraded peak brightness of 400 nits along with Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG support. Full array local dimming is implemented as well (12 zones on the 65-inch) for superior blacks and contrast over edge-lit sets. The SmartCast OS is used for integrated on-screen streaming apps and the ability to cast even more from a mobile device. And unlike 2017 VIZIO displays, this TV does feature an integrated tuner for OTA broadcasts with a digital antenna. With that said, this model does not offer wide color gamut capabilities. Units are also available in 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 70-inch, and 75-inch sizes.

Order from Best Buy

VIZIO 2017 M-Series 65" 4K Ultra HD XLED Plus Display ($880) -  Though VIZIO's new 2018 M-Series offers a few extra dimming zones and design perks, the 2017 model might actually remain a better buy while supplies last thanks to its wide color gamut capabilities. Other key features include Dolby Vision and HDR10 support along with full-array local dimming with 32 zones. In addition, the display uses the SmartCast TV platform, allowing users to cast supported streaming apps from their mobile devices or launch select services directly from the unit's on-screen interface. With that said, the 2017 set does not include a TV tuner. 50-inch and 55-inch models are also still available (the 70-inch appears to have sold out).

Order from Best Buy 

TCL 6-Series 65R617 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku TV ($1,000) - Offering several advanced features normally reserved for more expensive sets, TCL's 6-Series just might offer the best performance to price ratio of any new display for 2018, cementing itself as one of, if not the, top 65-inch 4K TV in the $1,000 price range. The display includes Dolby Vision and HDR10 support, along with the Roku OS smart TV platform. In addition, the set uses full array local dimming with 120 zones (96 on the 55-inch model) for improved black levels and contrast. Likewise, the panel incorporates NBP Photon technology with LED phosphors to provide Wide Color Gamut support. A 55-inch model is available as well for an introductory price of just $650.

Order from Best Buy 

(Note: the Best Buy model does not include Voice Remote)

VIZIO P-Series 65-inch 4K Ultra HD TV ($1,300) - Marked by some notable performance upgrades over the 2016 and 2017 models, the new 2018 P-Series once again cements itself as one of the industry's premiere bang-for-your buck TVs. The 4K display offers full array local dimming with 100 zones on the 65-inch set. Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range formats are all supported with UltraBright 1,000 for up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness, and Ultra Color Spectrum tech provides nearly 100% coverage of the P3 wide color gamut and about 72% coverage of the Rec. 2020 wide color gamut. The SmartCast OS is used for integrated on-screen streaming apps and the ability to cast even more from a mobile device. And unlike 2017 VIZIO displays, this TV does feature an integrated tuner for OTA broadcasts with a digital antenna. Units are also available in 55-inch and 75-inch (coming soon) sizes.

Order from Best Buy

Sony XBR65X900E 65" 4K Ultra HD TV ($1,498) - Though a 2017 model, this remains one of the best 4K sets in its price range, offering a full-array local dimming backlight, wide color gamut support with Triluminos tech, HDR10 playback, and a firmware update planned for HLG playback (but sadly not Dolby Vision). Finally, the set uses the Android TV platform for smart TV apps and streaming. 49-inch and 55-inch models are also available.

Order from Best Buy


So, there you have it. Those are current top choices for the best budget-friendly TVs on the market. What do you think about our selection? Do you have any other affordable TV suggestions? Let us know in the forums! 

MORE HOME THEATER 101 ARTICLES

-Best UHD TVs for 2017
-What is Dolby Vision?
-What is HDR?
-What is Dolby Atmos?
-What is DTS:X
-What is LCD?
-Best Sound Bars
-Up-mixed: Dolby Surround vs DTS:Neural:X
-Best Dolby Atmos Speakers
-Best UHD Streaming Services
-HDR Sucks: The Challenges & Frustrations of HDR10
-4K Ultraviolet Headaches: How & Where To Redeem Digital Copies in 4K UHD

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