TVs are expensive. And choosing the best television can be a time-consuming process. Spending big gets you the latest technology, but most of us simply want a good television at an affordable price.
All our television recommendations are under £500 – the Best Buy costs less than £200. Verum compares 100s of TVs to reveal the best models you can buy, ranked by size.
How to Choose the Best Television
Generally big is better, but what’s important is the physical space available and the distance you sit from the screen. Once decided on the size, it’s about picture & sound quality. Then comes connectivity. The recommendations here balance these factors to identify the best television in each size category.
Verum only recommends Smart TVs with Freeview. Freeview allows you to connect to around 70 channels including BBC & ITV via an aerial. ‘Smart TV’ means that you can watch iPlayer, Netflix and other on-demand streaming services via the internet.
You may be familiar with the acronyms, HD Ready, Full HD & 4k? These specifications refer to the number of pixels or dots that make up the picture. The more the better, but what’s important is getting the right specification for the right size screen. 4k is a must on a 50-inch screen, but isn’t detectable on a 24-inch or 32-inch TV.
Whether you’re after a big screen for the living room or something smaller for a bedroom or kitchen, here are the best televisions, you can buy right now…
Best 24-Inch TV
Toshiba 24WK3A63DB Smart Television
If you’re looking for the best smart TV under £200, with the right 24-inch screen technology, then this Toshiba is the television for you. The HD Ready standard (see below) is perfect for a crisp 24-inch picture. Plus unlike most 24-inch screens it’s a Smart TV.
Why choose a Smart TV?
Watch, what you want, when you want, with this Toshiba Smart TV. Easily stream all your favourite programmes via BBC iPlayer, Netflix etc. Plus, with built-in Freeview, there are over 70 channels to choose from.
Connectivity is good with built-in wifi and all the required ports. Plus, this television has a headphone socket. This is far from standard with most TVs and can be extremely useful. Headphones can be great for a shared bedroom, for someone who’s hard of hearing or for a gamer. Another good feature of this TV is that you can plug-in a USB stick for TV recording.
This is a great model at an affordable price. If you’re looking for the best 24-inch television – this is it.
HD READY | FREEVIEW | SMART TV | USB RECORDING | AERIAL INPUT | OPTICAL OUTPUT | HDMI x2 | BUILT-IN WIFI | (W)553 x (H)333 x (D)63
Toshiba 24-Inch | Verdict price £180 | Check best price on Amazon
Best 32-Inch TV under £200
Philips 32PHS6605 32-Inch Smart Television
This Philips 32-Inch television comes highly recommended. And for under £200, this quality 32-inch screen is excellent value for money.
The HD Ready resolution is the right specification for this size screen size. Manufacturers and resellers often push the more expensive Full HD specification, but unless you sit very close it’s impossible to see a visible benefit. What’s certain, is a Full HD screen will cost you a chunk more with no visible benefit. This TV from Philips delivers a great picture & it’s excellent value for money.
Owners rate both picture & sound quality. And most users describe the set-up as ‘plug & play’. Freeview delivers 70 channels plus being a Smart TV, all your favourite Apps come pre-loaded. There’s one-button access to a clear icon-based menu that makes navigation easy.
If your looking for an excellent 32-inch TV at a great price, this Philips television is for you.
HD READY | FREEVIEW | SMART TV | USB RECORDING | AERIAL INPUT | OPTICAL OUTPUT | HDMI x3 | BUILT-IN WIFI | (W)732 x (H)435 x (D)81
Philips 32-Inch | Verdict price £180 | Check best price on Amazon
Best TV under £400
Samsung TU7100 43-Inch Television
This Samsung TV has it all. With a 4k display, HDR and a wide range of streaming apps, you can watch anything and everything with stunning clarity and sharpness on this big screen. The 4k Ultra HD specification, at this price and from a brand like Samsung, is worth grabbing with both hands.
With HDR10+ (High Dynamic Range) you get bright whites, deep blacks and true-to-life colours. This means a brighter, more realistic picture, whatever you’re watching. Beyond all the standard functions, this TV also works with Alexa & Google Home.
Owners have lots of good things to say about this Samsung TV, raving about the picture, sound and how easy it is to set up. There are a few minor quibbles that while the picture is good viewed straight-on, it’s lacking at an acute angle. In truth, to get wide viewing angles, you need OLED technology (rather than LED) which costs around a grand more!
It’s possible to spend a lot more on a new TV, but this Samsung 43-inch is best in class. And for under £400, it’s not just a great television – it’s also a bargain.
4K Ultra HD | HDR10+ | FREEVIEW | SMART TV | AERIAL INPUT | OPTICAL OUTPUT | HDMI x2 | BUILT-IN WIFI | (W)963 x (H)558 x (D)59
Samsung 43-Inch | Verdict price £380 | Check best price on Amazon
Best TV under £500
LG 50UN70006LA 50-Inch Television
This big television has a 4K Ultra HD screen meaning it has four times more pixels and therefore four times better resolution than Full HD. At this screen size, you’ll see the difference with more realistic images and greater detail.
LG build lots of extra technology into their TVs. This model has what LG refer to as Active HDR. Essentially, this is an enhanced version of the recognised HDR10 standard, which will give you high contrast and rich colour. Another LG specific technology is ‘True Immersion’, which is designed to give you a wider viewing angle when compared to conventional LED TVs.
Owners of this LG television have lots of good things to say about the picture quality, sound and usability. For many, a TV investment of this size means also buying a soundbar and should this be for you, all good. However, this television comes with good speakers and a decent built-in sound system.
There’s everything to like about this LG television – picture, sound, features and price.
4K Ultra HD | HDR10 | FREEVIEW | SMART TV | AERIAL INPUT | OPTICAL OUTPUT | HDMI x3 | BUILT-IN WIFI | (W)1234 x (H)717 x (D)84
LG 50-Inch | Verdict price £400 | Check best price on Amazon
TV Jargon Buster – Specifications Explained
There are plenty of acronyms associated with televisions. Here’s a breakdown and explanation of the jargon you need to know…
HD Ready (1280×720)
Great for 24-inch & 32-inch. ‘HD Ready’ means the device is capable of receiving and displaying High Definition pictures from an external source but does not have a digital tuner to decode the signal. The picture is usually displayed at 720p. This means there are 720 horizontal scan lines in the signal and therefore the picture. This is perfect for a TV up to and including 32”. However, on larger screens, more lines and therefore more pixels are required to give a sharper image.
Full HD 1080p (1920×1080)
Good for 40-inch screens. Full HD means 1080 horizontal scan lines. This will give a sharper and higher definition image, compare to HD Ready.
Ultra HD 4k (3840×2160)
Great for screens above 40-inch. Also described as UHD, this resolution will give you four times more pixels than Full HD. With an aspect ratio of 16:9 (same as above), this specification means the device can receive and present video at a minimum resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. Good for TVs above 50” and essential for 60” and over.
HDR High Dynamic Range
Technically, a TV with HDR is capable of delivering brighter whites and deeper blacks. However, it’s often used to imply a wide colour gamut and a brighter, more vivid image.
The television panel is made up of tiny pixels which are illuminated by Light Emitting Diodes (LED). The backlit screens give good bright picture quality and are comparatively cheap.
This is Samsung specific technology. The ‘Q’ stands for Quantum-dot. Samsung claim this gives a brighter display and a wider colour palette.
Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED) illuminate themselves rather than relying on being back-lit. This technology has numerous benefits and one significant downside. The screens are slimmer (no backlighting), they deliver a superior contrast ratio (deeper blacks simultaneously with brighter whites) and a wider viewing angle. However, they’re very expensive (starting at over £1000)
Access to around 70 channels (including BBC, ITV & Channel 4) via an aerial.
Everything claims to be Smart, nowadays. From lightbulbs to motorways – it’s not always clear on the actual benefits. However, a Smart TV does make sense. By connecting the TV to your home wifi, you can stream Netflix, Youtube, iPlayer and alike. Plus, play videos from your phone on your TV. However, some TVs are smarter than others. Make sure you choose a model that’s capable of streaming what you want.
How To Choose The Perfect Television
TV Sizes & Viewing Distance
“Bigger is better” makes sense when buying a TV. A screen that fills your view will give you a more immersive and cinema-like experience. However, most of us don’t have a home cinema – we watch TV in the sitting room, kitchen or bedroom. And a huge screen can dominate. This is great when you’re watching the latest blockbuster, champions league final or playing Call of Duty, but less good when not watching TV.
Take a look at the table below to check out the recommended screen size according to viewing distance.
|SCREEN SIZE (Diagonal)||VIEWING DISTANCE|
|24-Inch / 610mm||1.0m to 1.5m|
|32-Inch / 810mm||1.2m to 2.1m|
|43-Inch / 1090mm||1.6m to 2.7m|
|50-Inch / 1270mm||1.9m to 3.2m|
When small is better
As a general rule, the bigger the screen, the higher the price. While it’s possible to buy an expensive small television, it’s rarely worth it. Paying extra for 4K Ultra HD technology, on a small screen doesn’t give a noticeable difference (unless you sit 6 inches away). It will, however, look awful on your credit card bill!
Sitting too close
To see the difference between Full HD and Ultra HD, you need to sit pretty close to the screen. This means for a 40” TV you need to be around 1.25 m away to see 4k detail. On a 60” TV this calculation gives a viewing distance of around 2m – which is still pretty close.
Television Best Buys
Best Small TV
Toshiba 24-Inch | Verdict price £180
See price on Amazon
Philips 32-Inch | Verdict price £180
See price on Amazon
High-end technology at a great price
Samsung 43-Inch | Verdict price £380
See price on Amazon
Everything to like
LG 50-Inch | Verdict price £400
See price on Amazon
What’s the right screen size?
Take a look at the guide above, but if still undecided, choose the biggest screen size that will fit the space. The actual width of the screen, rather than screen size, is the best dimension for this – detailed above in the specs.
Choose any of the above screens and you’ll be getting the best in class TV for a great price.
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