Televisions are expensive. And choosing a new TV can be a time-consuming process. Spending big may get you the latest technology, but most of us simply want a quality television that’s affordable.
We’ve compared 108 TVs to reveal the top models you can buy in the UK, ranked by size. It’s no surprise that the big screens cost a few quid more, but with best buys under £200 and cracking deals on large 4K options, there’s never been a better time to buy a new television (although stocks are limited).
How to Choose the Best Television
Generally big is better, but the physical space available and the distance you sit from the screen are the key factors (see the guide below). Once decided on the size, it’s about picture & sound quality. Then comes connectivity. Our recommendations below 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 but what do they actually mean?
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. Keep reading for the complete guide.
Whether you’re after a big screen for the living room or something smaller for a bedroom or kitchen, here are the best televisions tested in UK homes & rated by experts…
Best Smart TV with DVD Player
Sharp 24-Inch Television
Price not available | Buy Now from Amazon
If you’re looking for the best smart TV under £200, with the right 24-inch screen technology, then this Sharp 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.
Watch, what you want, when you want, with this Sharp Smart TV. Easily stream all your favourite programmes via BBC iPlayer, Netflix etc. And with a built-in Freeview Play, there are over 70 channels to choose from.
Streaming video is great, but if you have a DVD collection that you want to play, there’s nothing better than popping a DVD into the side of the TV & pressing play – easy.
Connectivity is good with the built-in wifi. 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.
SHARP 24-Inch: HD READY | FREEVIEW PLAY | SMART TV | USB x2 | AERIAL INPUT | SCART | HDMI x2 | BUILT-IN WIFI | BUILT-IN DVD PLAYER | (W)554 x (H)355 x (D)86
This model has it all – a great picture, quality sound and a built-in DVD player. If you’re looking for the best 24-inch television – this is it
Best Smart TV under £200
Sharp 32-Inch Television
£162 | Buy Now from Amazon
This Sharp-32 Inch television comes highly recommended. And for under £200, it’s 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 on a 32-inch screen. This TV from Sharp matches a top-notch specification with excellent value for money.
Owners rate both picture & sound quality, which is delivered via Harman Kardon speakers. 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.
SHARP 32-Inch: HD READY | FREEVIEW | SMART TV | USB x2 | AERIAL INPUT | HDMI x3 | SCART | BUILT-IN WIFI | (W)783 x (H)468 x (D)82
If you’re looking for an excellent 32-inch TV at a great price, buy this model from Sharp
Best 43-Inch Television
Hisense 4K Smart TV
£269 | Buy Now from Amazon
This Hisense 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 HDR specification, at this price, is worth grabbing with both hands.
With HDR (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 Hisense TV. If you’d rather not pay a premium for a big brand like Sony or Samsung, this is the TV for you. Top-notch picture quality and decent sound at a great price – what’s not to like?
HISENSE 43 Inch: 4K Ultra HD | HDR10+ | FREEVIEW | SMART TV | AERIAL INPUT | OPTICAL OUTPUT | HDMI x2 | BUILT-IN WIFI | (W)963 x (H)614 x (D)196 (inc. stand)
It’s all too easy to spend a lot more on a new TV, but this Hisense 43-inch is the best in class. And for the price, it’s not just a great television – it’s a bargain too
Best 50-Inch Television
Hisense 4K Smart TV
£319 | Buy Now from Amazon
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.
Hisense builds lots of extra technology into their TVs. This model has both HDR Dolby Vision & DTS Virtual X. Dolby Vision continually optimises the HDR picture for deeper blacks, brighter whites and lifelike colours. This premium technology is usually reserved for very expensive TVs & screens. It’s a significant improvement over standard HDR.
HISENSE 50 Inch: 4K Ultra HD | HDR10 | FREEVIEW | SMART TV | AERIAL INPUT | OPTICAL OUTPUT | HDMI x3 | BUILT-IN WIFI | (W)1234 x (H)717 x (D)84
There’s everything to like about this Hisense television – picture, sound, features and price. It’s a big TV with a small price
TV Buyers Guide
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)
Full HD means 1080 horizontal scan lines. A few years back this used to be the standard for 40-inch screens and above but has now largely been replaced by 4K.
HD 4k (or Ultra HD) (3840×2160)
Great for screens above 40 inches. 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. There are various enhanced versions of this, including the excellent Dolby Vision.
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), and 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.
Screen Size & 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.
BEST BUYS TODAY…
It’s easy to spend a fortune on a new TV. However, we have researched and focused our efforts on finding the best televisions at affordable prices. If you’re not keen on the premium prices associated with big brands, the four models detailed here from Sharp & Hisense are top-notch TVs that are very affordable.
The 24-Inch Sharp with a built-in DVD player is great value for money. The crisp 24-inch picture and ease to use make it perfect for any room where you’ll be sitting reasonably close, especially a bedroom. Offering a step-up in terms of screen size, the Sharp 32-Inch for under £200 is our overall Best Buy.
If you’re after a quality big screen on a budget choose between the Hisense 43 & 50-inch models – you won’t be disappointed.
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