A great HDTV doesn't have to break the bank. Sure, you could spend thousands on a panel, but a cheap model will still get you a large screen with great picture quality, solid features and all the connectivity options you require, while still being thin and trim. This week we're looking at five of the best budget sets; all well under $1000.
Title photo by Maurizio Pesce.
For the purpose of this article, we've plumped for decent-sized panels that provide the overall best bang for buck. If you're specifically looking for 4K resolution, game-friendly refresh-rates or the blackest of blacks, you're not going to find it here. With that said, you could certainly do worse that this assortment. Some of these models comes bundled with advanced features like PVRs and smart TV functionality, while others simply provide great picture qualty for the asking price.
TCL L40D2700F : $495
If you're looking for a bedroom-friendly HD TV without breaking the bank, TCL can deliver. The TCL L40D2700F is a 40" 1080p 50Hz panel that will set you back $495 at The Good Guys. For your money, you get a pair of HDMI ports, a USB port, plus all the other video connectivity you could possibly need. You can switch between any of your connected devices easily, swap channels, search for programs or movies on any streaming service, and more with just a couple of button presses. It doesn't hurt that the panel looks good too, with the twin-leg stand design and a super-thin bezel around the 40" screen to match.
The Kogan 40" LED TV is a 60Hz 1080p panel that currently sells for just $399. The price includes an AV cable pack comprising of five 3m HDMI cables, a digital optical/coaxial cable and a 2m antenna cable with 24K gold-plated connectors. It also comes with an inbuilt PVR that allows you to record, pause and rewind live TV. It comes with three HDMI ports, a USB inupt and an LED panel manufactured by Samsung.
The VIZIO E50-C1 smart TV boasts a 50" panel at 1080p and 120Hz with three HDMI ports, a USB port for music and video on external storage, all the other connectors you would expect (VGA, component, composite, etc), wall mount support and a one year warranty. The panel even supports local dimming, which helps improve contrast and gives you darker blacks in parts of the screen where they're needed, and the ability to auto-adjust based on room brightness. VIZIO's suite of smart TV apps are also included, including baked-in apps such as Netflix, Twitter, Facebook and Spotify. The TV has Wi-Fi built in, so you don't need to run an Ethernet cable to it, either. VIZIO does not have a presence in Australia but you can snap one up from the US for around $890 — including shipping.
If you want something ultra-cheap and are willing to sacrifice a little screen real estate, this Dick Smith display will do the trick, and it's only $399. You'll skimp on a few features here, but you still get the basics: three HDMI ports, one USB port, VGA and component and composite connections, and an inbuilt digital tuner. There's no smart functionality here, and no apps or anything, but if you want an affordable secondary display it fits the bill.
LG LF5500: $875
The LG 42LF5600 is a 42-inch Full HD LED LCD television that will set you back $875 at Harvey Norman. (You can also pick up reconditioned models from Grays Online for $679.) For your money you get a 42" 60Hz panel with just two HDMI ports, but you get great image quality at a modest price. The lack of video connectors could be a drawback for some, but overall it's a solid panel at a decent price.
Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favourite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Don't just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is — and make your case for it — in the discussions below.