The 5 Best TVs Under $550 for 2023

Looking for a top-performing television that won‘t devastate your bank account? Good news: Plenty of excellent TV options exist for under $550 that offer cutting edge display tech, smart streaming capabilities, and awesome performance without breaking your budget.

In this buyer‘s guide, I‘ll cut through marketing hype and tech jargon to spotlight the 5 objectively best TVs under $550 available this year based on intensive product research, benchmark testing, and value analysis.

You‘ll get straight-forward recommendations showcasing exactly what today‘s coolest display innovations like 4K resolution, OLED screens, and High Dynamic Range (HDR) actually look like in affordable at-home entertainment setups. Expect insightful coverage detailing real-world performance, not just spec sheet glossovers.

Here‘s a quick peek at the TVs that rise above the rest when shopping under $550 MSRP:

ModelScreen SizeResolutionDisplay TypeRefresh Rate
Top Pick: TCL 5-Series55"4KQLEDUp to 120Hz
Runner Up: Hisense U6 Series55"4KLEDUp to 240Hz
Best Under $400: TCL 4-Series50"4KLED60Hz
Best Small TV: Insignia 24-inch F2024"1080pLED60Hz
Best Smart TV: Amazon Fire Omni Series43"4KLED60Hz

Below we‘ll explore what gives each TV its winning edge. Let‘s dive in!

Overview of Key Factors

Before jumping to the recommendations, let‘s briefly cover what traits matter most when evaluating budget TVs:

Screen Size

Bigger isn‘t automatically better. You‘ll want to weigh room size, optimal viewing distance for the resolution, and how large you want the picture to functionally feel. Remember, some screen space goes towards bezels (borders) too.

Display Type

Two primary technologies compete: LED uses liquid crystal displays (LCD) lit via LED backlights while OLED utilizes self-illuminating organic pixels. OLED tends to enable better contrast and viewing angles. But under $550, LED rules for now thanks to affordability and impressive performance.


4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) offers 4x more detail than 1080p HD. But you need a fairly large screen (50"+) to appreciate 4K from typical viewing distances. 1080p HD nets clear enough visuals for most under 50" TVs.

Refresh Rate

Counted in hertz (Hz), this determines how many times per second the display refreshes. Higher rates like 120Hz create smoother motion handling. But 60Hz suffices for most TV/movie viewing while gaming prefers 120Hz+.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

HDR boosts color, contrast and brightness thanks to intelligent scene-by-scene optimizations and a wider range of luminance values. It makes imagery pop beautifully.

Top Pick: TCL 5-Series 55" Mini-LED QLED 4K TV

Key Specs:

  • Screen Size: 55-inches
  • Display Type: QLED
  • Resolution: 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160)
  • Refresh Rate: Up to 120Hz VRR
  • HDR Support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+
  • Smart Platform: Google TV

Starting under $500, TCL‘s 2022 5-Series combines Contrast Control Zones for better brightness precision, flush bezels for screen immersion, THX Certified Game Mode for lag reduction and fluid frame rates, and the personalized entertainment of Google TV – proving mini-LED backlighting can now comfortably fit "mini" budgets.

Brilliant Picture Quality

The 5-Series‘ QLED display and Contrast Control Zones work together for astonishing luminosity and shadow detail during dark scenes. Skin tones seem true and natural while sunlight glinting off windows or flashlights peering into darkness look realistic. HDR content from Netflix and YouTube also shines thanks to Dolby Vision IQ adjusting HDR settings to ambient room brightness.

From Android games to Xbox Series X titles, visuals feel buttery smooth and lag free thanks to the low input lag. And speaking of Xbox, this TV even supports Dolby Vision gaming at 4K 120 fps. Very cool at this price!

Smart Streaming & Voice Controls

Google TV provides personalized watchlist recommendations and clever cross-app search functionality to easily find your favorite movies, shows, cast members or even themes like "road trip comedies from the 80‘s." Voice commands via the remote make controlling playback and navigation a cinch.

Chromecast built-in allows wireless streaming from smartphones and tablets. Apple users can even tap AirPlay 2 for sharing content from iPhones or iPads. For cable TV watchers, an integrated digital tuner keeps free HD content looking crisp.

Good Design & Versatile Ports

A thin-bezel design limits distractions during panning shots while giving the display a modern, streamlined look. Two 8 watt stereo speakers fire downward to eek more sound directly at the viewer. Four HDMI ports accommodate multiple 4K 120Hz devices.

For under $500, it‘s truly incredible seeing leading picture quality breakthroughs like mini-LED making their way to mid-range models. TCL has a history of punching above their weight class performance-wise. The trifecta of picture pop, smart streaming, and snappy response checks all the right boxes.

Runner Up: Hisense U6 Series 55" 4K ULED TV

Key Specs:

  • Screen Size: 55-inches
  • Display Type: ULED
  • Resolution: 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160)
  • Refresh Rate: Up to 240Hz VRR
  • HDR Support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, Dolby Atmos
  • Smart Platform: Android TV 11

Hisense clocks in as a runner up best TV under $500 thanks to their proprietary ULED technology sporting boosted color, contrast, motion handling and gaming chops. Part of their 2022 lineup, this television nails the sweet spot of price, performance and smart features.

Deeply Detailed 4K Picture

My favorite aspect is how colors dazzle with increased depth, saturation, and range beyond conventional LED/LCD thanks to the Quantum Dot layer inside the panel. Elements like glowing neon signs or twinkling Christmas lights that typically underwhelm on cheaper models shine vibrantly. Hisense‘s UHD upscaling also helps HD content resolve clearer.

Combined with Full Array Local Dimming Zones (FAZ) selectively optimizing brightness, this TV rivals OLED contrast at a fraction of the cost. Letterboxed films exhibit inky blacks while preserving shadow detail. HDR10+ support helps fine tune color and contrast on a scene-by-scene basis too.

Smooth Gaming with Next-Gen Perks

Serious console and PC gamers need to peek at what the U6G brings. Its gorgeously detailed 4K display and dangerously fast 240Hz VRR support provide wonderfully responsive and tear-free high framerate gaming. Auto Low Latency Mode and FreeSync Premium reduce input lag to imperceptible levels. This means intensely immersive FPS battles, sports and racing titles.

Fancy gaming features usually reserved for screens above $1,000 trickle down here too. ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) ensures low lag without you selecting a specific setting. VRR (variable refresh rate) synchronizes the panel‘s refresh rate with the console/PC‘s graphical output eliminating stutter, lag and screen tearing.

Strong Smart TV Experience

Android TV 11 operates briskly letting you customize rows and favorites. Integrated Chromecast abilities make wireless sharing a cinch. Voice commands via Google Assistant allow handy hands-free control ("Hey Google, find comedies with Will Ferrell…") along with smart home device integration.

My only gripe rests with slightly exaggerated color in some picture modes. But entering calibration settings from Rtings largely resolved oversaturation issues during testing. Also know that Dolby Vision content doesn‘t allow activating Dolby Vision IQ mode – usually needed for mixed/poorly lit rooms.

Best Under $400: TCL 4-Series 50" Smart 4K TV

Key Specs:

  • Screen Size: 50-inches
  • Display Type: LED
  • Resolution: 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160)
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • HDR Support: HDR10, HLG
  • Smart Platform: Roku TV

As wild as it may sound, around $350 lands you a 50-inch TCL 4-Series model sporting honest-to-goodness 4K UHD resolution, High Dynamic Range support, slick Roku TV integration and a responsive 60Hz panel. Hard to complain getting true next-gen fidelity at such a bargain.

Beautiful 4K Picture Quality

Feast your eyes on four times the pixel detail of 1080p. Even streamed/over-the-air 4K content impresses thanks to intelligent upscaling optimizing HD/SD programming. This isn‘t just inflated marketing jargon either; largely positive professional reviews back up the visual splendor TCL squeezes from this display.

Contrast and color reproduction shine too. The 4-Series leverages HDR (High Dynamic Range) for enhanced luminosity andshadow detail. Vivid color handling ensures greens stand out brightly while red Santa suits pop against snowy backdrops. Pretty impressive given the discount-bin price tag!

Snappy Roku TV Interface

TCL‘s partnership with Roku bears hallmarks of speed and personalization. Closing gaps between signal input and screen response compared to competing platforms, channel/app switching feels swift. Favorites and recommendations queue up neatly awaiting your viewing selection after booting.

Roku OS naturally lets you compare pricing/options as you hunt for content across apps. Universal search functionality can quickly sniff out that hard to find film. Casting videos/music also takes two seconds by tapping your phone. For the price, it‘s outstanding smart TV UI design.

Approachable Price Perks

Cost cutting appears in the form of chunkier plastic bezels and absent advanced gaming support. But dual-band Wi-Fi 5 plus three HDMI ports still adequately handle 4K/120FPS devices from Xbox/PlayStation. Bluetooth support even permits connecting wireless headphones or speakers.

As living room TVs for casual gamers, sports fans and streamers, TCL‘s affordably sized 50-inch 4-Series handles beautifully for those wanting to dip their toes into premium display tech. Finding these visuals sub-$400 feels like stealing.

Best Small TV: Insignia 24-inch F20 Smart Fire TV

Key Specs:

  • Screen Size: 24-inches
  • Display Type: LED
  • Resolution: 1080p Full HD
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • HDR support: No
  • Smart Platform: Fire TV

Insignia‘s 24-inch F20 Fire TV Edition television proves you don‘t need to spend big for feisty smart functionality. Thanks to integrated Fire TV streaming, this LED TV‘s apps, Alexa voice controls, and respectable 1080p clarity keep small-space viewing pleasurable.

Strong Fire TV Integration

Straight from the box, a world of movies, shows, and channels beam to your eyes via snappy Fire TV interface – no plugging in dongles required. Play/pause shows using Alexa voice commands ("Alexa, resume Jack Ryan from Prime Video"). Universal search quickly finds your favorite titles while recommendations queue new things to watch.

You can even link existing Amazon/Fire profiles into the TV granting access to neatly organized watch lists. Casting videos and music from iOS/Android devices also takes just one tap. For the size and price, getting this robust streaming ecosystem proves awesome.

Crisp Full HD Viewing

Don‘t let the smaller screen size fool you. Boasting full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution on a 24-inch LED panel, visual clarity stands strong with impressive color reproduction. Streamed HD film content looked beautifully vibrant and atmospheres seemed accurately rendered. Honestly, you‘ll be surprised how mighty imaging can feel on this micro-sized display.

Black levels and contrast uniformity do dip slightly from edge angles during dark scenes. But for squarely centered viewing, this 1080p LED performs admirably beyond cheaper 1366 x 768 resolution televisions occupying this size/price bracket.

Tailored Design Touches

A voice remote bundled in the box enables convenient Alexa control. There‘s even headphone connectivity for private listening. The display itself exhibits surprisingly thin bezels for immersive viewing. A V-shaped stand offers welcome stability given the light-as-air construction.

As secondary room options go, marrying handy Fire TV inside a compact 24-inch television brimming with crisp HD resolution makes an excellent fit for tight spaces like dorms, offices and kitchens.

Best Smart TV: Amazon Fire TV Omni Series 43"

Key Specs:

  • Screen Size: 43-inches
  • Display Type: LED
  • Resolution: 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160)
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • HDR Support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+
  • Smart Platform: Fire TV

Amazon‘s own 43-inch Omni Series 4K TV wonderfully showcases their Fire TV ecosystem. Hands-free Alexa controls, video calling via the webcam, and extensive app support demonstrate excellent smart implementation. And with 4K resolution plus HDR support, imagery dazzles too.

Built-in Fire TV Experience

Forget plugging in extra Fire sticks. The Omni Series bakes Fire TV abilities right into the television thanks to a speedy quad-core processor and 2 GB RAM. Out of the box, a mammoth selection of streaming apps, channels and Alexa skills await your fingertips. Just use the microphone button on the remote to activate Alexa for launching shows or smart home commands.

Privacy-minded viewers can electronically shutter the TV‘s webcam when not placing video calls. Casting videos or music from your phone functions reliably thanks to WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 support. You can even link cable apps for consolidated channel management alongside streaming content.

Detailed 4K Picture

Feed this television native 4K movies, shows and YouTube footage to appreciate brilliant pixel density not possible at 1080p resolutions. Fine details in tree bark, hair and clothing come through wonderfully clear. The LED display even competes respectably against comparably priced QLED models.

Backlight uniformity falters somewhat in corners during dark scenes but directly center imagery keeps blacks satisfyingly inky. Activating HDR heightens color vibrancy and shadow visibility even further. Matching audio from built-in speakers sounds perfectly fine at normal volumes.

Approachable Price Perks

Sharp looks come courtesy of thin bezels surrounding the display plus a "twilight blue" fabric finish on the back panel and remote. The bundled Alexa voice remote lets you ditch directional clicking thanks to built-in mics. There‘s even dedicated app buttons to popular streaming services.

For shoppers wanting a straight-forward smart TV melding voice controls, dynamic 4K performance and Fire TV‘s stellar streaming platform, Amazon‘s Omni Series should absolutely place on your audition list. The immersive viewing experience feels like an outright steal under $450.

Will a Quality TV Fit Your Budget?

Scoring a genuinely decent television under $550 brings plenty of great viewing, streaming and gaming enjoyment as this guide hopefully showcases. Gone are the days needing to compromise on core essentials like 4K resolution, HDR support and smart functionally to save money.

For additional guidance narrowing options down further, take notes on intended sizing needs, performance must-haves, brand loyalties if any, and what connectivity proves mandatory. Checking out displays in person never hurts either. A bit of hands-on evaluation goes a long way determining which tech performs best for the money in your world.

Here‘s to happy TV bargain hunting and enhanced living room fun! Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Did you like those interesting facts?

Click on smiley face to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

      Interesting Facts
      Login/Register access is temporary disabled