What do we want in affordable 4K TVs? As consumers we face a lot of choices when buying a fully featured 4k TV. There’s a lot of technical mysteries. The wide variety of possible features, varying quality of manufacturers, and price point means there is plenty of opportunity to feel regret. I’m here to help you avoid just that and make the right buy the first time. These are the 5 best 65 in 4k TV under 1000.
What's Important in a 4K TV?
Buying any electronics can be a daunting task, honestly. However, when we go to buy a TV we run into so many buzzwords and industry terms, like HDR and high framerate, OLED and LCD. What do we want? What matters? What’s the best? Well, hopefully I can help a bit. The biggest marketing term you’ll see is HDR, or High Dynamic Range. This means the screen or panel is able to display very bright objects without turning blacks into greys, a very common problem among certain screen types. Next you should consider OLED versus LCD. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. These diodes emit their own light, negating the need for back or side lighting for a panel. This is wonderful for HDR. However, these panels also risk having ghosting, or “burnt-in” images if left on for too long with a static image. LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes are designed as energy efficient alternatives to LCDs or Liquid Crystal Displays. LEDs can be very bright and easy to see. You can usually see a good image, even at extreme angles which would usually distort the colors you see on screen. However, these will make darker colors appear more grey, because of the back lighting they require. If you intend to leave any static image on screen, such as a computer desktop, I would consider screen burn-in and make sure to leave your screen off when not in use if you choose OLED.
Why you should want 4K
4k refers to a horizontal resolution, or the amount of individual pixels or colors displayed horizontally on screen, near or at four thousand pixels. This usually comes with a ratio of 16:9, meaning that there are 16 pixels horizontally for every 9 vertically. However, if you have a wider screen, it would still be referred to as 4k. This is because pixel density, or rating is measured by the number of vertical pixels. I’m not personally certain why they decided on using the horizontal number instead. 4k resolution is currently the highest pixel density available to consumers, outside of the very high end and rare 8k. Most studies agree that until you get well over 100 inches, 4k is very optimal. It increases picture quality by having twice the pixels, or dots of color, per square inch than standard 1080p (1k or standard HD) resolution. This gives better overall clarity and often slightly higher color depth. I would however be on the lookout for any with a peak brightness under 200 nits. That seems to be, from my experience, the point where colors begin to lose their image and everything starts to look gray and muddy. If you play video games, then right now is certainly a good time to get into 4k. The current gaming consoles on the market have begun to target a 4k resolution. The next generation will be focused on using 4k as much as possible. This will allow console gamers a level of detail and depth in their games that they likely haven’t experienced, yet. Netflix and other media streaming services are also broadening their switches to 4k.
Are there any downsides to a 4K TV?
So, you’re about to spend several hundred dollars on a 4k TV and you want to know if you might regret it. Well, I don’t think you will. There is a large push across the entertainment industry to make more content that takes advantage of 4K capabilities. This technology will only become more prevalent over time. I already mentioned that the next generation of gaming consoles will be targeting 4k resolution. Getting a good 65 inch 4k TV for under 1,000 dollars could bring a lot of extra joy to your games. Although, if you’re looking for gaming as a primary use, I would recommend looking for a TV that support 4k at 60hertz or frames per second, 120 if you can find it. This will make a gaming experience a lot smoother even. On top of this Netflix is marketing more heavily to 4k, as well as sports. Having a higher resolution will bring you more into you shows and movies and make you feel a little more like you’re at the game. So, there may be a “down side” in that the list of 4k content isn’t very long yet. However, you’re getting in ahead of the curve to make sure when the content is there, you’re primed and ready for it. We like to call this future proofing. So, let’s talk about some TVs then…
Best Budget 4K TVs
LG 65" 4K Nano 8 Series w/ AI ThinQ
My pick for the best 4K TV under $1000. This model was honored at the 2019 CES awards. LG generally makes high quality electronics for the lower price points. This uses LG’s patented NanoCell technology, which is meant to add a wider range of color that the TV is able to use. This leads to a sharper, more vibrant image. Equipped with not only Dolby vision for HDR, this model touts Dolby Atmos as well. Atmos provides clear room filling high definition sound. We also encounter very good low latency mode support.
VIZIO - 65" Class - LED - P Series Quantum Series - 2160p - Smart - 4K UHD TV with HDR
This 65 inch 4k TV from Vizio comes equipped with Smart TV technology. This allows it to be connected to your home internet. This is usual for using apps like Netflix and Hulu without having to have a second device to plug into your TV. Vizio have also included Dolby HDR. This comes with a peak brightness of 2,000 nits. That is extremely bright, but will allow a range in color depth and contrast which can begin to challenge real eyesight. I personally really like this. Not because it’s bright, but because it allows black to look deep and rich, rather than gray. To help support HDR, the P series has local dimming arrays. This means that on screen that use back-lighting, there are many back lights that can dim and brighten individually. This keep your darkest areas of screen from being made brighter by the areas around them. This option comes with built in Chromecast functionality. It is very thin for TVs in it’s class with more access to cables if mounted to the wall. This actually makes it work really well as a decorative frame for an online album while not in use. Going to gaming on this model, Vizio includes an option for low latency input. The latency here refers specifically to the delay between the user (player in this case) gives a command, and the time that it actually appears on screen. Often, on standard color settings, this will be somewhere between 80 and 120 milliseconds. Bringing this down to 1 to 15 milliseconds with a low latency mode can really improve your reaction times.
TCL - 65" Class - LED - 6 Series - 2160p - Smart - 4K UHD TV with HDR Roku TV
This 65 inch model from TCL comes equipped with Roku allowing access to your favorite streaming media. It is equipped with Dolby HDR which should also maintain a 2,000 nit peak brightness. The HDR is complimented by 120 individual back-lighting zones with local dimming. Being an LED screen means you can view this TV from just about any angle without having the color become washed out. It also performs very well in almost any lighting situation. This is complimented by the two 8 watt speakers to deliver dynamic sound with your image without an expensive sound bar. TCL also uses quantum dot technology. Quantum dots are used in televisions to expand their color gamut. This means more colors can be displayed and that those colors are displayed with more depth and more brightness. However, it does seem that this TV comes with less than ideal color calibration out of the box, and you may need to take some time adjusting and calibrating the display. This display doesn’t tend to have much if any “dirty” effect or vertical banding affecting the video image, which has been a concern in past years. It also tends to “crush” black colors. This means that a lot of grays can get washed into just black, or very close to black. So, even though you get the high range and color accuracy, you might lose some of your blacks on screen. The sound quality seems to be perfectly acceptable. If you’re into high definition audio, you’ll want to invest in a sound bar or surround system, like myself. I personally can not just use built in speakers. But I can see that these hold up for anyone who is just looking for a bit more than average quality sound. This TV might not be for the cinephiles or audiophiles in the world, but it’s a great TV for the average viewer. As you’re making your choices, this one should definitely be somewhere on your list
Samsung UN65RU7100FXZA Flat 65-Inch 4K UHD 7 Series Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR and Alexa Compatibility (2019 Model)
This Samsung introduces a feature that I highly enjoy as a gamer. The feature, known as FreeSync, developed by computer hardware manufacturer AMD, is definitely geared toward the PC gamer. I’m not entirely certain if consoles use it yet. As a game renders on screen, sometimes the computer’s graphics processor will slow down and speed up. This leads to situations where the frame rate you’re seeing (on TVs, most likely 60hz) is constant, while the game is rendered at different framerates. This causes what is known as vertical tearing. By syncing the speed of the display, with that of the computer’s graphics processor, FreeSync helps eliminate this tearing and provide smoother gameplay. This TV looks great. It uses an OLED panel to achieve very good HDR. OLED displays, however, will begin to burn in an image if left on too long with a static image. Be sure to run a screen saver, or power of the TV when not in use. Though it has a great color and design, there does seem to be one draw back. Though this is a smart TV, it seems to come only equipped with Samsung’s own voice assistant. This may not affect all buyers. But if you need a different smart home assistant to link your devices, this may not work.
Sony xbr55x900f 55-inch 4k Ultra HD Smart LED TV with Alexa Compatibility
This flagship model from Sony has a very high picture quality. It’s processor works to show even non-4k images at a higher quality. Sony markets their HDR as XDR, claiming that it provides lower black levels per dimming zone than others. Chromecast, voice assistants and the works you would expect are standard on this model. It even includes Bluetooth functionality and built-in Google voice. Sadly, after a day of research, I can’t find noteworthy reviewable specs on this model. It seems to hold up, extremely average with included extra features for nicety. But, if you’re after bells and whistles, this is where to look.
My Final Thoughts
Well, for my money, I would have to pick up LG. So, those are my thoughts on the best 65 in 4K TV under 1000 and affordable 4K TVs. All of these TVs are great choices, and offer a wide variety of features. However, the LG delivers an image quality that has been tried and tested over generations of displays, and lacks zero features to go along with it. It’s also the only TV listed here which includes both Dolby Atmos and Airplay. I can’t think of any place this TV can’t go, either for aesthetics or use. It fills each need nicely, from gamer, to host.