Exceptional for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, or as PC monitors
As we know, gaming can be very expensive, especially on a PC. However, even though consoles like Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are relatively affordable, you still need a 4K TV capable of getting the best out of them. A couple of years ago, buying a budget 4K TV for this purpose was practically impossible, as they lacked even the basic features, like a decent HDR. Luckily, in 2021 things are looking much better, so for around $1000, you will get an Ultra HD TV with almost all bells and whistles available on the high-end model. Moreover, as I’ll show you today, even for $500, you’ll secure a display that will let you enjoy the latest gaming systems. If you want the biggest possible TV or a new gaming monitor, I also have solutions that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
|Hisense U8G||[email protected]||65″||2xHDMI 2.1|
|SEE ON AMAZON|
|TCL 5-series||[email protected]||75″||4xHDMI 2.0||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Vizio H1||[email protected]||55″||2xHDMI 2.1|
|SEE ON BESTBUY|
|LG UP7000||[email protected]||43″||2xHDMI 2.0||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Hisense U6G||[email protected]||55″||4xHDMI 2.0||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Hisense U8G||SEE ON AMAZON|
|TCL 5-series||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Vizio 51||SEE ON BESTBUY|
|LG UP7000||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Hisense U6G||SEE ON AMAZON|
What best budget 4K TV in 2021 needs to have?
“Compromise” is the keyword when we’re talking about budget gaming TVs. However, all models included on my list need to fulfill specific criteria to qualify. This includes:
Picture quality: Budget-friendly OLED screens are here, but LED TVs still dominate. They all need to have above-average picture quality, which includes color reproduction, contrast, and brightness.
Input lag: Low input lag is no longer a privilege of the high-end models. In fact, some of the included budget TVs are among the fastest overall, making them recommended even for online multiplayer.
HDR: Every 4KTV includes HDR, even though not all games support it. However, not every HDR is the same, as a lot of TVs are offering disappointing performance. Nonetheless, that’s not the case with my budget gaming TV choices here. Again, while there’s a difference between them, they perform this task at least above average.
As I’ve mentioned, lots of these budget gaming TVs have many advanced features for high-end gaming. This includes HDMI 2.1, 120Hz support, VRR, Dolby Vision, or HDR 10+. Of course, most of them are reserved for models with a price close to $1000. Make sure to check this article often, as I’ll update it regularly. But for now, these are the most attractive budget TVs you can buy!
Also, check our list of the best TVs in 2021.
The best budget gaming TV is perfect for the current-gen consoles
While Hisense offered some noteworthy budget gaming TVs before, they weren’t the top choice in the under $1000 category. However, U8G wants to change that by offering everything necessary to fully enjoy gaming on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Luckily, it also has some other qualities. One of them is the design, although the device is mostly made of plastic. Yet, the stability is excellent, thanks to the metal stand.
The U8G comes in 55″ and 65″ variants, but they don’t have identical performance. The larger version has almost thrice as many dimming zones, and we recommend it as it’s still under $1000. The 55″ edition is usually about $150 cheaper, but I would recommend only if 65″ is too much for your room.
Even the much more affordable Hisense models now have four HDMIs, and two of them are 2.1 on the U8G. The rest of the inputs bring no surprises, as there’s a tuner and digital and analog audio out. The composite is also present for your older devices, but only via the included adapter.
A delight for PS5 and Xbox Series X owners
If you have some of the newest Microsoft and Sony consoles, the good news is that the U8G will take them to their limits. Even if you have both PS5 and Xbox Series X, you can connect them simultaneously via two available HDMI 2.1 ports. Of course, VRR support is present, and it also includes FreeSync and G-Sync. These options make it very interesting to PC gamers. The 15.2 ms input lag is rather impressive, as you won’t be handicapped even in the fastest action games.
Despite the attractive price, the U8G doesn’t make any severe compromise with the picture quality. The brightness goes up to 800 nits, enough to make it usable even in the well-lit rooms. Thanks to the already mentioned numerous dimming zones, the blacks look excellent. Expectedly for the VA panel, the viewing angles are limited, which might cause slight problems if you enjoy four-player local co-op games. The HDR option works well in the supported titles, and it’s a plus that the device supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Finally, the upscaling is average, so this isn’t a perfect TV for PS3, Xbox 360, or even older consoles.
The Hisense U8 has every single function needed by the latest gaming consoles and PCs. The HDMI 2.1 makes it future-proof, but this TV also has excellent picture quality for the price. This makes it an intelligent choice for the whole family, as it handles movies and daytime shows exceptionally well.
The best gaming big TV under $1000 lets you see more details
Only a year ago, buying a 75 “gaming TV for less than $1000 was impossible. However, TCL 5-Series changes that, costing $300 less than our previous pick, the Samsung TU-8000. Buying such a massive screen makes more sense than ever now, as it lets you appreciate all the advantages 4K brings over the standard full HD. This is especially beneficial for gamers since the current-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft are 4K-ready. The design is almost identical to Series-6, and it’s surprisingly thin. Bezels are non-visible, and the feet are thin and moveable.
As a mainstream model, 5-Series (2021) comes in five different sizes, starting with 50″. The 75″ version is the largest one, but going down to 65″ significantly lowers the price. Luckily, all versions offer the same features and picture quality.
As expected, this TV doesn’t support HDMI 2.1, but you do get four HDMI 2.0. Digital and analog audio out are among other inputs with one USB, ethernet, and tuner. If you need composite in, you’ll have to buy an adapter.
Ready for the multiplayer battles
While it’s nice to have HDMI 2.1, I still don’t think it makes a difference for casual gamers. Most of the PS5 and Xbox Series console titles are optimized for [email protected] fps games, which TCL 5-Series handles well. There’s also no VRR which still has limited support on Xbox consoles and is not present on PS5. With 11.2 ms input lag, TCL 5-Series beats some of the more expensive models. Whatever game you play, be sure that it will be up to the task.
The 5-Series has an average brightness, but the black levels and local dimming are impressive for the price. Even better, I didn’t notice blooming or the halo effect. TLC chose the VA panel for this TV, so as you probably know by now, the viewing angles aren’t the best. You don’t have to sit in the central position but don’t go too much on the side. The lack of brightness means that this TV isn’t the best HDR demonstration. Yet, it supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Overall, the picture quality is solid as it features a wide color gamut and above-average contrast.
The 2021 5-Series efficiently improves over last year’s model, and a 75″ model is an excellent solution for such an attractive price. While the HDR is barely visible, the picture quality and gaming performance are stunning for the price.
Best PC monitor alternative on a budget
Vizio offers excellent TVs for affordable prices, but H1 is their first attempt at bringing OLED to the masses. While that’s an impressive feat, I was wondering if the compromises are too much to handle. Yet, the screen looks magnificent, as bezels are so thin that you’ll not even notice them when the device is on. On the other hand, the back is pretty bulky, although that shouldn’t be much of a factor when buying a TV. What’s unusual is the stand, as it’s massive and hard to assemble. Well, at least the cable management is excellent.
Vizio OLED comes in only two different dimensions – 55″ and 65″. It looks like the company is taking a cautious first step by focusing on the most popular sizes. Both versions have identical features, but the 55″ edition is obviously the only choice in the budget category, as it’s often under $1000.
This model is attractive for gamers because it has two HDMIs 2.1, needed to accomplish the full potential of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. For everything else, you also have two standard HDMI 2.0 inputs. The other inputs are pretty much what you expect. They include digital optical audio out, tuner, ethernet, and a composite in.
Top class OLED gaming – after firmware updates
Like Sony X900H, Vizio OLED H1 had a shaky launch, as HDMI 2.1 ports were pretty buggy. However, things have massively improved in the latter half of 2021, thanks to firmware updates. This means you can finally enjoy [email protected] with VRR, although the last option is not yet available on PlayStation 5. Vizio OLED has the highest input lag on the test, measuring slightly above 21 ms. Still, I would argue that this won’t be a handicap even for competitive gamers. I love that both FreeSync and G-Sync are supported, and now they finally work well.
Even the premium OLED screens still have an average brightness, but Vizio OLED H1 is a positive surprise. However, that’s after you make some manual adjustments, bringing it up from 400 to 650 nits. On the other hand, colors are excellent, so you don’t need to calibrate them. As expected, the blacks are perfect, and the viewing angle is extensive, making this a perfect TV for couch multiplayer. What is less satisfying is the upscaling engine since it produces a lot of grain with 1080p content. It’s tolerable, but this is not a TV for the older gaming consoles. Vizio is also one of the rare brands supporting HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
Vizio H1 is the only genuinely budget-friendly OLED gaming TV, which produces the best picture quality on the test and has tons of gaming options. While there are still bugs, firmware updates have solved many issues, making this a recommended device.
The best small gaming TV is a viable substitute for a PC monitor
As the 65″ TV is now a standard option, this means that it gets harder to purchase the one smaller than 50″. That is a shame, as sometimes we don’t need a massive display device for our bedrooms or PC. Luckily, there are still a few attractive options, including LG UP7000. Yet, there’s nothing spectacular about its look. While the bezels are a bit thicker than on other models on the test, they are still tolerable. The overall build is decent, as the plastic isn’t wobbly at all.
Of course, the 43″ model is the smallest, but LG also made four more versions, with 70″ as the biggest one. They are all pretty affordable, as their price is far below $1000. Yet, the 50″ version is different, as it’s the only one using the VA panel.
As we recommend this model for PC gamers, only two HDMI 2.0 inputs aren’t much of a handicap. As PCs usually don’t need more than one, you can use the other one for consoles. The rest of the connections are minimalistic, with one USB port, digital optical audio out, tuner, and ethernet.
The widest viewing angle on the test
LG UP7000 has one of the lowest input lags on the market. While everything under 20 ms is already impressive, this model reaches 10.9 ms. As it only has HDMI 2.0, the maximum resolution is limited to [email protected] Of course, you can still connect it to PS5, Xbox Series X, or any modern PC graphics card. While some HDMI 2.0 devices support VRR, that isn’t the case here. The IPS panel produces wide viewing angles, which helps a lot if you like to play NBA 2K or Mortal Kombat in local multiplayer.
As we mentioned, the LG UP7000 uses an IPS panel, making it much better as a PC monitor than a TV. The contrast is only decent, and there’s no local dimming for this price. Of course, HDR is present, but you won’t find HDR10+ or Dolby Vision. While there are much better TVs for watching movies, this display is excellent for PC games with loads of small text. If you love strategy or sim genres, this is the right choice. Finally, upscaling produces solid yet unspectacular results.
If you want a large PC monitor, then LG U7000 is the right choice. Wide viewing angles, text clarity, and low input lag make it an excellent option for anything you do, including gaming. As this is by far the cheapest device on the test, it’s easy to ignore most of its weaknesses.
The best gaming TV for under $500
Under $500 TVs are getting massive improvements every year, as they already have lots of impressive features. Luckily, they can also handle gaming, including the latest consoles. While Hisense H8G was a remarkable TV in this class, U6G is a worthy successor. Despite the low price, it will easily catch your attention with its minimalistic stand and almost invisible bezels. Yet, notice the wide legs, which demand plenty of space on the table.
The U6G comes in four sizes, with 50″ and 55″ slightly below $500. The 65″ edition is also a great purchase if you can go above that limit. Yet, they all offer the same features and picture quality.
Unfortunately, the $500 TV class still can’t offer HDMI 2.1 inputs, but you still have four HDMI 2.0 for all your devices. The other connectivity options are pretty standard, including composite in, tuner, ethernet, two USB 2.0 inputs, and analog and digital audio out.
The fastest gamer
Despite the price, U6G produces the lowest input lag on the test, coming down to 10.8 ms. In practice, this makes it usable for any type of gaming, including multiplayer shooters. Unlike H8G, the TV supports ALLM, as it automatically switches to gaming mode when needed. The lack of HDMI 2.1 means no support for the advanced gaming features on PS5 and Xbox Series, including [email protected] Yet, even the top-tier titles like Gran Turismo 7 won’t support it anyway. As expected, there’s also no VRR in any capacity. Finally, the VA panel limits the viewing angles, but you won’t be much affected unless sitting really close.
The peak brightness reaches 600 nits which means that this TV isn’t the most extraordinary HDR showcase. However, the movies and games do look better with it. That’s especially the case with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content. The impressive contrast ratio and local dimming also make a difference, resulting in an impressive overall experience. Finally, the upscaling is decent, especially with 1080p content.
With such low input lag and outstanding picture quality, the U6G is a desirable purchase. While it’s an excellent choice for your secondary TV, it can also proudly sit in your living room and perform any task.
The best 4K budget gaming TVs – frequently asked questions
What is the optimal size for gaming TV?
The best thing about 4K TVs is that they let you see four times more details than regular HDTV. However, this also means that you need a big screen to notice the difference. For example, playing 1080p games from 11 feet away on a 55″ full HD screen is a good idea, but things are drastically different with Ultra HD. If you purchase a 55″ 4K TV, the maximum recommended distance goes down to only seven feet. If you move much further back, your eyes won’t notice the difference between 4K and HD.
The 65″ screen is pretty much the standard size in the 4K TV era, but if you sit really far away, you may want to go even bigger. The great news is that all the budget TVs I recommend come in larger sizes, and most of them are below $1500, even for the 75″ model. Of course, if you plan to use 4K as a PC monitor, none of this matters. Even a 40-inch model will be enough as you are sitting so close.
Is OLED better for gaming than LED/QLED?
As I said, OLED screens look terrific, but not many of them are affordable. You probably know that they offer the best possible picture quality and perfect black levels. However, are they any better when it comes to performance? Well, when you compare input lags, you’ll notice that there’s not much difference. In fact, some of these budget TVs are faster than the current king among gaming TVs, the LG C1 series. However, a few milliseconds of advantage doesn’t mean much. The truth is, you won’t see or feel the difference between 10 and 15 ms input lag. OLED also has a theoretical advantage as it can achieve a refresh rate almost 1000 times higher than LED technology. However, this doesn’t matter in practice, as both OLED and LED TVs are limited to 120Hz. For a gamer, it’s more important to buy a TV that supports Variable Refresh Rate.
How important is it for my budget gaming TV to support 4K/120Hz?
As I said, OLED screens look terrific, but not many of them are affordable. You probably know that they offer the best possible picture quality and perfect black levels. However, are they any better when it comes to performance? Well, when you compare input lags, you’ll notice that there’s not much difference. In fact, some of these budget TVs are faster than the current king among gaming TVs, the LG C1 series. However, a few milliseconds of advantage doesn’t mean much. The truth is, you won’t see or feel the difference between 10 ms and 15 ms input lag.
OLED also has a theoretical advantage as it can achieve a refresh rate almost 1000 times higher than LED technology. However, this doesn’t matter in practice, as both OLED and LED TVs are limited to 120Hz. For a gamer, it’s more important to buy a TV supporting Variable Refresh Rate.
What is VRR and how crucial is it for gaming on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles?
Variable Refresh Rate is a technology found in the latest TVs that has the primary purpose of preventing screen tearing. Whenever you play a game that can’t sustain stable 60 fps, that results in tearing, ranging from barely noticeable to gameplay-affecting if the frame drops are enormous. This is especially the case with frame rate unlocked games, as it can fluctuate from around 30 to 60 or more! However, this technology is not perfect. This means that VRR is useless for games that render less than 30 fps, like the case with Cyberpunk 2077.
In that case, AMD’s FreeSync might help as it enables Low Framerate Compensation (LFC), specially developed for the issues when fps drops below 30. Keep in mind that to enjoy any kind of VRR, you need three things. One is a VRR capable TV/monitor, the other is a console/GPU that supports it, and the third is in-game support. Currently, only Xbox Series X/S backs VRR and FreeSync, but the update for PS5 is coming too.
Dolby Vision or HDR10+: which is better?
We had the console and video format wars, but now we have a clash of titans regarding color enhancement HDR technology! Even though some Ultra HD displays support both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, none are in the budget category. This means that in the best case, you’ll have to choose between them.
So, which one is better? Both technologies are doing the same thing, as they improve raw HDR performance with dynamic metadata. This means that every scene in a compatible movie or a video game has unique picture parameters. Dolby Vision has a slight advantage over HDR10+ as it offers better peak brightness and color depth.
However, both technologies have minimal support for content, but Dolby Vision is doing better at the moment. If we’re talking about games, Xbox Series X/S are the only consoles supporting Dolby Vision while ignoring HDR10+. As for the PlayStation 5, the system is missing both, but they may be added later via a firmware update. If I had to pick between two comparable TVs right now, I would go with the one that supports Dolby Vision, based not on quality but software support.
Check out my choice of the best gaming TVs for 2021.
What Are the Priorities When Buying a Budget Gaming TV?
Input lag: Any input lag below 20ms is excellent for consoles and PC unless you are a professional gamer. Everything above 30ms will seriously handicap your performance in faster games, including sports, shooters, or fighters.
Size: You need to see all the details to fully enjoy your new 4K screen, so pick the right size and don’t settle for less. If your 65″ screen is perfect for your room, don’t go down in size for a TV that has slightly better features.
HDR: Every TV on the market supports basic HDR10, but there is a considerable difference in implementing it. HDR performance is critical for gaming on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, so you don’t want to miss out.
VRR: If you can afford a budget TV with VRR support, go for it! While this is not a critical gaming feature, it will become more relevant in a couple of years. VRR is mostly found on HDMI 2.1 compatible TVs, but also on some with HDMI 2.0b.
Should I Wait for a Budget 8K TV?
Well, the answer to that question is very complicated… Just kidding, as the answer is NO! No matter what Sony, Microsoft, or Nvidia tells you, you won’t need an 8K gaming TV until the end of the current console generation. It would be a miracle to get a budget-friendly 8K TV with decent gaming features this year, but even if it happens, you don’t need it. 8K gaming is currently possible only on $1000+ PC graphics cards, and even they can’t deliver a consistent 8K/60 fps experience.
Buying guide for the best budget gaming TV
How to choose the best budget gaming TV in 2021?
Unless you need a gigantic screen, you don’t need to spend more than $1000 on a gaming TV in 2021. The Hisense U8H 65″ proves this by offering HDMI 2.1 ports and VRR, including G-Sync and FreeSync. It also has low input lag, with deep blacks, helped by impressive local dimming.
Thanks to Vizio H1 55″, we have the first affordable budget OLED TV. This device produces the best picture quality on the test, including the top color reproduction and infinite contrast. Wide viewing angles make it perfect for couch multiplayer, while HDMI 2.1 and VRR finally ensure fantastic gaming performance after the latest firmware update.
The TLC 5-Series 75″ is the answer if you need a massive screen that still produces a beautiful picture and is ready for current-gen gaming. Expect very low input lag, impressive black levels, and surprisingly good local dimming. Finally, you have all the advanced HDR standards already compatible with some games.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have LG UP7000 43″, which is the perfect choice if you need a budget PC monitor. While it lacks HDMI 2.1 or VRR, the wide viewing angles, and low input lag makes it an attractive choice, as it’s barely more expensive than the Xbox Series S.
Finally, U6G 55″ is the best proof that you don’t need more than $500 for a reasonably large TV that doesn’t have any severe compromises. You still get low input lag and four HDMI 2.0 ports, and the picture quality is helped by local dimming. If you have older consoles, you’ll enjoy excellent 1080p upscaling.
What is the best gaming TV on a budget in 2021?
For less than $1000, Hisense U8G 65″ beats many way more expensive TVs. This is an excellent gaming device which supports HDMI 2.1, VRR, and even advanced HDR standards. Vizio H1 55″ is an affordable OLED offering not only terrific picture quality but also excellent gaming performance. This includes HDMI 2.1, VRR, and a decent input lag. Just make sure to install firmware updates!
TCL 5-Series 75″ should be your choice if your priority is big screen gaming. Despite the lack of HDMI 2.1, you’ll enjoy smooth [email protected] performance, combined with low input lag. On the other hand, LG UP 7000 43″ is the top option if you are a PC gamer on the budget. Text clarity and low input lag are its most significant quality, next to the price, often close to $300.
Finally, Hisense U6G offers four HDMI 2.0 inputs and excellent input lag for less than $500. You’ll still enjoy using this device for the movies, as it has a decent HDR and supports both Dolby Vision and HDR 10+.