The 8 Best 32 Inch TVs
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Bigger isn't always better, and huge screens just aren't right for some places, so there are many occasions when 32 inches is the perfect size. Ranging from the inexpensive to the reasonably priced, one of these compact TVs will help streamline your entertainment experience without costing a fortune, whether it's going in a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, RV, or even outside. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 25, 2020:
I’ve made a few updates to this list, and replaced the models that weren’t smart (Wi-Fi enabled) with those that were, which I feel is a minimum requirement for TV’s nowadays, even though streaming boxes exist. There are obviously many ways of measuring the quality of a television, but the most significant of which has to do with display, and the most obvious measure of display quality is resolution.
With that in mind, I’ve tried moving this list towards including models with higher display resolutions, like the Samsung Q50R and Samsung Smart Frame, though you’ll tend to find that 4K displays begin to become more commonplace on 43-inch TV’s and up. Both aforementioned models also work on QLED, which offers sharper color than LED or LCD. OLED is even better, though it’s relatively new and you’ll only really find it on larger models.
June 14, 2019:
While the home theater sector has gravitated toward massive and expensive 4K TVs, it's quite possible to find a small form factor display for just a couple hundred bucks or less. Of course, you'll likely be limited to HD resolutions, unless you go with a PC monitor like the LG UD60, which is about as inexpensive of an Ultra HD display as you'll find. The drawback of using a computer as a TV is that they generally can't match the brightness and contrast levels of actual televisions. And as you'd expect, it's a bit more costly than an HD model.
TCL makes a couple great options. One is 720p and the other 1080p, and if you're going for a full-featured and easy-to-use streaming interface, they're worth a look. As far as low cost goes, it's hard to beat Sceptre's releases; while they rarely come in discussions of the highest-quality 4K TVs, they're definitely worthy contenders in these sizes. While Sony's 32-inch offering isn't terribly bright, it otherwise offers some of the best image quality around. And no conversation would be complete without mentioning LG and Samsung. Both of the devices from them that we've highlighted are great choices, and they're not too terribly expensive, either.
SunBriteTV Pro Series Built to stand up to the elements, the SunBriteTV is designed for outdoor use and can handle extreme cold and heat without issue. It includes a 20-watt sound bar that's also weather-resistant, but do be aware that even in such a small size, it's incredibly expensive. sunbritetv.com
MirageVisionTV Gold Legacy With a fully sealed enclosure, treated internal electronics, and a membrane over the various ports, MirageVisionTV's Gold Legacy is protected both inside and out against moisture, and thus a great choice for outdoor use. It's very costly compared to an average TV, but it's not nearly as expensive as some other outdoor-focused models. miragevisiontv.com
When Big Is Too Big
The LEDs provide the light, while the LCD shapes that light into the image intended.
Nobody likes to sit in the front row of a movie theater. For starters, there's nowhere to put your feet up and no one at whom you can anonymously throw popcorn. Those are two pretty big negatives. The worst part, however, is your viewing experience. When sitting a dozen feet away from a movie screen spanning twice that in diagonal length, you'd be lucky if your eyes could even take in its entirety. Whatever you manage to see, you'd leave the theater in a neck brace.
Televisions operate within certain ideal viewing distances themselves. These distances are determined by their size classes, but they also change slightly depending on their resolutions. You'll notice that at 32 inches, none of the TVs on our list feature 4K resolution. That's because, with a 4K 32-inch television, you'd need to be closer than 4 feet away from the screen to begin to appreciate any difference in resolution compared to 1080 HD.
With that in mind, manufacturers realize that consumers won't support the cost of cramming that extra resolution into such a small space, that the resulting price would be too high to stick onto a TV that's relatively small by today's standards.
For the right room, though, 32 inches is a perfect size. Larger kitchens, dorm rooms, smaller bedrooms, or even a killer RV can greatly benefit from the introduction of one of these 32-inch units, which would likely be an upgrade in size and quality from what's presently there.
These are all LED TVs, which utilize light emitting diodes situated behind a liquid crystal display. The LEDs provide the light, while the LCD shapes that light into the image intended. The color comes from a third layer working in conjunction with the first two to organize greens, reds, and blues into a full spectrum of visible colors.
Light From Every Corner
You're likely to encounter one of three designations of LED arrangement on a television's specification sheet, all of which are artfully shrouded in vagaries. Throughout the TV market, there is very little by way of standardization in measurement. Manufacturers manipulate the numbers on everything from refresh rate to dynamic range in an attempt to make their sets seem superior to the ones on either side of them on the shelf.
Edgelit, by comparison, usually indicates one to four strips of LEDs located across one to four corresponding edges of the screen.
Some big box retailers have even been known to take payments from certain brands in order to run superior quality feeds to that brand's TVs in the store, so even looking at them all arrayed in person can't give you a clear picture for comparison.
It's that LED arrangement, however, that's usually listed first among the specs at hand, so it's important to understand exactly what it means in terms of your entertainment experience. When you see backlit as a designation for an LED TV, that means it's got a panel of LEDs living behind the screen that light up consistently to form the scene.
Edgelit, by comparison, usually indicates one to four strips of LEDs located across one to four corresponding edges of the screen. If, for example, an edgelit LED TV had one strip of LEDs running along its bottom edge, it would be more difficult for that screen to display a bright part of an image toward the top of the screen.
Additionally, you might encounter a feature called local dimming, which is the ability for individual LEDs to reduce their brightness and give you a more dynamic picture. If a TV offers this, it's usually a good sign.
Despite the fact that most people prefer a backlit display, the 32-inch size class is small enough that a single strip of LEDs situated along just one edge of the screen could provide sufficient lighting for almost any image. Couple that with the industry's improvements in light direction technology, which mimics the local dimming of full-array backlit LED screens by funneling and redirecting light, and smaller, edgelit designs quickly seem like a viable option.
From The Lab To The Living Room
In less than a century's time, the television has become the cornerstone of practically every American household. Growing up in the 1980's, if you didn't have cable, you were considered weird. I had one friend whose parents didn't even have a TV in their house until he was twenty years old.
Once broadcast standards established themselves under expanded wings of American radio corporations, television production and ownership grew slowly but steadily.
The phenomenon started in the early 1920's with a Scottish inventor named John Logie Baird, who pioneered both the first mechanical television and the first purely electronic color television throughout his lifetime.
At the same time in America, Charles Francis Jenkins was busy working on the wireless transmission of television images. Jenkins received a patent for his work in 1925 after successfully transmitting silhouette images of a toy windmill over a distance of five miles between a naval radio tower and his laboratory.
Once broadcast standards established themselves under expanded wings of American radio corporations, television production and ownership grew slowly but steadily. In the 1960's, ownership began its steady explosion, with rates skyrocketing all across the country.
It wouldn't be until 2011 that television ownership in the US would see any significant decline, spurred on as it was by the advent of higher resolution computer screens and more advanced television and film streaming services.