8 Best 4K TVs Under $1000 | February 2017

8 Best 4K TVs Under $1000
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We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. If you're looking for an ultra HD viewing experience, but you aren't exactly in the Scrooge McDuck income bracket, check out our selection of 4K TVs for under $1,000. They deliver stunning picture quality and easy internet connectivity, as well as intuitive Smart TV features, without requiring a second mortgage on your home. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best 4k tv under $1000 on Amazon.
The Hisense 50H8C 50-Inch only has a native refresh rate of 60Hz, but it makes up for it with a powerful enough motion engine that you shouldn't notice any difference compared to the competition outside of live sports broadcasts or fast-moving action films.
  • multi-zone led dimming
  • four hdmi inputs
  • confusing smart features
Brand Hisense
Model 50H8C
Weight 36.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
The LG Electronics 55UJ6300 55-Inch boasts the company's WebOS 3.0 Smart TV interface, which is one of the smoothest, most intuitive systems on the market. Its True Color Accuracy software displays a wide range of tones for more lifelike images with a wide viewing angle.
  • in-plane panel switching
  • upscales lower resolution content
  • blacks could be deeper
Brand LG Electronics
Model 55UH6150
Weight 47.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Vizio D40u-D1 40-Inch has a spatial scaling engine that can transform any 1080p signal into a picture that greatly resembles 4K, ensuring that all your old Blu-rays don't have to end up at Goodwill with your outgoing set.
  • works with vizio internet apps plus
  • v6 six-core processor
  • mediocre quality control
Model D40u-D1
Weight 26.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The LG Electronics 55UH7700 55-Inch utilizes a display with Dolby Vision high dynamic range enhancement, which provides a greater range of colors, as well as a more dramatic contrast ratio similar to what you would experience in a movie theater.
  • zoom function for blown-up detail
  • generous array of inputs
  • sound is lackluster
Brand LG Electronics
Model 55UH7700
Weight 33.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
With an effective Motionflow XR refresh rate of 240Hz and the company's patented Triluminos display, the Sony XBR43X800D 43-Inch creates one of the smoother, better defined images available. It also features an incredibly slim bezel for a more window-like appearance.
  • great selection of apps and games
  • integrates with home automation
  • viewing angle isn't wide enough
Brand Sony
Model XBR43X800D
Weight 34.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The curved screen of the Samsung UN49KU7500 49-Inch helps to create a more immersive experience, provided you sit close enough to the screen for it to be effective. Its active crystal color provides incredibly nuanced gradients across the frame.
  • upscaling picture engine
  • easy-to-use smart remote
  • uhd dimming for more contrast
Brand Samsung
Model UN49KU7500FXZA
Weight 45.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
The image clarity of the Samsung UN40KU6290 40-Inch comes from a combination of its full-array backlighting and its 120Hz motion refresh rate, two features that are exceedingly rare at this price point. It has a full web browser within its smart software package.
  • three hdmi inputs
  • built-in wi-fi connection
  • impressive color range
Brand Samsung
Model UN40KU6290
Weight 24 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
One of this company's first forays into the US electronics market, the LeEco L554UCNN 55-Inch offers an intuitive smart menu that's compatible with Google's voice search and cast functions. It's also one of the thinnest options out there today.
  • 120hz fluid motion rate
  • edge-lit by leds
  • 64-bit multi-core cpu
Brand LeEco
Model L554UCNN
Weight 62.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

What Exactly Is 4K?

Whether you're watching vlogs on YouTube, streaming TV shows on Netflix, enjoying your Blu-ray collection, or recording home videos with a camcorder, 1080p has been the go-to standard for high definition among videophiles worldwide for the better part of a decade. Now, thanks to a veritable quantum leap from 1080p to video four times the resolution, high definition (HD) is stepping aside to make room for ultra high definition (UHD) and its slightly more sophisticated counterpart, 4K.

Although the two terms, UHD and 4K, have become synonymous over the years, UHD remains the highest resolution currently available for household use. With a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, UHD displays do not, in fact, exceed the 4,000 horizontal pixels that 4K displays do with a resolution of 4,096 x 2,160. Despite being four times the resolution of a 1080p display, and despite being marketed as 4K, UHD falls just shy of true 4K.

Rather than constantly remind people that UHD and 4K are separated by 256 horizontal pixels for each of the 2,160 vertical pixels (a difference of a mere 552,960 pixels in total), manufacturers decided it's easier to market their products as "4K UHD", instead. Which begs the question: If you're going to lump the two terms together, why not manufacture the display with the higher resolution? One word: broadcasting.

So long as the standard aspect ratio for television broadcasting worldwide remains 16:9, or 1.78:1, manufacturers will continue to meet that standard, even if it means sacrificing over half a million pixels in the process. This is because most consumers, even avid movie buffs, watch more television programming on average than they do feature films. Not only that, but due to director and studio preferences, the aspect ratios of feature films are ever-changing, from 1.89:1 to 2.76:1. As a result, the black bars we see at the top and the bottom of the screen are unavoidable regardless of whether or not its aspect ratio meets U.S. broadcasting standards or Quentin Tarantino's standards.

At the end of the day, most people watch more TV than anything else, and there's no sense suffering with the blacks bars at the top and bottom more often than not when Hollywood, much less the entire global film industry, continues to set no universal standard aspect ratio that manufacturers can meet.

How Do I Upscale My Movie Collection?

Imagine you have a single slice of bread and you want to make a triple-decker sandwich. You'd have to cut that single slice in four and what you'd get would be a very small but very tall half-sandwich. Now imagine you have a device that can clone your slice of bread three times. One slice becomes four and now you have enough to make a genuine triple-decker.

This is what HD upscaling does.

Rather than try to force one pixel to do what four pixels can, 4K UHD TVs have built-in HD upscaling engines that produce additional pixels based on the pixels that surround them. One gray pixel flanked by black and white pixels becomes four gray pixels, each one darker or lighter than the next depending on its proximity to the black or white surrounding the original.

Not only that, but HD upscaling also sharpens the edges where light and shadow meet in order to maintain, or in some cases enhance, the depth of the original image.

However, a 1080p image upscaled to 4K UHD is still the same 1080p image. It's just bigger. HD upscaling does not add or reveal any new or previously unseen content. It simply allows you to view HD content on a 4K UHD screen without having to stare at a thick, black frame the whole time and without the image looking grainy as if each pixel is four times bigger than it should be.

Where Can I Find 4K Content?

While being able to enhance HD TV on the fly is most certainly a welcome bonus, the real reason behind owning a massive 50" 4K TV is so you can watch original 4K content in all its eye-popping glory.

Unfortunately, as with most new media technology, 4K TVs are still in a state of limbo, a kind of tech-gadget catch-22: because there's limited content, there's limited demand, and because there's limited demand, there's limited content. And round and round we go until manufacturers phase out older models and force everyone to buy 4K, or certain media moguls produce content despite having a limited audience.

However, thanks to media alternatives, by which I mean alternative to Hollywood and MSNBC, there is actually quite a bit more 4K content than one might expect.

Showing no signs of ever slowing down and with full intent to remain in the lead, both Netflix and Amazon are not only streaming, but producing original series in 4K resolution. And both companies' current libraries of 4K feature-length films are only going to get larger by the month.

For those not interested in big-budget TV shows, YouTube allows for 4K streaming. And with 4K becoming a growing trending in both the photography and cinematography communities, you can create and upload your own 4K content, assuming you have all the right equipment, of course.

Lastly, 4K gaming is quickly becoming reasonably affordable. While the number of games designed to support 4K resolution is limited, you can definitely expect to see more and more as the prices of leading graphics cards drop.

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Last updated on February 14, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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