The Best 4K TVs of 2018

We looked through the top 4K TVs on the market to find the best image quality and built-in tech for the lowest price.

TCL P607
Vizio M55-E0
Sony X720E
Samsung MU7000
LG UJ7700

The Best 4K TVs of 2018

Product Recommended
TCL 55P607 TCL P607
Vizio M55-E0 Vizio M55-E0
Sony KD55X720E Sony X720E
Samsung MU7000 Samsung MU7000
LG 4K TV LG UJ7700

4K resolution, also known as Ultra High Definition (UHD), is quickly becoming the new standard for everything from TV shows to video games. If you thought nothing could look better than your 1080p TV, then you’ve never seen the beautiful deep blacks and crystal-clear picture on a good 4K TV.

TVs with this high of a resolution used to be too expensive to even consider, but the price has dropped in recent years. And although you can buy a 4K TV for well over $3,000, you certainly don’t have to.

We’ve narrowed down the top five best 4K TVs for less than $1,000, so you can get brilliant resolution without breaking the bank.

Best 4k TVs

ModelHDR?Local Dimming?# HDMI portsPrice
TCL 55P607YesYes3View Price
Vizio M55-E0YesYes4View Price
Sony X720EYesNo3View Price
Samsung MU7000NoNo3View Price
LG UJ7700NoNo4View Price

#1 TCL P607

The TCL P607 impressed us with its excellent quality at an even better price—plus, it has Roku.

If you’ve never heard of TCL, you’re not alone—we hadn’t either. But once we saw the P607, we couldn’t forget it.

Tech specs

  • Price: View price
  • Size: 55″
  • Type: LED
  • # HDMI ports: 3
  • # USB ports: 1
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: Yes
  • WCG: Yes
  • Local dimming: Yes

TCL makes one of the best 4K TVs on the market for a stunningly low price. The P607 has High Dynamic Range (HDR), which makes for top-notch picture quality, and it enhances the view with a local dimming feature. This TV looks consistently clear and sharp, whether you’re watching football or playing Super Mario Odyssey.

Not only that, but the TCL P607 also comes with Roku TV, which combines one of our favorite streaming devices with your standalone TV. This way, you get the full Roku experience without having to buy and hook up a separate device.

Best of all, the TCL P607 comes with a multitude of features we expect from 4K TVs that cost twice as much, and it throws in useful extras like voice control and a headphone jack in the remote.

The TCL P607 isn’t just a budget buy—it’s honestly one of the best TVs under $1,000 on this or any list, making it an easy pick for our Best Overall.

#2 Vizio M55-E0

The Vizio M55-E0 works well for gamers, but you might need a tuner adapter to watch TV.

If you use your TV mainly for video games, the Vizio M55-E0 does not disappoint. With a 120Hz refresh rate, motion on the Vizio M55-E0 looks clear, so lag won’t distract you from your Call of Duty marathon.

Tech specs

  • Price: View price
  • Size: 55″
  • Type: LED
  • # HDMI ports: 4
  • # USB ports: 2
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: Yes
  • WCG: Yes
  • Local dimming: Yes

The Vizio M55-E0 doesn’t have a wide viewing angle, so the picture will look off if you view it from the side. This is a problem with most 4K TVs, so we can’t ding the Vizio too much for it. But if you like to host Super Bowl parties, this model might not be your first choice.

One thing we don’t like is that the Vizio M55-E0 does not come with a tuner. If you have a cable or satellite TV subscription, then don’t worry about this. But if you watch TV using an antenna, then you’ll have to buy a tuner adapter to connect the antenna to your TV. Not a huge deal, but it’s a little annoying.

#3 Sony X720E

The Sony X720E offers a decent viewing angle, which is great if you like to watch sports with friends.

As we mentioned with the Vizio M55-E0, 4K TVs don’t have great viewing angles. If you look at the screen from the side, images start to look faded. And since the whole point of 4K is stunning resolution, that’s not ideal, especially if you like to get a bunch of friends together to watch a game.

Tech specs

  • Price: View price
  • Size: 55″
  • Type: LED
  • # HDMI ports: 3
  • # USB ports: 3
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: Yes
  • WCG: No
  • Local dimming: No

The Sony X720E has a better viewing angle than most, which makes it a good choice for Super Bowl parties or World Cup watching. Your friends sitting on the side couch will thank you.

The Sony X720E also does better in bright rooms than the Samsung MU7000, but the MU7000 looks better in dark rooms. So if you’re a nighttime movie-watcher, we’d going with the Samsung.

#4 Samsung MU7000

The Samsung MU7000 is sleek to look at, but we wish its screen was a bit brighter.

If you want a TV that looks as good when it’s off as it does when it’s on, then the Samsung MU7000 is a solid choice. Its sleek metal body will look great on any wall or entertainment stand. But then, that’s not what you’re buying it for, is it?

Tech specs

  • Price: View price
  • Size: 55″
  • Type: LED
  • # HDMI ports: 3
  • # USB ports: 2
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: Yes
  • WCG: Yes
  • Local dimming: No

Our main complaint with the Samsung MU7000 is it’s not very bright. If you tend to watch TV during the daytime in a sunny room, then this TV shouldn’t be your first choice. Plus, the MU7000 doesn’t have local dimming. “Local dimming” sounds like a jargon-y term, but it basically means the contrast won’t look as good.

However, the Samsung does look good in a dark room, which makes it great for movie nights. And its 60Hz refresh rate handles movies and video games pretty well.

#5: 55″ LG UJ7700

The LG UJ7700 is an all-around decent 4K TV, but it’s a bit expensive for what you get.

LG is one of the biggest producers of televisions in the world, and its equipment is generally reliable. That said, the LG UJ7700 doesn’t seem like it should be the highest-priced TV on our list. While it’s a good model with a nice display, we think the other TVs on our list perform just as well (and sometimes better), for a lower price.

Tech specs

  • Price: View price
  • Size: 55″
  • Type: LED
  • # HDMI ports: 4
  • # USB ports: 2
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDR: Yes
  • WCG: Yes
  • Local dimming: Yes

With a 60Hz refresh rate, the LG UJ7700 looks pretty good when playing video games or movies, but it’s not the best we’ve seen. The TCL P607, despite also having a 60Hz refresh rate, looks better for gaming and movies than the LG.

The LG UJ7700 also doesn’t get super bright, so it’s not our first pick for daytime viewing. And for nighttime viewing, we think the Samsung MU7000 does just as well as the LG—and for less money.

Unlike the Samsung MU7000, the LG UJ7700 does have a local dimming feature, so the display’s contrast should, in theory, look clearer. But the local dimming on this model doesn’t work very well, which makes it virtually pointless to have at all.

If LG lowered the price, we’d put the UJ7700 on par with the Samsung MU7000 as a TV that looks good and works best in dark rooms. As it is, we’d still recommend the Samsung over this model for its sleek looks and because, for a lower price, it works just as well.

Don’t mind spending more?

If you’re not on a budget and you don’t care if your TV costs $1,000 or $3,000, then you can get some seriously impressive technology for your money. These TVs look and work beautifully, with truly spectacular displays and versatility.

Recap

The TCL P607 will give you the best bang for your buck with high-end features at an impressively low price. We also like that it’s a Roku TV, so you get one of the best streaming experiences without having to buy a separate device.

If you’re not feeling the TCL, we would recommend the Vizio M55-E0 for gamers and movie-watchers, or the Sony X720E for sports lovers who like to watch with friends.

The Samsung MU7000 has a nice display—as long as it’s in a dark room. And if you ever spot the LG UJ7700 on sale, we’d rate it along with the Samsung as a good pick for movie lovers—but don’t pay full price for that model.

What to know before buying a 4K TV

All about the 4K resolution

The biggest selling point for 4K/UHD TV is the resolution. There are more than 8 million pixels in a 4K TV, compared to roughly 2 million pixels of Full HD or 1080p. But what is the difference in resolution between 4K, 1080p, 720p, and 480p?

You’ll notice 1080p, 720p, and 480p are named for the number of vertical pixels, while 4K gets its name for having almost 4,000 horizontal pixels (also, “4K” is a lot catchier than “3.84K”).

Because 4K has almost four times the resolution of 1080p, the higher resolution delivers a clearer and more precise picture, even when the image is close.

4k resolution comparison

So the more pixels the better, right? Well, not exactly. Unlike TV technology, the human eye doesn’t change every 3–5 years. Depending on the size of the screen and the distance from the TV, you might not even be able to see 4K.

Wait, what!?! Yes, your ability to see 4K depends on distance from the TV and the size of the screen. For example, if you have a 50-inch 4K TV and you sit more than 6.5 feet away, you won’t see 4K; you will see resolution equal to 1080p. If you sit more than 10 feet away from that same TV, you will see 720p resolution.

You’ll want to think about where you sit with your new 4K TV and the screen size that will work for you. Check the chart for the ideal distance you’ll want to sit from the TV to experience 4K resolution.

Optimal Viewing Distance for 4k

Go smart or go dumb with 4K TV

“Smart TV” is just marketing lingo for a TV that lets you connect to the internet without additional hardware. With a smart TV, you can access anything from streaming media (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but don’t get hung up on whether or not a 4K TV has smart functionality.

It’s not as big a selling point as you’d think. The biggest reason smart TVs aren’t so special is there are plenty of affordable streaming media devices to choose from.

The biggest reason smart TVs aren’t so special is there are plenty of affordable streaming media devices to choose from.

Amazon’s 4K-compatible Fire TV—which, despite the name, is a streaming media device, not a TV—is only $89. Other popular 4K-compatible streaming media devices like the Chromecast Ultra and the Roku 4 are just $69 and $89.

Because streaming media devices are backed by the likes of Google and Amazon, they’ll have much better hardware and software support than a little-to-no-name brand’s smart TV software. If you want to go with a “dumb” TV (no internet connectivity) and save some dollars, by all means do so without worrying. Even if a TV does have smart functionality, plenty of people still opt for purchasing a streaming media device.

So why not save money if you can? If there’s a great deal on a 4K TV and it happens to have smart functionality, all the better, but don’t let it influence your decision too much.

What is high dynamic range (HDR)?

High dynamic range (HDR) is a recent feature available in select 4K TVs. HDR creates a higher level of contrast (blacker blacks, whiter whites) and a wide color gamut (WCG). You can think of HDR as if the TV has more colors to use, much like a painter having more colors to create a more realistic painting. The Samsung and LG 4K TVs we selected both have HDR, and we think it’s worth paying for.

hdr comparison

What is wide color gamut (WCG)?

Both wide color gamut (WCG) and HDR play a role in increasing the range and depth of color you see onscreen. This graphic compares colors in WCG, HDTV (1080p), and SDTV (480p). WCG and HDR are already being marketed as next steps in 4K TV technology, and for good reason: they create a beautiful image.

The selling point of 4K TV has always been the resolution—the more pixels the better. But you can think of WCG and HDR as producing smarter (or better) pixels, which deliver more depth and realism with the same resolution.

What is refresh rate?

Refresh rate is the number of times an image is displayed (or “refreshed”) in a second. It’s measured as a unit of frequency (Hz), so 60 Hz means the image is refreshed 60 times every second. Most 4K TVs these days are either 60 Hz or 120 Hz. In general, the higher refresh rate (120 Hz) will provide a smoother image and reduce motion blur; however, almost every 4K TV brand markets its own kind of refresh rate technology (Trumotion, Motionflow, Clearscan, etc.). Be sure to check the technical specs of a 4K TV for the actual refresh rate and not the branded/marketed refresh rate.

Where can I watch 4K movies and other content?

The best 4K content you can find right now comes from streaming media providers such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

Q: Is your internet fast enough to watch 4K?

Here are the internet speeds streaming media providers say you’ll need to watch their 4K movies and shows.

  • Netflix: 25 Mbps
  • Amazon Prime Video: 15 Mbps
  • Hulu: 13 Mbps

If you’re not sure how much internet speed you’re getting, you can check at Google’s M-Lab. You can also see who we picked as the best ISP for streaming 4K and find out how much internet data it takes to watch an hour of 4K.

Also, if you plan on downloading 4K movies, keep in mind the average 4K movie is about 100 GB in size.

Netflix’s original programming (Black Mirror, Stranger Things, Luke Cage, House of Cards, etc.) is available in 4K. Original programming from Amazon (Transparent, Man in the High Castle, Bosch, etc.) and Hulu (11.22.63, Difficult People, Casual, etc.) is also available in 4K.

Amazon Prime Ultra HD
Did you know that access to Amazon's vast library of movies and other streaming content is included with Amazon Prime? Try it with a 30-day free trial.

Besides original programming, the selection of 4K shows and movies from streaming media providers has been pretty limited. However, 4K shows and movies are becoming more widely available, and it’s not just because of streaming media providers: digital storefronts such as iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play are also quickly adding 4K content.

Q: Where can I watch 4K shows and movies?

Here’s a list of services that stream 4K content:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon
  • YouTube
  • Comcast
  • DIRECTV
  • VUDU

What do you want to know before you buy?

Do you have more questions before buying a 4K TV? We want to hear more from you and what you think of 4K TV. Is it just a matter of price and screen size? Did you get a 4K TV this past Black Friday? (Some of us did.) Are you interested in using your 4K TV as a computer monitor? Are you interested in getting a 4K TV for live sports? Let us know what you think and tell us the questions you have.

FAQ about 4K TV

How much does a 4K TV cost? It depends. For this article we reviewed 4K TVs in the $300–$1,000 range. High-end 4K TVs with OLED technology can cost as much as $4,000, while no-name brand 4K TVs with a screen size less than 36 inches can be as little as $200–$300.

Is 4K the same as Blu-ray? No. The physical format for 4K is Ultra HD Blu-ray, which is a different format than Blu-ray.

What is smart TV? It’s basically a TV with internet connectivity. Most smart TVs allow you to connect to web apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, etc.

Are 4K and UHD the same thing? Yes.

How fast does my internet need to be to stream 4K? We checked various streaming media providers, and Netflix had the highest internet speed requirement at 25 Mbps.

How much internet data does watching 4K use? According to Netflix, watching 4K/UHD can use about 7 GB per hour.

Is 4K just a fad? Nope. 4K TV is in huge demand, and 4K technology is used in other consumer electronics, such as cameras, computers, and more.

Is 4K that much better than 1080p? Technically, 4K has almost four times as many pixels as 1080p (roughly 8 million compared to 2 million), so 4K resolution is four times better than 1080p.

Have a question? Submit your question below and we’ll add it to our FAQs.

  • Jillxz

    I don’t care about a 4K TV . I can’t tell a real difference anyway. I just want a nice big LCD and I’m happy. I do want at least a 120 refresh rate. These kind of TVs don’t last long , so I’m not interested in putting a lot of money in them. Old CRT TVs would last 15-20 years and theTVs Today last less than 10. Nope no expensive TV for me

    • Bill Waddle

      You get what you pay for… buy a high end LCD TV and it will far outlast an older CRT model. If you got less than 10 years out of your old TV, you must have purchased a ‘budget’ model.

      • Jillxz

        I purchased a Vizio