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Given the sheer amount of options available on the flat panel TV and Smart TV market, knowing how much to expect to spend on a TV can help you narrow down your options and make the task less daunting. There are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to the cost of the best TVs, and much of it depends on what you’re looking for in terms of performance and size. Knowing what you’re getting into can help you make the smartest decision when purchasing a TV, so you’ll have a regret-free viewing experience for years to come.
Probably the best way to approach knowing what you’re getting into when looking to purchase a TV is to look at what you can expect to get at various price tiers. While there’s bound to be some variation here, manufacturers have a habit of offering very similar features and sizes at roughly the same price ranges, with some exceptions for “prestige” brands. It is worth noting that you should always also consider how much power tvs draw.
In this range, the target consumer is looking for smaller TVs with screen sizes most likely under 40″, with maximum display resolutions of 1080p (or standard HD). Increasingly, you can find TVs at this price point with some degree of “Smart” technology, such as Bluetooth connectivity, but it’s not something you can count on yet. If you’re looking for a TV for the bedroom or kitchen, where a smaller screen and lower resolutions are more acceptable, this is a good range to look at. If you are looking for a smaller screen, check out our great 24-inch television buying guide to see if one suits your needs.
$400-500 is the most common price range for TVs bought in the US, and it’s in the $300-500 range where you can start to find larger (42″-55″ or so) screen sizes, more features, and often, higher resolutions (4K or Super HD, specifically.) This is a great price range to be looking in if you want a fairly immersive, high-quality viewing experience and you don’t need to fill a whole room with a giant screen. Not every TV in this range will be “Smart” or have built-in access to streaming services, and some will still be standard HD instead of 4K, but Super HD is within your reach starting here. Check out our Vizio V505 review for an example of a 50-inch model you can find in this price range.
In this range, you’re paying a premium for Super HD (4K resolutions) with larger screen sizes- up to 65″ or so. For sports, HD movies, video games, and other content where high-detail, room-filling images really make a difference, it might be worth stretching your budget to look in this range- though you still may not get what would be considered truly premium features here such as HDR and full Smart TV functionality in this tier.
However, if connecting a DVD player to a TV is what you are looking for, this range might not be the best option. You may want to look elsewhere for a better solution that meets your needs.
Once you break the $1000 barrier- and even more so the $2000 barrier, you’ll start to have truly next-gen features like HDR, QLED, OLED, Dolby Vision, Quantum Dots, full Smart TV functionality, and even 8K Ultra resolutions, as well as sleeker, more upmarket designs, and some of the largest screen sizes (72″ and thereabouts.) Be absolutely sure you’ll really be making the most of such features if you’re going to be stretching your budget to this point. Currently, there isn’t a lot of 8K content available or in production, so you may want to wait for a period of time while 8K prices go down and content becomes more available. For a great option that has 4K and OLED, you can read our OLED77CXPUA review.
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind when deciding how much you’re willing to spend on a TV is whether or not you’ll be buying any components in addition to the TV itself. The most common peripheral most people choose is a soundbar or other speaker system as an upgrade to less-than-impressive built-in TV speakers. These can easily cost $100-200 themselves, adding quite a bit to your total budget in additional cost if you’re looking at TVs in, say, the $300-500 range. For example, you should have an easy time when seeking how to connect speakers to the tv with speaker wire with your new TV.
It should come as no surprise that nothing lasts forever, and that includes your TV. And while purchasing a higher-end TV may last longer than a budget one, you will eventually have to know to dispose of it. We have a great article on your options to dispose of your old TV. Alternatively, if you are upgrading because you want newer technology or a bigger screen. you can read about where to donate your TV so someone else can benefit from your old TV.
Is 4K worth it?
If you’re looking for truly immersive viewing experiences for sports and HD movies, for example, 4K is very much worth considering, especially at larger screen sizes, where 1080p would introduce more pixelization at closer viewing distances.
What is HDR?
HDR or High Dynamic Range is a newer technology in TVs and computer monitors that displays a much broader range of contrast between the deepest black and whitest whites. It can considerably increase overall image quality, though not consistently, depending on the kind of content being viewed.
How many HDMI ports do I need on a TV?
Most modern flat-panel TVs have at least three HDMI-out ports, which is enough for a DVD player, a streaming device like an Amazon Firestick or Apple TV, and a gaming console, which should be more than enough for the average consumer.
What’s the average price of a flat panel TV?
The average cost of TVs purchased in the US is $400-500, for a 42″ flat panel TV, often though not always with a 4K display.
STAT: 42″ is the average screen size of TVs in US homes (source)
STAT: 8K resolutions in TVs aren’t usually found until the $1000 and above range (source)
STAT: The largest TV manufactured in the world has a 370″ screen and costs $1.6 million dollars (source)