Is there such a thing as a budget 4K HDR TV? The answer is a resounding yes. HDR, or high-dynamic range, is originally a photographic term and refers to a technique to heighten a picture’s dynamic range. In layman’s terms, this means the contrast between brights and darks are greater and more pronounced, kind of like what you see in real life. 4K HDR TVs tend to be very expensive because of their impressive picture quality, with prices that range from $1,000 to as much as $5,000. Then along came brands like Vizio and TCL. Now you can get a 4K HDR TV for a lot less.
Walmart is currently offering one of TCL’s midrange 4K HDR TV, the 55-inch TCL 55S517, for a massive 46% less. Place this ultra-high-definition TV at the center of your entertainment space for $380 instead of $700.
The TCL 55S517, or the TCL 5-Series, has an understated and basic design. Its bezels are nicely trim, keeping up with the latest TV design trend, which is almost unnoticeable when you’re watching something. It’s made of durable plastic in a matte-black finish that looks decent but is nowhere near luxurious. Despite its humdrum appearance, what really matters is the 5-Series’ excellent display.
This TV boasts a 55-inch vertical alignment (VA) panel with a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. A VA panel is a type of LED screen that offers the best contrasts and image depth. Its picture quality is quite beautiful, with sharp details, vibrant colors, and deep blacks. This TV supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, so expect a delightfully wide spectrum of colors and details in gorgeous high definition. Its brightness level could use a little work, but you honestly get the best value out of every dollar spent in terms of image quality.
At the back of the TV, you’ll find the connection ports, including HDMI ports, RCA jacks, optical, USB, Ethernet, and even a 3.5mm audio jack. This TV only has three HDMI ports (normally one for a cable box, one for a soundbar, and one for a game console). Fortunately, you won’t be needing a slot for a digital streaming stick, since it already has a built-in Roku TV.
One of the best TV platforms on the market, Roku offers a simple and intuitive way to navigate various streaming apps and channels. Watching TV shows and movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, and YouTube was an overall pleasant experience, and you get access to dozens of free content via Roku TV’s Featured Free program.
The TCL 5-Series is a fantastic pick for a budget-friendly 4K HDR TV. Its picture quality is amazing for the price, and the built-in Roku TV is a huge plus factor. However, you must brace yourself for a barrage of ads, the reason why this smart TV is cheap. Other than that, this is a great TV that we fully recommend, even including it in our list of the best 4K TVs under $500.
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- HDR TV: What it is and why you’ll want one
- The best 4K TVs under $500
- The best TVs under $1,000
- TCL’s 6-series Roku TVs are now on sale, with more new sets to follow in 2020
- The inside story of TCL’s display-driven, slow-burn plan for phone supremacy