4K on a Budget

Looking to upgrade to 4K in the living room and don’t want to break the bank?  You have come to the right place.  I’m going to break from my home theater building and take a look at 4 different options which will get you that beautiful 4K picture without spending much more than $1,000.  Each option is 65″ because anything smaller would not be conducive to experiencing the full 4K effect.  It definitely would look better, but only the truly discerning eye can tell the difference on those smaller screens.

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I will offer a brief synopsis of the 65″ version of the best options available from Samsung,  LG, Sony and TCL.  Anyone who has read my other stuff would know that Samsung is my TV of choice.  I do come into this review with an open mind, however.

If I am ever approved (by my wife) to replace our living room TV, my possible selections consist of the following:

Samsung UN65MU7000

The Samsung is my personal favorite and features HDR pro offering a wider range of colors and contrast than other 4K TVs.  The TV performs magnificently showing deep black colors due to its very high contrast.  It also has a fast quad core processor for streaming video, which comes in handy if your only option for 4K content is through the TV’s Netflix or Amazon Prime apps.

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On the down side, it’s not nearly as bright as some of the other options out there and viewing is not so good at any kind of angle.  Also, some of the apps tend to load slowly.  I have had issues in the past with the Samsung Smart Hub downloading apps and finding specific ones.  Overall, this is a tough one to beat and a very good price for what you get.


LG 65UJ7700

Okay, okay I admit that I’ve started to develop a crush for LG TVs.  They look so good, but is this one as good as their OLED offerings?  The UJ7700 does have superior viewing angles to the Samsung.  Also, it’s smart TV features appear to be quite good.  The LG’s biggest asset is the combination of affordability with great picture quality.

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Unfortunately, this LG does not do as well showing movies in a dark room.  This makes it persona non grata in my future basement home theater, but could be just fine in my brightly lit living room.  The contrast is also lacking in comparison to the Samsung.  If you want a great TV for not so much money and your room is somewhat brightly lit, you could do a lot worse than this one.buy3

Sony XBR65X850E

Before I switched to Samsung I owned a Sony and I have to say it was magnificent.  I’ll never forget moving that thing into my apartment by myself and nearly blinding myself hooking up the cables.  It was so worth it…Sony makes fantastic TVs.  Is the 850E part of that fine tradition of Sony technology?  It terms of contrast I would have to say no.  However, this TV does feature HDR with its wide range of colors and clarity.  Also, this one is very good at up-converting non 4K content to 4K.  This is especially helpful with the noticeable lack of ultra HD programming available.  The side angle viewing is better than the Samsung, but still falls short of the LG in that regard.

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The black level on the Sony is not up to par and this is another one you wouldn’t choose for a dark room.  The 850E is also a bit pricier than my 3 other options, coming in around $1,500 at last check.  Once again, in a bright room and taking advantage of the superior up-conversion and HDR technology; I could see myself going back to my Sony roots.


TCL 65S405

Last and probably least, is the TCL 65S405.  This is easily the cheapest of the models I’m looking at.  It is a Roku TV and it’s big selling point, other than price, is it’s streaming and apps capability.  None of the other TVs compare to the TCL in this regard.  The app delivery system is easy to use, very quick and responsive and streams both 4K and HDR.

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That’s all good, but the contrast is a not so good, the viewing angle is the worst of all 3 TVs and has the lightest of all black levels.  If you don’t mind sacrificing some quality than you can get into the 4K HDR world at a very good price.


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