Buying a new TV can be an overwhelming task if you are getting your feet wet. It feels like there’s a new letter-number combination coming up every year and the marketers are all singing its praises: this is now the hottest thing and you absolutely must get a TV that has it. We open some of these terms up in our TV buying guide.
But since we are operating on a very specific budget (under $200), most of this reasoning can be streamlined or even thrown into the bin. To put it short: the old saying “you get what you pay for” is very applicable to TVs. The market is so competitive that the prices between different manufacturers are generally well in line with eachother. However, this does not mean that you should entirely switch off your brain when looking for televisions under $200.
Let’s have a look at some of the aspects you should take into consideration.
Televisions Under $200 Comparison Table
Things To Consider – A TV Buyers Quick Cheat Sheet
Most of the specs you will come across are just buzzwords used for marketing purposes – they don’t necessarily tell a lot about the picture quality by themselves. If you are already familiar with the basics of TV specifications and terms you might as well skip this part and hop straight on to our picks.
A general rule of thumb when choosing a TV would be that get as big as you can, but the tight budget will set some limitations to this. The biggest televisions you will find below the $200 mark are 43-inch, but then you will have to leave something else (like integrated Smart TV functionality) off.
The resolution aspect is really simple on televisions below $200. 4K (also known as UHD) would naturally be the best but we will have to settle for 1080p (Full HD, FHD). Even though the difference between 4K and FHD might sound like a lot on paper, it really isn’t that big of a deal.
Furthermore, the amount of 4K material available is still limited. You will get by with a FHD just fine.
OLED TV’s with HDR support have the best quality of picture but they are way out of our price range at the moment. There are still a few factors you should focus on.
High contrast – ultimately meaning that the TV is able to display deep shades of black.
Glossy or matte screen – this often gets neglected (maybe it wouldn’t if somebody came up with a term like UMS, Ultra Matte Screen), but is worth considering because if you are going to watch your TV a lot on bright day light you want your screen to be matte. It eliminates reflections. Once again the budget will set some limitations to this, though.
Features And Design
Smart TV means that the TV has built-in processor and internet connectivity, enabling different applications (mostly streaming platforms such as Netflix and Youtube) to be used without any additional equipment. Even though this is mostly an industry standard these days, the budget televisions often lack the functionality. This is not an issue however as there are plenty of great external devices available, such as Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick.
HDMI in layman’s terms is the interface used to connect your devices on your TV. Just make sure that your future TV has enough HDMI ports for all the devices you are about to use on a regular basis.
Design: as the TV will be a big piece of your furniture you naturally want it to look good. If you are planning to wall mount your TV make sure that it is VESA ready, though most new TV’s are by default.
Best TV's Under $200 - Our 5 Picks
Editor’s Note: as we said before you have to remember that with televisions the old cliché “you get what you pay for” holds true. The reviews and ratings here are not comparable to higher end models and should be read within their context – televisions under $200. You can’t expect them to be as good or well built than models that cost four digits.
Komodo by Sceptre Review
Komodo by Sceptre is a 2018 version of the Sceptre X438BV-FSR, but the differences between these two models are non-existent. Most likely they just wanted the name to be something more rememberable.
We know it’s super irritating when you have set a certain price limit and someone says “why don’t you save x more and get this instead”, but if you could add $30 to your budget you should definitely go for the UHD model of Komodo by Sceptre.
Sceptre X415BV-FSR Review
TCL 32S305 Review
Again, it has to be said that with an additional $30 on top of the 32″ model you would get a 40-inch, 1080p and 120 Hz version of the same TV. Kind of a no-brainer if you ask us.
Samsung UN32J4001 Review
Samsung UN32J5003 Review
It’s quite telling that if you want a new 1080p TV for less than 200 dollars from the “premium” manufacturers, you need to get a 2015 model. That’s why the list is mostly filled with models from unknown brands – otherwise it would be a list of “TVs” better suited for ants.