Over the past year or so, there has been a lot of focus on an entirely new category of smart tv—the truly affordable ones that offer the best of video streaming apps as well as linear TV, at a fraction of the price you would have paid for the same screen sizes, about two years ago. It can be argued that Xiaomi really kick-started this party with the Mi TV line-up that proved to be a disruptor in many ways—the price, performance as well as the overall expectations we had from TVs at the lower end of the price spectrum. It has had a chain reaction in the space, with other TV makers realizing the need to keep up. For the consumer, compromises are minimal now and what you see on these TVs looks better than it perhaps ever did. The latter is a testament to the higher quality panels that are now being used by TV makers.
If you are in the market to buy a new smart TV at the moment, chances are you would have been inundated with offers by brands you probably have never heard of. Or those that claim the world, but don’t deliver in terms of the TV viewing experience. Which is why, to sift the wheat from the chaff, we have hand-picked the best smart TVs you can buy right now, at affordable price points.
Mi LED TV 4A Pro series
32-inch: Rs 12,999; 43-inch: Rs 22,999; 49-inch: Rs 29,999; 55-inch: Rs 47,999
The Mi LED TV 4A Pro is not to be confused with the 4A line-up that doesn’t have the ‘Pro’ moniker. Bear with us for a bit, because this series is a tad complex to understand. This is the first time Xiaomi is offering the option of Google’s Android TV smart TV and its own PatchWall platform. While Android TV is a simply putting giving you quicker access to your favcorite TV apps, Patchwall content curation on TVs brings forward content from apps Hotstar, Hooq, Voot, Sony Liv, Zee5, Jio Cinema, Alt Balaji, Eros Now, Hungama Play, Sun Nxt, TVF, Viu, Epic On and Flickstree for better discovery of new content based on what it learns about your viewing preferences over time. The Android TV option is available on the 43-inch and the 49-inch variants only at the moment. The ultra-affordable 32-inch has an HD Ready resolution, the 43-inch and 49-inch variants are Full HD while the ultra-thin 55-inch TV is a full-fledged 4K TV with a gorgeous frameless display. These TVs use high-quality display panels, and the experience that you get with Xiaomi TVs is arguably the best among all affordable TVs in India. The one missing link though is that these TVs don’t support Amazon Prime Video and Netflix apps just yet.
Samsung Super 6 Series UHD TV
43-inch: Rs 41,990; 50-inch: Rs 51,990; 55-inch: Rs 61,990
This is Samsung’s renewed attempt at cracking the affordable smart TV space with this online-exclusive line-up called the Super Series 6. These TVs have LED panels, with a native 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. The Smart TV platform includes streaming apps such as Netflix, Amazon Video, You Tube, Google Play Movies, Jio Cinema, Sony Liv and Eros Now. The Samsung Super 6 Series TVs support HDR10, have 2 HDMI inputs and the Pur Colour feature. Samsung had added a few extra features to add value to the new TV line-up too. There is the Unbox Tune Station feature, which turns the TV into a huge music system (well, the display would suggest so) for more immersive access to playlists. There is also the Unbox Lag-Free Gaming option, which claims to smoothen up the visuals for stutter free gaming performance.
Sanyo 4K UHD
43-inch: Rs35,990; 49-inch: Rs40,990; 55-inch: Rs 52,990; 65-inch: Rs 69,990
When Sanyo arrived in India a few years ago with its then latest line-up of televisions, we were truly impressed with the performance they offered, and carried price tags that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. The company has since taken it up a notch or two. The current line-up of 4K UHD TVs are available in four screen sizes, including a massive 65-inch option. Across the board, they include Google’s Android TV with Google Assistant and built-in Cast, support the HDR10 standard and compatibility with Dolby Digital Audio. Excellent IPS display panels as well which are bright and reproduce rich yet accurate colours, though some users would have preferred even more options for picture control—but we are perhaps nitpicking. This will be a great pick for those weekend movie marathons.
LG 4K UHD LED
43-inch: Rs 41,990; 49-inch: Rs 58,990; 55-inch: Rs 66,000
LG could really have a winner on its hands with this 4K UHD TV line-up. All the television variants have a 4K IPS display, which is bright, offers good viewing angles and reproduces vibrant colours as well. This actively supports multi HDR formats including HDR10 Pro and HLG Pro. So much so, this is one of the Netflix Recommended TVs—a tag that doesn’t come easy. LG’s implementation of voice control is perhaps the slickest—lets you switch sources, channels, play music, do web searches, check for weather and more, simply by calling out to it. This is a part of the ThinQ AI package that LG has deployed in the TVs. If you can extend the budget a little bit extra, these would be the TVs to undoubtedly go for.