• Expensive 1080p TVs can be better performers in some cases.
  • With HDR and other features, 4K TVs are better for playing 2160p videos.
  • When it comes to larger displays, 1080p doesn’t have a chance in front of 4K.

With so many available options, we often can’t decide when it comes to cheap 4K TV vs expensive 1080p. Do high-end 1080p or FHD TVs perform better than a cheap 4K or 2160p TV?

The answer is yes, a few expensive 1080p TV can provide better image quality than a low-cost 4K TV. But the latest market trend makes 1080p inconvenient.

And, the answer gets changed when you are playing 4K content. Are you getting confused? Don’t be. Read the full article below, and you will understand the logic behind my analysis.

Cheap 4K TV Vs Expensive 1080p: At a Glance

Searching on Amazon about the best 4K TV, you will see a wide range of products starting from $260.

On the expensive 1080p segment, you will find products over $2000. In this part of the article, the table below can give you a quick overview of them.

In the next part, I will compare both budget 4K and high-end 1080p TVs so that you don’t have to spend unnecessarily.

 Cheap 2160p TVExpensive 1080p TV
Quality of PixelsPoorGood
Image QualityBad contrast and less intense blacksSharper contrast and blacker blacks
Lighting PositionBottomBehind the pixels
BrightnessNot-so-goodAlmost similar to cheap 4K
Refresh RateLowerHigher
Speaker QualityNot-so-goodAlmost similar to cheap 4K
Panel TechnologyOlder and inefficientAbout the same as cheap 4K
LongevityAcceptableBetter than cheap models
Serious GamingNot recommendedRecommended but not strongly
Display SizeDon’t choose for 55” or largerDon’t choose for 49” or larger
HDR SupportYesNo
Smart TV FeaturesYesYes

Cheap 4K Vs Expensive 1080 TV: A Detailed Comparison

Though the resolution of cheap 4K and expensive FHD TVs is different, it doesn’t mean that 4K or UHD always have the upper hand. Read the feature-based explanation for a clear understanding.

Display and Image Quality

Most of the 2160p TVs in the market either come with LED, QLED, or OLED displays.

Here, OLED is the best compared to the others, and it costs way more. It has deeper blacks, sharper contrast, and rich colors with better accuracy.

And, LED displays have washed-out colors and disappointing performance. The specs and features on the paper look fine. But things are different in real life.

How the lights are lit also matters a lot. Low-budget models come with bottom lights which can’t provide enough brightness and a good viewing angle.

To summarize, low-end UHD TVs have lower performance statistics in those categories. But it is different in high-end Full HD TVs. 

Another big matter is that FHD TVs don’t support HDR which is very important for rich and life-like color reproduction.

Those who can’t lose the HDR support feature must go with a 4k model regardless of their budget.

Size Matters

What I mean by saying size matters is that going for a cheap 55” or larger in the 4K TV category can be a waste of your hard-earned money.

It is also true for the 1080p type when you are choosing something larger than 49”.

When you opt for a bigger TV, you will notice that the pictures are not as vivid as the expensive ones.

Those who are going to set up a home theater or planning to buy a television for their living room must have a higher budget and an expensive 4K model.

Premium FHD TV falls in the small, and cheap UHD falls in the mid-sized TV category for getting the best experience.

Better Features

Logically, cheap and more recently released 4K TVs come with lots of features and the latest versions of ports.

It makes your life easier and gives you a future-proof setup.

But economical 4K TVs are slow in running the Android operating system which is not the case for more expensive 1080p TVs.

Also, you won’t get the voice-search option in the remote controller. Furthermore, response time and refresh rates in cheap UHD TVs are not suitable for gaming.

Streaming Contents and Gaming

You have already understood that serious gamers can’t be happy with the performance of a cheap UHD TV.

But things are not the same when you are simply streaming videos or watching cable TV.

In this particular use case, both low-cost and high-end models perform the same because the online contents require minimal specs.

Additionally, gaming requires a bit faster response time and a higher refresh rate which is available in the premium FHD TVs.

Audio Quality

You may think that expensive FHD TVs have the best audio quality. But it is not true.

Indeed, there is a difference but not so much that you can solely rely on the built-in speakers.

Setting up a home theater and not compromising the sound quality leaves you only with the option of buying speakers separately.

So, cheap 4k or expensive 1080p, you will get disappointed with their audio quality.

Here, I have listed some products in each category so that you can cross-check the facts I have explained above. 

Cheap 4K TVs:

  1. LG 43UP8000PUR
  2. Samsung UN43TU7000FXZA

Expensive 1080p TVs:

  1. Vizio 1080p Full-Array LED Smart TV
  2. TCL 49S325

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are cheap 4K TVs better than 1080p?

The answer depends on several things. For gaming, you should spend the budget set for a cheap 4K TV on a better 1080p model. For movie watching on a larger screen, one can get a cheap 4K TV.

Why are some 4K TVs more expensive than others?

Due to better software, having better color accuracy, better audio system, and durable build quality, some 4K TVs are more expensive than others.

Why are some 4K TVs cheaper than others?

With low build quality, less durable components, and fewer software features, some manufacturers are capable of offering 4K TVs with affordable price tags.

Is a 4K monitor better than a 4K TV?

Except for a few features, you can say that 4K monitors and 4K TVs are the same. In terms of response time, monitors are better.

Do you really need a 4K TV?

If you have a decent budget of more than 300 dollars, you can go for a 4K TV without any hesitation. I am giving you this suggestion by assuming that a larger display size, watching videos, and casual gaming are your requirements.

Finally, Cheap 4K TV Or Expensive 1080p; Which One Should I Get?

To tell you the truth, there are no recent expensive FHD TVs that you can choose from. The ones I have considered for the comparison are old models.

All large manufacturers have shifted their focus to the 4K segment. If you set aside the refresh rate, a cheap 4K will be the best option for you.

As the budget difference is not that much between the two concerned segments, you don’t have to factor it in while choosing.

Now, those who have the requirement of gaming can go for a small 1080p TV with higher refresh rates.

And, those who need a bigger TV in their living room must go with a larger 4K TVs that don’t cost much.

I am splitting the decision based on screen size because larger displays with 2160p resolution are superior to their counterparts.

Furthermore, having a smaller FHD TV lets you have a few better features and specs compared to the 2160p models.

Considering the budget and everything, if you ask me, I will go with the latest affordable 4K TV without any hesitation.

So, what will be your choice? Let me know in the comments. Also, don’t hesitate to discuss your requirements and get a more suitable suggestion from me.

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Team Everything4K is a bunch of tech enthusiasts and researchers. The team is very interested in the relevant hardware and explain in such a way that reader can get the best experience of playing games in a 4K setup. You know that 4K is the future of display technology. And the credit of explaining rough and tough tech terms easily goes to Team Everything4K.

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