What’s The Difference Between a $500 And A $2,000 TV?

By Chris Worden

Published 09:00 am

Difference Between A $500 And a $2,000 TV

There’s a whole world of televisions out there, and while you’ve probably strolled through them upon entering your local Costco, the smell of samples distracted you from digging into the details. Let’s assume for a second that your current set is outdated, embarrassing, and just not capable of truly bringing suspension of disbelief into your home. Maybe it isn’t even a smart TV (gasp). You’re ready for an upgrade, and we are here to help!

There’s a lot to understand in the world of televisions these days. So, we’ve done the research and want to chart out for you, in an easy to digest format, just what the difference between a $500 TV and $2,000 TV truly is. Are you ready to learn? Let’s go.

tv besides a potted flower

First, a Word …

Here’s a handful of practical terms you need to become familiarized with before we proceed. There will be a test at the end:

1080p, 4k, and 8k – These terms are referring to the television’s resolution. The higher the number, the more detail you’re packing into that screen.

Refresh Rate – This is essentially the limiting factor for viewing sports and anything that moves quickly on your screen. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the action will appear.

OLED vs. HDR – These color rendering methods are a bit at odds with one another. OLED is going to offer more vivid colors, while HDR is going to give you better contrast and deeper shades of grey and black.

Ports – These are all the holes in the back of your television where you plug in things like an Apple TV, a soundbar, Roku streaming TV device, and anything else that integrates with your television.

Soundbar – Televisions are skinny these days, and because of this, they don’t produce great sound. Soundbars are a small row of speakers you add to your television set to bring theatre-quality sound into your living room.

Extended Warranty – Everyone’s going to try and offer you one of these, and they are seldom worth the money. If you’re buying with a credit card, you might be covered anyway, so give ol’ AMEX a ring before you buy, they might have your back.

Smart TVs – Most current television sets come “smart” and only require an internet connection. Smart function allows you to connect Netflix, HBO Max, and many other services to the television without an external device like an Apple TV. Neat!

small tv in a living room

Now, a Compromise…

Now that televisions have become total commodity items, there’s an incredible amount of options on the marketplace. So, if you were to think about all of the terms above, which are essentially quality variables for your television, you can paint a picture of why there’s an enormous range in television prices these days.

If you are hoping to walk out of a store right now with a new television that features modern technology and you only want to spend $500, you’re going to have to give up a few things. Namely, size and resolution. These are two of the specifications that have a compounding effect on the price of the television. At this price point, we are confident that you can get your hands on a 55-inch television with 4k, and a handful of input plugs (including a place to link up a soundbar) and be on your way. What you might be missing out on is OLED or HDR technology, and so on.

If you are on the other end of the spectrum and you’ve got $2,000 to burn, you can likely maximize all of the options listed above with a slightly larger screen. Sure, you’ll still need a soundbar, but if you just dropped two stacks on a TV, you’ve probably got another $500 for a high-end soundbar.

tv in a living room


Ultimately most of these specifications are only noticeable by those who have a well-trained eye for television, but they are all very nice to have. Start with the size you need, shoot for at least 4K in resolution and then mix and match the options you truly need for your home. Most importantly, you want to remember that electronics have a short life cycle these days, so that set you just dropped cash on might not be worth the dusty TV shelf it’s sitting on in 12 to 18 months.

Choose wisely, friends! And let us know what set you end up taking home.

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