What is the smallest 4K TV you should buy? (2020 Edition)

A few years ago, I asked “Is a small 4K TV a waste of money?” In that article I pointed out using charts and logic how you really don’t see any difference between a 4K TV and an HDTV unless the TV is larger than about 55″ diagonal.

That’s still true, kind of. Except for the money part.

My suggestion for you

A little over a year ago, I changed my tune on 4K televisions. I told you that you shouldn’t ever buy an HD television ever again. 4K televisions are just too cheap, I said. Keep in mind that prices have dropped again and you could easily get a low-end 4K TV for $300 during the holiday season.

So, I stand by the idea that every TV you buy should be 4K at this point. Sure, if you’re looking for a smallish TV for a guest room and you don’t ever actually use it, maybe you only spend $100 and you go HD. But if this is a TV you’re going to watch, it should be 4K.

The truth about 4K, as I see it, today

I’ve been saying for years that the real problem with 4K TV is content. Even now, eight years after I saw my first 4K TV, there’s not a ton of content out there. Netflix’s 4K doesn’t look any better than its HD stuff. I’ll admit it’s gotten better since I wrote this article, but let’s be honest it’s still not great. Prime Video, the other service with a lot of 4K, makes it impossible to find their 4K titles sometimes. We’re no closer to 4K over-the-air than we were two years ago,  and DIRECTV still has the three live channels plus a bunch of pay-per-view content.

So why get a 4K TV? Well first of all they’re dirt cheap as I said. Second of all, all content actually looks better on a 4K TV. Most 4K TVs have very decent scalers. That’s actually the problem. HD content looks pretty darn good on a 4K TV, which drives people away from bothering to look for 4K content.

4K works no matter what size screen, really

4K works for monitors, which tend to be the majority of sub-32″ screens purchased. We’re already seeing phones and tablets with near-4K resolution, because it helps with small text. The truth as I see it in 2020 is, 4K is here, and it’s everywhere, and that’s a good thing. There’s certainly going to be enough internet capacity to do 4K video any time you want it, and that’s only going to improve.

So the big question…

I guess the next question becomes, what about 8K? We’re starting to see some 8K televisions in the high end of the market, and it’s likely that technology will start to filter down as well. Below 60″ it’s going to be practically impossible to tell 8K from 4K from HD, but it’s going to be a while, I think, before I have to write that article.

For now, enjoy that 4K television. Don’t feel guilty about it. And of course, shop for the best accessories for your 4K TV, including mounts, cables, and satellite gear, exclusively at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.