You see them again and again, cheap TV offers at discount stores or other shops. Testers looked at exactly these devices and checked how they performed in the test. The result is sobering.
Stiftung Warentest took a closer look at nine inexpensive televisions between 133 euros and 417 euros . There are models from the brands JVC, Telefunken, Nokia and Toshiba, but there is also a model from the MediaMarkt / Saturn own brand “ok”. Six of the devices tested have a screen diagonal of 32 inches, three are slightly larger at 43 inches. The equipment is also less extensive in the budget models.
Stiftung Warentest has tested the following models
The test by Stiftung Warentest covers a total of five television brands, so it only reflects some of the devices available on the market. The models are:
- JVC LT-32VF5075, from 216 euros
- JVC LT-43VF5955, from 349 euros
- Nokia Smart TV 3200A, from 315 euros
- OK 32850HC-TB, from 133 euros
- Telefunken D32H551R1CW-D, from 216 euros
- Telefunken XU43K521, from 350 euros
- Toshiba 32LL3C63DA, from 220 euros
- Toshiba 32WK3C63DA, from 230 euros
- Toshiba 43UA2B63DG, from 417 euros
The prices are based on the current idealo price information.
It should be mentioned that there is often only one manufacturer behind the various brands. For example, the televisions from JVC, Telefunken and Toshiba are all manufactured by the Turkish company Vestel. The televisions of the Nokia brand, however, come from the halls of the manufacturer Streamview in Vienna.
The devices mentioned can be found relatively often in the brochures of dealers or are displayed as promotional goods in the branches. They are often advertised as a second device for the kitchen and bedroom or as a model for the camper, i.e. always for situations in which it does not have to be an expensive and large smart TV. But as Stiftung Warentest has found out, the cheap televisions often do their job more badly than well.
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The picture and sound are not convincing
According to Stiftung Warentest, anyone who buys a cheap television should not have too high expectations in terms of image or sound quality. The tested devices fare rather poorly in both areas. This is partly due to the resolution. Models like the Telefunken D32H551R1CW-D and the Toshiba 32WK3C63DA, for example, only have one HD panel. If you want a full HD TV or even a TV with 4K, you have to pay a little more, but you will also find it in this category. This is shown by the Toshiba 43UA2B63DG or Telefunken XU43K521, both of which support 4K.
Overall, the criticizes the lack of options for image optimization and the jerky display in fast scenes on the cheap televisions. The latter is usually due to weak hardware and processors.
The devices cut off a bit better, but also not satisfactory, in terms of sound. Since they are relatively compact, they also have a smaller sound box and little space for good speakers. Stiftung Warentest therefore rates the sound quality of inexpensive televisions as below average. At least the sound can be improved a bit on all tested models with special settings. The TV sets also have a connection for external speakers.
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Internet yes, but hardly any connection options
On the positive side, most of the budget TVs on the list can be connected to the Internet via WiFi or LAN. YouTube is also often preinstalled. The apps of the major streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, however, are not found on all devices. The Nokia model stands out here. It runs on Android TV and offers a correspondingly large selection of apps. On the other hand, many other cheap TVs often have a Linux-based system, which often has restrictions on the apps. After all: thanks to the triple tuner, the devices receive the linear program via cable, DVB-T2 or satellite. But that was mostly it with the special features.
Content from smartphones cannot be easily streamed to cheap televisions. For example, Apple Airplay doesn’t support any of the devices. The recording of TV programs on an external USB hard drive is only possible with two models – the Nokia Smart TV 3200A and the Toshiba 43UA2B63DG. Compared to more expensive models, users often have to accept fewer USB and HDMI ports.