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TVs to avoid buying

Don't make a costly mistake – our lab tests reveal the mediocre models you might want to think twice about buying.

tvs_to_avoid_buying_scores
Last updated: 30 November 2021

Need to know

  • Our lab experts tested over 40 recent popular TVs from LG, Sony, Samsung, TCL, Hisense and many more
  • We rate key factors including picture quality, remote, user interface, sound and energy use
  • Become a CHOICE member to see the full reviews and best performers

It's going to take up prime position in your living room and provide countless enjoyable hours of Netflix bingeing, sports watching or movie marathoning, so the choice of which TV to buy is an important one. 

TVs are one of the most popular discounted items come sale time – whether that's Black Friday or Boxing Day sales, or various other sales, but we urge caution – retailers might discount some good-quality TVs, but they'll also be offloading plenty of mediocre models, too.

Choice lab expert Scott tests a TV

CHOICE test coordinator Scott O'Keefe in our labs.

To help you sort the star performers from the B-grade extras, our TV experts test about 80 models in our lab each year, evaluating key factors you want to know about, including picture quality, sound, remote, energy use, user interface and more. 

We cover more than 90% of the market, reviewing popular brands such as LG, Sony, Samsung, TCL and Hisense, as well as lesser known ones such as Changhong, Chiq, Ffalcon and Aldi's house brand, Bauhn.

In our most recent lab tests, our experts found some terrific TVs alongside some seriously mediocre models (see our full TV reviews). Here are the models that rated lowest:

1. Bauhn (Aldi) ATV50UHD-1120

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 63%
  • Size: 50 inches
  • Price: $499

Aldi's bargain-brand Bauhn TVs pop up in their Special Buys sales and usually sell out quickly. But TVs from Aldi rarely perform well in our testing, so if you really want a great viewing experience, we urge caution before queuing up for one of these.

In its favour, our experts said this particular model has very good energy use and it scores 76% on how easy and practical the remote is to use. However our experts say it also has poor sound quality and gave it a poor score for its electronic program guide, so we think this is one Aldi bargain you probably want to avoid. Read our full review of the Bauhn (Aldi) ATV50UHD-1120.

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Our experts are not complimentary about the Aldi range of Bauhn TVs.

2. Hisense 40S4

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 64%
  • Size: 39 inches
  • Price: $445

This 39-inch unit may be cheap but it paints a pretty grim picture, especially in high definition. It managed a paltry 54% for HD viewing, the lowest score for the criteria in our test. SD viewing was slightly less awful at 60%, but the sound quality received a scathing review from our testers who rated it as very poor. 

"It is extremely tinny, lifeless and low volume - a phone would sound better," they said.

Another 39-inch Hisense 40R4 model scored a marginally better 67% and costs $50 less so this one is probably better left on the shelf. Read our full review of the Hisense 40S4

3. Bauhn ATV65UHDG

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 64%
  • Size: 65 inches
  • Price: $699

Another fizzer from Aldi's TV brand, Bauhn. This 65-inch model is very cheap for its size but, sadly, our testers found you get what you pay for.  

The unit rates well for energy use and smart TV features, but all-important picture quality was average at best, scoring a sorry 59% for SD viewing and just 54% for HD.  

It does feature UHD viewing, but with a score of just 50%, it's pretty lacklustre too. Sound quality rated equally poorly, with our experts noting muddy, rumbly audio in their tests.

Read our full review of the Bauhn ATV65UHDG.

bauhn ATV65UHDG

Aldi's Bauhn TV rated badly for picture and sound quality.

4. Blaupunkt BP320HSG9200

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 66%
  • Size: 32 inches
  • Price: $345

This is another cheaper small TV that does have some positives – our experts say it has very good SmartTV functions and electronic program guide – but the sound quality and picture quality is what lets this model down.  It received a score of just 62% for standard definition picture quality and 64% for high definition picture quality, and an abysmal sound-quality rating of just 20%, which means you'll need to shell out for a soundbar if you want to enjoy your favourite shows. Or use subtitles. 

Read our full review of the Blaupunkt BP320HSG9200.

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