If you told people even a couple of decades ago that a 50-inch TV would be on the short side of medium, they might not believe you. But as technology grows rapidly, the sizes of TVs are growing even as their costs drop. That said, a 50-inch TV isn’t just for the budget user. Like with a movie screen, there’s an ideal distance to sit from your TV to promote healthy posture and reduce eye strain.
We’ll start by providing you with a rundown of the best 50-inch TVs along with specs. Then we’ll help you break down why you might want to seek out a 50-inch TV and go into more detail about how to interpret those specs and what sort of impact they’ll have on your viewing experience.
Our Top 10 50 inch TVs:
- Samsung AU8000 50” 4K UHD Smart TV
- Sony X80J 55” TV 4K UHD Smart LED TV
- TOSHIBA 50LF621U21 50” 4K UHD Smart LED Fire TV Edition
- Insignia NS-50DF710NA21 50” 4K UHD Smart LED Fire TV Edition
- TCL 50S435 50” 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR Roku Smart TV
- VIZIO V-Series 50” 4K HDR Smart TV
- Hisense 50H8G 50” 4K Ultra HD Android Smart TV
- Sceptre 50” Class FHD LED TV (X505BV-FSR)
- SAMSUNG QN50QN90AAFXZA 50” UHD Smart TV
- Hisense R6090G 50” 4K UHD Roku Smart TV
1. Samsung AU8000 50” 4K UHD Smart TV
Classic Samsung Quality
The Samsung AU8000 is a TV that has a few limitations, but they're counterbalanced by its best qualities and a price tag that's more than reasonable. The 4K resolution is obviously a strong selling point for Samsung, but it also supports HDR for brighter and richer colors. The color gamut on this Samsung isn't the best we've seen, but the colors on display are highly accurate, and you can count on the blacks to look blacker.
Smart features are the real selling point of this Samsung TV. With support for all major voice assistants and one-tap smartphone mirroring, you can customize your viewing experience to your preferences. And there's a generous amount of HDMI inputs packed into this 50-inch Samsung TV so you can hook up all your favorite consoles, and most modern devices.
2. Sony X80J 55” TV 4K UHD Smart LED TV
Remarkable Image Reproduction
The Sony X80J excels where the Samsung RU7100 does not: sheer picture quality. The marginal added price tag for Sony's TV brings with it the additional inclusion of Dolby Vision to offer greater detail, contrast, and color to your display, and the Triluminos Pro feature enables the picture to offer richer colors across a wider span of the color gamut.
Upscaling is included with this TV, so older movies and TV shows will look better than even their creators intended. And the fact that this is a Google TV means that you have access to more entertainment than even a traditional smart TV could provide. Naturally, that also means native support for external voice assistant devices and smartphone content mirroring.
3. TOSHIBA 50LF621U21 50” 4K UHD Smart LED Fire TV Edition
Performance Without the Price Tag
Smart TVs are the future, and it's possible that the Toshiba 50LF621U21 is the future of what the standard smart TV will look like. Wired directly into the Amazon ecosystem, it gives you immediate access to a whole platform of content, but the tightness of the smart integrations may scare off those a little more shy about this sort of proprietary integration. For those who just want to control the TV with their voice and rent movies from their couch, and watch their favorite streaming services, it's one of the easiest TVs to get up and running.
The input lag here is fairly strong, and support for Dolby Vision HDR means you're getting an image with greater depth, contrast, and color than you would from models without this feature.
4. Insignia NS-50DF710NA21 50” 4K UHD Smart LED Fire TV Edition
A Rising Industry Star
Insignia may not be an age-old name in the TV industry, but they're certainly making a name for themselves now. The NS-50DF710NA21 is built on the Fire TV operating system, so you'll have access to all of the streaming and rental services you could hope for, and it displays a resolution of up to 4K. But it bears a much lower price tag. Insignia may not be a household name, but their manufacture is handled by Best Buy, and they've done a great job investing in sturdy materials.
The input lag, again, is not going to work for the needs of the most serious gamers, but it'll serve most other viewers very capably. And in a surprising turn, Insignia has put in what's maybe the best stereo system for a TV in this price range. It can't hit exceedingly high decibel levels, but you can count on it to deliver you rich and nuanced sound quality.
5. TCL 50S435 50” 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR Roku Smart TV
A Great All-Round Entertainment Hub
The TCL 50S435 is eminently affordable, but it's also one of the best TVs for gaming at any price point. There's a nicely expansive color gamut at work, and it also provides support for HDR. But the real selling point here is the consistently low input lag. The contrast ratio here is also very strong, although the dimming options are limited, so you may want to place this TV in a more controlled environment.
And when you want to put the gaming controller down, you can count on this TV to provide you with all the essential streaming services, too. As a Roku TV, it gives you access to a ton of different apps and a total of half a million movies and TV episodes. And the less proprietary format allows you to control this TV with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices.
6. VIZIO V-Series 50” 4K HDR Smart TV
Vizio is yet another brand that has only risen to prominence in the TV industry within recent years. The Vizio V-Series promises a 4K resolution, HDR support, and most of the modern smart features you could hope for.
Rather than use one of the more popular third-party interfaces, Vizio has made use of what they call SmartCast instead. You can't install your own apps, but most of the big players for renting or streaming content are covered. The anti-reflection quality here is also very strong, and you can view it from a wide variety of different angles. It's a great everyday TV, but not truly exceptional in any particular area. But the color quality is way better than it should be.
7. Hisense 50H8G 50” 4K Ultra HD Android Smart TV
Hisense may not be a household brand name, but that just means they're working double duty to stay in competition with the bigger players. The contrast levels, color reproduction, and 4K support here are as good or better than even the best TVs at this price point, and it offers support for both Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10.
In terms of brains, this TV has definitely got them. Powered by the Android operating system, it offers pretty much any streaming app on the market today. You can even control it with your own voice since it's compatible with the Google Assistant platform. It also includes Motion Rate 240 technology for smoother performance both when watching movies and playing games. There's even an automated scene feature mode that will change everything from the brightness to the audio so that you can get an experience tailored to what you're watching at any given moment.
8. Sceptre 50” Class FHD LED TV (X505BV-FSR)
If you aren't too concerned about having the latest smart home features or cutting edge picture quality, the Sceptre offers a cheap solution that's best suited to the needs of older customers or those already in possession of a smart streaming platform like an Xbox One or Playstation 4. You'll certainly have enough space to fit multiple devices, as Sceptre has made the smart decision to include three different HDMI ports.
And Sceptre does a good job of capturing some of the smaller issues that other brands forget. The sound quality is well above average, and while the lag times aren't the best around, they're certainly appropriate for gamers who aren't highly competitive. Color reproduction is also very good here, and it can work as a monitor as well as a TV.
9. SAMSUNG QN50QN90AAFXZA 50” UHD Smart TV
Need a TV that can work as the centerpiece of your living room? There's a good argument to be made for the QN50QN90AAFXZA by Samsung. It's admittedly the most expensive option on this list by far, but not without reason. Along with its standard 4K UHD display, it also supports what Samsung is dubbing 'Quantum HDR' to really liven up your display. Match that with the incredible motion handling, powerful processor, dynamic object-tracking audio, and bezel-less display, and you've got yourself an unparalleled entertainment powerhouse.
Running on the Samsung TV operating system, you get free access to all major streaming services and entertainment apps, along with some extra subscription-free content. As a smart TV, you naturally also have access to support for voice assistants and smartphone mirroring, a specialized gaming interface, and even side-by-side TV and smartphone displays.
10. Hisense R6090G 50” 4K UHD Roku Smart TV
Seeing out our list is the Hisense R6090G, an all-around capable TV for an all-around decent price. On the surface, this is naturally another 4K Ultra HD TV with all the bells and whistles of devices of this caliber - Dolby Vision HDR, HDR10, Motion Rate 120, you name it. Match that with the near bezel-less display and you've got a mighty fine piece of tech.
To top of the display, this Hisense TV also runs on the Roku platform, meaning you get access to all major streaming services and apps along with everything else that Roku has to offer. It also has native support for voice commands from an external Alexa device. This isn't the best TV of all time, but it'll deliver very capably on just about anything you need it to.
What to Look for When Buying a 50-Inch TV
Are you looking for a 50-inch TV? You’d be fine tracking down one of the TVs on our list within your budget and calling it a day. Or you could dig a little deeper to figure out what specs are going to matter the most to you. Screen size and picture quality are both important, but they’re just scratching the surface. We’ll help you better understand the most important considerations you should think about when shopping for a new TV.
When we talk about picture quality, we’re usually referring to the resolution. Resolution tells you how detailed the picture is, although it can be confusing to read for people who aren’t familiar. The output on your screen may look like a continuous picture to you, but the display is actually composed of a whole lot of tiny pixels. The resolution numbering tells you how many vertical by horizontal pixels you can squeeze into the screen.
4K (which is composed of 3840 x 2160 pixels) is the new standard for high definition, and with 8K still a ways off from any serious integration in the consumer space, it will likely be the standard for some time to come. But if you’re working on a micro-budget, or if picture quality isn’t that big a concern for you, you can opt for Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). But for the most part, a 4K TV is going to be within your price range, and well worth the extra investment.
High Dynamic Range
Resolution may be the best means for measuring picture quality, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the coloring of your picture. While the color of your picture depends largely on the type of screen used in TVs, a great way to expand on it is High Dynamic Range. Fortunately, HDR is a popular enough choice among consumers (and a cheap enough feature to include without dramatically ramping up costs) that it appears in most modern TVs. But there are a few formats that fall under the HDR definition, too. We’ll break them down below.
- Because it’s free to use, HDR10 is supported by most manufacturers, and it has a high level of compatibility with content that’s designed with HDR in mind. The one downside is that HDR10 is static, so it can’t change the HDR settings over the course of a movie or TV show. A more advanced format known as HDR Plus is also available, although none of the 4K TVs on our list feature it.
- TVs that support Dolby Vision are going to offer the best picture quality available. Put a Dolby Vision TV side by side with any other TVs, and you’re sure to see the difference. And for their part, Dolby has done a pretty good job of marketing their technology to content creators – but there are still fewer options to choose from than you’d find with HDR10.
- Introduced by the BBC, HLG is unique in its backward compatibility. Where all of these HDR formats can affect the color quality of a high-definition picture, they can’t impact the picture of standard-definition TVs. That is, apart from HLG. Where it falls down is in its ability to change picture contrast and black levels. If you want the best contrast available, the black levels in HDR10 or Dolby Vision are a significant step up.
Smart TV features aren’t simply reserved for the best TVs. With very few exceptions, any TV you find today is going to provide you with access to popular streaming services, live TV, and rentals right through the navigational interface. And for those smart features to function, it needs an operating system – much like a phone or a computer. That means that you’ll probably spend a lot of time in the navigational interface, and finding the right TV can save you a lot of time over the course of your TV’s life.
- Amazon Fire TV might be the most common operating system installed on TVs, and Amazon’s market dominance also means access to features as wide-ranging as Alexa and direct integration with the Amazon Prime video and music marketplaces, although the market for third party apps is a bit limited.
- Roku was one of the first brands to offer streaming boxes, and the Roku TV is still a decent, if somewhat boring, choice for a smart TV. And the fact that Roku focuses its attention exclusively on making devices, they aren’t locked out of any streaming apps due to competition. In fact, you can even create your own private channels with a Roku TV.
- The clean and efficient design of the Android TV OS is pretty much unmatched. Navigation is easy and intuitive, and Google’s incredible talent for knowing what their customers want before they do is reflected in the inclusion of a very smart panel for recommended viewing. The inclusion of a built-in Chromecast allows you to stream right from your phone, or you can use your voice to control your screen through Google Assistant.
- Samsung has spread the Tizen OS far and wide. It’s used in the Samsung Galaxy watch and phone models – and for their part, Samsung has put together a pretty impressive operating system. A Samsung TV with Tizen will allow you to watch free TV right on your screen in addition to a vast catalog of streaming services. Samsung also has one of the peppiest designs of TV operating systems, so Samsung TVs will give you quick and smooth performance when jumping between channels or services.
- Vizio’s SmartCast platform isn’t going to win any awards, much less beat out Samsung’s Tizen. But this operating system is fast, and it builds off the Android OS architecture to provide a basic level of familiarity on your screen. But if you already have a gaming console or another device that can handle the smart services, you can get a great Vizio model for a fraction of the price of Samsung TVs.
- WebOS – created by LG – is one of our favorite smart TV operating systems. It’s unaffiliated with the big names in streaming, and that means an open marketplace where you can access all the important apps. The UI is smartly designed and built to run efficiently, and you can even share content directly from your phone with the Miracast feature. All in all, it’s our pick for the best operating system for a smart TV, but it may not be worth pushing aside a TV you really like for the OS alone.
While a modern TV may make it look like there’s seamless movement on your screen, there’s actually a lot that goes into that. Modern TVs refresh the screen picture multiple times a second to create the illusion of smooth movement. This is known as the refresh rate, and for most users, the refresh rate will be inconsequential. Most films – for instance – are filmed at 24 frames per second (or 24 Hz), while live TV needs to refresh at 30 to 60 Hz to provide the best effect. Since most TVs have a 60 Hz refresh rate, that’s not something you should have to worry about.
Where the refresh speed does factor in is for gamers. Games tend to require a lot more effort to render seamlessly, and a mild difference in refresh rate can mean a world of difference to the most competitive gamers. Refresh rate isn’t going to be a factor for most gamers, but you should make it a consideration if you’re serious about it.
The inputs tell you how many, and what type of, devices you can connect to TVs. HDMI inputs are going to be the most important here since most modern devices come with HDMI ports for connectivity. That said, manufacturers understand this, so most TVs are going to come with three or more HDMI inputs, which should be enough unless you have a ton of devices in your collection.
If you have older devices like out-of-date video game consoles, VCRs, or DVD players, you may want to pay special attention to the secondary inputs. The inclusion of a component port can be more useful than HDMI inputs if you’re working with older devices. And having one or more USB drives lets you directly share your family picture album or vacation videos with the advantage of a bigger screen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the Best 50-Inch 4K TV?
If you want the best TV on the market, 4K TVs are the way to go. And among the 4K TVs we’ve found, we particularly love the Samsung RU7100. There are other, more expensive TVs with a wider array of features, but the ratio of cost to value with this Samsung TV is pretty hard to match. And almost all of the qualities you’d hope to find are right on the money with the Samsung RU7100.
Who Makes the Best TVs?
If you want the best TV, Samsung may be your best choice. Their TVs are consistently high quality and generally fold in the best and coolest features and specs you’ll find at a given price point. That said, there are a ton of great televisions on the market, and Samsung is far from the only player in the game.
50-inch TVs are, for many users, the Goldilocks screen size for television viewing. They’re big enough to provide a cinema experience without being so big as to drown out the room – and they’re available at prices that are going to be affordable to most people. We invite you to check out our other guides if you’re looking for a larger TV or seeking out a gaming monitor. And be sure to read a review if you’ve tried any of the TVs on our list.If you liked our article on 50 inch tv’s, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.