Looking for the best 55-inch TV out there? TechRadar has you covered. In this buying guide we’ll take you through what to look for in your new 55-inch television, and the latest and greatest models waiting to be taken into your home.
55-inch is the goldilocks of TV sizes: not as compact as the 40-inch TVs, and not as super-sized as the 65-inch TVs either, the 55-inch TV occupies a great middle-ground between sheer size and practicality.
Of course, if you’re looking for a superior home cinema experience, a bigger 65-inch or 75-inch TV is going to be the best for maximum impact. But a 55-inch set will still offer a sizeable picture for your movies and TV shows, without taking up every inch of space in your living room – as well as every penny in your paycheck.
What you need to know about Black Friday 2019
There’s no question that Black Friday TV deals are going to be massive ahead of the November 29 start date and continue on through Cyber Monday in early December. Whether you’re looking for a state-of-the-art 8K QLED TV, or a budget-friendly OLED to binge watch your favorite Netflix series on, make sure you bookmark our best Black Friday TV deals page for the latest updates in the run up to the sales extravaganza.
Black Friday may be a few weeks away, but we’re already seeing some TV deals worth checking out. For UK buyers, these Philips 4K TVs have up to £200 off at Amazon, while US shoppers can already get some sharp TV discounts from Best Buy.
- If a 55-inch TV set sounds a little too big for your needs, then check out our pick of the best small TVs for your living room
Whether you already knew a 55-inch TV was right for you or we’ve managed to talk you round to the idea, you shouldn’t worry about finding one with the basics baked in. Most 55-inch TVs that are on the market right now will support 4K resolution, HDR and will have built-in smart TV services to boot. So unless you’re looking at an old or very, very cheap model, you should find at least one of these features (and usually all three).
That means that to make your decision about which 55-inch 4K TV to buy, you’ll need to focus on the model you want, as well as how much cash you’re willing to part with to give your home entertainment setup an upgrade.
You’ll also need to consider whether you’d prefer the unrivalled brightness of LCD or the cinema-beating black levels and deep contrast of an OLED.
Granted that’s a lot to consider, but we’re here to point you towards some of the best 55-inch 4K TVs available to buy. All the sets listed below have been tried-and-tested by our expert reviewers, and you can click through to read the full reviews for more about the pluses and minuses of each model.
The best 55-inch 4K TVs at a glance
- LG OLED55C8
- Sony XBR-55X900F
- TCL 6-Series Roku TV
- B&O BeoVision Eclipse
- Sony A9F/AF9 OLED
- Samsung Q90 QLED TV
- Philips OLED 803 4K
- LG OLED65B8
1. Best 55-inch TV: LG OLED55C8
Stunning pictures at an affordable price puts OLED back on top
Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: webOS | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1,225 x 714 x 48.9 mm
Stunning contrast-rich pictures
Gorgeous ultra-thin design
Excellent operating system
Lacks brightness vs LCD
There is a clear winner in the 55-inch 4K TV game, and it’s the LG C8 OLED – available in a 55-inch version as well as a 65-inch. This year’s TV offers a boost on the hardware side compared to last year’s C7, with a new Alpha9 Processor boosting the TV’s High Frame Rate content and offering a significantly larger Look Up Table (LUT) to help the TV more accurately re-create images.
While there are other OLEDs worth considering in 2018 (see: Sony’s A1E OLED or LG’s B8 and E8), we think this is the best 55-inch 4K TV for the price.
Read the full review: LG OLED55C8
2. Best mid-range TV: Sony XBR-55X900F
Sleek, capable and almost what we’d consider affordable
Screen size: 55-inches | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: Direct-lit LCD with local dimming | Smart TV: Android TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1228 x 706 x 69mm
Excellent motion handling
Android TV can be slow or fiddly
This was the first 2018-series high-end TV we reviewed, and we were immediately impressed.
The Sony XBR-55X900F is an LCD TV, but in most conditions you get OLED-like black performance thanks to excellent local dimming with minimal halo-ing.
This year Sony has improved brightness and motion handling. It makes the most of HDR, and retains more detail when there’s motion on screen.
The Sony XBR-55X900F is also significantly less expensive than most OLED TVs – you get top-end performance on a more sensible budget. Like the 2017’s Sony BRAVIA XBR-65X900E the set uses Android TV, which is flexible but can feel slow at times. However, the balance of cost and image quality is spot-on.
In the UK this TV is knows as the Sony KD55XF9005.
Read the full review of the 65-inch version: Sony XBR-65X900F
3. Best budget 55-inch 4K TV: TCL 6-Series Roku TV (US only)
Can’t spend more than $1,000? The TCL 6-Series is the best budget TV
Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: N/A | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Roku TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1,239 x 717 x 36 mm
Bright, colorful HDR
Roku TV is amazing
Upscaling isn’t world-class
Poor black level performance
If you had deep pockets and a checkbook filled with blank checks, we’d tell you to reach deep and shell out for only the best TVs on the market – LG’s crazy-thin OLED W8 or Samsung’s ultra-bright Q9FN QLED. That’s not really realistic, though. For the vast, vast majority of us, our budget to spend on a TV is limited to somewhere under $1,000 (and often less than that).
To that end, it’s absolutely fair to say that the TCL 6-Series is the best TV you can possibly get in this price range. Its performance-per-dollar is unmatched, and its picture quality – despite a few minor flaws – will truly impress you.
Read the full review: TCL 6-Series (R615, R617)
4. Blow the budget: B&O BeoVision Eclipse
A money-no-object pick for those after a statement TV
Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: N/A | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: WebOS | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1,390 x 1,235 x 518 mm
OLED image quality
Buy a B&O TV and you don’t just get high-end image quality: the B&O BeoVision Eclipse is also a design statement.
It has an integrated 450W, six-driver soundbar and a motorized stand that lets you tilt the screen to suit your viewing position. It’s a stunning floor-standing TV (rather than one you mount on the wall).
The display itself is an OLED made by LG. You get the similar image quality and the same software, WebOS, as one of LG’s own sets. That means perfect black and excellent color, if not quite as strong motion handling as the very latest high-end Sony LCD TVs.
If you’re not bothered about the B&O magic sprinkled on the Eclipse, you’ll see similar image quality with one of LG’s latest OLEDs. However, this is one TV you can’t just boil down to its image versus the price: it offers a different experience, and a different look, to any other TV out there.
The price? You’ll need to cough up $9,995 (£7,495, AU$13,990).
Read the full review: B&O BeoVision Eclipse
5. Best premium 55-inch TV: Sony A9F/AF9 OLED
Most of your content in HD/SDR? Sony’s upscaling tech is second to none
Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD/Freesat | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Android TV | Curved: No | Dimensions: 122.8 x 70.9 x 32.0 (W x H x D)
Audio+ sound system
Android Oreo smart platform
Lean back design
Reworked image presets
Black level crushing
There are nowadays a handful of choices if you want a premium OLED TV. Sony, Panasonic and LG all make them, and each offers multiple options.
The Sony KD-65AF9 is one of the best, too. Sony has some terrific upscaling algorithms at play, meaning even those HD/SDR images get the cinematic treatment on this 4K set – often more so than LG’s own panels. The new X1 Ultimate processor clearly helps with picture processing, with the vivid color and flawless contrast expected of a top-class OLED.
The previous AF9 struggled with a frustrating smart platform, but its successor’s Android Oreo interface is simpler, stripped back, and much faster to load too.
Sony still insists on a lean-back design that works better on paper than it does on practice, but it’s a small complaint for one of the year’s best OLEDs. Just stay clear of the Netflix Calibrated Mode: as it stands it tends to harm rather than help the picture.
Check out the full review: Sony A9F / AF9 OLED
6. For bright HDR pictures: Samsung Q90 QLED TV
Screen size: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview/FreeSat | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: QLED | Smart TV: Samsung Eden | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1450 x 922 x 284mm (W x H x D)
Superb picture quality
Incredible HDR performance
Wider viewing angles
No Dolby Vision support
No Dolby Atmos speakers
Samsung was the first brand to introduce an HDR-compatible screen way back in 2015, but it’s not been sitting back and taking it easy since.
Samsung has been pushing the brightness possible on its quantum dot LEDs (known as QLEDs), making for vibrant displays that really make those high dynamic range colors shine.
Nowhere is that clearer than the Q90 QLED, with 1,600 nits peak brightness, way above the 1,000 nits needed for UHD Premium certification. The Q90 isn’t just bright, it’s one of the brightest sets ever made.
Outside of an impressive-sounding number, this brightness has a real impact on the set’s image quality. Detail is preserved in even the brightest areas of the image, and colors are exceptionally vivid and bright – even if Samsung’s QLEDs can have some slight bloom around bright objects (the price of such an illuminated display).
Samsung’s new Ultra Viewing Angle technology also maintains the depth of color off-axis, making for an exceptional LCD TV.
Read the full review: Samsung Q90 QLED TV
7. For wow factor: Philips OLED 803 4K
Philips redefines reality with next-gen P5 image processor
Screen size: 65-inch | Tuner: N/A | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Android N | Curved: No
Superb image performance
Designer good looks
No Freeview Play
Android update is long overdue
Only two full-specification 4K HDMI inputs
Philips has significantly upgraded the picture processing power of its 2018 OLED TVs, and the benefits of this new-found brawn can be seen writ large, with enhanced contrast and spectacular colors.
The brand’s second generation P5 Perfect Processing Engine offers twice the picture processing power of the original, and that was a pretty impressive chip in its own right.
But the main draw may be what Philip’s Ambilight lighting system brings to the viewing experience, throwing colors over the wall in a full-on feast for the eyes. Why limit the picture to just the television, after all?
Buyers should weigh the visual benefits against the minor irritations, like poor catch-up TV provision, just two full-spec UHD HDMI inputs, and the lack of Dolby Vision.
But the jazzy colors of the Philips Hue-compatible Ambilight room lighting system, and the eventual rollout of the Android Oreo smart system – as of June 2019 – could just manage to balance the books.
Read the full review: Philips OLED 803 4K HDR TV
8. The best entry-level OLED: LG OLED65B8
LG’s entry level OLEDs continue to impress
Screen size: 65-inch | Tuner: Freeview Play, Freeview Satellite | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: WebOS 3.5 | Curved: No | Dimensions: 57 x 32.7 x 1.85 inches (W x H x D)
Excellent all-round image quality
HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision support
Lacks some brightness
If OLED displays seem too expensive, LG might just have your plan B. The LG OLED B8, like the OLED B7 before it, offers a great entry point into the OLED display technology.
It’s exactly the same OLED panel as the more advanced W8, C8, or E8 televisions from LG, so even if it’s the runt of the litter, you’re still getting some serious OLED contrast levels at more affordable price.
The B8 has stuck with last year’s processor while the rest of the family get an upgrade, but you’re still getting a great base level of image quality. The body of the set has also been slimmed down to only 1.85 inches, seemingly without impacting on the sound quality from its built-in speakers.
If you’re looking to get a taste of OLED for a good £200 / $200 less than the C8, the B8 is still an example of great image quality and gorgeous design. Get on that OLED ladder.
Read the full review: LG OLED B8 (OLED55B8, OLED65B8)
Everything you need to know about the new TV launches of 2019: