If you’ve been having the sneaking suspicion that TVs have been slowly creeping up in size, you’re not alone. We’ve come a long way since the heyday of boxy CRT tube TVs, which have made way for increasingly small flat-panel models. In fact, as the TVs get thinner, their screens tend to get larger, since TV manufacturers are able to shrink their bezel (borders). This allows them to maximize the size of the TV display without making the set take up more physical space.

If you're ready to upgrade from an HDTV to a 4K TV (sometimes called Ultra HD, which is shortened to UHD), or jump from a 43-inch TV to a 55-inch model, we've found the best 55-inch TVs you can get.

Best Overall: Sony A80J
Best Budget: Toshiba M550KU
Best LED TV: Hisense U7G
Best Roku TV: TCL 6-Series
Best Design: Samsung LS03B

How We Picked the Best 55-Inch TVs

We chose the 55-inch TVs in this guide based on our personal experience with each model. Our tests consisted of watching TV shows and movies, and playing PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games at their highest-possible resolution and frame rate. We also made sure to watch videos that were available in 4K, HD (1080p), and standard definition (480p) to assess how well the TVs handled both high- and low-quality videos. 

Screen Size: All of the TVs in our guide come in multiple sizes, and while we're focused on the 55-inch models here, the product pages for each set display every possible configuration. The features of the TVs we’re recommending are present in every model, so you can choose one that best fits in your room. 

Operating System: Every TV we're recommending runs software designed by Google (Android TV), Roku (RokuOS), Amazon (Fire OS), and Tizen (Samsung), which allows you to access media from streaming services, adjust system settings, and run additional applications like games. All of these operating systems can perform the same set of functions, but the big difference is the design of their interface, which impacts how easy they are to use. 

Energy Consumption: We're only recommending TVs that have earned an Energy Star certification, which was developed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to highlight home electronics that use at least 30 percent less energy than the average piece of gear in its category. 

Inputs: A TV's inputs, commonly called ports, are the sockets that allow you to plug accessories like a 4K Blu-ray player, cable box, soundbar, or a game console into your set. The most common TV input is called an HDMI port, which is used by almost all TV accessories released in the past decade. Each TV we're recommending has multiple HDMI ports, so you can plug all of your equipment in at once. 

Sound: You'll find that we don't mention the audio quality of the TVs in this guide, which is by design. None of the audio systems in the TVs we've tested have been better than average. This isn't for lack of trying; the issue is that TVs are getting slimmer, and speakers require as much space as possible to sound good. 

Don't get us wrong, a TV's built-in speakers are perfectly adequate for casually watching the news or a TV show, but you'll find them lacking if you've got an ear for audio quality. Our advice is to pair your new TV with a soundbar — we've got recommendations if you need them — or invest in an audio system with an AV receiver and dedicated speakers. 

Best Overall: Sony A80J

A League of Its Own. Sony

Why It Made The Cut: Sony’s A80J is second to none when playing 4K games, or watching ultra-high-definition videos. 

Specs:
Panel Type: OLED
Refresh Rate: 120Hz (hertz)
Operating System: Android TV

Pros:
— Fantastic color reproduction and contrast
— Can play 4K games at 120 frames per second
— Beautiful design

Cons:
— Expensive
— Set-up to play 4K games at 120 frames per second isn’t a default setting

Let us be blunt: If the Sony A80J's price tag doesn't bother you, it's the only TV you should consider, regardless of size. Period.

Throughout our entire testing process, from watching HD and 4K videos, to playing PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or Nintendo Switch games, the A80J displayed a flawless picture with impeccable detail. This is particularly because the A80J is an OLED TV, which means it uses a screen technology that's far more accurate at displaying colors and contrast (the differences between light and dark parts of a scene) than an LCD. We explain more about the differences between OLED and LED screens below. 

It was immediately apparent that Sony spent a lot of time sweating every last detail when designing the A80J, and it worked. The TV's feet can be attached in three areas, which ensures that it'll sit correctly on any media stand. OLED TVs are slimmer and lighter than LCD sets, which makes the TV easy to move onto a media console, or mount onto a wall. This is particularly important when dealing with a 55-inch TV, which can be hard to maneuver. We recommend getting a friend to help you unbox, assemble, and arrange the A80J to avoid the possibility of dropping or otherwise damaging it.

The A80J runs Android TV, which in our experience was easy and intuitive to use. We could easily find and change screen settings — the first of which was turning off motion smoothing — which can lead to the "soap opera" effect where videos look like they’re unnaturally sped up. We were easily able to find, download, and launch quickly and easily, too. Android TV allows you to quickly rearrange apps for your convenience, so we could swap them around to prioritize the ones we used most often. Android TV isn't our favorite television operating system, but it's perfectly usable. 

No 55-inch TV is perfect, but we couldn't find an area where the A80J came up short in a noticeable way. TV shows and movies looked fantastic, especially when watching a Blu-ray remastered as part of the Criterion Collection, or professionally shot 4K videos from Netflix or YouTube. Standard definition video looked fine, but that's an issue with the source material rather than the TV itself. Regardless, you won't find a better TV for watching DVDs or digital transfers of home movies originally shot on film.

Similarly, playing video games on the A80J was delightful. The TV has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, and we were able to play the latest games at their peak performance level. Games developed for next-generation consoles, especially colorful ones like “Tales of Arise,” looked stunning. HD titles developed for the Wii U and Nintendo Switch looked and played well too, but weren't quite as jaw dropping as titles released on the current crop of cutting-edge consoles. 

One important note: If you'd like to play 4K games at 120 frames per second (fps) with high dynamic range enabled, you’ll need to dig into the TV’s settings to make sure your HDMI ports are set to “enhanced” mode. Failing to do so will result in your game consoles giving you the choice between playing games at 120 frames per second in HD, or limiting the frame rate to 60 but bumping the resolution up to 4K. Why this setting isn't enabled by default is beyond me, but seems like it could be fixed by a software update. 

Speaking of ports, Sony equipped the A80J with four HDMI ports, an optical audio input, two USB ports, an Ethernet jack, headphone jack, and an RF antenna port. If you have an accessory for your TV, the A80J is prepared. The only port-related information you should be aware of is that only two out of the four HDMI ports have enough bandwidth (the speed at which data is transferred) for 4K gaming at 120 fps. These HDMI ports are labeled clearly, so you won't have any trouble locating them. That said, it's something you'll need to pay attention to when hooking up your systems.  

The Sony A80J is a luxury TV, but it’s absolutely worth the cost. Few electronics we've tested are worth the splurge, and we can wholeheartedly recommend this TV to anyone looking for a new set. Once it's set up, you won't be tempted to upgrade anytime in the near future, even when 8K TVs become in vogue over the next few years. 

Best Budget: Toshiba M550KU

Small Cost, Big Features. Toshiba

Why It Made The Cut: Toshiba’s M550KU is a 55-inch TV that has premium features at a more approachable cost.

Specs:
Panel Type: LED
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Operating System: FireTV

Pros:
— Good color reproduction
— Plethora of ports
— Nice design 

Cons:
— FireOS is a mess
— Can’t play 4K games at 120 frames per second

The M550 is the most successful collaboration between Amazon and Toshiba, and this Fire TV is an excellent value if you don't play many games.

Overall, the M550 performed pretty well in our gauntlet of tests. It couldn’t reproduce color as well as some of the higher-end TVs in this guide, but movies and games looked pretty good in most situations. Our only real complaint is that this TV’s screen is pretty dim, regardless of which video mode we chose. Cranking up the brightness only blew out the colors, so we mostly left it at its default setting.

Gaming on the M550 was okay, but the set can’t play 4K games at 120 frames per second. This is a limitation if you want a TV primarily for gaming. If you play games casually, or don't plan on upgrading to an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 in the near future, this won't be a big deal. Beyond this limitation, we were pretty happy with the M550's hardware, especially its sleek-looking design. We were equally impressed with how many ports the M550 had. This TV has four HDMI, one A/V input, a headphone jack, one Ethernet jack, and a USB port, which is pretty generous.

FireOS is the M550's downfall. Using this operating system felt like watching  one big advertisement for Amazon Video. The TV’s background, and the images that play when the set is idle, is Amazon-branded. We understand Amazon developed the operating system, but seeing these ads got grating after a while. FireOS also has the least user-friendly interface. 

Disabling unwanted features, like ad tracking and motion smoothing, required several Google searches to accomplish. Another common setting — having the TV jump to the last input you use the next time you turn the TV on — was buried deep in the settings. This makes the M550 very unfriendly for non tech-savvy users.

You can permanently fix this problem by connecting a media streamer from Roku, Apple, or Google to the set, but that defeats the purpose of using an Amazon FireTV-branded TV. Instead, you should be prepared to spend the first half hour with the M550 tuning it to your particular preferences.

These little annoyances start to become less noticeable over time, at which point the M550 becomes a pretty solid 55-inch TV.

Best LED TV: Hisense U7G

Impresses for Less. Hisense

Why It Made The Cut: Hisense managed to create an LED that nearly matches the performance of an OLED set at a far lower price.

Specs:
Panel Type: LED
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Operating System: Android TV

Pros:
— Excellent color reproduction for an LED TV
— Fantastic contrast
— Can play 4K games at 120 frames per second

Cons:
— Picture quality can’t quite measure up to an OLED TV

Hisense's U7G shares most of the same features as our best overall pick in this guide, but costs a lot less.

This was the best LED TV we tested, thanks to its excellent color reproduction and contrast. We noticed a lot of little details in TV shows and movies that would look dull or fuzzy on lesser TVs. The U7G's image was good enough that it held our attention each time we started watching something, be it a sports match, random YouTube video, or game. Videos we used for testing looked far better when compared with other TVs.

Gaming on the U7G also impressed us. We were able to play the latest titles in 4K games at 120 frames per second, and the U7G could keep up with any fast-paced title we threw at it. Hisense says this TV was designed for gamers, and the results of our tests indicate they succeeded. This is a great TV for anyone who likes to play games regularly. If you have multiple consoles, you'll be happy to hear that the U7G has four HDMI ports in addition to its Ethernet jack and USB port. The U7G runs on Android TV, which worked just as well as it did on Sony’s A80J.

Overall, we've been impressed that Hisense could make an LED TV that looked this good. It's a very good all-around choice that can please gamers, casual streamers, and discerning movie watchers.

Best Roku TV: TCL 6-Series

No Fuss, No Muss. TCL

Why It Made The Cut: TCL’s 6-series TV offers excellent performance and extreme ease of use in a neat, single package.

Specs:
Panel Type: LED
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Operating System: RokuOS

Pros:
— RokuOS is easy to use
— Amazing contrast
— Great color reproduction

Cons:
— Can’t play 4K games at 120 frames per second 

TCL's 6-Series TV fixes an issue we’ve noticed in the tech world: As sets have gotten smarter, they’ve become more difficult to use.

To solve this problem, the company decided to build this TV to run RokuOS, which is the most user-friendly TV operating system by far. Instead of focusing on a cool-looking interface, the Roku team designed software that's actually understandable. We could adjust settings, download new apps, and navigatr the TV’s menus without losing our place. If you want a TV that “just works,” TCL’s 6-series is very easy to recommend.

We're clearly big fans of RokuOS, but it’s worth noting that the TCL 6-Series also has excellent hardware. In our tests, TV shows and movies looked very good, with great color accuracy that was just one notch in quality below the U7G. In fact, the 6-series pulled ahead of that set when it came to backlighting. This TV's LCD panel is sophisticated enough to light specific areas on the screen with extreme accuracy. 

This means dimly lit scenes looked far more realistic, as there was a greater difference between the lighter and darker part (a lit candle in an otherwise dark room, for example.) That said, one place where TCL's 6-Series falters is gaming. This TV can't run games in 4K at 120 frames per second though, which makes it a no-go for serious gamers.

Overall, that's its only real downside, and if you don't play games often — or at all — it's no loss. TCL outfitted its 6-Series TV with four HDMI ports, a USB port, one headphone jack, a coaxial input, and an Ethernet jack. If you use a lot of peripherals in your home entertainment center, TCL's 6-series is ready for them. If you don't want to feel like you're fighting with your TV each time you want to download a new streaming app, switch inputs, or change a system setting, TCL's 6-series TV is the way to go. 

Best Design: Samsung Frame

A Work of Art. Samsung

Why It Made The Cut: Samsung’s Frame TV can transform into a huge, digital picture frame capable of displaying stunning works of art when it’s not in use.

Specs:
Panel Type: LED
Frame Rate: 100Hz
Software: Tizen

Pros:
— Ultra-thin design
— Can be used to display art
— Amazon Alexa support

Cons:
— May not fit in with your decor
— No on-board ports

The 55-inch TVs in our guide have big, beautiful-looking screens, but you can only appreciate them when they’re turned on. Samsung addressed this issue with The Frame, a television that can double as a huge digital picture frame that can display paintings and photos. The TV’s “art mode” allows you to select a handful of pieces from a store featuring 1,400 classic and contemporary pieces of art. Using this mode requires you to pay a subscription fee of $7 per month or $80 per year. This TV recently came out, and we plan on testing it for ourselves very soon.

If you choose not to use the art mode too often, the Samsung Frame is still an excellent choice for most situations. It supports all the most cutting-edge features found on other Samsung TVs, be it Quantum High Dynamic Range for better color reproduction and contrast, or an anti-reflective coating to prevent glare when watching videos in a bright room. As a piece of technology, the Frame is a tour de force. 

To achieve this level of thinness, Samsung had to remove a lot of the TV’s “guts.” Instead, you have to connect this TV to a hub (included), which has four HDMI ports, one USB port, and an antenna input. This is a more limited port selection than what you’d find on the other 55-inch TVs we’re recommending, and having to keep your thin TV plugged into an external box is kind of annoying, but that’s the tradeoff for selecting the Frame. 

If you don’t mind that setback, though, there’s a lot to love about this TV. Digital picture frames have become popular in recent years, but to have one that’s this size is pretty incredible. That you can easily select from high-quality pieces of art instead of having to find them on your own, and get them onto your TV, makes the Frame worth considering on its one. 

Things To Consider When Buying A 55-Inch TV

Panel Type: TVs in 2022 have either an LED (Light Emitting Diode) or OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen. 

An LED TV uses a physical light panel behind the screen to illuminate the image you're seeing. This is the most common type of TV screen since the dawn of the HDTV era. 

The display used OLED TVs are made out of an organic compound, and the screen is illuminated by sending electric pulses that can illuminate every single pixel individually, rather than lighting up a light panel. The result is a TV that's far thinner, and provides much more natural-looking lighting in scenes with a lot of contrast (think of fireworks exploding against a pitch-black sky). 

LED TV manufacturers have leveled the playing field by developing a technology called "local dimming zones," which allows the TV to illuminate part of its panel instead of the whole thing. The more dimming zones a TV has, the better it is at creating contrast between light and dark parts of a scene. Local dimming zones have come a long way since they were first introduced around five years ago, although they're still worse than using an OLED TV. 

High Dynamic Range: Another TV technology that's become popular lately is High Dynamic Range, which is typically shortened to HDR. TVs that support HDR can show colors that are more true-to-life than older sets, and allow you to differentiate between different shades and hues of the same color more easily. This is most noticeable when watching content that was shot using cameras that can capture HDR video. 

Refresh Rate: A TV's refresh rate determines how quickly its screen can display new information each second. Movie and TV watchers don't need to worry about this TV specification, but it matters a lot to gamers. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 can both play certain games at frame rates of up to 120 frames per second, which makes them look incredibly smooth. If you play games often, you'll want to get a TV that supports a refresh rate of 120Hz (hertz), which will allow you to play 120fps games natively. 

FAQs

Q: Can I recycle my old TV?

Yes. If you'd like to get rid of your old TV in an environmentally friendly way, we recommend dropping it off at the nearest Best Buy. The store will also take your old TV away if you order a new set through them. Find out more about how to recycle electronics.

Q: How does a 55-inch TV compare to a 4K projector?

A 55-inch TV compares very favorably to a 4K projector. A projector can display a far larger screen than a 55-inch TV, but will suffer when used in a room with any light pollution. Additionally, even 4K video will start to look blurry and grainy on a gigantic screen. 

Q: How will HD video look on a 4K TV?

How HD video looks on a 4K TV can vary, but many of the 55-inch TVs in our guide can upscale (digitally manipulate) HD video to look great on your new set. 

Q: Can I wall mount a 55-inch TV?

Yes, there are many mounts that support TVs that are 55 inches or above. We recommend the Cantalever Full Motion TV Wall Mount from AmazonBasics because it can hold TVs up to 110 pounds and screen sizes up to 70 inches. 

Final Thoughts on 55-Inch TVs

Funnily enough, a 55-inch TV is actually kind of small, which is wild when you consider that a 27-inch CRT was considered huge not that long ago. This is the ideal size for a set in an apartment living room, or master bedroom, though, if you don’t have the space to get a larger one. Recent advancements in TV technology — the jump from HD to 4K, slimmer bezels, more ports, faster refresh rates — have filtered down from premium models to ones designed for the average person. There’s never been a better time to upgrade. 

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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