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Best Overall: LG 49UM7300PUA 4K UHD Smart TV at Amazon
"The LG UM7300 offers the best balance between performance and price with plenty of extras to boot."
Best "Dumb" TV: Proscan PLDED4897A LED HD TV at Amazon
"With a refresh rate of 60Hz and a full HD 1080p resolution, you'll get a clean, detailed, and colorful picture."
Best Samsung: Samsung QN49Q70 at Amazon
"Going with a smaller TV doesn't mean you have to sacrifice great picture quality."
Best Sony: Sony X900F at Amazon
"Sony's 49-inch X900F offers the same great design and features as its larger siblings in a package that won't overwhelm your living room."
Best Fire TV: Toshiba 49LF421U19 at Best Buy
"Gives you everything you'd get by adding a Fire TV Stick without the additional expense."
Best LG: LG 49SM8600PUA Nano 8 Series at Amazon
"LG's Nano series offers a wider viewing angle than most LED screens, along with Dolby Atmos sound and other perks."
Best 1080p: TCL 49S325 at Amazon
"Offers solid picture quality with impressive color and dynamic contrast levels for a 1080p set."
Best 4K UHD: Samsung UN49RU8000FXZA 8 Series UHD Smart TV at Amazon
"Built around Samsung's UHD processor, this TV provides great native 4K UHD resolution and smoother upscaling."
If you're looking for a mid-size TV, a 48-inch model may be the right choice for you. We've considered top brands like LG, Sony, and Samsung as well as lesser known companies. We've also chosen TVs with a variety of features like smart functionality, voice controls, and different HD and UHD resolutions to help you choose the one that's right for your home.
Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant compatible
AirPlay 2 support
Plenty of inputs
Limited language support for voice commands
The LG UM7300 offers the best balance between performance and price with plenty of extras to boot. This TV is built around a quad-core processor for better image rendering and input response speed. With LG's ThinQ AI built in, your TV will track your watch history to suggest new shows and movies for you to watch; it will also suggest picture and sound settings to better optimize your viewing experience. You can connect your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device for hands-free voice controls while you browse and integrate your TV into your smart home network.
With active HDR10 and HLG support as well as a wide viewing angle, you'll get the sharpest, most detailed and colorful picture no matter where you sit. This TV features AirPlay 2 support so you can stream videos, music, and pictures right from your macOS or iOS devices. With three HDMI inputs, two USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity, setting up the ultimate home theater is quick and easy.
Built-in TV tuner
Not 4K UHD
Sometimes you want a TV without all the bells and whistles of smart functionality. Whether it's a secondary TV for the garage or basement workshop or something for the kids' playroom, the Proscan 48-inch LED TV is a great choice. This TV features three HDMI inputs as well as VGA, coax, RF, AV, and component ports so you can connect everything from a game console to DVD players.
The built-in ATSC tuner allows you to pick up over-the-air signals so you can watch local news broadcasts and other programming without a cable or satellite box. With a refresh rate of 60Hz and a full HD 1080p resolution, you'll get a clean, detailed, and colorful picture no matter if you're watching cartoons, the local news, or your favorite movies. The back of the TV features VESA mounting holes for wall mounting so you can place it wherever you need it to fit.
Apple TV+ support built-in
QLED is not OLED
Bixby voice assistant is fairly basic
Going with a smaller sized TV doesn't mean you have to give up great picture quality, and manufacturers like Samsung who are known for making great large-screen TVs also use many of the same technologies in their smaller screens like the QN49Q70.
This is in every way a Q70 series Samsung TV, just in a smaller form factor. This means that that you get the QLED Quantum Dot technology that's about as close as you can get to OLED in an LED screen, with over a billion shades of color and precision-controlled LED backlighting for a uniform, high-contrast image. Samsung's Quantum 4K processor is here too, which means that full HD 1080p content gets brilliantly upscaled to crisp, high-quality 4K with even better colors.
It's also got all of the smart features that Samsung's TVs are known for, including its Bixby voice assistant and access to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and YouTube. It's among the first TVs to fully embrace the Apple ecosystem, not only offering AirPlay 2 streaming, but Apple's TV that lets you access iTunes movies, TV shows, and the Apple TV+ streaming service.
Expansive Android TV platform
Smart TV user interface can be cumbersome
Sony has a reputation for elegant design in consumer electronics and nowhere is this more apparent than in its Bravia TV sets. While they're available in a wide range of sizes, Sony's 49-inch X900F offers the same great design and features as its larger siblings in a package that won't overwhelm your living room.
The X900F offers great 4K Ultra HD picture quality, with deep blacks and rich colors, thanks to Sony's proprietary X1 Extreme chip, and it gets so bright you may want to wear shades. Even better is the clean minimalist design. Sony eliminates the black plastic frame found on most flat-panel TVs, surrounding it instead with a thin and classy brushed black metallic bezel, showcasing the picture and not the frame.
Under the hood, Sony has packed in Google's Android TV platform that opens you up to a world of apps that few others can rival. You basically have the entire Google Play Store at your fingertips, offering not only apps for the big streaming players like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube, but also a whole range of gaming and utility apps. Naturally, since it's Android, there's also Google Chromecast support, as well as Google's Assistant, which can be called up from the remote with the press of a button. You can also pair it up with a Google Home smart speaker for full hands-free voice control.
Courtesy of Best Buy
Powerful Amazon Fire TV platform built-in
Amazon Alexa voice remote
Hands-free voice commands require an Echo speaker
Interface can be sluggish at times
Amazon's Fire TV Stick is a very popular smart TV add-on, but if you're a fan of the Amazon ecosystem, why not pick up a set with the Fire TV platform built-in? Toshiba has been one of the few manufacturers to embrace this with its 49-inch HDTV Fire TV Edition, which gives you everything you'd get by adding a Fire TV Stick at no additional cost.
There's a voice remote with full Alexa support that lets you use the well-known voice assistant to search for TV shows, play music, or even control smart home devices, although you'll need to pair it with an actual Amazon Echo if you want full hands-free control. You also get easy access to Amazon Prime Video, along with other streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, HBO, and even Apple TV+ and Disney+.
The 48.5-inch screen outputs at 1080p, which many users will find more than sufficient for a TV in this size, and the quality is impressive with deep blacks and rich colors. It also features a pair of 10-watt Onkyo speakers with DTS TruSurround and Dolby audio, plus three HDMI inputs and one USB input.
Wide viewing angle
Edge lighting instead of full-array backlight
A bit of a learning curve to get started
LG is best known for its OLED TVs these days, but it also makes some great LED TVs in smaller sizes. That's courtesy of its patented Nano Cell display technology, which is the company's answer to Samsung's QLED screens. LG uses an IPS LED display, so it manages to offer a wider viewing angle that most LED screens. There's also full 4K Ultra HD resolution with HDR and Dolby Vision HDR10, local dimming to provide deeper blacks, and an impressive 240Hz refresh rate that makes it a good set for gamers and sports fans.
With Dolby Atmos sound, you also get a pretty impressive cinematic experience without needing to add a soundbar, especially since it packs in a pair of 10-watt stereo speakers and compatibility with 5.1-channel WISA wireless speakers without the need for an AV receiver.
When it comes to voice assistants, LG's webOS-based ThinQ smart TV platform also provides you with the best of two worlds, since it has both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, plus support for the usual wide range of streaming services, from Netflix and Hulu to Amazon Prime and YouTube, plus both Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast support for streaming from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet.
Roku TV built-in
Versatile input options
No voice assistant
4K UHD isn't as crucial when dealing with smaller TVs, so you may find that you're perfectly content with a full HD 1080p TV, in which case TCL offers a great option here as well. The 49S325 offers solid picture quality with impressive color and dynamic contrast levels for a 1080p set, plus a wide collection of inputs and smart TV features.
Unlike a lot of similarly-priced 1080p sets, the 49S325 also gives you a wealth of input options, including 3 HDMI ports, one which includes HDMI ARC, plus a USB media player connection, a coaxial antenna/cable port and composite input for older analog devices. There's also a headphone jack and optical audio out. While there's no voice assistant built-in, if you have an Amazon Echo or other Alexa-compatible speakers, or a Google Home, you can tie these in to issue voice commands to the TV too.
As with other TCL sets, this is powered by Roku TV, which means you get access to over 500,000 movies and TV shows thanks to the massive collection for streaming channels. Not only can you stream from the big players like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, the Roku platform also offers channels for a massive collection of more specialized streaming services. It's one of the first to support both the new Apple TV+ and Disney+ services right out of the box.
Built-in cable management
Real Game Enhancer mode
Bixby Voice built in
WiFi connectivity issues
If you're looking for the perfect small-scale 4K UHD TV, look no further than the Samsung RU8000. Built around Samsung's UHD processor, this TV provides great native 4K UHD resolution and smoother upscaling of standard HD media. It features HDR support and Samsung's proprietary Dynamic Crystal Color technology to give you the most detailed and colorful picture available. If you're a serious gamer, this TV has a Real Game Enhancer mode that prevents image tearing and stuttering for smoother gameplay even during the most intense action scenes.
The slim array LED screen provides a wide viewing angle so no matter where you are, you have the best seat in the house. As with all newer Samsung TVs, this model features built-in cable management channels to help keep your home theater setup looking clean and organized. With Bixby voice controls built in, you get hands free commands right out of the box. You can also connect your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices for expanded voice commands and smart home integration.
Taylor Clemons has been reviewing and writing about consumer electronics for over three years. She has also worked in e-commerce product management, so she has the knowledge of what makes a solid TV for home entertainment.
What to look for in a 48-inch TV
Price - A 48-inch TV can easily run you $1,000+, but it doesn’t have to. There are many affordable screens on the market, and some will even cost you less than a premium channel subscription package. Budget TVs often compromise on things like smart features and sturdiness, but some look just as good as their pricier counterparts.
Picture quality - Nearly every 48-inch screen will have a resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) or higher. This provides enough detail to watch HD content and is the most important factor in delivering optimal picture quality. Second to resolution is contrast ratio, which indicates the difference between the darkest and lightest pixels on the screen. Unfortunately, different manufacturers report this spec in different terms, so it can be hard to compare across TVs, but your eyes will recognize the difference.
Smart features - Regardless of whether you’ve completely cut the cord or not, you probably still watch a lot of TV shows and movies through streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. In that case, you’ll want a TV with smart features, which will make it easy to connect to your services over Wi-Fi, though some have more intuitive interfaces than others.