The 3 Best 48-Inch to 50-inch TVs of 2023

These TVs hit the sweet spot between dorm room and home theater

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A 48-inch to 50-inch TV seems to hit the sweet spot between small-format models suited for apartments and dorms and the huge screens we think of when discussing home theaters. The best models give you a balance between picture quality, smart features, and connectivity.

Other features are voice controls, screen mirroring capabilities, upscaling of 1080p content, and Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio setups.

Best Overall

Sony 48 Inch 4K Ultra HD TV A90K Series

Sony 48 Inch 4K Ultra HD TV A90K Series.


What We Like
  • AirPlay 2

  • Voice controls

  • Bluetooth connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • No parental controls

Sony's 48-inch A90K Series TV uses Sony's Cognitive Processor XR to produce excellent 4K UHD resolution. With built-in Wi-Fi and the Google TV operating system, you can download apps like Netflix and Hulu right to the TV. You can also use Google Assistant for voice commands

The TV supports AirPlay2 to allow screen mirroring from an Apple device. You can set up external sound bars and other audio equipment with Bluetooth support for the perfect custom home theater configuration.

Best LG

LG C2 Series 48-Inch Class OLED evo Gallery Edition Smart TV OLED48C2PUA

LG C2 Series 48-Inch Class OLED evo Gallery Edition Smart TV.


What We Like
  • OLED

  • Voice controls

What We Don't Like
  • Burn-in is possible

LG is one of the biggest names in televisions, and its OLED models are some of the best on the market; the 48-inch C2 is no exception.

With Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos audio technology, you'll get a picture that automatically adjusts to ambient lighting conditions and multi-dimensional sound for the most immersive cinematic experience available at home. 

The webOS operating system gives you access to your favorite streaming apps, and the voice-enabled remote can be used with Alexa or Google Assistant to give you hands-free control over your TV.

The C2 Series is compatible with Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium technology, so console gaming looks top-notch.

Apple AirPlay is built-in, allowing you to mirror your iOS device for more ways to share videos and photos with friends and family.

Best Budget

TCL 50" Class 5-Series 4K UHD QLED

TCL 50" Class 5-Series 4K UHD QLED.


What We Like
  • Roku TV offers tons of streaming options

  • Excellent picture quality

  • Cheap

What We Don't Like
  • No built-in Google Assistant or Alexa

The TCL 50" Class 5-Series 4K UHD QLED offers solid picture quality, impressive color, and dynamic contrast levels thanks partly to its Dolby Vision HDR (High Dynamic Range) support.

While there's no voice assistant built-in, you can use the Roku Action on Google or the Roku skill for Alexa to control the TV from compatible hardware or a mobile app.

As with other TCL sets, this is powered by Roku TV, which means you can access over 500,000 movies and TV shows thanks to the massive collection of streaming channels. You can stream from big players like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and the Roku platform also offers channels for a massive collection of more specialized streaming services.

What to Look for in a 48-inch TV

Not everybody needs or wants a massive TV, and there's still a substantial market for sets in the 48-inch range.

Forty-eight inches may be the sweet spot for your living space and entertainment needs in a smaller home, apartment, or condo. You can get some pretty sweet 48-inch sets with incredible features and picture quality at prices that won't hurt your wallet, leaving plenty of room to accessorize by adding a cabinet or a better sound system.

Sony X800G 43-inch TV


Resolution: 4K UHD or 1080p HD? 

While we certainly wouldn't discourage anybody from buying a 4K TV if you have the money to spend. When dealing with smaller screens, ask yourself whether you'll be able to truly take advantage of the higher resolution, both in terms of where you're putting it and what you'll be watching on it. 

If you usually sit more than a certain distance away from the screen, chances are that your eyes won't be able to appreciate the extra detail offered by a 4K UHD set. The rule of thumb for this is about 1.5x the screen size, meaning your maximum viewing distance to appreciate a 48-inch 4K TV is 6 feet. While this will vary depending on the quality of your vision, if the design of your room means that you'll be sitting much farther away than that, then you may want to consider saving a few bucks and simply getting a 1080p HD set instead, which you'll still be able to enjoy at almost twice that distance.

HDR, Dolby Vision, and More

There are more to 4K UHD TVs than just the actual resolution. Almost all modern 4K sets also offer High Dynamic Range (HDR), which you won't find on 1080p HD sets.

There are various flavors of HDR, such as Dolby Vision, HDR10, and others, but they all have one thing in common: providing much richer colors and deeper contrast levels.

To take advantage of this, however, the content you're watching must be encoded in an HDR format. If all you plan on using your TV for is watching things like news, sports, and daytime television shows, chances are you won't see HDR content anyway. If all you're doing is hooking your TV up to cable or an over-the-air antenna, you probably won't even get much 4K content.

For the most part, HDR formats are most widely used in feature films. However, many modern prime-time shows also offer HDR, especially when they're coming from streaming networks like Netflix and even more so when they're originals produced by those streaming services. 

Keep in mind, however, that your set must also support the specific HDR format in which the content is broadcast. Although many TVs support more than one flavor of HDR, not all do, so you'll want to read the fine print. As a rule, sets that include Dolby Vision usually offer the broadest support for other formats.

Samsung Q7F Series Flat QLED Ultra HD TV Example
Samsung Q7F Series Flat QLED Ultra HD TV Example. Image courtesy of Amazon

Screen Quality: OLED, QLED, or LCD?

As we noted earlier, the 48-inch size range has a lot of different options available. While the most affordable models will still only sport standard LCD screens, you can up your game with even better screen technology if you're willing to spend a bit more.

If feature films are your thing, we recommend going with an OLED screen if you can afford it. This will provide the best contrast ratios you can get, with intense blacks that make it an especially great choice for action/adventure flicks. Much like the plasma TV technology that came before it (and which home theatre enthusiasts have sworn by for years), OLED screens turn off entirely in areas that are supposed to be black, as opposed to LED/LCD TVs can only dim them to a dark grey. OLED screens also let you view them from any angle without the strange discoloration you'll see when looking at an LCD/LED set from the side.

However, if films are not your main thing, or an OLED screen isn't in your budget, then an LCD/LED set can still be a great choice, and in fact, could even be better if you plan on setting up your TV in a brighter room and watching it during daylight hours. Samsung's QLED technology is some of the best LED technology available, as the company has been building it to rival OLED. While it can't provide the same contrast ratios, it does get a lot brighter while still providing the same sort of deep and rich color reproduction, which is especially great for HDR content. LG's Nano Cell LED technology is also a solid choice if you can't afford to step up to one of its great OLED sets.

Audio Quality

These days most TVs offer some pretty impressive built-in sound. These aren't the tinny mono or two-channel speakers of yesteryear, and many can produce pretty good virtual surround sound from only the built-in speakers.

Of course, this won't compare to setting up a 5.1-channel Dolby Surround system in your rec room, but it's probably more than enough for casual TV watchers. Few things other than movies are encoded with impressive 5.1-channel sound, and the sound quality of modern TVs should easily handle that kind of content.

On the other hand, however, if you're an action movie buff, you're probably going to want better sound than any set will be able to provide by itself, so you should make sure that the TV you're considering has the necessary features to support a surround sound system. This will usually mean a digital optical audio output or HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection. However, some newer and higher-end models also support wireless speaker system standards like WiSA, letting you add 5.1-channel audio without needing cables or a standalone home theatre receiver.

Smart TV Features

These days it's hard to find a modern TV that doesn't include smart TV features with support for popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime built right in, so even if you have your own standalone digital set-top box or aren't interested in streaming, you're going to get these features anyway, but the good news is that in most cases they're pretty unobtrusive if all you want your TV to do is work as a display for other devices.

Still, if you definitely don't need the built-in smart TV features, one of the great things about smaller sets is that you can still find "dumb" TVs, so you can save yourself a few bucks if you're willing to connect your own Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV set-top box, which could also offer some advantages over having your smart TV features built-in, depending on what it is that you plan to do. 

TCL S405 Series 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV Example
TCL S405 Series 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV Example. Image provided by Amazon

Still, the built-in smart features are continually getting better and more powerful. Many even now include integration with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and home automation systems like Apple's HomeKit. Generally, it comes down to choosing which platform you prefer and which streaming services you plan to watch. However, if you're looking at a TV that supports Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, just be aware that in most cases, that doesn't mean that they include the actual voice assistant built in, but rather that they can be activated by commands that you speak to an Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker that's already on the same network. 

Also, remember that if you plan on streaming content over the internet, you'll need an internet connection and Wi-Fi router that can handle it, and this is even more true if you're looking at a 4K UHD set; streaming Netflix in 4K requires a minimum 25mbps connection, and will eat up around 10-12GB of data per hour, so you'll want to watch out for any data caps too. Plus, if you are putting your TV farther away from where your internet connection comes into your home, you may need a long-range router or Wi-Fi extender to ensure you can get a solid and fast enough signal to your set.


If you're shopping for a 48-inch TV from a major brand like Samsung, LG, or Sony, your choice will often be determined more by the smart TV features you're looking for or the kind of screen technology you want, since each manufacturer can be pretty unique in these areas. For example, while you might find it somewhat ironic considering their competing smartphone platforms, Samsung TVs are one of the best choices for Apple fans, thanks to their built-in support for Apple's TV+ service, iTunes Movies, TV Shows, and AirPlay 2 streaming. On the other hand, Android enthusiasts may lean more toward brands like Sony that use the Android TV operating system. 

LG B6P Series 4K ULtra HD OLED TV
LG B6P Series 4K ULtra HD OLED TV. Image provided by LG Electronics

Similarly, if you're looking for an OLED screen, LG makes some of the best, whereas Samsung's QLED technology leads the way among LCD/LED panels. 

However, you don't need to be swayed by the major brands if you're on a budget or only looking for a set for more casual viewing, and this is even more true if you want a "dumb" TV to watch cable or broadcast television. Going off-brand can save you a lot of money, and you may be surprised at how many vendors like TCL that you've probably never heard of still offer great TVs with advanced smart TVs and connectivity features. 

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