The best 55-inch TVs

Bag yourself one of the best 55-inch TVs to unlock the true potential of your entertainment

LG OLED Promotional Image

by William Lobley |

When it comes to TVs, a 55-inch 4K smart TV sounds pretty impressive (and it is). These TVs can improve all aspects of your viewing time, whether you're catching up on soaps, watching the latest movie releases, binging an on-demand series, or gaming on your favourite console. These TVs, particularly due to their smart capabilities, are an integral part of the contemporary viewing experience.

The best 55-inch TVs shortlist:

• Hisense 55A7GQTUK - The best on a budget

• Philips Ambilight 55OLED805/12 -The best for immersive movies

• LG OLED55C14LB -The best OLED for movies and gaming

• Sony BRAVIA HD55X85JU - The best non-OLED for gaming and movies

• Samsung UE55AU7100 - The best affordable Samsung TV

• JVC LT-55CF890 Fire TV Edition - The best cheap 55-inch TV

• Sony BRAVIA XR55A84JU - The best Sony OLED

Why go for a 55-inch smart TV?

If you’re a casual viewer, the smart TV will give you access to on-demand services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and All 4, allowing you to catch up on all sitcoms, soaps, and reality TV shows. You'll be guaranteed to always find something to watch.

For those who like to spend a bit more time in front of the screen, a smart TV has even more to offer. In addition to the on-demand catch-up apps and traditional channel selection, there’s also access to subscription services. These give a direct line into the bleeding edge of television entertainment. It’s not just Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, there's a myriad of other streaming apps and services available, too.

It’s also possible to take things even further with your TV set up in 2021. It’s never been easier to integrate your TV into a wider entertainment and smart ecosystem. Select models support Amazon Alexa, Chromecast, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay, which allows smart assistants and voice controls to be brought into the mix.

Alternatively, linking up to Amazon’s Fire Cube will bring non-smart Blu-ray players, soundbars, gaming consoles, and stereos under one system of control.

Smart TVs will transform your viewing experience, no matter the size of screen you pick - from the modest and accessible 40-inch smart TVs, through to rather large 65-inch smart TVs.

55-inch models, for us, hit a sweet spot. They offer feature-heavy interfaces, plenty of connectivity options and stunning cinematic visual experiences. To help you find the TV you need, we’ve rounded up the best 55-inch 4K smart TVs available.

The best 55-inch TVs in detail:

Hisense 55A7GQTUK QLED Series 55-inch 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR Smart TV

The best on a budget
Hisense 55A7GQTUK QLED Series 55-inch 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR Smart TV
Amazon

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Despite its modest price tag, the 55A7G delivers a great picture and sound. Building on the success of its 2020 predecessor, the TV carries QLED tech and Dolby Vision to bring a bright and colourful image with a pleasingly rich and realistic feel. The sound matches up to this standard via Dolby Atmos - though to get the best from this we recommend a soundbar or surround sound system. Gamers and sports fans on a budget will enjoy the relatively low input and 60Hz refresh rate, though the hardcore and visually obsessed may find some motion isn't quite pin-sharp enough. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are supported. Though there are a few limits to the TV's power, Hisense has constructed an affordable and attractive package in the 55A7G.

Pros: Affordable access to a reliable and good looking 4K experience

Cons: Lacks some refinement

Specifications
Screen: 55-inch 4K UHD, QLED, HDR10+, 60Hz
Connections: HDMI x3, USB x2
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: VIDAA U5

Philips Ambilight 55OLED805/12 55-Inch OLED TV

The best for immersive movies
Philips Ambilight 55OLED805/12 55-Inch OLED TV

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Philips Ambilight is a notably exciting feature, casting an immersive coloured light from three edges of the screen. It's a favourite of ours, but here it's outdone by the inclusion of an OLED screen. This OLED, coupled with the Philips P5 Picture Engine and Dolby Vision, provides an incredibly deep and vibrant image that adds a huge amount of drama and realism to the viewing experience. Other beneficial features of this TV include audio that runs through the cinematic processors of Dolby Atoms and an Android TV operating system, which is home to easy streaming. There are plenty of HDMI connections too, making the TV an easy fit for a wider entertainment setup made up of Blu-ray player and gaming consoles.

Pros: Excellent OLED image and immersive entertainment

Cons: Expensive

Specifications
Screen: 55-inch 4K UHD, OLED, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 120Hz
Connections: HDMI x4, USB x2
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Android TV

LG OLED55C14LB 55-Inch 4K UHD TV

The best OLED for movies and gaming
LG OLED55C14LB 55-Inch 4K UHD TV

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OLED is an LG technology, so it only makes sense that LG should know how to use it. Taking advantage of the self-lit pixels' high contrast and colour fidelity, LG uses the u03b19 Gen4 AI processor to bring about a flawless image. To top things off, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are at hand adding to the overall cinematic experience. Gamers are well-catered for here, too, with 2.1 HDMI connections and VRR making 4K/120fps a reality. The OS used is LG webOS, which has long been held as one of the most user-friendly and well-featured interfaces around - it's here that you'll find amble streaming platforms. Additional streaming is accessed via screen mirroring.

Pros: Near peerless image quality across all entertainment

Cons: Pricey, and OLED isn’t ideal for brightly lit rooms

Specifications
Screen: 55-inch 4K UHD, OLED, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 120Hz, VRR
Connections: HDMI x4, USB x3
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: webOS

Sony BRAVIA KD55X85JU 55-Inch TV

The best non-OLED for gaming and movies
Sony BRAVIA HD55X85JU 55-Inch TV

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The BRAVIA is a range found in many best of TV lists, and for good reason. As this TV demonstrates, Sony always manages to cram in a fantastic array of features without pushing the pricing too high. This TV has a beautiful and crisp screen, with Dolby Vision and similar HDR and object-based visual tech working to add depth. The processor brings the resolution of older content into line with 4K, too. Anyone lucky enough to have a next-generation video game console can access 4K/120fps gaming with VRR support, too. Overall, the entire HD55 experience is one of refinement and precision, with each element being delivered without fault.

Pros: Excellent application and execution of all features, fantastic screen

Cons: OLED still has a better picture

Specifications
Screen: 55-inch 4K UHD, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 120Hz, VRR
Connections: HDMI x4, Composite x1, USB x2
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Google TV

Samsung UE55AU7100 55-inch 4K UHD TV

The best affordable Samsung TV
Samsung UE55AU7100 55-inch 4K UHD TV

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Comfortably affordable and well-designed, the Samsung AU7100 is a prime candidate for any TV-binger or cinema lover. The 4K screen is bright and crisp, with HDR adding to the contrast well. The Samsung Crystal Processor is a nice little chip to have onboard, as it works to upscale older content to a near-4K quality, and Motion Xcelerator helps keep fast-paced content blur-free. If you're really into your sound, you may want to add some speakers or soundbar - Samsung Q-Symphony LITE will make sure that all visual and audio is synced up, too. The Tizen OS is a nice operating system, and clearly presents all the apps you need for a night of entertainment.

Pros: Affordable, great picture, reliable, a sense of quality

Cons: The sound is fine, but audio fans will want to add some speakers

Specifications
Screen: 55-inch 4K UHD, HDR10, HDR10+, 60Hz
Connections: HDMI x3, USBx2
Audio: Dolby Digital Plus
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Tizen OS

JVC LT-55CF890 Fire TV Edition 55-Inch TV

The best cheap 55-inch TV
JVC LT-55CF890 Fire TV Edition 55-Inch TV

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If your budget is tight, then the JVC Fire TV Edition is here to offer endless entertainment and 4K images for well under £500. Basically, this is a TV with a built-in Amazon Fire TV Stick, with Amazon Prime TV shows, channels and movies being presented front and centre for easy navigation. Other streaming services, like Netflix, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer, are accessed via apps. Voice control is available via Amazon Alexa. Whether streaming or watching live TV, the visual experience will all be in 4K, with the screen doing a nice job of keeping things crisp. The sound and the picture doesn't have the refinement found on more expensive units, but for the price, it can't really be beaten. Note: Prime membership is required to stream the Prime content.

Pros: Affordable access to endless streaming

Cons: Visual and audio performance is basic

Specifications
Screen: 55-inch 4K UHD, HDR10, 50Hz
Connections: HDMI x4, Composite x1, USB x2
Audio: Built-in speakers
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Fire TV

Sony BRAVIA XR55A84JU 55-Inch OLED TV

The best Sony OLED
Sony BRAVIA XR55A84JU 55-Inch OLED TV

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The BRAVIA XR55 is an exceptional television. The OLED screen delivers a vivid and deep image, full of energy, life and accurate colouring. The Cognitive Processor XR does great things to optimise the image for the best possible viewing experience, and XR Motion Clarity processes motion to reduce blur and keep fast content pin-sharp. The Cognitive processor is also adept at handling audio, working to produce life-like and organic sound from the speakers (which are mounted behind the screen for an improved sense of direction). Other features include 3D audio upscaling, IMAX Enhanced tech and VRR for gaming.

Pros: Brilliant features, audio and image quality

Cons: Expensive and poorly placed HDMI ports for wall mounting

Specifications
Screen: 55-inch 4K UHD, OLED, Dolby Vision, HDR10, 120Hz, VRR
Connections: HDMI x4, Composite x1, USB x3
Audio: Acoustic Surface Audio+, 3D Surround Upscaling
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Google TV

What size TV do I need?

Only you can answer this question after balancing up your budget, requirement, and available space. However, one thing we can tell you about is the recommended viewing distances.

Here’s a rough guide to give you an idea of the minimum distance you should have from your TV:

40-inches - 80 inches (6.7 feet)

50-inches - 100 inches (8.3 feet)

55-inches - 108 inches (9 feet)

60-inches - 120 inches (10 feet)

75-inches - 150 inches (12.5 feet)

Screen Resolution guide:

HD: 1280×720

Full HD: 1920×1080

Ultra HD/4K: 3840×2160

What is 4K?

Smart TVs have resolutions with approximately a 4,000 horizontal pixel count. Put simply, screens give you the pixels, HDR takes care of making them look good.

What’s the difference between 4K and Ultra HD?

There is no difference. These two interchangeable terms refer to the same TV resolution - 3840×2160. This pixel resolution count is four times higher than standard HD screens, with 8.3 million pixels working across the screen. This means clearer, accurate images.

What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?

High Dynamic Range smart TVs can reach brighter and darker colours than regular HD TVs. This means the picture on-screen appears more like a real-life image.

What’s HDR and HDR10+?

HDR works to get as much light, crispness, and depth into your picture. Whites are brighter and blacks are darker. It offers a huge range of over one billion colours. HDR10+ is an extension of this, but through the use of metadata creates an even more refined picture.

What is Dolby Vision?

Dolby Vision is Dolby’s HDR and HRD10+.

What is an LED screen?

LED stands for light-emitting diode. These LEDs react when an electrical current passes through them. LED screens use a backlight to provide the image.

What's OLED?

With OLED, the pixels produce their own light which gives greater accuracy to the image. If you're interested in this, make sure you check out our best OLED TVs guide.

What’s QLED?

Samsung does not make OLED TVs, they make QLED. QLED is a Samsung property that replaces Liquid Crystals (found in LCD) and replaces them with Quantum dots, which Samsung says offers a much more vibrant colour display and sharper images. QLED technology does tend to make a TV cheaper than its OLED competitor. Make sure you take a look at our best QLED TVs roundup.

What can a smart TV do?

A smart TV is a television that can connect to the internet. They’re typically pre-loaded with a selection* of recognisable on-demand catch-up apps, such as BBC iPlayer, All 4, and ITV Hub, and subscription services such as Amazon Prime Video or Netflix.

A smart TV will also allow the user access to other internet services, such as news apps, weather services, internet browsers, and social media apps like Facebook. Some models also offer additional features, such as Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio connections, and smartphone and tablet connections.

Devices like the Amazon Fire Stick simulate a smart TV function, allowing standard HD TVs to access apps and the internet.

*The selection of apps available pre-loaded or available to download may differ between smart TV manufacturers and models, so it’s worth double-checking the model you’re considering.

Is it worth buying a smart TV?

If you’re someone who loves to watch TV, then a smart TV is likely to be worth it. The internet connection offers up plentiful access to free and paid-for subscription content via apps, whenever you want it.

What are the best apps for a smart TV?

In our opinion, the best apps are the ones that offer you the best entertainment choices, the most useful features, and reliable quality of service. Here’s what we recommend:

Netflix – The pioneering subscription service that changed TV and film. The Netflix app allows you to access thousands of titles, both existing and original exclusive productions. The app is reliable and simple to use, and there are several subscription tiers available.

Amazon Prime Video – Another top-quality subscription service, offering an array of films and TV shows. Prime Video often has a great selection of the latest movie releases and offers you the option to purchase or rent other titles that may not be included in your subscription. If you subscribe to this service, you’ll automatically get access to Amazon’s Prime delivery service and basic music streaming package.

BBC iPlayer – This on-demand catch-up app gives you access to the best of the BBC. Programs and films are available to watch for up to 30 days after their original broadcast, and you can restart and rewind live programs. You’ll also have access to a large back catalogue of BBC programming. You’ll need a TV license to use this service.

All 4 – All 4 is Channel 4’s answer to the BBC’s iPlayer. The content included covers Channel 4, E4, More 4 and Vice TV. The back catalogue available on the app will allow you to comfortably binge on comedies, dramas, quirky documentaries, and reality shows. This is a free service, but you’ll have to sit through the occasional advert break.

Other - YouTube, Spotify, and Disney+ are also three of our favourites.

There’s a huge array of other apps out there, offering great services and features – we just consider the above to be an excellent combination. Depending on personal preference, you could easily supplement this selection with the weather, social media, news, and music applications.

For these features to work, you’ll need an internet connection via WiFi or Ethernet connection with a reliable broadband connection and high-to-unlimited data limits. Apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Spotify Premium will require a subscription fee and will not allow you to access content without signing up.

What is Freeview Play?

Freeview Play is a free service* that combines on-demand and catch-up television streaming into one place, allowing you to browse forward to what’s upcoming, and backward to see shows from the previous week.

*If included with your smart TV software, otherwise a set-top box may be purchased for a one-time fee

Do smart TVs have Bluetooth?

Smart TVs usually come with a Bluetooth feature, though some may not. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer.

Bluetooth is a great feature for a smart TV to have, as it allows you to connect wireless audio devices, like speakers, headphones, and hearing aids, or other peripheral devices like keyboards.

Can I pair my phone to my smart TV?

This depends on the TV brand and model, phone brand and model, available screen-mirroring apps, and available Bluetooth connections. However, as technology improves, more and more smart TVs are capable of being paired with a smartphone.

Smart TVs with Google Chromecast in-built can mirror content from both Android and iOS devices.

Some smart TVs come with a feature called something similar to ‘Screen Mirror’ or ‘Wireless Display’, which pairs with a smartphone via an installed app. This then shows your phone screen on the TV, which is great for viewing photos, videos, or video chats.

There’s also app-to-app pairing, which will allow you to control a TV app with your phone, but not the TV itself – for example, you can browse Netflix’s catalogue on your phone app for Stranger Things, select it, and then tell it to play via the TV app.

If you’re truly set on regularly displaying your phone on a smart TV for extended periods, another method is to manually hook the phone up via an HDMI cable and adaptor.

Can I listen to my smart TV with wireless headphones?

If you’ve got wireless Bluetooth headphones and your smart TV has Bluetooth, then the answer is yes. Just be aware that the range on the connection may be limited to a radius of a few meters, so depending on your setup you might have to sit closer to your TV. Due to the idiosyncratic nature of some Bluetooth headphones and TVs, if you’re in doubt that your planned set-up will work, check with the manufactures.

If you plan on regularly listening to your smart TV via wireless headphones, it would be worth considering purchasing a dedicated entertainment wireless headset with a transmitter, as they tend to have a great range, with some models even accepting multiple headsets.

William Lobley is a Content Writer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming, and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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