48-49-50 inch TV sizes are becoming more uncommon. In recent years, only a few of the TVs we've tested are available in a 48-50 inch size, while the 55 inch size is a lot more popular. However, you can still find some great TVs if you have limited space.
We've tested over 70 TVs in the past two years, but not all are available in these sizes. Below are our recommendations for the best 48-49-50 inch TVs. See also our recommendations for the best smart TVs, best TVs for PS5, and best TVs for Xbox Series X.
The best 48 inch TV with an OLED panel that we've tested is the LG OLED48CXPUB. With its OLED technology, it doesn't have a backlight, and it individually turns off pixels, resulting in perfect blacks, which is ideal for watching movies in the dark. It also delivers a stunning overall picture quality with wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate when viewing from the sides.
It's really well-built with a sleek design that looks great in any setting. It has great out-of-the-box color accuracy and an extremely wide color gamut for HDR content. It's outstanding for gaming because it has a fast 120Hz refresh rate, FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support, a near-instant response time, and a low input lag. It's future-proof with four HDMI 2.1 slots, and its built-in speakers are good for a TV, ideal if you don't want to buy a soundbar. We tested the 48 inch model as a monitor, and you can see the review here.
Unfortunately, like all OLEDs, it has the risk of a permanent burn-in, so it's not ideal to use as a computer monitor as static interfaces can damage it. Regardless, we shouldn't expect this to be an issue with people who watch varied content. Luckily, it also upscales lower-resolution content, such as from DVDs or Blu-ray players, without any issues. All in all, most people should be happy with it.
The best 49 inch TV with an LED panel that we've tested is the Sony XBR49X950H. It's a high-end model with great overall performance and excellent picture quality. It's impressive for watching movies or TV shows, but it lacks many gaming features. The out-of-the-box color accuracy is excellent, and although this may vary between units, Sony TVs are known for their good accuracy before any type of calibration.
The 49 inch model doesn't have the 'X-Wide Angle' technology like the 55 inch model we tested. This means it doesn't have wide viewing angles, but it's expected to have a much better contrast ratio, possibly similar to the Sony X900H, but we don't know for sure. It has a good full-array local dimming feature and excellent black uniformity, so it performs best in dark rooms. It has excellent peak brightness and outstanding reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be an issue in well-it rooms either.
Unfortunately, it's not the most ideal choice for competitive gaming. Despite having a 120Hz panel, it doesn't have any variable refresh rate support. Also, the input lag may be too high for some competitive gaming, but it should be fine for casual gamers. On the plus side, HDR content looks great because of its excellent gradient handling and wide color gamut. All things considered, if you don't mind the lack of gaming features, you should be pleased with this one.
The best 49 inch TV for a wide seating arrangement that we've tested is the LG 49NANO85UNA. It's an IPS panel TV that provides decent viewing angles so that images remain accurate when viewed from the side, making it a good choice for watching a big game with a large group of people. It has impressive reflection handling, but it doesn't get very bright, so it's better suited for a moderately-lit room. It upscales lower resolution content well, and it has good color accuracy out of the box.
The response time is good, and there's also an optional Black Frame Insertion feature that can help improve motion clarity, resulting in only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. It has a 120Hz refresh rate and can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps to make motion look smoother, otherwise known as the 'Soap Opera' effect. It has low input lag and HDMI 2.1 ports, which is great for those with consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X; however, its advertised variable refresh rate support isn't functional at this time.
Unfortunately, while its IPS panel provides wide viewing angles, it does come at the cost of a lower contrast ratio, which means that blacks appear gray in the dark. Also, it doesn't get bright enough to make highlights stand out in HDR, and its edge-lit local dimming feature performs terribly. Nonetheless, if you need a TV with wide viewing angles, this one is worth checking out.
The best 50 inch TV in the budget category that we've tested is the Hisense 50H8G. It sits below the Hisense H9G in their 2020 lineup and offers good overall performance that competes with more expensive options. It's fairly well-built and has a nice, borderless design. It's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and doesn't support VRR, but most gamers should appreciate its quick response time and low input lag.
It has a VA panel with an excellent contrast ratio and a decent full-array local dimming feature that improves the contrast. It also has decent black uniformity, so it's a great choice for watching movies in dark rooms. Even in bright settings, it has decent reflection handling and great peak brightness, so visibility shouldn't be an issue. It supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for HDR content, displays a wide color gamut, but it doesn't get extremely bright in HDR, so some highlights may not pop the way they're supposed to.
Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, which is expected from a VA panel, and its out-of-the-box color accuracy is just okay, but this may vary between units. The built-in Android TV can feel a bit laggy, and it's not the easiest to navigate, but there's a massive selection of apps available to download. Regardless of these small problems, you're getting a good model for a low cost, making it the best 50 inch TV in the budget category that we've tested.
If you want a TV that's better suited for gaming, check out the Vizio M50Q7-H1. It's very similar to the Hisense H8G as it also has a VA panel with a high contrast ratio and good motion handling. However, it supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, which helps minimize screen tearing when gaming. It has a higher contrast ratio to produce deeper blacks and better accuracy out of the box. Unfortunately, while it has a significantly better HDR color gamut, it doesn't get as bright, so highlights don't pop as much in HDR content. Also, its SmartCast platform has fewer apps available because Vizio doesn't have an app store.
Overall, the Hisense is a better choice due to its higher peak brightness and better smart interface. However, if you want VRR support for a better gaming experience, then go with the Vizio.
12/23/2020: Removed TCL 5 Series 2020 QLED, moved Vizio M50Q7-H1 to 'Gaming Alternative' for Hisense H8G.
12/04/2020: Removed the Samsung Q80T; named the Sony X950H as 'Best LED' and added the Vizio M7 as the alternate; renamed the LG CX to 'Best OLED'.
10/09/2020: Replaced the TCL 5 Series 2019 with the 5 Series 2020; removed the Samsung Q60T and moved the Sony X950H in its spot as 'Best HDR'; added the Samsung Q80T.
09/10/2020: Added the Samsung Q60T as 'Best Gaming'.
07/14/2020: Complete restructuring. Added the LG CX and NANO85, the Sony X950H, and the Hisense H8G; removed the Samsung Q80T and Q70R, Hisense H8F, LG UM7300, and TCL 4 Series.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 48-50 inch televisions to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our 48-49-50 inch TV reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.