50 inch TV Reviews – Best Guide for 48 inch and 50 inch 4k TV for Sale – Buy a 48″ or 50″ Smart, Flat Screen Television with Confidence!
Smaller 4K UHD TVs are generally less recommendable as home entertainment systems for really enjoying the format because 4K resolution, at least when enjoyed at normal viewing distances of 7 to 10 feet looks much better and creates more impact on a larger screen. From an optimal or normal viewing distance of about 8 feet, 4K resolution tends to look almost identical to Full HD if content in either pixel format has been well formatted and the TV in question (4K UHD or HD) is working optimally.
However, this isn’t to say that we don’t recommend smaller 48 to 50 inch 4K TVs for those of you who are indecisive about 4K vs sticking with Full HD. Quite the contrary. For starters, with a smaller 48 to 50 inch 4K TV you can know that while not necessarily highly notable, the extra resolution on the screen is indeed there, and if you want to move closer to your TV for whatever reason or have it installed in a small space, you’ll definitely start to see the extra sharpness.
Furthermore, as the new, cutting-edge technology, 4K in TVs is where all the cool additional technologies are going. HDR (high dynamic range) isn’t even available in Full HD televisions and much of the same applies to a number of other display features like enhanced (usually quantum dot) color and backlighting features.
In other words, resolution aside, a high quality 4K TV like the ones we’re about to cover will definitely offer up some powerful and very visible advantages over even a great Full HD display.
The 6 Best 50 inch 4K TVs of 2016
Now, without further ado, let’s get down to the meat of this guide. The following are the six best 48 to 50 inch 4K TVs across the board on the current market. This list will also undergo updates as newer and possibly better 48-50 inch models emerge later but for what’s available for sale at the time of this writing, you simply cannot go wrong with the following. All of the following TVs come with a native 120Hz refresh rate unless otherwise stated in a description.
You’ll note that Samsung models predominate in this size range. This is not out of a bias on our part in favor of the brand, it’s simply a reflection of the fact that the other brands don’t cover the 50 inch range with models we thought were good enough to be included.
Also be sure to click on the links in the listed TVs titles for our comprehensive review of each specific model
Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TVs are definitely something to behold and for LCD 4K HDR TVs in 2016, they make up what we consider to be the best overall models in each of the size ranges they appear for. This definitely includes the 49 inch KS8500 curved 4K HDR TV that was released this year.
With the best luminosity and black level specs in this size category, the KS8500 delivers full UHD Alliance Ultra HD Premium certification which means peak brightness of at least 1100 nits and black levels that are deep and truly rich at 0.05 nits or more. Along withe these specs, the KS8500 also delivers some stunning 10-bit color, the 2016 version of quantum dot nanocrystal technology and a revamped version of the excellent 2015 Tizen smart TV platform that’s even better than it was last year, with more access to streaming media apps, greater user friendliness and some new, fine tweaks to its overall interface and navigation options.
The curvature in the KS8500 may be a bit pointless but this TV shines despite this minor gimmick and is easily the best 2016 LCD 4K TV in the 49 inch size range.
With the release of their new 2016 SUHD 4K TVs, Samsung has broken new barriers in display quality across a range of different specs. From the most affordable in the series such as the KS8000 to the flagship KS-Series models, all offer some very impressive color, contrast, brightness and black levels across the board.
The KS8000 itself is the lest expensive of these new SUHD models but despite that it delivers a picture quality superior to that found in all but the flagship SUHD TV from 2015, the JS9500. With that, what you get with this model is full UHD Alliance Ultra HD Premium certification and all the specs that come with that, including 1100 nits or more of peak brightness, deep rich black levels, a contrast ratio like almost nothing seen in any edge-lit 2015 LCD 4K TVand full-blown 10-bit color which beats even that found in the 2015 SUHD models.
Furthermore, the 2016 version of the already excellent Tizen smart TV OS has undergone some moderate but key renovations for even better user friendliness, a new, easier to navigate layout and more access to 4K media apps than ever before. If you want a top-notch but relatively affordable HDR 4K TV for 2016, the KS8000 is one of your best options.
Vizio’s 2016 P-Series 4K HDR TVs are a major step up from any of the company’s 2015 4K TVs except the Reference Series and are a definite improvement on the excellent for their year 2014 P-Series TV models.
In 2016, Vizio has taken the P-Series brand name and refined it so superb heights, with some of the best HDR specs we’ve seen to-date in any LCD 4K TV (beaten out by Samsung’s SUHD TVs for this year by a close margin). This means excellent peak brightness which often exceeds 1100 nits and black levels that are just stunning at 0.05 nits or less, with accompanying contrast levels which are downright stunning. The P-Series 2016 models also offer 10-bit color and offer access to both Dolby Vision and HDR10 (UHD Alliance HDR standards) high dynamic range quality. In terms of their display, these are some excellent 4K TVs and aside from the color and dynamic range features, they also manage some superb motion control and non-4K content upscaling specs.
Most importantly of all though, the 2016 P-Series 4K TVs come with Vizio’s superb new SmartCast mobile device-based smart TV app, which can be used either from the included 6 inch Android tablet or accessed through a download from any compatible mobile phone or tablet. SmartCast fucntions as both TV mreote control and apps streaming hub for all of the P-Series TVs smart functionality features.
Samsung’s JS9000 4K SUHD TV has by many been argued as the best 4K TV from Samsung of 2015 and one of the three best 4K TVs of the year as well. For now at least, it still retains these claims and offers the excellent specs to prove it. While the 48 inch model doesn’t quite offer some of the top-shelf specs of the larger 65 inch edition, it comes with spectacular color gamut coverage thanks to its quantum dot nanocrystal technology and also includes the benefit of UHD Alliance certified “Premium UHD” specs for HDR and other display characteristics. With excellent contrast, superb brightness and some fantastic color accuracy, the JS9000 promises a viewing experience for both 4K and non-4K content that cannot be matched by a conventional HD TV of any kind.
Again, we get the benefit of Samsung’s excellent Tizen smart TV platform and a full host of connectivity specs for viewing 4K content from the widest possible array of sources on the 48JS9000.
Samsung’s JU7500 4K UHD TV doesn’t belong to the company’s SUHD line of color enhanced and HDR equipped 4K TVs but it’s definitely their best “conventional” 4K TV model across the board. With superb performance in color accuracy, contrast and some of the best motion control and very decent judder management performance we’ve seen in any Samsung non-SUHD 4K TV, the JU7500 is a true winner for gamers and fans of fast paced action video in native or upscaled 4K resolution. Contrast in this TV is superb and its performance at rendering deep, rich blacks definitely takes the cake in this class. Furthermore, we absolutely love the upscaling engine in the JU7500. It does a superior job of upscaling 480p and 720p content while offering excellent upscaling of Full HD video from any source (particularly Blu-ray disc formats). As for native 4K content reproduction, it’s excellent.
All core connectivity specs are present in the JU7500 and it even offer HDR-ready HDMI ports due to Samsung firmware update in late 2015.
Samsung’s JU7100 is the second best non-SUHD 4K TV of the company’s 2015 lineup and its display specs bear this out nicely. Some reviewers have considered this TV to be even better than the JU7500 we mention above but even if there’s some disagreement on this from us, the JU7100 is one superb model. With excellent contrast performance and full-array LED backlighting in the larger versions, the JU7100 also delivers exceptional brightness and while we wouldn’t exactly call it HDR-capable, Samsung did include a late 2015 firmware update for high dynamic range capacity in the TV. Featuring Samsung’s excellent Tizen OS ans Smart Hub platform, the JU7100 delivers access to the full range of 4K and non-4Kmedia apps as well as complete web browsing capacity. Furthermore, all the core connectivity specs are present as well as compatibility with both HEVC and VP9 4K video codecs.
The contrast delivered by the JU7100 is if anything even better than that of the JU7500 and its motion control features are decent to great, with very solid performance during fast action sequences. Color accuracy on the UN50JU7100 is also superb, while color gamut coverage is decent, though not as good as what we’ve seen in the Samsung SUHD models.
Once again the Sony X800D makes an appearance in our 4K TV size guides and with good reason. Just like its even more compact 43 inch cousin, the 49 inch model delivers some excellent performance at a superb price tag. This is perhaps one of the most affordable 49 inch HDR 4K TVs with full wide color gamut and 10-bit color support on sale today and we can’t help but love its overall high quality and other premium features. The X800D offers the same top-shelf Sony Android TV smart platform, the same high-end processing engine and the same upscaling specs as many of its top-shelf cousins, but it manages to deliver these specs for a much smaller price tag.
Furthermore, in terms of overall display performance, this is not at all a bad piece of HDR technology, with some excellent motion handling, great overall display performance and very decent black levels. On the negative side, the X800D only offers 60Hz refresh in its display and we think its peak brightness could definitely use a bit of improvement.
As the successors to the 2015 Samsung JU-Series models mentioned above, the new KU-Series 4K TVs are actually in many ways not quite as solid performers as their 2015 counterparts, but this doesn’t mean that they’re by any means bad 4K TVs. Quite the contrary in fact, the KU7000 and its curved but otherwise completely identical twin the KU7500 re both some of the best mid-range 2016 HDR television models sold today. Their single strongest set of features is their excellent overall black performance, which is only marred by a lack of local dimming technology of any kind. This aside the KU7000/KU7500 models offer HDR10 support and full HDR color in particular, supporting both DCI-P3 Wide Color gamut with more than 92% of DCI color displayable on the screen and 10-bit deep color gradation, meaning that they can display more than 1.07 billion shades of RGB color in their pixel arrays.
On the other hand, in the KU-Series models, Samsung forgot to include a couple extra connectivity ports for HDMI and USB that were present in the 2015 JU-Series TVs and the KU7000/7500 doesn’t come even close to offering the peak brightness of its Samsung SUHD cousins for this year. However, this is one wonderfully affordable 4K TV with some superb display performance and definitely one of the top 2016 50 inch TV offerings.
All newer model 4K TVs, regardless of size, will offer mostly the same connectivity essentials across the board. Some brands and models may include an extra HDMI port, or come with HDMI 2.0a instead of the older HDMI 2.0, or possibly come with more 4K video compression technology options but what you’ll get in any 4K TV on sale in 2016, from older 2015 models to the latest televisions consists of the following core essentials:
HDMI: When it comes to 4K UHD TVs in particular, HDMI is the de facto lead connectivity technology for most of your content supply from external devices. All modern models of 4K televisions, from OLED to LCD TVs and regardless of price, come with at least three HDMI ports built into them. It is via these ports that you’ll connect external media devices like set-top boxes, media players, gaming consoles and Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray players to your TV. For 4K at a smooth 60 frames per second, all 4K TVs built in the last couple of years at least come with HDMI 2.0 ports, instead of the older HDMI 1.4 connections which are more suited for Full HD video.
Furthermore, as of recently HDMI 2.0a, a firmware update to existing HDMI 2.0 ports has also come into place on many televisions, Like Sony’s 2015/2016 4K models and all newer Samsung SUHD and 4K UHD sets. HDMI 2.0a allows for delivery of 4K video with HDR encoding integrated into it.
USB: USB is the standard connectivity technology for low intensity peripheral devices like smartphones, tablets and external memory units. Again, it’s integral to all modern 4K TVs and at least a couple of USB 2.0 or more powerful USB 3.0ports will be found on any 4K model worth its salt. However, USB connections cannot be used to transmit 4K video feeds from any external device. They lack the bandwidth for this.
Internet Connectivity: Internet connectivity through Ethernet cable is what delivers hardline internet access to a 4K television and without it, the vast majority of modern smart TV platforms would be mostly useless, particularly when it comes to their media apps and streaming 4K video sources. The Ethernet connection to your 4K TV is absolutely crucial for effective access to streamed movies, shows and music as well as for access to the web browsing features most 4K TV smart platforms offer today.
However, if 4K video over Ethernet (through your home internet connection) is what you want, connectivity speeds to your home will have to be of at least 10 to 15Mbps, at a bare minimum, and would ideally have a speed of at least 20Mbps. 4K video won’t effectively stream over anything weaker than these with current video compression technologies like HEVC (H.265) and VP9.
Thus, also keep in mind that any 4K TV you buy, of any size, should also come with compatibility with both HEVC, VP9 and even more importantly, HDCP 2.2 content copy protection technology. Without access to these specs, a 4K TV will not work with a majority of existing ultra HD entertainment sources. Luckily, virtually all modern 4K TVs offer all three of the above specs.
Finally, we should briefly mention WiFi. It’s not quite up to the task of streaming 4K content from one device in your home to the other, but it is useful for mirroring non-4K content from smartphones and tablets to the 4K TV and vice versa. This is useful for sharing videos and also enjoying them through the giant upscaled display of the TV screen instead of on a tiny mobile device.
Smart TV Platforms
All major 4K TV brands offer smart TV functionality of one caliber or another on their 4K TVs regardless of model. This is one of the oldest 4K TV features in existence and it’s crucial for access to the streaming content apps we mentioned above and their entertainment. Sony 4K TVs come with Google’s own Android TV smart OS, LG models come with the company’s superb WebOS 3.0 smart platform (the recent replacement to the also excellent WebOS 2.0) and with Samsung 4K models you get your hands on the company’s Tizen smart platform. Other 4K Television brands all offer their own versions of the same essential technology, with smart platforms such as Firefox TV in Panasonic’s 4K UHD televisions and Vizio’s SmartCast mobile device-based Platform.
While the different smart platforms of different brands vary due to a lack of complete standardization (a good thing in many ways), they will all at least feature: built in WiFi, media apps access, a user interface with home menu and the ability to navigate streamed content and content from connected media devices, and adjustment menu options.
The best smart platforms on the market also come with features like gesture and voice control and a majority of smart platforms include full web browsing capacity.
Currently, the three best smart TV platforms we’ve reviewed are LG’s WebOS, Samsung’s Tizen Smart Hub platform and Sony’s Android TV platform, with Vizio’s new SmartCast mobile device smart TV platform coming in at a close fourth position.
Upscaling and Native 4K viewing
Obviously, all 4K TVs will offer the ability to display native 4K content from a variety of sources, both streamed and from external media devices like 4K Blu-ray players, 4K cameras and set-top boxes of assorted types. This content feeds into the 4K TV either via Ethernet as streaming video or from a hard copy or external streaming media source through HDMI 2.0. Native content display quality will vary from 4K TV to 4K TV and among brand names but for the TVs on this list, the best in their size class, this shouldn’t be a problem.
As for upscaling, it’s the process by which a 4K TV takes non-4K content like HD streams and DVD movies, and then reprocesses it through specialized internal algorithms to create a picture quality that looks sharper and more like native 4K. This is a crucial feature for any 4K TV worth its salt since most content in the current market isn’t native 4K and upscaling technology is what makes a 4K TV worth using even if you can’t access native resolution entertainment. Fortunately, all of the Top 5 TVs on this list offer great or even fantastic upscaling capacities for a range of different non-4K resolutions.
HDR technology is also a crucial feature of the leading 2016 4K TVs in the 48-50 inch range. With high dynamic range, display quality takes a major leap upward and the 2016 standards for HDR that the top four 4K TVs in this list have adopted are considerably better than what we saw of this technology in 2015. For an even more detailed breakdown of how the HDR technology in 4K UHD OLED and LCD TVs works, check out our guide to high dynamic range for a complete overview.
Other Display Features
Many 4K TVs, and particularly those that are the top of their brands line, offer further display technologies for superior picture quality. These often include high dynamic range in the display, superior contrast, augmented color gamuts and faster than normal refresh rates of 120Hz instead of the slower 50 to 60Hz. Once again, the majority of the TVs listed below offer at least one of these technologies, be it HDR or expanded color through technologies such as quantum dot nanocrystals or colored phosphors.
In addition to all of the above, there is also the new level of high dynamic range technology which has become a standard feature of most 2016 49 inch or larger 4K LCD TVs. More than any other display technology in this years 4K televisions, HDR does the most to deliver stunning picture quality across the board. For a much deeper rundown of how high dynamic range works, check out our deep guide on the technology.
These technologies without a doubt further add to the value of a high quality 4K TV like those below and they’re what’s largely responsible for making the viewing experience on even smaller 4K TVs like these 48-50 inch models so deeply superior to that of a comparably sized high quality HDTV.
Backlighting and Local Dimming
Backlighting in 4K ultra HD televisions can basically be divided into two different technologies: OLED and LCD/LED. For a highly comprehensive review of how these differ from each other and which is best, check out our OLED vs. LCD page here.
However, in basic terms, OLED is the superior lighting technology by which pixels in the screen itself provide their own light for visual elements on the display, and LCD, the slightly to highly inferior technology, generates illumination and contrast by activating arrays of LEDs behind an LCD display in the TV screen. These LED arrays can be of the best kind, called full-array LED backlighting and involve dozens or even hundreds of specific dimming and brightness zones or they can be designed so that lines of LEDs are places only along the edges of a 4K TVs screen, with rather imprecise “local” dimming delivering darkness or light horizontally from the TV bezel inwards.
None of the 60 inch models we’re covering here offer OLED technology (which currently belongs only to select premium LG and Panasonic 4K TVs) but some of them do offer full-array LED backlighting and others only edge-lit LED arrays.