50 inch TV Reviews – Best Guide for 49 inch – 50 inch 4K TVs for Sale – Buy a 49″ or 50″ Smart, Flat Screen Television with Confidence!
Stephan Jukic – Updated November 22, 2017
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 7 Best 50 inch 4K TVs of 2017 / 2018
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
1. Sony XBR 50X900E 4K UHD HDR LCD TV: 50 Inch Model
Sony’s X900E is one of the truly outstanding 4K HDR TVs of 2017 in almost every way that counts. It not only comes with virtually all of the premium specs offered by the brand’s top-shelf X930E and X940E models (including multi-zone local dimming and full HDR support), it also manages to stay amazingly affordable for its quality despite everything it will give you. This model produces stunningly vibrant and rich high dynamic range colors, excellent across-the-board motion handling specs and some truly superb console gaming functionality while also being a great all-around home theater platform for pretty much any kind of 4K HDR or SDR, non-4K content. We almost can’t recommend the X900E enough for its price and rich specs. The 50 inch model being mentioned here is also excellently priced with a tag of under $900 at the time of this writing. Practically the only thing that Sony didn’t include in the X900E which do come in its more expensive cousins is support for Dolby Vision HDR, but this is a minor detail since most content doesn’t support the format either quite yet. If you’re on the market for a 49 to 50 inch television model, the X900E is just about the best offer in existence right now.
2. Samsung KS8000 2016 4K HDR SUHD TV: 49 Inch Model
With the release of their 2016 SUHD 4K TVs, Samsung broke new barriers in display quality across a range of different specs and especially on peak TV brightness. 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 the still fantastic 2016 SUHD models but despite that it delivers a picture quality superior to that found in all but the flagship SUHD TV from 2016, the KS9800. Furthermore, in terms of peak brightness, it’s still a better performer than even some of Samsung’s 2017 QLED replacement models. 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 that’s fantastic by the standards of any LCD 4K TV and full-blown 10-bit color for display of high dynamic range content.
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 now slightly more affordable HDR 4K TV from 2016, the KS8000 is one of your best options.
3. Vizio P-Series 2017 XLED 4K UHD HDR TV: 50 inch model
Vizio’s 2017 P-Series “XLED” 4K HDR TVs are a major step up from any of the company’s 2016 4K versions only in terms of a redesigned smart TV platform.As far as their actual display specs are concerned, these models are however identical to their 2016 versions. This is however a good thing because the 2016 Vizio P-Series was one of the best LCD 4K HDR TVs of that year, so you’re getting the same exact picture quality once again but with an even better interface working inside it.
What exactly makes the P-Series so great? Well, these models offer some of the best overall display performance you’ll find in a 4K TV at their price range. Full-array LED backlighting with multi-zone local dimming is their single strongest feature and it works to create some of the best and most precise contrast in video that you’ll see in a 4K TV as affordable as the P-Series models. This is further augmented by other picture quality specs that include full high dynamic range support for both Dolby Vision and HDR10 (UHD Alliance HDR standards), excellent motion handling specs and one very solid high performance smart TV platform with access to numerous streaming media apps. In terms of their display, The Vizio P-Series 4K HDR LCD TVs basically continue to offer some of the highest value per dollar spent that you can find among this year’s 4K TV models.
4. Samsung UN49MU8000 4K UHD HDR LCD TV: 49 Inch Model
Samsung released its MU-Series 4K HDR LCD TVs as the replacements for the 2016 KU-Series mid-range 4K TVs for buyers who don’t want to quite spend on the high prices that the QLED televisions go for. However, in a neat twist, the 2017 MU-Series mid-range TVs offer remarkably high-end specs and almost entirely premium performance to a degree that their 2016 KU-Series counterparts simply didn’t match. In other words, the MU8000 delivers almost all of the same high quality specs as a QLED 4K TV and only underperforms its much more expensive cousins very slightly on color and brightness. Oddly, its local dimming as good as that of the QLED models and this particular Samsung 4K HDR TV offers superior contrast to any QLED televsion model we’ve reviewed. It also offers superb motion handling, is an excellent gaming 4K TV and can function very smoothly as a PC monitor. For these reasons it takes our third place spot. Impressive overall. Most of all, for its price, the MU8000 offers some phenomenal value as a high end home theater system and the 49 inch model is particularly nicely priced for year end. We should also note that while the larger 55 inch and up MU8000 models offer native 120Hz refresh, the 49 inch version ranked here comes with only a 60Hz panel. Despite this, it still offers almost the same quality of motion handling across the board. Most content does not play back at above 60Hz anyhow.
5. Samsung MU7000 4K UHD HDR TV: 49 Inch Model
Samsung’s MU7000 sits at the mid-point between the premium quality of the MU8000 or above and the more budget-oriented specs of the MU6300. As such it falls pretty evenly between the two televisions in terms of how it performs. This of course makes it into one really solid semi-premium 4K HDR TV with the sort of specs you need for the essentials of watching 4K HDR content and ordinary stuff from cable or streaming sources. Like both the MU8000 and MU6300, the MU7000 comes with superbly deep rich black levels, extremely high contrast and very smooth, powerful connectivity for extremely low input lag during 4K HDR gaming or console gaming of any kind. Also like the MU8000 in particular, this model comes with full HDR color (wide color gamut and 10-bit color). On the other hand, like the MU6300, it lacks local dimming of any kind and only offers a native 60Hz refresh rate. Despite this, the MU7000 handles motion from even fast-paced content sources like sports and action movies very decently. Basically, we recommend it very highly as a gaming 4K HDR TV or as a semi-premium starter television. The 49 inch model here is sized perfectly for a small living room or den, or for a bedroom/gaming studio.
6. Samsung UN50MU6300 4K UHD HDR LCD TV: 50 Inch Model
The MU6300 is the Samsung MU8000 model’s (listed right above) cheaper and somewhat more modest cousin. It lacks the native 120Hz refresh rate of the MU8000, with only a 60Hz display panel but despite these minor weaknesses, this is still one wonderful budget 4K HDR TV. The MU6300 doesn’t deliver the absolute best of full HDR support since it’s not quite as bright as the models above but it still packs solid screen luminosity, a great capacity for 10-bit color rendering (a key ingredient of HDR color vibrancy) and one truly excellent contrast ratio with deep, rich black uniformity. The MU6300, like pretty much all of Samsung’s 2017 4K HDR TVs, also works wonderfully as a gaming console TV, with excellent low input lag and support for numerous variations of HDR, 4K resolution, HD resolution and color sampling formats. You can check out the further details of these and numerous other specs for this model in our in-depth review link below. There are slightly better LCD 4K HDR TVs at similar prices to the MU6300 but not in the 49-50 inch range. Overall, this model packs lots of value for its size and cost.
7. Sony XBR-49X800E 4K UHD HDR LCD TV: 49 Inch Model
Sony’x X800E is one of the smallest and most affordable of this brand’s 4K HDR TVs. The 43 Inch model is one that we also ranked well in our guide to 40 – 45 inch 4K TVs, here and now the 49 inch version deserves a solid mention in our number 6 spot. We rank the X800E slightly on the low side mainly because it comes with an IPS display panel, which results in low contrast ratio and weak black levels. Because this 4K HDR TV lacks local dimming, the weak blacks do indeed affect its performance somewhat. That said, the X800E is one fine low budget 4K televsion, with full HDR color delivery, some very good motion handling despite a native 60Hz display refresh rate and a robust smart TV package that’s as good as anything you’ll find in Sony’s premium televisions such as the X900E that takes our tops spot in this guide. We think Samsung’s MU6300 and MU7000 are better overall televisions and they certainly handle black levels and contrast far better but if you’re a Sony fan, the X800E is one very affordable choice.
Bonus: Samsung KU7000 4K UHD HDR TV: 49 Inch 2016 Model
The KU7000 and its curved but otherwise completely identical twin the KU7500 may be 2016 models but they were both some of the best mid-range 2016 HDR television models which still widely sell 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 and premium QLED cousins for 2017. However, this is still one wonderfully affordable 4K TV with some superb display performance and definitely one of the top 2016 49-50 inch TV offerings that still carries its weight in 2017.
An Overview of 4K TV Technologies
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 2017, 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.
By now all newer 4K TVs pretty much come with high dynamic range across the board and as a result their HDMI specs and other internal features are designed to at least allow HDR video formats to pass through and be displayed. Some 4K TVs such as the X900E, KS8000 and Samsung MU8000 above really show off stunning high dynamic range versatility while others such as the MU6300 only offer limited HDR content display. All models do however support HDR10 high dynamic range at the very least.
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 3.5 smart platform (the recent replacement to the also excellent WebOS 3.0) 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 the fairly new but astinishingly good Roku TV smart platform becoming increasingly popular among many budget ultra HD televsion models from a number of manufacturers.
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 Roku’s Roku TV smart TV platform giving them all serious competition.
Then of course there are also external streaming media device options for any modern 4K HDR TV. These come with their own distinct smart TV interface and can often offer much better functionality and apps access than even the native OS of your particular television. We cover these external HDMI-connecting media devices in extreme detail over at our devices page, here.
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 now a crucial, pretty much must-ahve feature of all 4K TVs and this includes the models ranked here in this 49-50 inch guide. With high dynamic range, display quality takes a major leap upward and the 2017 standards for HDR that the top 4K TVs in this list have adopted are considerably better than what we saw of this technology in 2015 or even 2016. 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 2016-2017 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.