55-inch TVs are a real cinematic sweet spot for many people – much more visually impressive than 50-inch TVs, more able to fit in a tight space than a giant, big-screen TVs. And it's an increasingly popular size now that more and more of us are enjoying 4K content.
Take the time to make sure your choice of TV has the connections you need and the feature support to watch your favourite streaming services. You can rest assured all the below sets deliver great pictures, while some come with upgraded TV speakers that offer high-quality sound, too.
It's a great time to upgrade your home entertainment experience and, for many people, a 55-inch TV will be the optimum size. If that's you, read on, because we've trimmed down our list of the best TVs to bring you a specific rundown of the best 55-inch TV sets currently available.
Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. In that time he's had more 55-inch TVs than can easily be counted pass through his test room, making him the best source of advice on which to get around.
The quick list
The table below offers a quick look at all the 55-inch TV's we recommend in this article. Every TV in it has been thoroughly tested by our team of experts in one of What Hi-Fi?'s viewing rooms, so you can trust our advice.
Despite not boasting one of Panasonic’s Master OLED panels, the LZ980 is still an outstanding performer – and great value too.
The world’s first QD-OLED TV might not be a game-changer, but it is brilliantly bright and great for watching movies in HDR.
Super-cheap and super-smart, this TCL TV also performs much better than you'd expect.
The A80L is Sony's step-down OLED for 2023, and it's extraordinarily good.
The best 55-inch TVs of 2023
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.
Still need some convincing or more information? Scroll down and you'll see a detailed breakdown of why we recommend each TV in this list based on our direct experience using it in our dedicated test rooms.
On paper, the Panasonic TX-55LZ980B is arguably the least interesting of the Japanese brand’s 2022 OLED TV range. After all, as Panasonic’s second most affordable 55-inch model for 2022, it doesn’t benefit from the fancy brightness-boosting panel technologies found higher up Panasonic’s range, or the new QD-OLED technology that’s turned up to dramatic effect in the latest TV ranges of Sony and Samsung.
The LZ980 does, though, still benefit from Panasonic’s redoubtable premium image processing system, as well as the brand’s ongoing obsession with trying to deliver images that get as close as possible to the way their creators intended them to look.
It ekes every last drop of performance out of its panel so successfully that on picture performance it actually outperforms, at least in some key ways, some of those more expensive rivals. It produces open, clean and clear sound, too, and two of its HDMI sockets support advanced gaming features such as 4K/120Hz and VRR.
Read the full Panasonic TX-55LZ980B review
|Picture||As accurate a picture as you'll find at this price||★★★★★|
|Sound||Serviceable sound for casual viewing||★★★★☆|
|Features||Decent app selection but it could have more connectivity for gamers||★★★★☆|
QD-OLED, which is (broadly speaking) designed to blend the best qualities of both OLED and QLED, is finally here in the form of Sony’s A95K.
OLED has become the premium TV technology of choice thanks to its perfect blacks, pixel-level contrast control, near-perfect viewing angles, super-thin designs and increasingly aggressive pricing, and QD-OLED is expected to overcome its main limitation – brightness.
If you are therefore expecting the A95K to be vastly brighter than the best standard OLED TVs, you might be slightly disappointed. Side by side with LG's G2 (the brightest standard OLED available) there is little to choose between the two in terms of peak brightness.
But while the A95K isn't brighter than the brightest traditional OLED TV, it does deliver better bright highlights with subtle shades and colours that its non-QD-OLED rivals miss.
In less cultured hands, the added colour vibrancy of QD-OLED’s Quantum Dots could lead to exaggerated vibrancy, but Sony’s careful, authenticity-led approach means the A95K is balanced and natural, and the fine detail, sharpness and three-dimensionality that its flagship 2021 OLEDs exhibited remains.
The bundled Bravia CAM – a camera that magnetically attaches to the rear of the set and peeks over the top of the screen – isn't terribly useful now and possibly never will be, but for picture quality the A95K is a star. It sounds great by TV standards too, thanks to its bespoke Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which utilises actuators that imperceptibly vibrate the whole screen to make sound.
In short, for movies and TV shows, in SDR and HDR and at all resolutions, the Sony A95K is exceptional. Hardcore gamers, particularly those on Xbox Series X, will still be better served by an LG G2, which has more HDMI 2.1 sockets, a Dolby Vision game mode and an HGiG setting, but for everyone else this is, albeit by a relatively slim margin, the new gold standard.
Read the full Sony XR-55A95K review
|Picture||Excellent, bright performance||★★★★★|
|Sound||One of the best sounding sets on this list||★★★★★|
|Features||Not as well connect for gamers as some rivals||★★★★☆|
TCL’s Roku TVs have finally arrived in the UK and the TCL 55RP620K is at the tip of the AV spear. It’s a 4K HDR TV that sits firmly in the affordable category of TVs, but don’t be fooled into expecting something that is feature-light. This is a Roku TV and they are nothing if not smart.
Until now, the only Roku TVs available in the UK have been from Hisense, and they have certainly been good, with two five-star reviews on the bounce. The 55-inch TCL 55RP620K offers something one step closer to mid-range, though, with a greater bit-depth in terms of colour processing and Dolby Vision support too.
It's certainly not the TV equivalent of fine dining, but the RP620K is much better than its low price suggests. For those after an app-happy and exceedingly user-friendly experience, and a good panel size without having to spend too much, this TV from TCL and Roku is a winning combination.
Read the full TCL 55RP620K review
|Picture||The best you'll find this cheap||★★★★★|
|Sound||You will need a soundbar||★★★☆☆|
|Features||Not as well connect for gamers as some rivals||★★★★☆|
While all of the OLED attention may well be focused on the super-bright new MLA and QD-OLED models, the truth is that they’re prohibitively expensive right now, and this Sony A80L proves that with impeccable processing, truly exceptional picture quality is still more than possible from a ‘standard’ OLED panel.
This is a TV that combines the spectacular with cinematic subtlety in very rare fashion. It thrills, but not in a way that’s even slightly showy. And it combines that with surprisingly atmospheric and engaging sound, though we would still, as ever, recommend a dedicated sound system if you’re serious about home cinema.
We have just two mild concerns about the A80L. The first is that it's still not as good as an LG for hardcore gaming as it has just two HDMI 2.1 sockets (one of which you're probably going to use for a soundbar), and that it doesn't support Dolby Vision gaming or the HGiG standard for better HDR tone mapping in games.
The other is that it's currently priced higher than other standard OLEDs such as the LG C3. Having now compared the A80L and the C3 directly, there's no doubt at all that the Sony is comfortably the better performer in terms of both picture and sound, but if the C3 gets bigger discounts than the A80L, which is what we expect, it could become a more difficult decision over which to buy.
That’s a conundrum for another time, though. Right now, the Sony A80L is an all-rounder that’s very hard to resist.
Read the full Sony XR-55A80L review
|Picture||A brilliant performance that combines the spectacular with the natural||★★★★★|
|Sound||Really good sound for TV but deeper bass would be nice||★★★★☆|
|Features||Generally good, but only having two HDMI 2.1 ports is disappointing||★★★★☆|
Best Mini LED
Samsung’s first flush of Neo QLED TVs has been nothing short of revolutionary to date. The extra-fine level of lighting control that mini LED brings has put LCD’s high peak brightness to sophisticated use. It has added a care with contrast that has led to a more nuanced on-screen image, with a more solid, three-dimensional depth than ever before. We have every reason to expect the same from the QN94A.
‘QN94A’ seems a bit of a strange model number; is to indicate that there is only a small difference between it and Samsung’s top 4K TV for the year, the QN95A (below). The QN94A TV is identical apart from missing out on the One Connect box – a discrete (and discreet) box that houses all of the QN95A's connections, including power.
The difference in price between the QN94A and QN95A isn’t huge, but if you are not interested in the One Connect box and are content with just one HDMI 2.1-certified socket, it is worth saving that little bit of money. Picture quality is excellent regardless of which you choose and the sound isn’t bad at all. An OLED might look better in some scenes but there is something quite addictive about the brightness of this set. Its super-contrasty and punchy HDR delivery is ever so more-ish.
There is still no Dolby Vision support but you will be getting so much from HDR10 alone that it will hardly be on your mind. This is a great TV and a terrific buy at this price.
As well as the 55-inch model, we have also now tested the 65-inch version of the QN94A, and it's just as good. It is also available in 50-inch, 75-inch and 85-inch sizes.
Read the full Samsung QE55QN94A review
Read the full Samsung QE65QN94A review
|Picture||Amazing contrast, sharpness and detail||★★★★★|
|Sound||Good for casual viewing||★★★★☆|
|Features||An easy to use interface that's packed with apps||★★★★★|
How we choose
When choosing a new TV, picture technology is almost always the most important factor.
Without a doubt, OLED has become the premium TV technology of choice, thanks to its perfect blacks, extraordinary contrast and exceptional viewing angles. QLED, which combines LED (or Mini LED) backlighting with ultra-vibrant Quantum Dots, is a strong alternative, though, largely thanks to being capable of greater brightness and punchier colours. Standard LCD TVs (often, confusingly, sold as 'LED' TVs on account of their LED backlights) are more variable in overall quality but, if you shop carefully, can offer excellent bang for your buck.
Sound is massively important, too. Are you planning to combine your new TV with a dedicated sound system? You probably should, because most TVs sound passable at best, even at the high-end. But if you are determined to keep things neat and rely on the in-built speakers of your new TV, check our reviews to make sure that they're at least good – there's no point in a great picture if the accompanying sound is rubbish.
If you're a gamer, it's also worth considering the next-gen gaming features of your prospective new TV. Xbox Series X and PS5 gamers can gain a competitive advantage on certain games if their TV supports 4K 120Hz, while VRR support can result in a smoother gameplay experience. ALLM, meanwhile, simply ensures that you automatically get the best visual experience from both games and movies / TV shows. If you're a more casual gamer or not a gamer at all, you can pretty much disregard these features, and it's likely that doing so will save you a lot of cash.
Should you buy a 4K or Full HD TV?
This question is pretty much moot now, as the vast majority of TVs are now 4K. It's actually rather hard to find Full HD (1080p) models, even at relatively small sizes.
If you're buying a TV below 32 inches and can save a lot of money on a Full HD model, by all means go for it (4K won't be a huge benefit at that sort of size anyway), but otherwise 4K is both worthwhile and, in all likelihood, your only option.
Should you buy an HDR TV?
High Dynamic Range is without a doubt a much bigger deal than 8K, and certainly something you should consider before buying your next TV.
Essentially, the higher the dynamic range (brightness and colours), the more lifelike the picture. HDR offers greater subtlety and depth of gradations of colours, plus stronger contrast.
There are various types of HDR out there, and with different TV brands backing different variants, it can be a minefield trying to find the best option. Allow us to explain.
First up is HDR10, which is essentially the core HDR format that every HDR TV should support.
HDR10 is a static HDR format that applies the HDR values on a scene-by-scene basis (i.e. whenever the camera cuts to a new scene). Dolby Vision, on the other hand, applies this image information (called metadata) on a frame-by-frame basis. This dynamic form of HDR, when implemented properly, has the potential to improve upon the standard HDR10 presentation.
HDR10+ is a rival format to Dolby Vision. Created by Samsung, it also uses dynamic metadata but, whereas Dolby Vision is licensed, HDR10+ is a free, open format that any company can deploy as it sees fit.
Of these two 'dynamic' HDR formats, Dolby Vision is by far the most prevalent, both in terms of TVs and content, and if you have to choose between one and the other, that's the one we'd recommend. That said, you can now buy TVs from the likes of Philips and Panasonic that support both Dolby Vision and HDR10+.
Finally in our rundown of HDR formats is HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), which was developed specifically for broadcasting by the BBC and Japan's NHK. It's used to deliver all of the HDR content offered by the BBC and Sky, so can be considered very important. Luckily, it's now almost as common as standard HDR10 in TV spec lists, so you should have little problem finding a model that supports it.
What inputs and outputs does your TV need?
These days, it's all about HDMI, which is used to connect everything from set-top boxes to video streamers, Blu-ray players to games consoles. Thanks to ARC/eARC (Audio Return Channel / Enhanced Audio Return Channel), a single HDMI connection can even be used to output sound to an AV receiver or soundbar at the same time as it receives a video signal.
Currently, three HDMI connections is standard on budget and mid-range TVs, while four is the norm for premium models.
The specification of the HDMI connections tends to differ depending on the price of the TV, too, with premium models now commonly getting at least one or two HDMI 2.1 sockets. These have greater bandwidth than their HDMI 2.0 counterparts and can support advanced formats such as 4K@120Hz and 8K@60Hz. Fancy gaming features such as Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate are often supported via HDMI 2.1 sockets, too, though not always. It's sensible to check the specs thoroughly if there are particular features you're after.
After HDMIs, USB ports are the most abundant on modern TVs. You can use these to keep devices charged (often particularly useful for stick- or dongle-style streamers), and some TVs allow the connection of flash drives and hard drives for the recording of live TV content.
On the subject of live TV, you can expect practically every TV to have an aerial socket via which it can receive Freeview broadcasts, but many also have a satellite connection. Be warned, though; the presence of a satellite connection doesn't guarantee that there's a Freesat tuner on board. Without one, you'll receive only a patchy and disorganised selection of satellite TV channels.
Other useful connections include optical and stereo outputs, which can be used in lieu of HDMI ARC to connect legacy audio equipment. Headphone outputs are still fairly common, too, though Bluetooth is also supported by most TVs now and Samsung TVs in fact now feature the latter but not the former.
Lastly, while some TVs feature composite inputs (often via an adapter), most – even at the budget end – have phased out legacy connections such as SCART. So those clinging on to old video cassette recorders, for example, should be aware of that.
Which TV smart features and streaming apps do you need?
As with 4K, it's now hard to buy a TV that doesn't have a smart platform packed with streaming apps. Almost every TV will have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on board, and Disney+ is fast approaching a similar level of ubiquity. Apple TV (which is great for pay-as-you-go movies as well as the Apple TV+ subscription service) is becoming increasingly common, too.
You'd have thought that BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and My5 would be present on every TV available in the UK, but there always seems to be one brand that's lacking (it was LG in 2020 and Sony in 2021) so do check before you buy if any of those are important to you.
Other apps that are less common but potentially worth looking out for include BT Sport, Now, Britbox, and music apps such as Spotify and Tidal.
Should you buy an OLED, QLED or LCD TV?
LCD TVs, which require a backlight usually made up of white LEDs to show a picture on the LCD panel, are available in a wide variety of screen sizes and, thanks in part to the technology's low cost of production, at affordable prices.
OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is a panel technology that uses self-emissive particles – so there's no need for a backlight. This allows OLED TVs to be unbelievably slim, while also offering convincing pitch-dark blacks, strong contrast and superb viewing angles. LG, Sony, Panasonic and Philips are the big brands with OLED TVs in their line-ups and, broadly speaking, they're excellent.
QLED (Quantum-dot Light-Emitting Diode), meanwhile, is Samsung’s response to OLED. A QLED TV is an LCD TV but with a quantum dot coating over the backlight. However, the quantum dots (tiny semiconductor particles) in current QLEDs do not emit their own light. So QLED TVs, like conventional LCDs, rely on a backlight. The advantages of a QLED TV? You tend to get brilliantly vibrant colours, plus bright, sharp and crisply detailed images. Samsung's QLEDs have got better and better over the years, existing as a fine alternative to OLEDs TVs. Interestingly, though, Samsung has now launched its own range of OLED (QD-OLED) TVs.
How we test
Testing a TV is a long and complex process because a modern TV simply does so much. Not only does it need to handle a variety of content resolutions – standard-def, 1080p, 4K and sometimes 8K – and both standard dynamic range and high dynamic range (the latter in a number of formats), all of which need to be specifically tested, it also has a sound system with various advanced settings and a full smart platform. A TV is an all-in-one device in the best sense, but that also makes it a challenging review proposition.
As part of our testing process we manually check that every major app – from Netflix to All 4, Prime Video to Spotify – is not only present, but also outputting in the video and sound formats that it should. Just because there's a Disney+ app doesn't necessarily mean it's working in Dolby Vision and/or Dolby Atmos. In fact, in many recent cases it hasn't been.
We also connect both a PS5 and Xbox Series X in order to establish which advanced gaming features are and aren't supported, and on which of the TV's HDMI ports. Is 4K 120Hz supported? How about VRR? Is there a Dolby Vision game mode? Is there an HGiG preset for more accurate HDR tone mapping? We check all of these things, and measure input lag using a Leo Bodnar device.
We then test the TV's picture quality using a huge variety of content, from old DVDs to the latest 4K Blu-rays and plenty of streamed movies and TV shows in between. Every TV is tested against the best model at its price and size – we have a stockroom packed full of Award-winners for this very purpose.
We don't accept the out-of-the-box settings that a TV comes in either. While we intentionally don't go down the route of professional calibration (you shouldn't have to have your TV professionally calibrated in order to get the best out of it), we do spend hours adjusting settings using a mixture of test patterns and real-world content until we are sure we're getting the best out of a TV so that it has the best chance to shine.
While we almost always advise that a new TV is combined with a dedicated sound system such as a soundbar or AV amplifier, many people still prefer to stick with their flatscreen's built-in speakers, so we thoroughly test these too, using a wide variety of movie and music content and with great attention spent to the TV's many processing modes and individual settings.
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in Bath and Reading, where our team of expert reviewers do all of our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. What's more, all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure consistency and avoid any personal preference.
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.
From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended below, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you are getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.