The 55-inch TV is a real crowd-pleaser. Easier to accommodate than a 65-inch TV, which the average homeowner may well consider to be overbearingly big, but much more cinematically impactful than a 50-inch TV, this is the size to go for when you want to keep everyone happy.
This is also the size at which the very best performance and features become available. You can now get OLED TVs smaller than 55 inches, but they don't go as bright as their larger siblings. LCD sets, too, tend to lose a bit of tech when they get smaller than 55 inches.
In other words, if you go for a 55-inch TV, you've got almost endless options. The problem with having so much choice is that it can be incredibly hard to find the right TV for you. That's where we come in. We've tested hundreds of 55-inch TVs – every model of note, in fact – so we know the good ones and the bad ones.
You won't find any of the bad ones below. We've thrown those into the 'also-rans' bin, reserving only the best TVs at each price for your delectation, so scroll down to find your new TV.
Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products 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 supremely qualified to help you find your next TV.
The quick list
The table below offers a quick look at all of the 55-inch TVs we recommend in this article. Every TV in it has been thoroughly and comparatively tested against its rivals by our team of experts in one of What Hi-Fi?'s bespoke test rooms, so you can trust our advice.
Sony's A80L OLED is the surprise package of 2023 so far and the TV we most readily recommend thanks to its awesome bang-for-buck credentials.
Best for gaming
Best for gaming
It's facing fiercer competition than ever and isn't a massive step on from its predecessor, but the LG C3 remains the best gaming TV at its size.
If you're on a strict budget but still want a large, fully featured and competent TV, Amazon's Omni QLED is the way to go.
The best 55-inch TVs in 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.
Below, you can see our picks of the best 55-inch TVs currently available. Every set has been tested by our team of product experts to ensure it delivers great performance and value, so you can trust our buying advice.
The Sony A80L is the TV surprise of the year. It's based on 'traditional' OLED technology (i.e. it's not a QD-OLED or MLA model) so we broadly thought we knew what to expect, but it stunned us during our extensive test by offering a picture performance with a near-perfect balance of the spectacular and the subtle. It sounds good by TV standards, too, and the feature set will be strong enough for all but the most hardcore of gamers.
The A80L looks very similar to the A80K it replaces – which is fine, but the design is starting to look a little bland. It's a little thicker than rivals such as the LG C3, but partly that's down to its actuator-based sound system, which vibrates the whole screen in order to generate sound.
Around the back are four HDMI sockets, two of which are HDMI 2.1-specified and support 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM. One of these is also the eARC port, so if you use that to connect a soundbar or AVR you will have just one left for a games console or gaming PC. The TV also lacks support for Dolby Vision gaming, despite Dolby Vision being present for movies and TV shows.
The seemingly effortless way that the A80L combines the spectacular with the subtle is quite extraordinary. The neon lights and holographic billboards of Blade Runner 2049’s downtown LA pop from the overall gloom of the city in brilliant fashion, but skin tones are handled with realism-boosting nuance and the seemingly hundreds of slightly different shades of gray that make up the bark of the tree at Sapper Morton’s farm are made clear to see.
The TV’s ability to recreate subtly different shades doesn’t come at the expense of dynamism, and contrast extremes such as the intro text at the start of the film emerge brightly from the pure black background. There’s a rare purity to highlights, too, such as Love’s white jacket and the light panels above her head in the records room of the Wallace Corporation.
All of these qualities combine to make an image that is brilliantly solid and has a lovely three-dimensional feel. On top of all of this, detail is also outstanding, with clothing textures, skin imperfections and complex patterns all rendered crisply but without artificial definition.
Through our extensive suite of tests, our only complaint is that a bit of dark detail is missing when watching SDR content.
In terms of sound, the A80L is a bit bass-light, but that does mean that it stays composed even through our Blade Runner 2049 stress test. That slight lack of bass depth aside, the A80L sounds really rather good by TV standards. Put it in the Cinema sound mode and the spaciousness of the delivery is very impressive, yet this spaciousness combines with the sort of focus that can really only come from having the sound literally coming from the screen.
While flagship sets with discrete speaker systems will sound even better, for a step-down model the A80L sounds very impressive. This should be a strong consideration for anyone with this sort of budget who is determined not to combine their new TV with a dedicated sound system.
Read the full Sony A80L review
|Picture||A brilliant performance that combines the spectacular with the natural||★★★★★|
|Sound||Really good sound for a TV but deeper bass would be nice||★★★★☆|
|Features||Generally good, but only having two HDMI 2.1 ports is disappointing||★★★★☆|
Best for gaming
The 65-inch take on LG's C3, which we expect to perform in a very similar way to this 55-inch model, earned just the four stars, but that was for a very good reason: it wasn't a big improvement on the C2. This allowed rivals such as the Sony A80L to gain ground. But if it's gaming we're talking about, LG's effort is the better bet.
That's because, like the 42-inch model above, it has four HDMI 2.1 ports, meaning you can plug in multiple gaming consoles at once while still using one socket for a soundbar via eARC. Also like the 42-incher, it supports all the usual gaming features these ports allow (VRR, ALLM) along with rarer standards such as HGiG and Dolby Vision gaming (which the Sony doesn't support).
The other reason for its four-star review? Its high launch price. But that's since come down significantly. Even the fact it is similar to the C2 it replaces isn't really a big drawback, seeing as the C2 was a multi-Award winner.
The C3 retains the elegant design of the C2 but adds a new processor for even better visuals and more advanced audio upmixing. The webOS 23 operating system is simpler than last year's version too, and easier to navigate, and it brings a more sophisticated Game Optimizer menu complete with a dedicated sound sub-menu.
Picture quality is refined, subtle and plenty detailed, and that goes for games as well as movies and TV shows. Some highlights are a little brighter than the C2's, and there's a healthy amount of shadow detail throughout. The sound is still a poor relation to the picture, but that's easily fixed with a decent soundbar. If you want gaming on a big screen, this is the TV for you.
Read the full LG C3 review
|Picture||Balanced, authentic picture quality||★★★★★|
|Sound||Rivals offer punchier audio||★★★☆☆|
|Features||Flawless gaming specs||★★★★★|
While you can add a Fire TV stick to any TV, wouldn't it be easier if Fire TV was built into the TV from the off? Amazon certainly thinks so, which is why it now produces a whole range of Fire TVs. Top of that range is the Omni QLED.
You won't be surprised to learn that while this is a flagship product for Amazon, it’s still very much a value-oriented proposition. What you might not expect is that it's really rather good, both in terms of performance and features.
This isn’t a performance in the same league as that offered by flagship sets from the big boys – but the quality and balance that have been achieved at this level is very impressive.
Colors are vibrant and punchy when they need to be but subtle and pale when that is what’s called for. Skin tones at times look just a little richer than is perhaps entirely true to life, but only marginally so, and they certainly don’t look unnatural when viewing the TV in isolation.
Some TVs at this level attempt to mask their affordable origins with lots of active processing that's designed to make each scene look more impactful. Such processing, however, often actually highlights those sets’ limitations. The Omni QLED takes a much more consistent and considered approach to contrast that is less striking but significantly more watchable, particularly over the course of a movie. Its even-handed approach means you are less distracted by what the TV is doing and are therefore much more engrossed in the film.
It’s a generally similar story where detail and sharpness are concerned. In neither regard is the Omni QLED mind-blowing, but it delivers an image that is reasonably insightful and solid without veering into the realms of exaggeration.
Inevitably, Amazon’s Omni QLED isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have the pure peak brightness to provide a dazzling rendition of the latest and greatest HDR movies, but that’s understandable at this level. However, while detail levels are decent, they could be better, particularly in darker images, even at this price. Also, while motion is pretty smooth and mercifully free from the soap opera effect and fizzy artefacts (assuming you stick to mild or no motion processing), it can be a bit smeary at times
Amazon has kept things simple on the audio front, avoiding the temptation to attempt fancy Dolby Atmos processing and the like, and once again we feel that is a wise decision. Yes, the sound is narrow and small in scale compared with that offered by more premium TVs – and there is no attempt to push sound outwards to the sides or up from the television’s chassis – but it is also direct and clear.
On the features front, you're getting a 4K QLED display with the app-packed and user-friendly Fire OS operating system with baked-in Alexa control (you can turn the TV's mics off entirely if you prefer). Somewhat surprisingly, VRR and ALLM are also supported, though 4K 120Hz is off the menu.
All told, by getting the basics right in terms of picture and sound quality while providing an impressive feature set for the price, the Omni QLED makes itself an easy TV to recommend to those on a tight budget.
Read our full Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review
|Picture||You don't get OLEDs deep blacks, but great for the price||★★★★☆|
|Sound||A soundbar is recommended, but it's fine for TV||★★★★☆|
|Features||Great connectivity and an app rich operating system||★★★★☆|
The A95L is the successor to the A95K, arguably the best TV of last year if you don't take price into account. One of the two first QD-OLED TVs launched, it trumped its Samsung S95B rival by deploying its brightness-boosting, vibrancy-adding Quantum Dots in a more considered and authentic fashion – and by offering a far superior sound system to boot.
The promise of second-generation QD-OLED panels is an even brighter and more efficient performance, but we were just as excited to find out how the team at Sony could refine the performance further with an extra year of experience with the new panel technology. Having now put the Sony A95L up against pretty much every other TV you might be considering, we can safely say that it is, with very little doubt, the very best TV you can currently buy.
Playing the super-bright Pan 4K Blu-ray, the A95L's additional brightness and color vibrancy over the step-down Sony A80L and even the MLA-boosted Panasonic MZ2000 are immediately clear in the first scene's streetlamps and headlights, which are reproduced with a more intense and accurate yellow glow. The moon over London, meanwhile, is not only brighter on the A95L, but it also has some subtle pink shading and lots of texture detail that is missed by rivals. This is precisely the sort of picture element that QD-OLED is designed to excel at.
There's no loss of black depth, though, with the grimy streets of Victorian London being both oppressively dark and packed with shadow detail. What's more, the A95L also reproduces colors expertly in these darkest parts of the picture so that skin tones remain accurate and lifelike where other TVs allow them to go a bit pale.
The extra contrast afforded by the brighter highlights helps to reinforce edges and textures, giving everything an even more solid and three-dimensional appearance, yet this is also masterfully combined with an even greater degree of subtlety. The lights shining on a tiled wall reveal all sorts of subtle shades on the A95L, and as Peter peers into a bottle in Mother Barnabus's office, the little ship inside is resolved with fabulous fine detail and excellent solidity.
What's perhaps most impressive is the way that the A95L achieves all of its pop and dynamism without eroding subtlety or authenticity in the way that Samsung's S95C QD-OLED is occasionally guilty of.
While less-bright HDR movies and SDR content don't show off the A95L's advantages quite as strongly, it's still a cut above its rivals with everything we watch during testing, particularly in terms of color vibrancy and accuracy.
For sound, the A95L uses a very slightly tweaked version of the 2.2-channel actuator-based sound system of the A95K. Two actuators vibrate the whole screen in order to produce sound, backed up by two regular woofers that add bass. This results in a level of directness that other TVs can't match, with dialogue that literally comes from the screen.
What's surprising is the way this sound system also extends the sonic presentation far to the sides and above the set, creating a very impressive pseudo-Atmos effect. On top of that, the sound is crisp, clear and detailed. Some extra bass weight and depth would be nice, but this is still very good sound by TV standards.
The A95L only has a couple of deficiencies and they will only bother hardcore gamers: there are still only two HDMI 2.1 sockets (one of which inconveniently doubles as the eARC port) and Dolby Vision gaming isn't yet supported (but is coming at a later date).
Those flaws are well worth putting up with, though, because the Sony A95L is an absolutely stunning performer.
Read the full Sony A95L review
|Picture||Stunning brightness and vibrancy but with excellent subtlety and authenticity||★★★★★|
|Sound||Crisp, clear and direct, but with impressive spaciousness, too||★★★★★|
|Features||Good overall but let down slightly by having just two HDMI 2.1 sockets||★★★★☆|
|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||★★★★☆|
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 colors. 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.
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.
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 colors), the more lifelike the picture. HDR offers greater subtlety and depth of gradations of colors, 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.
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.
Beyond those, you're going to want to look out for services such as HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock, with priority given to those services to which you already subscribe.
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 colors, 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.