Sony 48″ Smart TV (‘R550): good tv, great value

We love Sony products because they are one of the few manufacturers that largely produce flicker-free devices.  The Sony KDL48R550 is part of the Sony ‘R550’ series of televisions that launched in late 2013 and is still on retail shelves as of 2016.  Two sizes of this series is available:  firstly the 102 cm (40″) model number KDL40R550, and secondly the larger 121 cm (48”) model KDL48R550.

Today we measure the 48″ variant of the Sony ‘R550’ series television, model KDL48R550.


We detected no measurable flicker across the entire brightness range of the KDL48R550 using standard and vivid picture presets.  This means the light output from the television is steady and continuous, and is an excellent result.

Unfortunately, terrible pulse-width modulated flicker at an aggravating low frequency of 120hz was detected when “custom” preset was selected and “LED Motion Flow” was enabled under advanced picture settings.  This should be avoided.  Here is how you avoid this flicker.

  1. Choose “Standard” Picture Preset
  2. Choose “Vivid” Picture Preset
  3. Choose “Custom” Picture Preset, but ensure LED Motion Flow is disabled under advanced picture settings.


Visit our Learning Center for more information on PWM flicker.


Subjectively the KDL48R550 demonstrates good LED color tempruature, avoiding the blue tendencies common in less expensive televisions.  Measurements coming soon.


The KDL48R550 is capable of low brightness under picture settings by selecting “Custom” preset then adjusting the brightness slider to desired level.  Similarly, the brightness can be increased manually or a vivid preset selected for a much brighter, more vibrant image.

Measurements coming soon.


For those sensitive to light few accessories are more valuable than polarized sunglasses.  Polarized lenses work by filtering out photons oscillating horizontally.  While natural light from the sun oscillates in all orientations, light from screens on most devices will all share a single orientation by design.  If that orientation happens to be horizontal to your polarized glasses then the lenses may unfortunately block most, or all, of the image.  Read more about it in our Learning Center.

Measurements are performed using our reference Maui Jim ‘276 Manu 65’ sunglasses utilizing a brown/bronze polarized lens.

In landscape: approximately ~100% of the screen brightness is visible.  Landscape is the only sensible orientation for a television.

Darkest angle: Unfortunately, only ~5% of the screen brightness will be viewable through polarized lenses if viewing while laying down exactly horizontal, like on a couch.

The result in landscape is excellent.


Sony is one of our favorite brands and the KDL48R550 is a prime example of a flicker-free display combined with polarized lens comparability and wide range of available brightness settings.  It’s available through all major retailers.

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