Facebook Pixel Code
 

Best Smart TVs

Updated December 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 88 Models Considered
  • 16 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 97 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best smart TVs

    Last Updated December 2018

    Way back when the iPhone first introduced the world to apps, no one could have predicted that apps would soon take over nearly every screen we interact with, but now they’re everywhere, even TVs.

    TVs with apps – dubbed “smart TVs” because they can connect to the internet, as well as interact with other web-enabled devices – bring everything from favorite binge-worthy shows to the most addictive games to our big screens at home. In fact, now when you buy a TV, you’re not just buying a screen; you’re buying an entertainment platform.

    Smart TVs are a lot less intimidating than they sound, so if you’re ready to dive in to the world of connected entertainment, we’ve got your back. Read on for our best advice on picking the right smart TV for you, and get ready to experience television in a completely new way.

    In addition to supporting all the major paid streaming video services, many smart TVs include apps that deliver free content from all over the world. Whether you want to watch the news from a foreign country or you’re a big Bollywood fan, smart TVs bring enough free content to satisfy almost anyone.

    What makes smart TVs so smart?

    Many smart TVs are advertised as having apps, but it’s sometimes hard to tell what each one does. Smart TV apps exist for just about any use, from watching a movie to catching up with friends, and almost anything else you can think of. Most smart TV owners use apps for activities such as the following:

    Streaming TV and movies: By far the most popular apps on smart TVs are those that connect viewers with their favorite subscription-based streaming services. If you’re looking to bring Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, or any other major streaming service to your TV, a smart TV will have you bingeing in no time.

    Playing games: If you’re a fan of mobile games like Candy Crush or Farmville, you’ll find a lot to love on a smart TV. Many support popular titles ported from Android and iOS smartphones. Just be prepared that, in some cases, you’ll need to use the TV remote as a game controller, which can feel clunky at first.

    Calling friends and family with video chat: If you’ve ever wanted to have a Skype call on the biggest screen in your house, you’re in luck. Many smart TVs support mainstream video-calling services and feature a built-in camera so others can see you as well. While video calls from your TV might sound unconventional, they’re perfect for large groups or gatherings.

    Interacting with social media: There really is no escaping Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, even on your TV. Whether you want to interact with your friends or simply sit back and watch all of the content they’ve shared, with a smart TV it’s easy to manage your social media accounts from the comfort of your own living room.

    Shopping: Your smart TV screen doubles as a window for window-shopping. Many major online retailers have smart TV apps so you can use your TV remote to explore and purchase any product you can think of.

    The world’s best screen meets the world’s best smart assistant

    It’s no secret that LG’s OLED 4K smart TVs are the best in the industry, but the company’s outdone itself with the C series. The OLED screen shines with any content, and it’s one of the few sets to support content with both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio, the leading video and audio standards of home cinema tech. Smart TVs with OLED screens are pricey by nature, but in this case you get more than your money’s worth.

    Bright ideas: smart TV screen technologies

    If you’ve decided to take the plunge and get a smart TV, you’ve still got some important decisions to make! In fact, the most important factor when shopping for any type of TV is the screen, both in terms of the screen resolution and the picture quality. Before you start shopping, decide what your ideal resolution is and what type of TV panel you want.

    Screen resolution: You’ll need to decide if you want your smart TV to be high definition (with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, often referred to as 1080p), or Ultra High Definition (with a resolution of 3840 x 2160, better known as 4K). Higher-resolution screens produce more detailed images, so if you want the best picture quality available, spring for a 4K set. If you want a good picture that doesn’t need to be intensely detailed, a 1080p set will do just fine.

    TV panels: There are several competing screen technologies available, but the most common are LED, OLED, XLED, and QLED. LED screens, the most affordable, can produce impressive imagery at any resolution. OLED screens are vastly superior because each pixel is individually lit, resulting in a brighter image. They’re also about three times as expensive as other screens. XLED and QLED screens are variants of LED screens. They significantly improve brightness and color reproduction but still lag behind the brilliance of an OLED screen.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you’re in the market for a new TV but unsure about smart TVs, you can still buy a smart TV and bring your own content sources like a cable TV box or streaming box. Smart TVs aren’t for everyone, but they offer many of the best prices available, and “dumb” TVs are getting harder and harder to find.


    Staff  | IT Professional
    EXPERT TIP

    If you’re buying your first 4K TV, you might need to check your existing online subscription services to make sure they include 4K content. For example, in order to get Netflix content in 4K, users must upgrade to a more expensive subscription plan.


    Staff  | IT Professional
    EXPERT TIP

    If you’re going for a big-screen upgrade, look for an audio solution that can match your TV’s visual splendor. Many users pair a smart TV with a soundbar, but if you’re building a proper home theater, you’ll need an AV receiver and a set of surround sound speakers.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Smart TV prices

    Before you start shopping for a smart TV, know how far your money will go. Keep these prices in mind as you’re surveying the market.

    Inexpensive: Between $300 and $799, you’ll find great values when it comes to 1080p smart TVs and bare-bones 4K smart TVs. If you just want a basic HD smart TV, you don’t need to spend a lot to get a solid deal, but if you’re looking for a 4K with all the bells and whistles like High Dynamic Range (HDR) or an OLED screen, you’ll need to spend more.

    Mid-range: Between $800 and $1,299, most smart TVs feature 4K resolution, but some skimp on other features. For example, some low-end 4K TVs have multiple inputs but only one that supports 4K content. The majority of 4K TVs in this price range are average (which is still incredible), and with the right sale, you can find an outstanding set for this much.

    Expensive: Between $1,300 and $3,500, expect to see smart TVs that spare no expense, literally. Smart TVs in this price range are all 4K TVs that come with features like HDR, Dolby Vision and include higher-end screen panel technologies like XLED, QLED, or OLED. Most of these smart TVs can anchor a solid home theater, so if you’re ready to turn your living room into a personal cinema, get ready to write a check with a comma in it.

    Turn any room into a home theater

    If you’re an avid TV watcher and like to feel like a spectator in the stands (or at the theater), look no further than this best of the best smart TV. Samsung is a leader in all things tech, and is a very strong contender in the smart realm – for good reason. Between sharp-as-real-life (with 20/20 vision) images, energy-pumping, clear sound, and intuitive features, this TV is a stunning addition to your home. And the price? Worth it for all its features and brand quality.

    Tips

    • Never clean your smart TV screen with commercial spray cleaners. No matter what kind of screen your smart TV has, it should only be cleaned with water, and sparingly. Most cleaning products use chemicals that can harm or stain a TV screen, so only use microfiber cloths and a small amount of water. For best results, spray water on the cloth and then wipe the TV; never spray the screen directly, even with water.

    • Set your smart TV’s software to update automatically. TV manufacturers often publish software updates for smart TVs that bring new features and critical security fixes to your TV. It’s easy to forget to check for software updates, so save yourself the headache and set your TV to auto-update. When your smart TV is set to auto-update, all important software updates happen in the background as soon as they’re available.

    • Cover a built-in smart TV webcam when you’re not using it. Many smart TVs are designed to help facilitate video calls, so they include webcams at the top of the screen that integrate seamlessly with the TV’s design. Having a smart TV with a webcam can be great – it’s perfect for keeping family members connected. However, many privacy advocates aren’t thrilled about having an internet-connected camera pointed at them while they watch TV. If you have any concerns about your privacy, you can always cover your smart TV’s webcam with a discreet piece of electrical tape, or you can buy a smart TV that doesn’t have a camera.
    While Black Friday and the holiday season are popular times to buy a TV, it’s not hard to find a good deal year-round. If you’ve been waiting for the shopping season to get a smart TV, don’t wait any longer. The affordable smart TV of your dreams is already out there!

    FAQ

    Q. Can I connect an antenna to my smart TV to receive local broadcast channels?

    A. Yes, so long as the TV has a coaxial input. Most smart TVs have a coaxial input that you can use with an external antenna; the coaxial input indicates the TV has a tuner inside that can translate your local broadcast TV signals into a watchable picture. However, some manufacturers omit a coaxial input or TV tuners, most notably LG. The easiest way to tell which models have coaxial inputs and TV tuners is to pay attention to the product titles: if a set has a tuner, it will be marketed as a TV; if it does not, it will simply be called a display. When you’re searching for TVs, you’re likely to encounter both, so pay special attention to which models use the word “TV” and which ones use the word “display.”

    Q. Do I need a paid subscription to use streaming apps on a smart TV?

    A. Yes, if you want to use a paid streaming service. Most smart TVs come with a host of apps that are free to download and free to use, but they also support the most popular streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and Amazon Video. To learn more about paid subscriptions, visit each streaming provider’s website.

    Q. Is it really safe to connect my TV to the internet?

    A. Yes, so long as you follow web security best practices. For example, it’s important that your smart TV’s operating system is up to date to make sure that the latest patches and security features have been installed. So long as you keep your hardware updated (particularly gadgets that get you the internet, like your wireless router), your risk is minimal. In addition to keeping your TV’s software current, it’s also important to secure any accounts you’ll be using with it. For example, if you plan on browsing Facebook on your smart TV, make sure you’ve protected your Facebook account with multi-factor authentication to prevent getting hacked. For each account you plan on using with your smart TV, investigate what security features you can enable to help keep your data and credentials safe.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alvina
      Alvina
      Photographer
    • Amos
      Amos
      Director of Photography
    • Branson
      Branson
      Videographer
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Ciera
      Ciera
      Production Assistant
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jacob
      Jacob
      Editorial Manager
    • Jaime
      Jaime
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Vukan
      Vukan
      Post Production Editor

    BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
    and give us feedback about your visit today.

    Take Survey