Extremely thin and easy to mount. Precise voice controls. Dolby Atmos surround sound. Access to many popular streaming apps. Dynamic 4K display with rich contrast and color.
This smart TV does not include a stand; it was made to be mounted on your wall.
Integrated Roku streaming technology. Impressive 4K QLED Dolby Vision HDR resolution. Lifelike color range. Deep contrast. Slim bezel. Voice controls. Available in 4 sizes.
Its maximum brightness levels are not too impressive.
Multiple USB ports and HDMI inputs make it easy to hook all your accessories up to this TV. WiFi and Bluetooth enabled. Different color settings to suit what you are viewing. Exceptional picture quality. Mounts seamlessly to a wall, or can be placed atop a stand.
More expensive than most. Occasional issues that require restarting the TV.
Images appear to jump off the screen thanks to the combination of LED technology, 4K resolution, and a fast motion refresh rate. Works with Alexa, Google, and Apple smart ecosystems. Generous 55-inch screen.
Sound could be better. Updates take a while to complete. One of the pricier models on our shortlist.
Incredible 8K Ultra HD resolution. Massive 85” bezel-free TV. Upscales content to 8K. Lifelike 3D sound. Extra-wide viewing angles. Pixel-perfect color. User-friendly interface and remote.
Its high price tag is a major hurdle to overcome.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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