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.
Expensive. Occasional issues that require restarting the TV.
Has a lot of nice features for a low price, including Roku, 4K Ultra HD resolution, and HDR. App allows you to control it with your smart phone, but it also comes with a basic remote that's easy to use. Offers excellent color, contrast, and definition, even for gaming.
Viewing angles could be better. Sound quality is just OK, but adding an outboard speaker or soundbar will help.
Delivers lifelike image quality with its combination of 4K resolution and PurColor technology. Modern Ultra HD LED panel produces superior viewing performance. 82" screen option is perfect for large rooms and home theaters. Smart technology includes reliable WiFi connectivity.
Rare reports of faulty screens. Possible quality control issues, as a few TVs arrived with damage.
UHD display, 4K resolution, and fast motion rate bring images on the generous 55" screen to life. Al ThinQ technology, voice-controlled remote, and responsive app streaming make it as smart as it is beautiful.
If you aren't tech savvy, setup can take a little time and patience. Doesn't have all the bells and whistles as more expensive models.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Samsung’s “Quantum LED” TVs are built to compete with the industry-leading OLED tech used by competitors LG and Sony. While they don’t entirely live up to the OLED standard, QLED TVs produce an amazing array of colors and much-improved contrast controls. Come for the 4K; stay for the high dynamic range (HDR).
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.
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.
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