One of the most frustrating aspects of buying a new TV is that it seems that yours quickly becomes outdated within a year or two. Televisions have dramatically evolved over the years and can now provide quite the movie theater experience from the comfort of your own couch. While ranking the “best” smart TV will be based on what features are most important to you, here are what I believe to be some of the most popular smart TVs on the market today:
LG has got it down when it comes to smart televisions. With the new generation of WebOS, LG keeps the design simple, even though the technology is advanced. My favorite element is that your apps and options are all organized nicely in tiles at the bottom of the screen. Forget navigating screen after screen, menu after menu. It’s simple to find what you want. Their Magic Motion remote also acts like a Wii controller. And in terms of networking, LG’s SmartShare software will display on the home screen and as a thumbnail image all videos, images, and MP3 files on a networked computer, HDD, USB flash drive, or NAS drive.
Samsung Smart Hub
Samsung’s Smart Hub platform is one of the most popular in the world of smart TVs. Its five-page carousel is updated often and easy to navigate. The biggest perk might just be its app access. You can choose from countless apps and access the most content of all major brands. With S Recommendation, the system will suggest content – both live TV and apps – for you based on your viewing history.
Sony Entertainment Network
A for effort? Sony’s Entertainment Network isn’t bad, but it isn’t as amazing as LG or Samsung. Let’s talk about the pros first. The interface is very organized and clean, making it easy to navigate. It features a list-style menu and the History option lets you easily view what you’ve watched. For browsing the web, you have your choice of several options, including Opera and Google Chrome. On the downside, there are limited apps and the remote and touchpad remote still have have kinks that need to be smoothed out.
Panasonic Smart Viera
Panasonic’s Smart Viera doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. Overshadowed by LG and Samsung, Panasonic has some great smart TV features. Probably the biggest unique factor is the customization options. You can create pages so they display different layouts and wallpapers, and add shortcuts to widgets. While you likely don’t need this extent of customization, it does go to show you just how simple the system is to use. The best feature just might be the live TV thumbnail, which appears on all screens. This is where all apps are stored. While it may not have as many as Samsung, it has all the essentials.
Vizio isn’t yet on the same level of LG and Samsung, but it is a great option if you’re on a budget. Vizio TVs are known for being reliable and affordable, and their smart TVs are no different. The platform isn’t the sleekest and it only offers the most basic apps (it doesn’t even have HBO Go). Overall, Vizio smart televisions are pretty basic, but are a great introduction to smart TVs for those who aren’t tech-savvy, or for someone who doesn’t have the budget for a LG or Samsung.
Photo by: Kārlis Dambrāns