Three best smart TVs
Smart TVs give you easy-to-use features to gain access to entertainment options. To qualify as "smart," the television needs to be able to connect to the internet. It also needs built-in software to access the apps and features, which you control with the remote. You can think of a smart TV as an entertainment hub, accessing regular TV shows, internet videos, and everything in between.
If you're someone who's a little spooked by the idea of a smart TV, relax. The smart TV screen layout will remind you of what you see on a smartphone or tablet screen. You click on apps on the screen to choose streaming services or other entertainment. When you aren't accessing the smart TV features, this television works and looks just like any other TV.
The following guide has some tips and recommendations to help you in your search.
Considerations when choosing smart TVs
When it comes to smart TVs, you'll be amazed by the number of options you have for finding programming and entertainment.
Streaming services: With these, you can access old TV shows and movies. A smart TV has apps that open streaming services, such as Netflix, that carry a monthly subscription fee. For optimal viewing, you want fast internet service.
Live streaming services: As a newer feature of streaming services, some offer a live TV channel subscription (also called a "skinny bundle"). This is a scaled-down version of a cable or satellite TV subscription. You can access some live TV streaming services through smart TV apps. As with regular streaming services, these subscriptions carry a monthly fee.
Gaming: Many smart TVs carry the same apps for popular mobile games that you find on your smartphone. However, not everyone likes gaming on a smart TV because it has no touchscreen control option.
Social media: You can access your social media accounts through apps on a smart TV screen. Some people connect a wireless keyboard to the smart TV to simplify this feature.
Video chats: Smart TVs often have a video camera built into the frame, similar to that on a laptop or tablet, allowing you to make video calls through the app on the TV. Using the TV for video calls gives a wider view of the room, which is useful if there is more than one person in on the call.
Smart TV features
Ease of use: Not all smart TV operational software is created equal. Some smart TVs are easier to use than others. Pay attention to the layout and organization of the app icons.
Smart TV prices: As far as cost goes, smart TVs really don't cost much more than a TV without smart features. In fact, most new televisions contain smart TV software and features, so it can be difficult to find a TV without them. You can find smaller smart TVs in the $200 range and larger smart TVs (think 65 inches and greater) for anywhere from $800 to $2,000. Over the long run, a smart TV could save you some money because you won't need to buy other pieces of hardware to gain access to streaming services or the internet.
Q. Do I have to pay to use a smart TV?
A. Smart TVs have apps that you can select, and some apps lead to free services and features while others lead to pay subscription services. You don't need to pay to use the smart TV features unless you choose to order a subscription.
Q. How do I connect the smart TV to the internet?
A. Commonly, smart TVs give you two connection options. For the fastest speed and most reliable connection, plug an Ethernet cable from your router into the TV. If this isn't possible, the majority of smart TVs can connect via WiFi.
Smart TVs we recommend
Best of the best: Samsung 75-inch 4K Smart TV
Our take: Delivers everything you want in a big-screen smart TV, including excellent performance with fast-moving action for gaming, movies, and sports.
What we like: Wide viewing angle, allowing people all around the room to see the screen clearly. More input ports than other TVs.
What we dislike: Very expensive, even compared to other large-screen smart TVs.
Best bang for your buck: LG Electronics 55-inch OLED 4K Smart TV
Our take: OLED technology costs more, but it delivers a level of image quality that surpasses other types of displays.
What we like: Connectivity technology meshes well with smart home devices you may already own. Nice price for OLED.
What we dislike: Screen glare is a problem when viewed from certain angles.
Choice 3: Vizio 55-inch 4K Smart TV
Our take: Contains many highly useful smart TV features and apps. Good value for such a large TV.
What we like: Sharp image quality edge to edge on the screen. Has every popular app you could want already installed.
What we dislike: Built-in audio is below-average quality, so you might want to buy a soundbar separately.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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