The evolution of the television set could be considered among the globe’s finest technological achievements, or at the very least, it’s a really cool one. From displaying blurry black and white transmissions via analog signals to streaming vivid 4K UHD movies using only a power cord and your home’s Wi-Fi, it’s safe to say modern smart TVs take convenience to a whole new level. Here are some cutting-edge smart TVs that are perfect for your home.
Buying Guide for Smart TVs
Why buy a smart TV?
With more and more people turning to streaming services in addition to (or even instead of) cable TV, smart TVs offer a distinct advantage that traditional TVs lack. Since smart TVs connect to the internet, they offer access to both network channels and online streaming services. Even better, they don’t require an external device like an antenna, satellite, Fire Stick, or Roku to do so. (Although in many cases, some of these can be used in tandem with a smart TV if desired.) You can connect your cable box to your smart TV while still granting access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. Most smart TVs have built-in apps for these various services, which allows you to remain logged in to your accounts and makes navigating between them that much easier. You can often organize, add, or delete these apps as desired, too.
As a bonus, many smart TVs give you the option to surf the internet, watch YouTube videos, and stream music right on your TV. Many models allow you to add music apps like Spotify or Pandora to your rotation. This is extremely useful for hosting or throwing parties, especially if you have a nice surround sound system to connect to your smart TV. And since smart TVs connect to the internet, they’re perfect for playing group video games online through systems like Xbox or PlayStation, too. Some might even be paired with or come equipped with digital voice control such as Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing you to change channels, lower or raise the volume, and search for a movie or app hands-free.
What should you look for in a smart TV?
- Resolution and Screen Size: Resolution refers to the number of detailed pixels on your television screen. The more pixels that are present, the less likely that you’ll see them at all. Also, consider how big of a screen you can or want to fit on your wall or TV stand for convenient and enjoyable viewing.
- Display: Most modern smart TVs have adopted an LED display in which the screen is backlit by light-emitting diodes rather than the fluorescent lights of yesteryear. Some TVs adhere to OLED light sources, where each pixel acts as its own light source, or they’ve made the leap to ULED, the latest in display picture quality. These variations come with their own pros and cons, so make a point to weigh them individually.
- Features: The smart TV has earned rightful acclaim for its continuous add-ons and updates, so find one with a bit of pizazz. Do you want Bluetooth capability, built-in Alexa, or endless streaming services? Choose a smart TV with features that make watching your favorite shows easier and more exciting.
Do all smart TVs have the same level of connectivity?
There are a few factors to consider in your smart TV’s connectivity, and not all models will be equal in this area. Pretty much every smart TV on the market will be able to connect to your home Wi-Fi. Some also have an Ethernet port, which is handy for those who prefer to connect to the internet via Ethernet cable, or for anyone who doesn’t have reliable Wi-Fi at home. Smart TVs with an Ethernet port aren’t quite as common, though, so you might have to search a little harder to find a model that has one. Other models also offer a USB port, which some consumers find handy. Many smart TVs have Bluetooth capability as well. However, if this is a feature that you want, be sure to check the listing before buying. Don’t assume that every model on the market is Bluetooth-compatible.
Another connectivity factor to consider is how many outside devices you plan to link to your TV. This includes cable boxes, gaming systems, and speakers. These sorts of devices will require an HDMI cable and port to connect to your smart TV. The average smart TV will have three HDMI ports. However, depending on the number of gaming systems or speaker sets that you own, you might want to opt for a model with more HDMI ports. Some smart TVs might only have one or two ports, but this is fairly rare.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the streaming services and apps available will largely depend on the brand that you buy. This is especially true if you use more niche, less mainstream apps. Be sure to check a smart TV’s listing before purchasing to ensure that it’s equipped with the services you use and subscribe to.
Our Selections for the Best Smart TVs
Amazon Fire TV 65" Omni Series 4K UHD smart TV with Dolby Vision, hands-free with Alexa
This affordable smart TV features simple voice controls and a crystal clear 4K picture.
Pros: This smart TV comes in a number of sizes (including a massive 75-inch variety with a tantalizing price tag) and stands out for its crystal clear 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) display. Like other Amazon Fire TVs, its simple voice controls are easy to learn and always updating, making it simple to launch apps, tweak the volume, or find the perfect movie on your favorite streaming app. When paired with a 4K streaming service or a UHD Blu-ray player, this smart TV’s picture is hard to beat, especially when compared to other TVs in its price range.
Cons: Unfortunately, corners seem to have been cut with this TV’s speakers, as they’re lacking in terms of bass and immersion. While this can be easily fixed by picking up a budget-friendly soundbar, it’ll increase the cost of your overall investment.
Bottom Line: If you’re seeking a smart TV that offers a stunning display, intuitive controls, and the ability to connect with your other smart home tech, this one is well worth the price. People who love their Amazon Fire Stick’s layout and functionality will find a lot to appreciate in this smart TV.
TCL 32-inch Roku Smart TV
A small yet efficient console, this smart TV is easy to use and easy on your wallet.
Pros: This TV is extremely budget-friendly, especially by smart TV standards. Considering the number of streaming services and apps that it’s compatible with, it provides good value at a low price. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to use Alexa or Google Assistant to voice control your smart TV, as both work with this model. If you’re looking for a compact smart TV for your bedroom or garage, this one fits the bill.
Cons: The tradeoff for the lower price tag is that this smart TV doesn’t offer quite as high resolution as many similar models. Not that the picture quality is poor by any means, but it won’t be as bright or as sharp as some, and your screen size options are pretty limited.
Bottom Line: This smart TV is a great choice for those on a budget, those who like the Roku platform, or those who want to use Alexa or Google Assistant with their television. If you’re willing to pay more money for a clearer screen picture, though, you’ll want to opt for a different smart TV.
SAMSUNG 65-Inch Class Crystal 4K UHD AU8000 Series HDR, 3 HDMI Ports, Motion Xcelerator, Tap View, PC on TV, Q Symphony, Smart TV with Alexa Built-In (UN65AU8000FXZA, 2021 Model)
This TV excels at displaying 4K video games and media thanks to its great refresh rate and high resolution.
Pros: Featuring a flawless 4K picture that uses Dynamic Crystal technology to stunning effect, the AU8000 Series TV is the perfect product for next-level movie nights or for streaming the big game in 4K. In addition to crisp, true-to-life colors, this smart TV provides excellent motion clarity, making it ideal for hectic next-gen gaming or marathoning your favorite action movies. It also offers Bluetooth compatibility, meaning you can connect it to your Bluetooth headphones for loud, immersive sound that won’t wake up the family.
Cons: Some reviewers noted seeing minor backlight bleeding near the corners of the TV. Although this will rarely be noticeable (unless you watch lots of letterboxed content while in a pitch-black room), it can limit your immersion when watching a movie with lots of dark scenes.
Bottom Line: This smart TV is tailor-made for bright rooms thanks to its bright, clear display. Given its impressive refresh rate, amazing resolution, and reasonable price point, it’s a model that will make your favorite movie or video game look better than ever without breaking the bank.
Samsung 55-inch Curved TU-8300 Series 4K UHD HDR Smart TV
A 55-inch smart TV with a curved screen that contours to better fit into your space and offers enhanced color quality.
Pros: The picture quality is excellent, with a high 4K resolution. Also, the crystal processor ensures that all images, even quick movements, are smoothly transferred in that great 4K resolution. The curved screen provides an equally good view no matter which angle you view it from as well as offering a more immersive look. And it can wirelessly hook up to your computer or PC, allowing you to blow up your documents or images on a larger screen.
Cons: Since this smart TV is only available in two large sizes, it’s not a great choice for smaller homes. People who live in dorms or small apartments might find it too bulky for that reason. And some users found the remote confusing or challenging to operate.
Bottom Line: As long as you have the space for it, this smart TV is a great option for watching fast-paced sports in your den or for blowing up images on your home office computer. Graphic design artists who like to work on their PC or laptop might find this smart TV a worthwhile investment, too. However, the available sizes might be too large for those with limited living space or smaller home offices.
Insignia 32-inch Smart HD Fire TV
A 32-inch smart TV with voice control that allows you to switch between your favorite streaming services hands-free.
Pros: Both Alexa voice control and Fire TV come built-in to this TV, so you don’t need to worry about whether it’s compatible with either or both. Whether you prefer to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, never fear—this smart TV is Wi-Fi compatible and has an Ethernet port, allowing you to surf the web via whichever method you prefer. The remote comes with built-in buttons for several popular streaming services, including Netflix, and the feet on the included stand are nice and sturdy.
Cons: This smart TV is on the smaller side, which some consumers might find less than ideal. It’s only available in that one size, so if you like this smart TV’s features but want a bigger model, you’re out of luck. An HD antenna is required for the Fire TV to integrate optimally.
Bottom Line: This smart TV is great for a dorm room, small apartment, or bedroom. It provides the more compact size necessary for these environments, with more features and streaming options than those found on normal small TVs. You’ll want to pass on this one if you’re looking for a big flat screen or home theater smart TV.
We expect more and more out of our technology and devices these days, and TVs are no exception. If you’re in the market for a new TV or you’re looking for an upgrade, a smart TV is almost certainly going to be worth your while. While most models will be pricier than a classic television, between the internet connectivity, convenient access to streaming services, and potential for voice control, many consumers consider them to be more than worth the extra cost.