Best Smart TV Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's overview of the best smart TV & # 39; s and smart TV platforms you can buy in 2018.
Ten years ago you had to look out for a smart TV & # 39; to find. Of course, they existed, but it was not like today, where 99% of the 40 inch and more TV sets are locked, filled and loaded with a smart TV platform.
What already existed at the time was awful, third-party services that never received an update and suffered huge gaps in their content library.
But those days are over.
The offered TV platforms have grown dramatically in recent years, with platforms such as webOS, Tizen, Roku TV and Android TV as drivers. TV makers no longer slide half-baked TV platforms into their flagship sets and instead focus primarily on your entertainment and ease of use.
Nowadays the best smart TV platforms are actually improve the viewing experience. They help you to access streaming content services and manage your view. If you want to view recommendations, your smart TV must give it.
What is the best smart TV platform you can buy? We have ranked & # 39; the world's most important connected TV platforms, with the emphasis on ease of use, functionality, stability and content support. After you have seen the best choices in each category, you can click through to the next page to view a detailed overview of each platform.
What is the best smart TV?
Best Smart TV with Samsung Smart Hub
The Samsung Q9FN is the best Smart Hub / SmartThings TV in the world
Spectacular HDR image quality
Good smart system
Advanced game features
Limited viewing angles
While the Smart TV system of the 65Q9FN is closely based on the Eden platform where Samsung has been busy refining in recent years, expect some tasty new pieces that contribute to the experience without taking away anything.
To begin with, there is now compatibility with The SmartThings platform from Samsung, which provides a hub on the screen for monitoring and even controlling other smart devices (refrigerators, washing machines, lighting, etc.) on your network.
There is also a much better integration of the TV listings and live broadcasts in the TV's search functions: there are now hour recommendation recommendations, for example, and TV programs are getting a lot more attention in the content search menu & # 39; s.
Samsung has also delivered enhanced interactivity with your smartphones and tablets, as well as some cool new gaming-related features.
In general, a smooth, user-friendly and helpful customizable interface is in conflict with the impressive sophistication and comprehensibility of Samsung's latest Smart TV engine.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV
Best Smart TV with Android TV
The winner is the Sony 65-inch A1 Bravia OLED
Stunning picture quality
Excellent audio system
Lean back design
The Bravia A1 OLED combines innovative technology with a stunning design – making it easily one of the best TV's for Android TV.
It not only looks great, but it also sounds great, even though it has no soundbar. Instead, it uses a pair of sonic actuators, positioned at the back of the panel that vibrate, creating stereo sound. Bass comes from an 8 cm long subwoofer in the standard.
The Android smart platform of the set has built-in Chromecast, making it easy to cast content from a compatible mobile phone. Apps include Netflix and YouTube in 4K.
The image quality is fantastic. A wide color range of Triluminos, the liveliness of the colors is high, while a 4K Reality Pro image processor maximizes the image details. The success of the set is an integral part of Sony's new 4K HDR X1 Extreme image engine. Object-based HDR remastering does a great job, making normal SDR TV look like HDR.
If you are looking for the best Android TV screen, the A1 is the correct model.
Read our full review: Sony Bravia A1 OLED
Best Smart TV with My Home Screen 2.0
The winner is the Panasonic TX-55FZ952B OLED TV (UK only)
Excellent 4K picture quality
Effective HDR performance
Elegant smart platform
No Dolby Vision or Atmos
The Smart Home Screen platform from Panasonic is certainly easy compared to a large part of the competition, but that does not necessarily have to be bad. Currently on its third generation, it remains largely the same as the Firefox OS on which it was originally based.
When you press the Home button on the remote control, you can select from three options: Live TV, Apps and Devices. This simplicity is the greatest power of the platform, making it easy to navigate and find things by conveniently storing all apps in one location; you can also pin your favorite apps to the home page for faster access.
Because the smart platform is relatively simple, it does not need a huge amount of processing power to work, making it responsive, robust and free of crashes. My home screen is not fragmented like some platforms, nor is it covered by the recommendations, it just delivers all the streaming and catch-up services you need.
Thanks to Freeview Play, it is a fairly comprehensive list of pick-up services with BBC iPlayer, ITVhub, All4, My5, BBC News & Sport and UK Play. The iPlayer app supports 4K and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma – the broadcast version of HDR), both tested by the BBC during the World Cup. There are also Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, all of which support 4K and HDR, along with services such as Rakuten and Chili Cinema. In fact, the only major streaming service is missing NOW TV.
Read the full review: Panasonic FZ952 / FZ902 OLED TV
Best Smart TV with webOS
A small software upgrade makes a big difference for the OLED range
Great image quality
Excellent operating system
Much improved gaming potential
Incidental image noise
Central to the smart features of the OLED65E8 is webOS: the groundbreaking, often copied but never better interface of LG. This still does a brilliant job in finding and organizing all the innumerable content resources available to modern TV viewers, thanks to the simple, attractive layout and effortless customization.
LG provides access to all major video streaming apps, including the full 4K, HDR implementations of Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. British users can also benefit from Sky's Now TV platform, as well as Freeview Play, which offers overtaking TV services from all major UK terrestrial broadcasters in a convenient umbrella interface.
LG in Europe has also recently added Rakuten TV, with which the continent offers its first film streaming platform that supports both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound. The US can of course get such flows from VUDU.
However, WebOS is no longer the end of LG's smart features. For example, there is now a much improved speech recognition / control system that provides easy access to both the TV functions and an exceptionally extensive and effective voice search function. This looks through (some) apps, the internet and the TV listings for answers to your content requests.
The OLED65E8 is compatible with Alexa and, after a recent update, Google Assistant, and even has the ability to monitor and control other devices and devices in your home network via the ThinQ platform.
Our only problem with webOS is that the single scroll bar with icons along the bottom of the screen can be quite long once you have added some of your own apps.
Read the full review: LG E8 OLED
Best Smart TV with Roku TV
The winner is the TCL 6-Series R615, R617 (USA only)
Bright, colorful HDR
Roku TV is great
Supports Dolby Vision
Scaling up is not world-class
Once you have installed this TCL TV, you will meet the familiar veneers of Roku TV – an egalitarian operating system that retains the best spot by hand (perhaps the best operating system) year after year. It is intuitive to use (if it is a bit boring) and because of the lack of links with a particular streaming platform, it can point you to all places where content is found without bias.
The latter is important, especially if you have ever used one Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, which both prefer to stream you from their streaming support services than those from third parties. Because Roku has no ties to a major streaming service – other than a vague deal to put FandangoNow on the OS home screen – it does not push you into the direction you do not want to go and supports everything from Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and Amazon, to less well-known channels such as Pluto.tv, tubi, Crackle and others.
That is not to say that Roku's own streaming service was launched late last year, which offers its own collection of completely free films that change in and out every few months. Most are nothing to write home about, but this month's recommended movie is Whiplash – which, if you have never seen it before, is worth taking advantage of the free access.
Although it would be nice to see the inclusion of artificial intelligence and personal assistants on Roku TV – similar to what LG does with WebOS and Samsung has done with Tizen and SmartThings – all in all, this is still one of the best tv's activities systems and a fantastic general TV.
Read the full review: TCL Roku TV from the 6-series