Best Smart TVs of 2015
Smart TVs have taken over the electronics industry within a short time frame. Features that were once only offered from a few major brands are now available through many television manufacturers which range in quality and price. While practically all brands offer the most popular features even on their lower-end Smart TV models, some platforms are much better than others when it comes to ease of use and services offered. That is why we provide helpful reviews on all the major Smart TV platforms, listing both the positive and negative aspects of each brand, so that you can decide which TV is the best choice for your own home entertainment needs.
What is a Smart TV?
A Smart TV is a television that is capable of connecting to the internet, typically through a Wi-Fi connection however there are some that allow for wired connections as well. These TVs are able to access a wide range of online services including streaming video, social networking sites, video game downloads, and even video chat options. The main benefit to owning a Smart TV is the ability to access a world of online content from the comfort of your couch. Many of the latest models also include a full web browser, allowing users to access search engines, read their email or browse popular websites the same way they would on their home computer.
An alternative to owning a Smart TV is purchasing a standalone box or device such as a Roku box or Amazon Fire stick. These options are typically more affordable and allow users to access streaming content using their current HDTV and an Internet connection. While standalone devices are a good option for those who simply want to enjoy streaming TV shows and movies, there are limitations to what these devices can do when compared to the many features associated with today’s Smart TVs.
The latest model of the Samsung Smart TV includes many features that are sure to make the brand’s competitors take notice. Upgrades to the system include a broader variety of streaming apps, a better menu design, point and click interaction, and more interaction with other Smart devices.
The new Tizen operating system for 2015 includes the Smart Hub feature that makes the platform more user-friendly. This supplies the user with a sleeker menu appearance with icons that take up a small amount of screen space.
Samsung has always been an industry leader when it comes to manufacturing quality electronics, so it should come as no surprise that they are one of the top-rated brands for Smart TVs. Along with an improved user interface, the company has come up with new and innovative ways to make these TVs even better. Their Smart Remote is being recognized as the best remote control on the market. Not only does it allow the user to control a variety of other devices along with their TV, but this remote also makes accessing Smart TV content much easier with shortcut buttons and a touchpad feature that works similar to the touchpad on a laptop.
When compared to the features offered by other top-selling brands, Samsung comes out on top in most categories, especially on the subject of online web browsers. Unlike the Vizio TVs, which currently do not offer a built-in web browser of any type, the most current Samsung Smart TVs now come with a Google Chrome browser that is pre-installed so that you can enjoy surfing the web directly from your couch. Samsung TVs may be more expensive than those offered by other brands, yet they provide the owner with a wide variety of features that will remain relevant for years to come. Full Samsung Smart Platform Review
Vizio is a brand that has impressed consumers since they first started in 2002 with quality electronics available at affordable prices. The company is well-known for manufacturing TVs that offer superior picture quality and sound, and their line of Smart TVs are no exception. The Smart TVs offered by Vizio have a simple user interface that is easy enough for beginners to use right out of the box. The App Home showcases all the best programs in one location which makes them easy to access. The absence of a built-in web browser is one aspect that may turn off some tech-savvy customers, however the fast processor and wide variety of popular apps help make Vizio TVs a desirable choice.
While most TVs come with a standard remote option, Vizio has an additional Smart Remote available for purchase that includes a full QWERTY keyboard. This makes logging into various apps and programs such as Netflix and Facebook much easier and faster than using an on-screen keyboard. And even though the remote has to be purchased separately, it is an affordable accessory that many owners feel is worth the additional cost.
Vizio TVs are an affordable option for consumers who want to upgrade their HDTV, but do not require all the bells and whistles associated with higher-end Smart TV models. If you simply want a new TV that will provide you with access to streaming services and popular apps such as Facebook, Twitter, or Spotify – Vizio is a very smart choice. Full Vizio Smart Platform Review
Sony has helped to improve the Smart TV industry by offering the Sony Entertainment Network on all their latest models. This official Smart TV system for the brand has gone through some significant changes over the years which has helped make the overall viewing experience more enjoyable. The user interface has been improved to showcase featured and frequently used apps on the main screen allowing users to access their favorites in an instant. The recommendations system has also been improved, which helps users find more apps that they will enjoy based on the programs they already use.
Sony offers a convenient touchpad remote control to use with their Smart TVs that helps make using online features such as the built-in web browser much easier. The touchpad works similar to one found on a laptop and allows users to browse the web effortlessly the same way that they would on their home computer. The updated remote also features quick keys for popular apps such as Netflix for fast access to a large library of streaming content.
Sony’s line of Smart TVs use the Android TV system which allows users to watch content on their TV, or existing Android devices like tablets or mobile phones. They also offer access to the PlayStation Now network which lets users stream select video games directly to their television, no gaming console required.
Sony products are quality made, designed to be durable and long-lasting. Their Smart TVs include many additional features such as 4K resolution and MotionFlow technology that are sure to provide users with the best possible viewing experience whether they are watching live sports, basic programming or playing fast-paced video games.
If you read up on customer reviews for LG TVs you will find many satisfied customers. LG is a brand that is very well-known for manufacturing high-quality and reliable electronics. Their latest TV models are loaded with exceptional features including 4K Ultra HD resolution that provides the viewer with true-to-life image quality.
While an LG Smart TV is an exceptional choice for anyone who wants a quality set, their webOS 2.0 Smart TV platform is not necessarily a favorite among consumers who are into the latest technology advancements. The platform offers a ton of apps which is a plus. However the webOS system can sometimes be confusing by hiding rarely-used apps and displaying a cluster of menus and shortcuts that are somewhat difficult to navigate.
Still the webOS 2.0 system has a lot to offer both Smart TV beginners and experts. The platform allows users to switch between the TV show they are watching and apps instantly so that they never miss a thing. Users can gain access to more apps and programs by visiting the LG Smart World section where new and original apps are added on a regular basis. There you can get access to games, special streaming content, educational apps and more.
LG’s platform also features voice-on-demand services which is a feature that is not offered on many lower-end TV models. This service can be used along with the LG Magic Remote’s Voice Mate feature which allows users to control the TV volume, channel surf and more by speaking simple commands. The remote also includes a mouse-like pointing and wheel control for easy navigation while using the TV’s web browser.
Which Apps Can You Use on Smart TVs?
While most Smart TVs will offer the same popular apps, there are a few notable differences in the programs that they offer and their overall functionality. Every Smart TV on the market is going to provide access to streaming content through major companies such as Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime. Yet specific brands will provide users with their own unique content that will help set them apart from all the rest. One example of this is Sony and their PlayStation Now network which provides users with access to streaming video games. This service is only offered on Sony brand TVs and helps make the brand an obvious choice for avid gamers.
As you look into Smart TV reviews you will find that some brands offer a wider range of apps than others. LG for instance, has received rave reviews for their abundance of app options including favorites such as Skype, BlinkBox, and Box Office 365. Lower-priced TVs such as those offered by Vizio, still offer many of today’s top applications, but fail in comparison to the vast library available from industry leaders such as LG or Sony.
Is a Smart TV Better Than A Standalone Box?
The decision of whether to invest in a new Smart TV or buy a less-expensive standalone box should depend on the user’s personal viewing preferences. If you want a home entertainment setup that includes all the latest features and enjoy the convenience of using one device for all your TV and online needs, then a Smart TV is the right choice for you.
If you only want a Smart TV because it offers streaming content and are not interested in browsing the internet from your living room sofa, a better and more affordable option would be to go with a standalone box.
Both devices have their advantages and disadvantages, and while a standalone box may be more budget-friendly, a new Smart TV will also provide you with the added bonus of upgraded TV features, such as improved image clarity and access to motion or voice command features.
When it comes to which brand offers the best and most innovative TV features, Samsung is the leader based on reviews and customer satisfaction. Sony is a close second and fierce competitor for the industry leader. LG TVs have received many positive reviews from satisfied customers as well, however their platform is not considered to be as user-friendly as Samsung or Sony. And as far as Smart TV features go, Vizio tends to come in last mainly because the brand has yet to offer a built-in web browser.
Buying a new TV can be a difficult choice because most consumers want to invest their money in a quality product that offers a good amount of features in order to upgrade from their older model. Yet with so many brands offering similar ‘new and improved’ features, it can be hard to determine which brand is truly the best. That is why it is important to look at models made by each individual brand and compare their features to determine which Smart TV is the best option for you and your family.