New 4k TVs come equipped with a smart platform. Some manufacturers choose to use proprietary platforms, where others choose to integrate options like Google TV, Android, or Roku. No matter the case, the selection of apps is great, and the most common streaming apps are available on almost all platforms. Choosing the best smart TV is based on your needs and personal preferences for which smart OS you enjoy using the most.
We've tested more than 80 TVs on our latest test bench, and below are our recommendations for the best smart TVs you can buy. Also, check out our picks for the best Roku TVs, the best TVs, and the best 4k TVs.
The best smart TV with an OLED panel that we've tested is the LG C1 OLED. A higher-end model, it delivers exceptional picture quality and comes with LG's webOS built-in. The interface is easy to learn, and the app store has a ton of apps you can download. It even comes with the Magic Remote that you can use as a point-and-press remote, like a Wii remote, making it easier to navigate through the menu.
OLEDs can turn off each pixel, resulting in perfect black levels and no blooming around bright objects, making it a fantastic choice for watching movies in dark rooms. It has fantastic reflection handling if you want to use it in a room with a few lights around, but we don't suggest placing it opposite a window. It has wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate at the sides if you want to watch your favorite shows with the entire family.
Sadly, OLEDs risk permanent burn-in with constant exposure to static displays, but we don't expect this to be an issue for those who watch varied content. Our unit has terrible out-of-the-box accuracy, but this can also vary between units. If you're a fan of HDR content, it displays a wide color gamut but may not get bright enough to make highlights stand out. Besides these issues, it's still the best smart TV in the OLED category.
If you want something with better HDR performance for movie lovers, then check out the Sony A90J OLED. It doesn't have gaming features like the LG C1 OLED, but it has decent peak brightness in HDR, meaning it's brighter than most OLEDs we've tested, so highlights pop a lot more on this TV. It also has exceptional gradient handling, so you shouldn't notice any banding in scenes with shades of the same color, like in a sunset. Out-of-the-box accuracy is excellent, and even though this can vary between units, Sony TVs are known for their exceptional accuracy. Unfortunately, it doesn't have many extra gaming features like VRR support, but Sony has said this could come in a future firmware update.
If you want the best TV for streaming with an OLED panel, you can't go wrong with the LG. It has more gaming features and is more affordable for most people. However, the Sony gets brighter, providing a better HDR experience if you don't mind spending more on it.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is the best smart TV with an LED panel that we've tested. It's a high-end Mini LED model with a ton of features that are great for those watching in dark or bright environments, in wide seating arrangements, or for gaming. It uses Samsung's Tizen as its operating system, which is user-friendly. The remote has a mic for voice control, and it even has a solar panel on the back so you can recharge it.
LED TVs have an advantage over OLEDs because they don't suffer from the risk of permanent burn-in, so you won't have to worry about damaging the screen no matter the content you watch. It doesn't have any trouble displaying 1080p or 4k content, and if you watch shows from a cable box, it displays 720p content well. It's a great choice for well-lit rooms because it gets bright enough to combat glare and has fantastic reflection handling. Despite having a VA panel, it has fairly wide viewing angles thanks to Samsung's 'Ultra Wide Angle' technology.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support Dolby Vision, so some HDR content from streaming apps like Netflix will be shown in the basic HDR10 format instead. It displays a wide color gamut, has fantastic HDR brightness, and has a VA panel with high contrast for deep blacks. Overall, it's the best TV for streaming in the LED category.
If you prefer something cheaper, then look into the Hisense U8G. It doesn't have Mini LED backlighting or viewing angle technology like the Samsung QN90A QLED, so the image looks inaccurate from the sides, but that means it has even better contrast. It still gets bright and has excellent reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be an issue in most rooms. It also supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, so you won't have to worry about which format your HDR content is in before streaming. The Android TV platform is great, and you can find most apps you need through the Google Play Store. Sadly, there are some known issues with motion and red ghosting, but this is more noticeable in Game Mode.
If you're worried about the risk of burn-in and you want the best smart TV with an LED screen, then the Samsung is a great choice. However, if you want something cheaper, look into the Hisense.
The Hisense U6G is the best smart TV in the budget category that we've tested. It's great overall, and despite its low cost, it provides very good picture quality for nearly almost every type of content. It comes with Android TV, and even though Hisense's remote is one of the few left with a dedicated Numpad, it's great, and you get shortcut buttons to popular streaming services. The built-in mic offers voice control for Google Assistant and Alexa.
In terms of picture quality, it's great for both dark and well-lit environments. It has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, and the full-array local dimming feature does a decent job at improving black uniformity in dark scenes. It gets bright enough to fight glare in a bright room and has excellent reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be an issue. Even though it doesn't have any advanced features like VRR or a 120Hz panel, gamers should still appreciate its quick response time and low input lag for a responsive gaming experience.
Unfortunately, Android TV can take some time to get used to and may not be as easy to use as other platforms. Also, while it displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, its HDR brightness is just okay, so some highlights may not pop how the creator intended. If these issues don't bother you, it's one of the best TVs for streaming that we've tested.
If you're a fan of Roku TV, then check out the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense U6G, but this is another good entry-level TV, and although it's a 2020 model, you can still find it available because TCL has yet to release all of its 2021 models. Roku TV is even easier to use than Android TV, and menu navigation feels smooth. It's an impressive TV for watching movies because it displays deep blacks, and the local dimming feature is decent. It even removes 24p judder from any source, which is rare for a 60Hz TV, and helps with the appearance of motion in movies. It has great out-of-the-box accuracy and displays a very wide color gamut for HDR, but sadly it doesn't get very bright in HDR, so some highlights may not pop how they should.
If you're on a budget and want one of the best smart TVs we've tested, the Hisense gets bright and offers great all-around performance. The TCL isn't as bright and has worse reflection handling, but it has Roku built-in, making it a good alternative.
Oct 07, 2021: Updated text for clarity; added the TCL 6 Series/S6456 2021 QLED and Sony X95J to Notable Mentions.
Sep 10, 2021: Updated text for clarity; added the LG B1, LG A1, LG QNED90, and Vizio M7 Series 2021 to Notable Mentions.
Aug 13, 2021: Added the Sony A90J as 'Better HDR Alternative' to the LG C1 for consistency; added the Sony X85J and Hisense U7G to Notable Mentions.
Jul 16, 2021: Replaced the Hisense H8G with the newer U6G; added the Sony A80J, LG NANO90 2021, Sony X90J, and LG G1 OLED to Notable Mentions.
Jun 17, 2021: Replaced the Sony X90J with the Samsung QN90A QLED, and replaced the Samsung Q80A with the Hisense U8G as a cheaper alternative. Removed the Hisense H9G, as the U8G is a better choice.
A smart TV is a television connected to the internet that provides web-related features. It can be a web browser, but its appeal usually comes from its ability to use online services like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify. If you've ever used something like an Apple TV, a Roku, or a Chromecast, then you are already quite familiar with their capabilities as they're similar.
While they offer the same features, they tend to be a bit slower and less stable. It's has become less of an issue in recent years, but most TVs still don't quite match the speed and reliability of something like a Roku set-top box.
Not only does almost every TV include smart features today, but most of them are pretty good. LG's WebOS and TCL's Roku stand out for their quality, but most shoppers should be pleased by the features of any of them. Don't fret too much about features if you're shopping for a TV since little of your time will be spent using them. Instead, focus on the picture quality or other features that complement your usage. You'll get much closer to finding your perfect TV that way.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best TVs for streaming currently available with smart features. They are adapted to be valid for most people in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price, and feedback from our visitors.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of smart TVs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.