Almost all new TVs come equipped with a smart platform. Some manufacturers choose to use their own smart platforms, where others choose to integrate options like Android or Roku. No matter the case, the selection of apps is great, and most common apps are available on almost all platforms.
We've tested more than 70 TVs in the past two years, and below are our recommendations for the best smart TVs you can buy. Also, check out our recommendations for the best Roku TVs, the best TVs, and the best 4k TVs.
The best smart TV we've tested is the LG CX. It delivers all-around excellent picture quality, and it can turn off individual pixels, resulting in extremely deep blacks. It's a really well-built TV with a sleek and stylish stand that holds it well.
It performs well in both dark and bright rooms. The infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity make it ideal for watching movies at night, and it has outstanding reflection handling if you want to watch TV during the day in a bright room. It also has wide viewing angles for when you want to stream your favorite shows with the entire family or with friends. It has LG's built-in WebOS, which is easy to use and has a great selection of apps available. You can use its remote as a traditional remote with its navigation buttons, or you can use it to point and press, like a computer mouse. The remote also has built-in voice control so you can ask it to pull up your shows on Netflix or YouTube.
Unfortunately, like any OLED TV, it has the risk of permanent burn-in. This could be a problem if you constantly stream stuff with static elements, like the news, but we don't expect this to be a problem if you watch varied content. Lastly, this TV has good built-in speakers, so if you don't want to pay extra to get a soundbar, it provides a well-balanced sound profile.
If you're worried about the permanent burn-in risk and prefer an LED TV, check out the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED. It doesn't produce perfect blacks like the LG CX OLED, but it gets much brighter and has better out-of-the-box color accuracy. This is a VA panel TV that has an 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer that improves the viewing angles at the cost of its contrast ratio. Luckily, it has a full-array local dimming feature that helps darken any blacks. It uses Samsung's Tizen OS as its smart interface, which is easy to use and very smooth to navigate, and the app store has a ton of apps available. Sadly, it has some uniformity issues, but this could vary from unit to unit. On the upside, HDR content looks excellent as this TV displays a wide color gamut and makes highlights pop.
All in all, the best TV for streaming that we've tested is the LG, but if you prefer an LED screen, the Samsung is a great alternative.
The best smart TV for watching HDR content that we've tested is the best Sony X950H. It's Sony's flagship 4k LED TV in 2020 that offers great HDR performance. It has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, and most people shouldn't need to get it calibrated. It has built-in Android TV, which has a ton of apps you can download from the Google Play Store.
It supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and HDR content looks great because it has excellent HDR peak brightness that makes highlights pop, it displays a great wide color gamut, and the gradient handling is amazing. It's well-built with a VA panel that displays deep blacks and has a full-array local dimming feature that improves the contrast ratio. Its native contrast isn't as good as some other VA panel TVs because it has Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' technology, which improves the viewing angles a bit, but it still isn't suggested for a wide seating arrangement. It performs very well in bright rooms as it gets extremely bright and has outstanding reflection handling.
Unfortunately, it's not ideal for serious gamers, especially for a high-end model, as it doesn't have variable refresh rate (VRR) support and its input lag is higher than most TVs in 2020. On the upside, it still has an impressive response time, so fast-moving content looks smooth. It's also able to interpolate motion up to 120fps, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect,' and it removes judder from any source. All in all, this is the best TV for streaming with accurate colors that we've seen.
If you want a cheaper option with the same built-in Android TV smart platform, check out the Hisense H9G. It doesn't have as good of a color accuracy, and it doesn't get as bright as the Sony X950H in HDR. However, the Hisense has a much better contrast ratio and has a better full-array local dimming feature, so HDR content looks even better on the cheaper TV. It displays a great wide color gamut, has great gradient handling, and it supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles, which is expected from a VA panel TV, and it's not suggested for a wide seating arrangement. If you want to use it for some HDR gaming, it has an excellent response time and low input lag, but it doesn't support any VRR technology.
All in all, the Sony is more well-rounded with wider viewing angles and brighter HDR peak brightness, but if you don't have a wide seating arrangement and deeper blacks for a cheaper cost, you can't go wrong with the Hisense.
The Hisense H8G is the best smart TV in the budget category that we've tested. It's fairly well-built and looks nice in any setting. It offers good overall performance that most people should be happy with. The built-in Android TV is somewhat easy to use but may not feel the most smooth at times. It still has an excellent selection of apps available to download.
It uses a VA panel and has an excellent contrast ratio and decent black uniformity. Despite its budget price, it even has a full-array local dimming feature that performs fairly well. In bright rooms, it has decent reflection handling, and it gets bright enough to combat glare. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, but it doesn't get bright enough in that mode to truly bring out highlights. It's a bit limited on gaming features, but it has a good response time, a Black Frame Insertion feature, and low input lag.
Sadly, it has some uniformity issues as there's a dirty screen effect in the center, which could get distracting during sports, but this may vary between units. It also has narrow viewing angles, but that's expected from a VA panel. Fortunately, it upscales lower-resolution content well, and it removes judder from native 24p sources. Overall, most people should be happy with the Hisense, making it the best TV for streaming available in the budget category.
If you're not a fan of Android TV and prefer Roku TV because it's easier to use and the menu navigation feels smoother, check out the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense H8G, but it displays a much wider color gamut for HDR content. It has a remarkable contrast ratio and good black uniformity, and even though there's a bit of blooming around bright objects, its local dimming features perform fairly well overall. It has great out-of-the-box color accuracy, it upscales lower-resolution content well, and it removes 24p judder from any source, which is rare for a 60Hz TV. Sadly, it has just decent reflection handling, and it doesn't get very bright, so it's best to avoid well-lit rooms. Also, highlights don't pop the way the creator intended with HDR content. If you also want to use it for gaming, it has a very good response time, incredibly low input lag, and a Black Frame Insertion feature.
Overall, the Hisense is the better choice if you're on a budget and want the best smart TV we've tested, but if you want Roku TV, check out the TCL.
In their most basic form, a smart TV is a television that is connected to the internet and provides web-related features. It can be a web browser, but their appeal usually comes from their ability to use online services such as 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 quite similar.
Unfortunately, though, while they offer the same features, they tend to be a bit slower and less stable. This 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. If you're shopping for a TV, don't fret too much on their smart features since little of your time is going to 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.
10/14/2020: Replaced the LG NANO85 with the Hisense H9G; renamed the Sony X950H to 'Best for HDR'; replaced the TCL 6 Series 2020 with the 5 Series 2020.
09/14/2020: Minor updates to text for clarity.
08/13/2020: Added the LG NANO85.
07/14/2020: Replaced the LG B9 with the CX, the Samsung Q80R with the Q80T, the Sony X950G with the X950H, and the Hisense H9F with the H8G; removed the LG SM9500.
06/10/2020: Replaced the Samsung Q70R with the Q80T.
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.