The 6 Best Smart TVs For Streaming - Spring 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Smart TVs
303 Televisions Tested
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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. Choosing the best smart TV is all based on your needs and personal preference of which smart OS you enjoy using the most.

We've tested more than 80 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.


  1. Best OLED Smart TV For Streaming: LG CX OLED

    8.8
    Mixed Usage
    9.3
    Movies
    8.2
    TV Shows
    8.6
    Sports
    9.2
    Video Games
    8.7
    HDR Movies
    9.0
    HDR Gaming
    8.7
    PC Monitor
    Type OLED
    Sub-Type
    WRGB
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 48" 55" 65" 77"

    The best smart TV with an OLED panel that we've tested is the LG CX. It's one of two entry-level OLEDs in LG's lineup, and it's available in a wide range of sizes. Like any OLED TV, it can turn off pixels individually, resulting in an infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity, so it's a great choice for dark room viewing. It uses LG's webOS interface, which is easy-to-use and has a ton of apps available to download. You can also use the Magic Remote as a point-and-press remote, a bit like a computer mouse.

    It delivers stunning picture quality and is packed with features. It displays an excellent color gamut for HDR content, has excellent gradient handling, and it has decent HDR peak brightness, enough to make some highlights pop, but it may not be enough for a true HDR experience. It also has outstanding reflection handling if you want to use it in a well-lit room. If you also want to use it for gaming, you should appreciate its near-instant response time, 120Hz panel, variable refresh rate (VRR) support, and low input lag.

    Sadly, OLED TVs have the risk of permanent burn-in. This could be problematic if you constantly watch the same content with static elements, like leaving it on the news all the time, but we don't expect this to be a problem for people who watch varied content. Lastly, it upscales lower-resolution content without any issues, which is great for watching cable TV or DVDs. Overall, if you want the best TV for streaming and want an OLED, go for this one.

    See our review

  2. Best LED Smart TV For Streaming: Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED

    8.3
    Mixed Usage
    8.1
    Movies
    8.4
    TV Shows
    8.4
    Sports
    8.5
    Video Games
    7.9
    HDR Movies
    8.3
    HDR Gaming
    8.8
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 50" 55" 65" 75" 85"

    The Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED is the best smart TV with an LED panel that we've tested. Unlike OLEDs, LED TVs don't have the risk of long-term permanent damage, so you can easily leave it on your favorite news channel without worrying about burn-in. It offers impressive overall performance and is also packed with features that should please most people. Samsung's Tizen OS is easy-to-use, menu navigation is very smooth, and there's a great selection of apps to choose from.

    It has a VA panel with a great contrast ratio, so it displays deep blacks. Its contrast is lower than most VA panel TVs because it has Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology, which is meant to improve the viewing angles at the cost of its contrast. It also has a decent full-array local dimming feature that improves the picture quality in dark scenes. It's a great choice for daytime viewing in bright rooms because it has outstanding reflection handling and great peak brightness. Additionally, it gets bright enough to make highlights stand out in HDR.

    Unfortunately, our unit has some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center. This could get distracting during sports, but it also may vary between units. We tested the 55 inch model, but the 49 and 50 inch models are limited to a 60Hz panel, don't have VRR support, and lack the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology, so they should have higher contrast and narrow viewing angles. That said, these shouldn't make a difference if you're just streaming your favorite shows, and all in all, this is the best smart TV we've tested with an LED panel.

    See our review

  3. Best Streaming TV For HDR: Hisense H9G

    8.4
    Mixed Usage
    8.8
    Movies
    8.2
    TV Shows
    8.2
    Sports
    8.5
    Video Games
    8.6
    HDR Movies
    8.4
    HDR Gaming
    8.0
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65"

    Of the TVs we've tested, the Hisense H9G is the best TV for streaming HDR content. It's the flagship TV in Hisense's 2020 lineup, and it delivers excellent picture quality in an affordable package. It runs on Android TV, which is a bit less intuitive than some competing smart platforms but offers greater customizability and a very wide selection of apps. It's a well-built model with a sleek and modern design that should fit well into any setup.

    When it comes to HDR, this is an excellent choice. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, and its contrast ratio is fantastic, delivering deep blacks that are great for watching in the dark. It also has a great full-array local dimming feature to further improve black levels. The TV can get very bright, enough to make highlights in HDR content pop. On top of that, it supports HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision, so it has all of the most common HDR formats covered.

    Unfortunately, since it uses a VA panel, it has narrow viewing angles that make the image look washed out from the side. It's also not the best choice if you're a big gamer since it doesn't have VRR support and, despite having a 120Hz panel, it has issues supporting a 120Hz signal in any resolution. On the upside, though, it does have a low input lag and an amazing response time that results in clear motion in fast-moving content. All in all, this is among the best smart TVs we've tested when it comes to HDR, and most people should be satisfied with it.

    See our review

  4. Alternative With Better Color Accuracy: Sony X950H

    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 49" 55" 65" 75" 85"

    If you're looking for better color accuracy, and you'd rather not have to calibrate your TV, check out the Sony X950H. Its contrast ratio is not as high as the Hisense H9G, but it has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you don't necessarily need to calibrate it to get the most out of your TV. It also has amazing HDR brightness, so it can make HDR content pop as it should, and a wide color gamut. Like the Hisense, it's also an Android TV, so the interface is essentially the same. It also has okay viewing angles, considering it's a VA panel, thanks to Sony's added 'X-Wide Angle' layer. Gamers should also appreciate the fast response time and low input lag, although they're not as good as on the Hisense. Unfortunately, it doesn't support VRR.

    If you want a TV with an incredible contrast ratio that can deliver a satisfying HDR experience, you can't go wrong with the Hisense, but if color accuracy is important to you, the Sony is a great alternative.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Smart TV For Streaming: Hisense H8G

    7.8
    Mixed Usage
    8.0
    Movies
    7.6
    TV Shows
    7.5
    Sports
    7.9
    Video Games
    7.8
    HDR Movies
    7.7
    HDR Gaming
    7.7
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 50" 55" 65" 75"

    The best smart TV that we've tested in the budget category is the Hisense H8G. It sits below the Hisense H9G in their 2020 lineup, and even though it doesn't perform as well overall, it still offers very good performance for most usages that should please most people. It also has Android TV as its smart platform, which has a ton of apps you can download through the Google Play Store, but you may find there's a learning curve before you get used to its interface.

    It performs equally as well in dark rooms as it does in bright rooms. Its VA panel has an excellent native contrast ratio, and the full-array local dimming feature does a decent job at improving the black level. Black uniformity on our unit is also decent, but this is something that can vary between units. As for its luminosity, it gets bright enough to combat glare and has decent reflection handling, which is good if you want to use it in a fairly well-lit room. It supports most common formats of HDR, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+, and with its okay brightness and wide color gamut, it delivers a good HDR experience.

    Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles, so it's not suggested for a wide seating arrangement. It also lacks any gaming features like VRR support and is limited to a 60Hz panel. On the upside, it still has a good response time and low input lag if you want to use it for casual gaming. All in all, if you're on a budget, this is the best smart TV that we've tested.

    See our review

  6. Roku Alternative: TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED

    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 50" 55" 65" 75"

    If you prefer something with built-in Roku TV, which is easier to use than Android TV on the Hisense H8G, then look into the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. Although it doesn't get as bright in HDR, the TCL displays a wider color gamut and has improved contrast than the Hisense, so it still has good HDR performance. The 5 Series also has a decent local dimming feature that improves the contrast, which is a nice touch to a budget-friendly TV. Sadly, it's not the best choice if you have a bright room because its reflection handling is only decent, and it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare. Fortunately, it upscales lower-resolution content, like from cable TV, without any issues, and it removes 24p judder from any source, which is rare for a 60Hz panel.

    If you want the best TV for streaming in the budget category, you can't go wrong with the Hisense, but if you're a fan of Roku, then consider the TCL.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020: The Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020 is a great overall TV and delivers a better HDR experience than the Sony X950H, but its SmartCast platform has a limited number of apps available. See our review
  • Sony A8H OLED: The Sony A8H OLED is similar to the LG CX in terms of picture quality, but it costs more. See our review
  • LG BX OLED: The LG BX OLED is a cheaper version of the LG CX but may be harder to find. See our review
  • Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED: The Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED is an amazing high-end TV, but it's expensive and isn't worth getting over the Samsung Q80T. See our review
  • TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED: The TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 gets much brighter than the TCL 5 Series, but it may cost too much if you're on a budget. See our review
  • Sony X900H: The Sony X900H is cheaper than the Hisense H9G, but it doesn't get as bright and it's not worth the price difference. See our review
  • LG NANO90 2020: The LG NANO90 has great smart features and wide viewing angles, but its contrast is much lower than other TVs on this list. See our review
  • Vizio OLED 2020: The Vizio OLED 2020 is cheaper than the CX for the same picture quality, but its smart features aren't as good. See our review
  • TCL 4 Series 2020: The TCL 4 Series 2020 is a cheap entry-level 4k TV with Roku built-in, but it's not as good overall as the 5 Series. See our review
  • Hisense H6510G: The Hisense H6510G is another basic 4k TV with Android as its smart platform, but it has much worse peak brightness than the H8G. See our review
  • Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2020: The Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2020 is a good budget TV with more gaming features than the Hisense and TCL, but its smart platform isn't as good. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 26, 2021: Verified picks for accuracy; added the Vizio M7 Series Quantum to Notable Mentions.

  2. Feb 26, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks and updated text for clarity.

  3. Feb 05, 2021: Swapped the Hisense H9G with the Sony X950H as main and alternate picks to reflect other recommendations; renamed the X950H to 'Alternative with Better Color Accuracy'.

  4. Jan 08, 2021: Moved the Samsung Q80T to its own 'Best LED' category; renamed the LG to 'Best OLED'.

  5. Dec 11, 2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.

  6. Oct 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.

  7. Aug 13, 2020: Added the LG NANO85.

What Is A Smart TV?

In its 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 its appeal usually comes from their 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 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 about 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.

All Reviews

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.

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