Almost all new TVs come equipped with a smart platform. Some manufacturers choose to use their own smart platforms, where others choose to integrate smart platforms like Android or Roku (see our recommendations for the best Roku TVs). No matter the case, the selection of apps is great and most common apps are available on almost all platforms.
The best smart TV we've tested so far is the LG B9 OLED. It runs the latest version of LG's smart platform, webOS, an easy-to-use and very intuitive operating system. It gives you access to LG's app store, one of the most complete app stores. Just like all OLED TVs, it has a remarkable picture quality. Dark room performance is outstanding thanks to the perfect blacks, while HDR content displays vivid colors and bright highlights. It has excellent viewing angles and is a good fit for wide seating arrangements. It has an almost instantaneous response time, and fast-moving content looks very crisp. Finally, it has a low input lag that offers a very responsive gaming experience.
Just like all OLEDs, this TV runs the risk of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in if you display static content over a prolonged period. However, in normal, varied use, we don't expect this to be an issue.
Overall, this is the best TV for streaming, and it delivers an outstanding performance.
If the risk of permanent burn-in concerns you, then get the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED. You won't get the same perfect blacks or the excellent wide viewing angles the LG B9 OLED, but you'll be getting an excellent overall TV with great smart features. It has 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology that enhances viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio, but nonetheless will still deliver great dark room performance and can get very bright. It has great smart features thanks to the latest version of Samsung's Tizen OS. It's a modern and easy-to-use interface with a large selection of apps, sure to cover any need. This TV features an 'Ambient' mode that displays artwork or pictures while the TV's on standby.
Get the LG if you want the best picture quality, but if burn-in is a concern, the Samsung is an excellent QLED with great smart features and is still one of the best smart TVs.
If you care about accurate colors out-of-the-box just as much as you care about a great interface, then get the Sony X950G, one of the best smart TVs. Although it doesn't have the perfect blacks you'll find on an OLED, you can get this TV to display outstanding color accuracy right out-of-the-box, with just a few minor setting changes. This TV has something for everyone. Colors are impressive, the picture quality is great, motion handling is excellent, and input lag is low. It also supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, including from most supported streaming apps, so you can enjoy the latest formats.
This TV runs Android Oreo 8.0 and provides you access to Google Play Store, where you can find almost any app you need. It has a well-organized interface, and you can easily choose what to watch with no need to browse countless menus.
Unfortunately, just like most VA panel TVs, the image loses accuracy when viewed from the side, which isn't ideal if you watch while moving around. Overall, though, this is a great TV for almost any use, and is one of the best TVs for streaming.
If you often move around while watching TV, the LG SM9000 is a better choice than the Sony X950G. This TV has much better viewing angles than the Sony, so the image remains accurate for wider angles when you're walking around. The LG runs LG's proprietary WebOS, which has a very large app selection. Unfortunately, this TV doesn't perform as well in a dark room, and can't get as bright as the Sony.
Overall, if you're looking for the best color accuracy and prefer the Android OS, get the Sony. If wider viewing angles are more important, get the LG.
If you want better gaming performance than the Sony X950G, then get the Samsung Q70/Q70R QLED. You won't get the Sony's reflection handling, but this TV has a much lower input lag, and gamers will appreciate the gaming goodies that come along with the TV. It supports FreeSync, has low input lag with motion interpolation, and features an auto low latency mode to detect when you're gaming. This TV has the same great smart features as the Samsung Q80/Q80R QLED, with an excellent selection of apps.
If color accuracy is more important, the Sony is the way to go. However, if you care about gaming just as much as color accuracy, the Samsung has a better balance of both.
The Hisense H9F is the best smart TV in the budget category we've tested. Although it lacks the Sony X950G's reflection handling or the perfect blacks found on OLEDs, this remains an impressive TV and is a great value for your money. This TV has a great picture quality and can display deep blacks in a dark room. It delivers HDR content full of vivid colors and highlights that pop. It can get very bright and can fight the glare of any room. Fast-moving content looks crisp, and the TV has a low input lag to please gamers.
This TV runs the latest version of the Android TV smart platform, which is intuitive, easy to navigate, and runs very smoothly. You get access to the Google Play Store, where there's an abundance of apps to cover every need and taste.
Unfortunately, you have to sit straight in front to enjoy an accurate image on this TV, as the image loses accuracy when viewed from the side. Overall, however, this is an impressive TV with great smart features, and it won't break the bank.
If you want a budget TV but are a fan of the Roku smart TV interface, then get the TCL 6 Series/R625 2019. You won't get the same reflection handling or the fast response time as the Hisense H9F. This is a TV with deep blacks and a very good picture quality that can get very bright to suit any room, and it can deliver HDR content with rich colors and bright highlights. It runs the Roku Smart TV interface, which is a user-friendly smart platform with thousands of streaming channels to cover all needs.
If you like the Android TV interface and want the best smart TV in the budget category, get the Hisense H9F. Otherwise, if you prefer the Roku TV smart interface, get the TCL 6 Series/R625 2019; it won't let you down.
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 are 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.
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.
10/30/2019: Replaced the TCL 6 Series/R617 2018 with the TCL 6 Series/R625 2019, and made changes to text for clarity.