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Televisions with smart functionality have become the new standard when it comes to home theater entertainment. With a smart TV, you can access your favorite streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video without the need for extra equipment. Some even have integrated voice controls or are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant enabled devices. We've gathered up our top picks from brands like LG, Sony, and Samsung to help you choose the right smart TV for your home.
When evaluating a new TV for streaming, you'll want to pay special attention to those aforementioned features (like digital assistant and streaming service compatibility), but don't neglect the core dimensions where any great TV needs to excel. These include stuff like resolution to determine how sharp an image is, HDR to expand its color gamut, and panel type (LCD, OLED, QLED, etc.).
Dedicated Game Mode
Built-in Roku interface
Plenty of connection ports
May not be compatible with all wall mounting kits
Reports of WiFi connectivity issues
Reports of bad screens
The TCL 50S425 TV gives you all the smart TV features you want at a much more affordable price. The sizable 50-inch screen has 4K resolution and HDR10 for picture quality that's typically seen in much more expensive TVs. Your favorite shows and movies will look great on this screen, and so will video games. With three HDMI ports, a USB port, Optical Audio Out ports and an Ethernet port, you’ll have no problem connecting several external devices. The TV also has a setting called Game Mode which reduces the input lag for video games and makes playing so much smoother.
The TCL 50S425 comes with a built-in Roku interface, which gives you on-screen access to practically every streaming app out there. The TV comes with a streamlined Roku remote that makes navigating easier, and you can also download the Roku app to use your phone as a remote or listen to TV audio through headphones.
Overall, if you’re looking for a great 4K TV and don’t want to spend too much for it, look no further than the TCL 50S425. In her review, our tester Yoona praised this TCL for it's beautiful picture quality and affordable price point.
"An affordable smart 4K TV, but it doesn’t skimp on quality." — Yoona Wagener, Product Tester
Built-in Amazon Alexa
Different sizes available
Reports of failing screens
The Insignia Fire TV maintains a reasonable price tag without skimping on quality. It produces stunning picture quality, boasting 4K ultra-HD resolution with more than eight million pixels. It’s also the first line of Insignia TVs to support HDR (high dynamic range), meaning it produces more vivid, true-to-life colors.
Like all Smart TVs, the Insignia Fire gives you immediate access to thousands of channels and streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, SHOWTIME, HBO, and more) integrating seamlessly with live TV. Additionally, this device has Amazon Alexa, which essentially transforms your TV into a smart-home hub. Search for titles, switch inputs, and play music, all with voice commands. It also comes with three HDMI inputs on the back of the unit that allow you to add on third-party media players like gaming consoles, sound bars, or a cable box.
The Insignia Fire TV is available in three sizes, with either a 43-, 50-, or 55-inch screen. Our reviewer Jeremy loved that sharp 4K, HDR panel and the Insignia's excellent Alexa integration.
"Delivers a surprisingly rich viewing experience for a budget TV set, with a great picture, decent sound, and Amazon’s Fire TV built right in." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester
Amazon Alexa built in
Voice control remote
Reports of bad remotes
These days, a TV that’s just a TV doesn’t cut it. The Toshiba 4K HDR Fire TV, Amazon’s latest Fire TV partnership, has Alexa so it can help you both take a break from your life, or manage it. The accompanying remote — which only features a few buttons, as well as quick-access buttons to popular apps like Netflix and Prime Video — features a built-in mic for accessing the voice assistant. It streamlines browsing, lets you manage tasks like updating your calendar, and gives you control over all Alexa-compatible smart home devices.
The TV also falls on the lower end in terms of price, and while that is reflected in its slower loading times, some heavy Amazon advertising, and a cluttered app store, its striking visuals make it a competitive addition to the budget market. The 3840x2160 resolution stuns, as you enjoy a variety of streaming services, from Prime Video to HBO and apps like Twitch and Spotify.
Integrated voice controls
Integrated cable management
Plenty of connectivity options
No Chromecast support
Samsung developed their QLED technology to be a direct competitor with LG and their OLED panel televisions. The 55-inch Q60 model uses a QLED panel to produce over one billion different colors with 100 percent volume at almost any viewing angle. It's also built with a 4K UHD processor for native 4K UHD resolution and intelligent upscaling of 1080p and 720p content, so you always get the best picture possible. With HDR10 support, this TV produces superior detailing and contrast for sharper images and to make colors look brighter.
This TV features Samsung's Bixby voice controls built in, so you get hands free commands for browsing your favorite apps right out of the box. You can connect your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device for expanded voice controls and smart home network integration. If you're a gamer, the Q60 features a game enhancer mode with a 120Hz refresh rate to prevent image tearing and stuttering so you always get a smooth picture, even during action scenes. Integrated cable management channels ensure that your home theater set-up always looks neat and organized. With four HDMI inputs, two USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity, setting up all of your devices is quick and easy.
Android and iOS device support
Reports of firmware issues
One quality that is often lacking on smart TVs is sound, and because of that a whole slew of soundbars exist. But one set that doesn’t skirt its sound responsibilities — while also delivering a best-in-class picture and smart features — is the Sony XBR55A9F 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD TV. This TV features Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+™, in which sound comes directly from the center of the screen and is always perfectly synced with the image. There’s also a subwoofer embedded to give a substantial thump whenever there’s an explosion or strong bass is coming through.
Outside of the great sound, you’ll likely appreciate the XBR55A9F’s smart features including built-in Chromecast, voice controls from Amazon Alexa, and Sony SideView so you can remotely control the TV from your iPhone or Android smartphone. And in terms of the picture: This set’s 4K X-Reality PRO OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate will vividly take you inside whatever you’re watching.
4K UHD with upscaling
Tons of connectivity options
If you're looking for a TV that will give you the most bang for your buck, check out the LG UM7300 55-inch TV. This model is built around a quad-core processor that uses LG's Thinq AI technology to provide top quality 4K UHD resolution and better upscaling of standard HD content. It uses a noise reduction program when upscaling 1080p and 720p content for a clearer picture. It also supports HDR10 and HLG technology for superior detailing and contrast.
The TV has both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls built in, so you can connect enabled devices or use hands-free commands right out of the box. You can also connect your macOS and iOS devices via AirPlay2 to stream directly from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The speakers use Dolby DTS technology to produce virtual surround sound audio for a more cinematic experience when watching your favorite shows and movies. With three HDMI inputs, two USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, composite video, and even an RF connection, you'll be hard-pressed to find a media device you can't use with this TV. It even has a built-in tuner for over-air signals so you can watch local channels.
One year of Disney+ included with purchase
Nvidia G-Sync compatible
Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant compatible
Reports of screen burn-in
Color calibration may be difficult for some users
Televisions that use OLED technology deliver some of the best quality images available on the market; the LG B9 is no exception. This model is designed from the ground up to create a truly stunning viewing experience for movies, shows, and even games. It utilizes Nvidia's G-Sync technology to create near-perfect blacks and more intense color saturation as well as smoothing motion blur, allowing you to use this TV as a dedicated gaming monitor for your PC.
The second generation processor delivers top-of-the-line 4K UHD resolution while also powering LG's proprietary ThinQ AI technology. With ThinQ, you can connect your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice commands and your TV will suggest shows and movies based on what you've already watched. You can also connect your macOS and iOS devices with AirPlay 2 to stream directly from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. LG has partnered with Disney+ to give you one year of service with the purchase of this TV model.
Miracast and WiDi compatible
Wide viewing angle
One year warranty
May not support all streaming apps
No Bluetooth connectivity
No USB ports
The LG 24LH4830-PU is a great choice for anyone looking for a smaller television to have in their kitchen. This TV measures just 24 inches diagonally, making it easy to tuck away in a corner or place out of the way when counter space is at a premium. While it doesn't have many fancy bells and whistles, it still delivers a quality picture at 720p resolution and can produce a wide range of colors.
The LH4830 allows you to download your favorite streaming apps directly to the TV, and with Miracast or WiDi direct connectivity, you can stream from your smartphone or tablet. With the smaller screen, you still get a wide viewing angle so you never miss a minute of your favorite shows and movies when cooking or having dinner with family and friends. LG backs this TV with a one year warranty that covers manufacturing defects and DOA units.
If streaming is one of your key priorities when picking out a new set, the TCL 50S425 is the best option on the market, offering spectacular display quality at an easy-to-digest price point. For Fire TV enthusiasts, the Insignia is another killer value, and has some of the best digital assistant and smart TV features of any model currently being sold.
Our expert testers and reviewers test smart TVs based on a variety of factors. First, we evaluate the physical aspects of the TV, focusing on the screen size, the size and weight of the TV, how easy it is to mount, and how many ports and connection options it has. The most important factor is the quality of the screen itself, we look at resolution, color reproduction, contrast, refresh rate, and features like HDR and Dolby Vision if available.
With smart TVs, we also test the software, seeing how easy it is to set up and use for streaming services, channels, and subscriptions. In some cases, we’ll hook a TV up to a gaming console to see the response rate and identify any lag. Finally, we look at the price of the TV compared to rivals and make a value judgment. All products Lifewire reviews are purchased by us; we do not accept review units from a manufacturer.
Taylor Clemons has been reviewing and writing about consumer electronics for over three years. She has also worked in e-commerce product management, so she has the knowledge of what makes a solid TV for home entertainment.
Yoona Wagener is an experienced tech journalist with a background in content and technical writing. She is an expert in home theater and entertainment gear, including the latest innovations in TV, and is passionate about simplifying complex topics and making them accessible to everyone.
David Beren is a tech writer with more than 10 years of experience, with a background in mobile devices and consumer tech. He's previously written for tech companies like T-Mobile, Sprint, and TracFone Wireless.
Jeremy Laukkonen is an experienced tech writer who's been covering the industry for several years. He's expert in home entertainment setups, and runs his own automotive blog.
Smart televisions have become the new gold standard for home entertainment. They let you download your favorite streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify right to the TV to have thousands of shows, movies, and songs at your fingertips. A lot of smart televisions now have hands-free voice control capabilities as well. They use voice-enabled remotes, dedicated apps, or a connection to a third-party smart speaker to give you expanded controls over your TV and make it easier to find new things to watch or listen to. There are a few different options for voice controls; most TVs support Alexa and Google Home with voice-enabled remotes or external smart speakers while others, like Samsung, have their own proprietary voice assistants or use Siri via iOS devices.
Screen mirroring is another smart feature that more and more televisions are beginning to offer. This option lets you wirelessly connect your smartphone, tablet, or computer to your television and share what's on the screen in order to view photos or watch short home videos. Some newer Samsung televisions let you screen mirror your devices while simultaneously watching a movie or show; perfect for watching videos from friends and family or catching up with news updates. With so many smart features available, it can be difficult to know what you may need for your home. We'll break down some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a smart TV to help you choose which one is right for you.
The place to start when deciding on what smart TV to buy is the brand. There are dozens of television manufacturers out there, each with different size classes, price points, and smart features available. If you're working with a budget, brands like TCL and Hisense are great brands with affordable options. They still offer quality streaming platforms like Roku or the AndroidTV operating system to give you access to thousands of apps as well as limited voice controls and connectivity options. Mid-range options are available from larger brands like Sony, Samsung, and Vizio. These models may come with a higher price point, but they offer many more smart features.
Besides streaming and voice controls, you'll also get local dimming zones in the screen for enhanced, scene-by-scene analysis of your favorite shows and movies for superior contrast, color volume, and detailing. Some may also use Dolby Atmos audio technology to produce virtual surround sound for a more immersive cinematic experience. High-end models from Sony, Samsung, and LG give you everything you could ever want in a smart TV. They offer larger screen sizes with more advanced picture technologies like QLED or OLED panels, AI-assisted rendering and upscaling, native voice controls, and ambient sound and light sensors that automatically change picture and sound settings to fit your environment. Knowing which brands offer what features in their televisions makes it easier to set a budget and narrow down your options.
Now that you've decided which brand you'd like, it's time to focus on exactly which smart features you'd like to have. For customers looking to cut the cord with their cable and satellite providers, streaming capabilities are an absolute must. Fortunately, all modern smart TVs feature either preloaded apps like Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube or have advanced operating systems that allow you to download your favorites. If you're looking to start a smart home network or already have smart home devices like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, you may want to get a TV that allows for hands-free voice controls. This lets you turn your TV on and off, choose apps, or change settings without fumbling with a confusing remote control. If you're always online, screen mirroring is an important feature that lets you cast your smartphone, tablet, or computer screen to your television for better viewing or simultaneous watching with your favorite movies and shows.
For customers looking to put together a custom home theater, high end models feature ambient noise and light sensors that constantly monitor your environment and automatically adjust picture and sound settings to suit the room. They also feature Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio equipment setup and custom home theater configurations. For die-hard console gamers, a TV that features either AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G Sync technology is a must. These technologies automatically detect when you start playing a game and reduce input lag and motion blur while boosting color volume and contrast for buttery smooth action, beautiful visuals, and near real-time reactions to your controller inputs.
Smart features are wonderful, but the user interface can make or break a home entertainment experience. Family movie night or watch parties with friends can be instantly ruined by having to navigate confusing menus and clunky interfaces just to access Netflix or Hulu. Roku-based televisions have a streamlined hub menu that puts all of your divides, apps, and inputs in one convenient location. Each input is clearly labeled with what is connected to it so you can quickly and easily access your game console, Blu-Ray player, or cable box without needing to remember input names.
Televisions that use AndroidTV also have a clean, simple interface with clearly marked menu icons for browsing apps, accessing voice controls, or looking at recommended content. LG televisions use the webOS operating system and have an ultra-clean looking interface. Apps are clearly displayed in easy to recognize tiles for quick and easy access. Luckily, TV manufacturers have realized that as more and more people choose to stream their movies and shows, an easy to use interface is important. The clunky, confusing interfaces from older TVs are all but gone, leading to more enjoyable home entertainment.