How to buy the best Smart TV Who makes the best Smart TVs?
Smart TVs are becoming increasingly common. In 2012 almost half of the TVs we tested offered internet connectivity. Of these, all had wired connections but many also offered wireless – on more expensive models this is usually built-in, on other models you might need to buy a wireless dongle separately.
Smart TVs are available from four main manufacturers: LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony. Each brand offers its own unique smart TV package and delivers its own suite of preloaded apps.
App Stores are a common feature - Sony is the only one of the big four not to offer this, as yet - giving you access to a wider range of apps and services.
Each brand also offers its own on-screen interface to help you navigate your way around the different services, although our tests show that some are easier to use than others. Full web browsing is becoming an increasingly popular feature too.
Find out how different brands of smart TVs compare in our smart TV reviews.
Smart TVs brand guide
LG's app store, the good selection of pre-loaded apps and ease of managing them are definite plus points for the brand, but some ease of use niggles take the gloss away.
Easy to set up marks out the Smart Viera range. We also like the optional USB keyboard which makes using the smart TV functions much easier than relying on the remote. The presentation of apps on-screen is a little clumsy.
Samsung has gone to town with apps. There are many pre-installed, and a comprehensive app store offers more. Most smart TV functions are easy to use.
A responsive on-screen keyboard and wide selection of apps is a good start for Sony, but it can't disguise the disjointed presentation and the lack of an app store. Sony has placed a strong emphasis on video content.
How we test Smart TVs
We continuously test a wide range of popular LED, LCD and plasma TVs (including those with smart TV features) of varying size and price. Each TV is put through its paces in the Which? lab and rated on picture quality, sound quality, ease of use, range of additional features and energy consumption. Only the best achieve the coveted Best Buy status.
• See how we test TVs for more details on the rigorous tests each TV goes through.
• What size of TV to go for - compare sizes and find out what suits your room the best
• Best TV brands overview – for average test scores and number of Best Buys per brand