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Last updated: June 22, 2020

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We live in the era of smart devices: phones, watches and, for some years now, smart televisions. Hand in hand with the Smart TV and the Internet, it has become possible to enjoy endless applications on the a big screen. The digital age has made television even better.

Until a few years ago, choosing a new TV was was pretty easy. However, continuous advances that make certain technologies obsolete in just a few months, makes this choice increasingly complicated. Therefore, it is helpful to have a little bit of technical knowledge about Smart TVs and what to look for.

First things first

  • A Smart TV is nothing more than a television that can be connected to the Internet and has its own operating system. With a Smart TV it is possible to access a large amount of multimedia content and enjoy a wide variety of applications. A Smart TV can be thought of as a home entertainment centre.
  • When choosing the size of the smart TV screen you are going to buy, you must take into account the dimensions of the room and the viewing distance. In this regard, some manufacturers offer guidance to help you decide which screen size is best for you.
  • One of the first questions to ask yourself when buying a Smart TV is which screen technology is the best for you. Currently, there are two main technologies: LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology with LED (Light-Emitting Diode) backlighting and the other technology is OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode).

The best smart TVs on the UK market

Here’s a list we’ve prepared of the five best Smart TVs currently available on the UK market. We have included various different options by choosing products from leading brands that offer excellent value for money.

Toshiba 32L3863DBA 32

First on the list is this Toshiba 32 Inch Smart Full-HD LED TV with Freeview Play. Watching TV in HD picture quality is to see and believe in the on-screen action, you can catch additional detail in every scene for a more authentic viewer experience.

You can watch your favourite shows while you browse through all your entertainment options using the easy follow row at the bottom of the TV screen. This is a 2018 model and is Amazon Dash Replenishment enabled with on demand services such as Netflix.

Sony Bravia KDL32WE613BU (32-Inch)

A well known and well respected manufacturer, this Sony Bravia 32 inch allows you enjoy a great entertainment experience with pictures enhanced close to Full HD by the X-Reality PRO upscaling and bass sound boosted by a powerful built-in subwoofer.

You can easily link up to your home network to instantly browse movies and on-demand TV plus access video channels like YouTube. It has Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) technology which means lost frequency components are restored for natural sound with a more spacious feel.

Panasonic HD Ready 32-Inch

Another well know manufacturer, in 3rd position we have the Panasonic HD ready 32 inch LED TV with Freeview HD. If you’re searching for a great TV, look no further, it offers excellent picture quality for watching your favourite shows in 720p HD resolution which gives a sharp, clear picture.

It comes with with 70 free channels, including 15 in HD, thanks to Freeview HD and If you want a little gaming action, you can hook up your consoles via the 2 x HDMI ports, or connect an external hard drive to the USB port to enjoy your family photos on the big screen.

Blaupunkt BLA-32

Maybe not so well known but Blaupunkt is a German manufacturer of electronics equipment noted for its home and car audio equipment. This, HD Ready Smart LED TV with Freeview HD allows you to access a range of apps such as Netflix, BBC Iplayer, YouTube and Facebook so you can stay connected from the comfort of your living room.

Miracast, standard for wireless connections lets you stream media content from other compatible devices such as laptops and smartphones on to the TV screen and the super fast USB 2.0 ports allow playback of any compatible video, music or photo files.

Samsung UE32M5520 32-Inch

Samsung are one of the UK’s bestsellers as their products are vernally very competitive on price, so here in position 5 is the Samsung 32 inch smart functionality with the Full HD M5500 TV which allows you to discover the new Smart era with unlimited potential.

This TV allows you to control all of your compatible devices and content with one remote control. Talk to your TV remote and effortlessly find shows and search content just by speaking and you can take back control of how you watch TV with the pause, re-wind or record live TV functionality.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about smart TVs

When it comes time to buy a Smart TV, it’s important that you consider a number of key aspects. Keep in mind that there are many different smart TV models and that each have different features. Below, we give you the answers to some of the questions you may have about Smart TVs.

Young Man Lying On Sofa Using Remote Control In Front Of Television

Each manufacturer usually recommends specific screen sizes for each viewing distance.
(Source: Andriy Popov: 44589454/ 123rf.com)

What is a Smart TV exactly?

A Smart TV is a TV that can be connected to the Internet and has an internal operating system. With a Smart TV you can access a large range of multimedia content and enjoy a wide variety of applications. The first Smart TV to be marketed under this name was way back in 2010.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Smart TVs?

Smart TVs offer a number of important advantages that cannot be overlooked. For starters, they let you connect to the Internet and enjoy everything that goes with the World Wide Web. This includes access to a wide variety of media, the ability to install applications, access to social media and  play games.

There are some important aspects to consider. Buying a Smart TV is a large economic investment. Some Smart TVs have an operating system that requires frequent updates. Also, you need to have a strong and reliable Internet connection to take full advantage of all the features they offer.

Advantages Disadvantages
They allow you to access a large amount of multimedia content, as well as enjoy a multitude of applications and games. You can watch Youtube videos, access TV channels such as Netflix and HBO, or watch any content you have on your computer They represent a significant economic investment.
With them you can surf the Internet quickly and easily and access the various social networks. Some operating systems require frequent updates. It may even be the case that after a few years, the manufacturer chooses to stop supporting them.
You can duplicate the screen of your mobile on the TV To get the most out of them you need a good Internet connection.
You can access video calls and see your loved ones on a much larger screen
Also, they allow you to enjoy what is called on-demand TV. You won’t have to worry about missing an episode of your favourite series

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Is it worth buying a Smart TV?

If you can afford it and you regularly watch television then the answer is definitely yes. The advantages it offers and the possibility of integrating the vast majority of home entertainment elements into a single device make it well worth the investment. They offer simplicity in one device without reducing great image quality.

Mike ColterAmerican Actor

“Netflix shook it up, brought this whole new generation of people who said, ‘I watch things when I want to watch, how I want to watch, where I want to watch, and that’s something that no one’s going to ever forget.’ This has changed the game completely, and I think it’s the tip of the iceberg”.

What types of screen technologies are there for Smart TVs?

When it comes to buying a smart TV, one of the first decisions you have to make is to choose between LED backlit LCD technology and OLED technology. Generally speaking, TVs with LCD panels are cheaper and have a longer lifespan, while OLEDs tend to offer higher picture quality.

LCD with LED feedback OLED
Technology This is the technology that has been on the market the longest. The vast majority of televisions available on the market have been manufactured with LCD panels. It is the most recent technology
Feedback systems It employs a feedback system at the back of the panel, so it is not possible to turn off or turn on a pixel individually It does not employ feedback systems at the back. Allows each pixel to be turned on and off independently
Contrast Contrast level lower than OLED models Provides purer, more realistic blacks for better contrast and much brighter colours. Ghosting May suffer the ghosting effect No ghosting effect, no residual backlighting. It allows to enjoy a perfect image from any angle of visualisation
Possible problems It does not present the problem of burnt background. You can use it to play video games or as a computer monitor. Presents the problem of background image retentions. Although the new models seem to be solving this defect quite well. In any case, it is not convenient to use them as computer monitors or to play with game consoles
Lifetime Their life span is much longer. It’s ideal if you’re going to have your TV on for many hours a day. The lifespan of OLED panel-based TVs is much shorter than those using LCD technology

Is HDR the “fashionable” word for Smart TVs?

The HDR (High Dynamic Range) of a screen is the difference between the brightest and darkest areas on the screen. It has undoubtedly been the buzzword since the 4K resolution appeared a couple of years ago, as it can make a big difference in the image quality.

Basically, if you’re buying a low-end smart TV, you don’t have to worry about the High Dynamic Range. However, if you opt for a mid or high-end Smart TV, you must confirm the HDR technology of the TV.  This is so you can enjoy a greater contrast between the darkest and brightest colours on your TV screen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnoRYVZqOjI

Should I buy a curved Smart TV?

When curved televisions first appeared a few years ago, they raised a few eyebrows, mostly thanks to the great advertising campaigns. However, over time it has become apparent that their performance is not as spectacular as expected, so the general public has started giving up on the so called advantages of the curved TV and stayed with the standard flat screen.

Although you can still find them in some stores, the truth is that there are fewer and fewer and they will eventually disappear altogether. Also, you must bear in mind that, in the long run, any repair to a curved TV is going to have a much higher cost. However in the end, the decision is up to you.

What is the sound system quality of a Smart TV?

Unfortunately, this is one of the weaknesses of smart televisions. In fact, the evolution towards thinner and thinner devices has led to a reduction in sound quality. Most people complement their Smart TV with a sound system such as a sound bar or AV receiver and corresponding speakers.

Modern 4K smart TV room with large windows and parquet floor. 3D illustration.

When it comes to choosing the type of screen, you can choose between a TV with an LCD panel or an OLED.
(Source: Destinacigdem: 69796545/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

When buying a Smart TV, you must take into account a series of important shopping criteria. To make it easier for you to choose, we have selected the aspects we consider to be essential so that you can find the quality to price ratio that is just right for you. This way, you will save time and it will be much more likely that you will make a successful purchase.

Screen size

At this point, you might have realised that a TV with as large a screen as possible isn’t right for you. The most important aspect to consider when choosing the screen size is the viewing distance. If the room is too small, a TV with an enormous screen won’t work very well for you.

With this in mind, each manufacturer usually recommends specific screen sizes for each viewing distance. However, if you choose to buy a TV with 1080p resolution, a smaller screen may help you conceal some of the loss of resolution.

Display distance (in metres) Samsung recommended screen size (in inches)
1,3 32
1,6 40
2,1 49
2,3 55
2,9 70

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Screen Type

When it comes to choosing the type of screen of your Smart TV, you can choose between a TV with an LCD panel or an OLED. As described earlier, OLED technology offers superior picture quality, but obviously at a much higher price. A similar but more economical alternative to OLED is QLED technology.

Andrew AnthonyWriter, The Guardian

“Television will continue to beguile and bore, frustrate and fascinate for the foreseeable future. And that’s just fine, because as long as the box continues to bring in the outside, there’s no need to think outside the box.”.

Operating System

Most of the best smart TV manufacturers incorporate their own operating system into their smart TVs. For example, LG has the webOS, a very intuitive and easy to use system. Meanwhile Samsung has Tizen, which is also very straightforward. Other TV brands prefer to use the Android TV operating system.

The main advantage of Google’s Android operating system is the large number of applications available. However it sometimes presents stability problems and drop-outs. Whichever operating system you choose, you will never lack the most important applications, such as Netflix, Youtube or Skype.

-Smart-TV

The choices you get from Smart TVs are incredible.
(Source: Sergey Rasulov: 56487914/ 123rf.com)

Resolution

Until the new 8K UHD (Ultra High Definition) resolution arrives, the two resolutions you can currently find on smart TVs are 1080p Full HD and 4K Ultra HD. The 4K resolution has four times the pixel density of 1080p, which makes the image quality significantly better.

However, enjoying the fancy 4K resolution means a significant increase in price. So, if your budget is tight, you can stick with 1080p. Nevertheless, it is true that the cost of 4K resolution is decreasing rapidly, so it is possible to find 4K in some of the cheaper TVs.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is the rate at which the image is refreshed on the screen. It is measured in Hertz (Hz). Until recently, the most common standard was 60 Hz (60 frames per second), however newer televisions with frequencies of 120 Hz or 240 Hz are now beginning to appear, offering even better images.

Home multimedia center

When it comes to buying a smart TV, one of the first decisions you have to make is to choose between LED backlit LCD technology and OLED technology. (Source: Evgeny Drablenkov: 58462803/ 123rf.com)

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

As we’ve already told you, the new HDR technology is significantly improving the picture quality of smart TVs. Unfortunately, there is no single HDR standard to choose. In fact, there are now four different versions: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gammay) and HDR10+.

Ideally, you should try to buy a TV that is compatible with as many of these versions as possible. If not all are compatible, you should ensure that at least the HDR10 is directly supported and if possible also Dolby Vision.

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Fortunately, most televisions today support the HDR10 standard.

Connectivity and ports

When it comes to choosing which smart TV you buy, you shouldn’t overlook the connectivity options it offers. Initially, you need to consider which Internet connection options you have. They are usually either WiFi and/or Ethernet cable. It is better if your TV has both connectivity options and also beneficial to have a TV with a Bluetooth connection.

You should also make sure that HDMI inputs to connect Blue-ray players, cable decoders, or sound bars are available. For HDMI ports, the more you have the better and if they are HDMI 2.1, more so. You should also have one or two USB ports to connect a portable hard drive or USB memory stick. Newer technology is better for USBs as well, so in this case it would be a USB 3.0 Type-C connection port.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aULsroi_Kgk

Brand

Today, there are many manufacturers of Smart televisions and not all of them guarantee the same quality. The brands with the best reputation on the UK markets are: Sony, Samsung, LG and Phillips. In particular, Sony and Samsung have been the sales leaders in recent years thanks to their superb OLED and QLED displays.

Phillips and LG are the other two brands that dominate high-end sales. In any case, they are not the only ones that ensure good performance. Brands such as Toshiba and Panasonic are also a great option.

Summary

There is no doubt the television still remains the king of the living room. What’s more, given the ever-increasing functionality offered by Smart TVs, many homes have made them the center of home entertainment because they connect to the Internet and other devices.

When you buy a Smart TV, you must ask yourself a series of questions to find the right TV for you. To begin with, you must take into account the dimensions of the room in which you are going to install it. From there, you can decide the screen size, screen type, screen resolution and a wide variety of technical specifications such as the connectivity options.

Finally, if you feel that this guide has been useful to you in your buying process, please leave us a comment or share it through your different social networks.

(Source of featured image: George Tsartsianidis: 32637214/ 123rf.com)

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