A Guide To Choosing The Best Smart TV
Whether you’re mystified by the confusing television terms ‘OLED’ and ‘4K’ or you’re looking for a smart TV with a truly outstanding resolution, OnBuy’s handy smart TV guide is here to help you discover your next entertainment essential. Ideal for cuddling up with a partner and popping on a film, inviting your friends over to kick back and relax, or watching your football team fight for victory, owning a sleek and practical smart TV opens up a world of viewing possibilities.
Nowadays, the majority of the best-selling televisions are smart TVs, so if you want to find out what all the fuss is about and even snap up your very own, carry on reading! Within this smart TV guide, we'll take a look at all the most important smart TV features alongside the numerous reasons you should purchase a smart TV. We’ll also explore our best-rated and most popular models to inspire and impress you, and then wrap up with a couple of tips and tricks to help you discover the best smart TV for your home and money.
What is a smart TV?
A portal to a realm of exciting entertainment, a TV has become a sought-after addition to the living room, bedroom, kid’s playroom, and almost every other room in your home. So, why not instantly upgrade your Friday film night by replacing your standard TV with a multi-functional smart TV? The intelligent way to binge watch your favourite series, a smart TV connects the internet to the big screen and creates an endless online library of movie-streaming and internet-browsing options.
Boasting a fantastic array of online features, you can put your feet up as you consume ever-growing on-demand content from popular apps like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, My5, and All 4. Thanks to this life-changing television and internet access combination, you can even connect to other wireless gadgets and gizmos like your very own smartphone or tablet to explore additional media and control options.
What are the benefits of owning a smart TV?
There are many reasons why smart TVs have surged in popularity in recent years, with homeowners and entertainment enthusiasts enjoying the vast array of dynamic features and functions available at their fingertips. While these handy additions may vary from brand to brand, here are some of the most common benefits of owning a smart TV.
Streaming solutions: First and foremost, the most alluring part of a smart TV is the convenient access it gives you to on-demand apps and a generous selection of music, movie, and TV channels without the need for a set-top box or extra media streaming device. This handy internet connection also lets you enjoy subscription services like Netflix and NowTV - making smart TVs a real hit with film lovers and Netflix-bingers alike.
App access: As you’re browsing our considerable selection of smart TVs, you’ll notice that some models come complete with a set of pre-installed apps ready for you to take advantage of. The type of apps available to you will naturally vary depending on the app store they use. So, if you’re keen to access a particular app via your smart TV, double-check it’s available via the model you’ve got your eye on before you commit to your purchase.
Surf the web: Another tempting aspect of smart TVs is that some models are perfect for web browsing, gaming, and even accessing and sharing compatible media content (like photos and videos) stored on your computer - all through your TV screen. These multi-purpose smart TVs are therefore perfect for families with various interests all using the same television or sharing treasured memories.
Extra features: If you’re looking for a smart TV with a little extra oomph and are willing to splash the cash, there’s a wide selection of high-end smart TVs that support the convenient voice control function allowing for effortless usability. Not to mention, some of the very latest models even double as smart hubs, giving you fantastic control over your smart bulbs, thermostats, and other intelligent devices dotted around your abode.
Things to consider before you buy a smart TV
Before you dive straight into snapping up a smart TV, the speed and quality of your internet is something to bear in mind. If you often find that your internet is weak or unstable, you might want to either consider swapping your internet provider to a speedier service or opting for a standard TV instead that doesn’t rely on the quality of your WiFi to provide you with high-quality home entertainment.
If you’ve bought a 4K Ultra HD television and want to stream the same high-quality content from a subscription service, you should aim for 25Mbps at the very least in order to get the best smart TV experience. Unlimited broadband packages will also offer you fantastic value for money if you can always be found streaming your favourite shows on the sofa!
Another important aspect of owning a smart television is that you won’t have access to live TV channels without the addition of an aerial or satellite dish. Alternatively, if you’d rather watch all your favourite films and series through on-demand apps, then a smart TV is a cost-effective and incredibly easy entertainment option.
How to tackle television terminology
Don’t know your OLED from your QLED? Struggling to decide which resolution is suitable for your living room? Buying the best smart TV for your home is made infinitely easier when you unpick the complicated television terminology, so let’s delve into those tricky terms and unravel the mysteries of smart TVs.
OLED or QLED? Despite the similar-sounding (and looking!) TV terms, whether you opt for an OLED or QLED smart TV can actually make a big difference to your viewing experience, so it’s important that you know how to distinguish between the two and find out the specific advantages and disadvantages that can come with both inventions.
An OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) TV is made up of an abundance of tiny LED lights, while a QLED (Quantum Light-Emitting Diode) TV utilises nanoparticles to enhance both brightness and colour. While one of the biggest benefits of an OLED TVs is the superb black level, QLED TVs can achieve brilliant brightness for an impressively clear image.
Not to mention, OLED TVs also perform better with regards to response time, refresh rate, and viewing angle, while QLED TVs are sought-after for their larger size, brilliant screen retention, and outstanding lifespan. Ultimately, both are great options for your next smart TV, but OLED seems to come out on top as it boasts a combination of high performance and astounding picture quality.
If you’re keen to get an OLED display, try searching for an LG smart TV as they’re well-known for their popular OLED models. QLED TVs, on the other hand, are preferred by Samsung, so hunting for a Samsung smart TV means you’re more likely to find a TV with a stunning QLED display. To find out more about the intricacies of each, check out the helpful video below!
When it comes to picking the right resolution, this simply refers to the number of pixels that make up your TV picture. Naturally, the more pixels, the greater detail you’ll notice in your movies and television series. You can opt for either a 720p, 1080p, 4K, or even the latest and most incredible (and ultra-expensive!) 8K resolution.
Sadly, 8K smart TVs are eye-wateringly expensive, so it’s best to stay well away from this TV resolution until the price drops if you want to watch your pennies. Typically, 4K offers a fantastic image for an affordable price with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 and is ideal for viewing 4K content. Many smart TVs will come complete with 4K resolution, which is also referred to as Ultra HD (or UHD), because streaming services like Netflix offer the same impressive streaming resolution.
However, it’s not all about resolution, as a higher resolution doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better picture. This is because lower resolution TVs can possess an improved HDR (High Dynamic Range) performance, a better overall contrast ratio, and even a more impressive colour to knock your socks off, so it’s worth bearing this in mind before automatically opting for a 4K smart TV.
If you’d like to delve a little deeper into resolution and find out exactly how it works, we’ve added a handy video below.
Which smart TV is best to buy?
When it comes to picking the perfect smart TV to please your family, we know a lot more goes into your decision than just the screen size, OLED/QLED display, and resolution, which is why we’ve collated a helpful selection of the most popular smart TVs to provide you with some tech inspiration.
With a plethora of prime models from the likes of trusted television manufacturers, we explore Samsung, Sony, LG, and Toshiba smart TVs to give you a helping hand when it comes to choosing the best smart TV for your home. Which one would look best hanging above your fireplace or propped up on your sleek TV stand?
Pros: Impressive resolution, smartphone connectivity
Cons: HD Ready not Full HD, relatively small screen size
Compact and slimline, this sleek Samsung model is a fantastic smart TV for both kitchens and bedrooms thanks to its 28” display. While it’s not a huge TV screen, it’s more than enough for comfortably watching films and streaming your favourite series in bed!
HD ready, the impressive 1366 x 768 resolution is fully capable of displaying a high definition TV picture once it’s been connected to an HD source. By hooking up this stylish Samsung model to your set-top box, you can effortlessly tune into either analog or digital channels when you’re not in the mood for Netflix.
With Samsung being one of the most highly-regarded manufacturers for a range of home devices (including refrigerators, mobile phones, and, of course, TVs), this striking black smart TV can even be connected to your gaming console for a superb gaming experience.
Complete with a remote control, the ability to connect to your own smartphone allows you to lose the control without the ensuing frantic search. Simply whip out your mobile to make the best of this convenient feature whenever your remote control gets lost in the sofa! If you’re willing to spend a little more, some Samsung smart TVs boast a voice-control remote for truly effortless entertainment.
Pros: Low cost, HD 720p resolution, built-in HDR
Cons: Small screen, may appear unimpressive in larger rooms
Fitted with a combination of crystal clear 720p HD resolution technology, alongside a Hyper Real processor, built-in HDR feature, and colour-enhancing PurColor technology, this compact Samsung smart TV packs a vibrant punch! An affordable way to upgrade your home entertainment setup, it features a 24” screen filled with high-quality images.
Boasting a handy Universal Guide, accessing all of your most-loved content, gaming consoles, speakers, and media streaming sites couldn’t be any easier from the comfort of your settee. Also suitable for using in conjunction with an array of smart devices, hooking up this Samsung smart TV to your Google Assistant lets your home run smoother than ever before.
Ideal for bedrooms, playrooms, kitchens and more, the humble 24” screen looks fantastic installed in smaller rooms where space is limited thanks to the slim and space-saving design. Completed with a stylish black finish, this thin and elegant smart TV adds a touch of modernity to your home.
Pros: Ultra-affordable, great 32” screen size
Cons: HD Ready not Full HD, wide stand may look cumbersome in comparison to other models on this list
Experience audiovisual quality like never before when you introduce this striking Toshiba smart TV into your home. Featuring a brilliant 32” screen, this stylish Toshiba smart TV is super affordable and therefore a go-to choice if you’re working with a tighter budget.
Suitable for placing anywhere in your home due to the slim design, you can enjoy HD Ready images at the touch of button through the pre-installed apps as you marvel at the clear 1366 x 768 resolution! Finished with a dedicated slot for a USB connection, you can even record and watch your favourite shows when it suits you.
What’s more, if you’re looking for incredible sound and resolution, then you’re in the right place! This Toshiba smart TV model features Dolby Audio technology to provide movie fanatics with superior audio quality that they would expect to hear in a cinematic environment. What more could you want?
Pros: Considerable 40” screen, ideal for large families, comes with JBL speaker
Cons: On the pricier side, full HD not as clear as Ultra HD
This sleek and generously-sized smart TV from the lesser-known brand Blaupunkt brings together a full HD resolution and pairs it with their immersive JBL integrated speaker to create a viewing experience like no other. Boasting a mesmerising 40” screen that the whole family can gather around, this impressive Blaupunkt TV will forever change the way that you spend your chilled-out Friday nights.
Featuring an exclusive store, a world of online content and apps are waiting at your fingertips. The epic cinematic effect is effortlessly achieved using the superb widescreen picture quality that your guests are sure to notice. Finished with an integrated 20W JBL speaker, you won’t need (or want to!) purchase any external kit to make the audio on this smart TV sound incredible.
Also boasting an incredible selection of the UK’s most popular channels, the built-in Freeview tuner gives you quick and easy access to over 70 subscription-free entertainment channels, including 15 channels available in stunning HD quality! Just as attractive on the outside, it’s finished with a slim black exterior and two feet for a stable, freestanding setup, but it can also be mounted on the wall - the choice is yours.
Pros: Generous 49” screen, 4K, HDR, perfect for large families and movie buffs
Cons: Premium price tag, generous screen size may overwhelm smaller rooms
Ready to experience the ultimate home entertainment system? This impressive 49” Sony smart TV has been packed with a range of sought-after features, including an Ultra 4K resolution, as well as brilliant Motionflow and HDR technology to achieve incredible detail and clarity - no matter what you’re watching!
Complete with Sony's 4K X-Reality Pro tech, every pixel is magnificently upscaled to create added contrast and clarity while the addition of Motionflow boasts 100Hz to ensure you never miss a moment. Regardless of whether you prefer Netflix or YouTube, this Sony smart TV widens the colour spectrum via the eye-catching TRILUMINOS display for more realistic and vivid on-screen colour.
Adding to the overall experience is ClearAudio+ sound which expertly optimises sound, letting you easily take in music and dialogue thanks to the greater clarity and separation. Beautifully designed, the ultra slim exterior and minimalist stand lets you focus on the image itself, allowing it to elegantly blend into the background while you catch up on your favourite TV show. This crowd-pleaser is sure to go down a treat!
Our final tips and tricks
Ultimately, picking the best smart TV really depends upon your budget, the size of the room you’re working with, and how you want to use your brand new gadget. For smaller rooms and stricter budgets, a more compact screen with a lower resolution will do the trick, but if you want to upgrade to a smart TV with extra presence, a more generous screen paired with an outstanding Ultra HD 4K resolution will knock the socks off any large audience! Whether you prefer Sony, LG, or Samsung, the best smart TV for your home is never far away with our essential smart TV guide to steer you in the right direction.
If you really want to modernise and update your home tech, then why not consider transforming your abode into a smart home? From effortlessly controlling your heating with the touch of a button to installing a smart speaker in your kitchen, making the transition from an ordinary home into a smart one is undoubtedly a smart decision. It gives you the freedom to save and monitor your energy expenditure as well as perform an innumerable amount of tasks with a helping hand from a virtual assistant such as Siri or Alexa - all that’s missing now is the perfect smart TV!
Please note: The information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.