Feeds

Smart TV shootout

The major players go head-to-head

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Ease of use and interface

Content and functionality aren’t the only important elements of a "smart" TV - ease of use is key, too. All the sets were pretty much plug and play in terms of getting on the network. Accessing the smart TV functionality is a press of the button.

Smart TVs UI on the Panasonic

The VieraConnect home screen is simple – perhaps too much so, necessitating multiple levels

But while LG, Panasonic and Samsung have a single interface for all their connected functions, the Sony set still uses a modified version of PS3-oriented XMB interface, which is not ideal, and results in a fragmented experience – there are top-level menu items for Bravia Internet video, Qriocity, Application and Widgets, which just seems unnecessary.

Smart TVs UI on the LG

LG’s main menu looks neat, but hides a lot of content

Panasonic’s is perhaps the cleanest interface, with its rigid grid unchanged from the VieraCast days, but having to move in and out through ‘levels’ to find things can be a bit annoying, unless you rearrange all the icons to put the things you want on the first screen.

Smart TVs UI on the Sony

Sony’s set suffers from a slightly tweaked version of the XMB interface, with too many top level options

Despite the rather busy appearance, the Samsung turned out to be the easiest to use, even including DLNA access in the main menu, with the LG a very close second. That said, I did find the process of having to register a Samsung account, then link it to Twitter, before I could access Twitter on the TV, a little tedious.

Smart choices

If BBC iPlayer and a bit of network media playback are all you are really concerned about, then just about any of the main brands of smart TV will do the job. They’ll all also give you a fair bit extra that you can watch when there’s nothing decent on the TV at Christmas.

Smart TVs Apps on the Panasonic

The VieraMarket allows for future paid-for applications

There’s a lot more content available online now than there was when I last looked at connected TV sets, and the launch of YouView next year shoul spur manufacturers on to add even more – in particular catch-up for the main broadcasters, giving every set BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Five on Demand.

In the meantime, and despite below-par BBC iPlayer and YouTube implementations, for breadth of online content, best DLNA compatibility and ease of use, the clear winner is Samsung's SmartTV platform. ®

Reg Ratings

Sony 70%
Panasonic 75%
LG 75%
Samsung 80%

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.