Ten... smart TVs
Net set and catch up
Smart functionality has become the new must-have feature for TV. With hi-def and 3D pretty much taken for granted, it’s now ‘net connectivity, media streaming and IPTV which are driving sales. But with huge differences between proprietary network portals, both in the amount of free and subscription content on offer and the apps available, choosing between them is no easy feat.
Throw in wildly different file support, and buying a new gogglebox has become fraught with complication. Time to take a closer look at the top internet connected TVs on offer in an attempt to cross-examine which is smartest…
LG Infinia 50PZ950T
LG may be reluctant to promote plasma, but with THX 3D certification, deep picture tuning and a bucket-load of features, its relatively affordable PZ9 Infinia Series demands serious attention This 50-incher is particularly beguiling. As LG can’t graft its Passive 3D screen filter onto PDPs, this model offers Active Shutter 3D, which works well. The set can also record to external USB.
LG’s Smart TV portal is well-stocked with IPTV (catch-up from the Beeb, YouTube, Acetrax, yadda yadda ya) and there’s a rich seam of time-wasting apps to mine. Media streaming is very good from both USB and across a LAN. The TV’s MediaLink service also supports the Plex media server PC client.
Reg Rating 90%
More info LG
LG Cinema Smart 3D 55LW-650T
When it comes to on-line content portals, there’s little separating LG and Samsung. Both offer scads of apps and IPTV, and are equally entertaining to use. But where LG nick a lead is in media support. From a USB stick and across a LAN, this bigscreen will play most everything you need (including AVI, MKV and AVCHD). And if you can be bothered to set up a Plex client on your PC, it’ll also bring media centre GUI richness to your file collection.
Despite being one of the cheapest edge-lit LED screens around, the LW-650T doesn’t disappoint when it comes to hi-def clarity. It’s Passive 3D tech is also a cost effective way of distracting the kids with third dimension tosh (seven pairs of glasses included). Excellent value all round.
Reg Rating 90%
More info LG
Next page: Panasonic Viera TX-L37E30
I can't help to think that the IP part of these TVs will be obsolete in a couple of years and you'll be stuck with a expansive display with non supported IP bit.
Worthless 'checkbox' round-up
I hope no-one ends up buying a TV based on this article alone
The author has just written the manufacturers' specifications for each set and given a "reg rating" verdict based on advertisement material only. If you don't have any access to these units then you should at least drop the "reg rating" factor. The first two LG units get a 90% verdict, yet only the Cinema version gets the thumbs up icon. Why??
If you actually reviewed these units, just mentioning MKV or AVI support is worthless unless you truly test these features. Does the MKV support include chapter support, or multiple audio/video/subtitle tracks, external subtitles? MKV is still evolving standard you know. I'd also like to know how sluggish the UI is when dealing with USB for example, or can you expect the IT declined people to use the streaming services or USB files easily?
THE TV MIGHT BE SMART....
but the stuff that ends up on it is usually crap!
@AC: " the IP part of these TVs will be obsolete in a couple of years..."
Agreed - in fact, they're already obsolete. We but a much cheaper TV (fantastic display, but not "smart") and plugged an AppleTV into it. Suddenly the TV is just a bigger display in the household as an extension of anything from our phones to the desktop computers, and we stream media, games, and TV from all these sources as required. There's no need for the TV to be "smart" - it's just a big display for the smart devices we already have.
Are any of these TVs smart enough to allow the user to sort the channels into a sane order?
No? All I want is a big screen and that ancient ability that all TVs once were capable of. Nothing more.