smart-tv
Last updated: June 19, 2020

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The digital age has brought television to a new level. Combining smart TVs with the Internet has enabled us to enjoy a wide range of applications on the a big screen.

Whereas in the past, choosing a TV was straightforward, continuous advances are making certain technologies obsolete at an increasingly faster rate.  This makes purchasing decisions increasingly complex. Therefore, we created this guide to provide you with some technical knowledge about Smart TVs that can guide your purchasing decisions.

Key Facts

  • A Smart TV is basically a television that can be connected to the Internet with an independent operating system. Smart TVs enable access a large amount of multimedia content and a variety of applications.
  • When choosing the size of the smart TV screen it is important to take into account the size of the room and viewing distance. Some manufacturers offer guidance in dimensions and screen selection.
  • One of the first questions to ask is which screen technology is most suitable for you. Currently, there are two main technologies: LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology with LED (Light-Emitting Diode) backlighting and the second is technology is OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode).

The best smart TVs on the Canadian market

In this section, we provide a list that we have prepared of the five best Smart TVs currently available on the Canadian market. We have included several options by analyzing products from leading brands that offer excellent value.

TCL 50S425 4K Ultra HD Smart LED Television, 50″

With excellent features and an affordable price point, the TCL 50S425 is our first choice.  Actually, it is one of the most popular smart tv options currently in Canada.  It comes with 4K UHD picture performance and high dynamic range (HDR) technology. Its high definition resolution with HDR offers exceptional clarity.

This smart TV enables access to thousands of streaming channels featuring more than 150,000 movies and TV episodes. Its inputs are 3 HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 (one with HDMI ARC), 1 USB (media player), RF, Composite, Headphone Jack, Optical Audio Out, Ethernet.  The remote control is really user friendly – your parents will love it.  This remote has half the number of buttons that traditional TV remotes have! The dimensions are (W x H x D): TV without stand: 44.1″ x 25.7″ x 3.2″, TV with stand: 44.1″ x 28.0″ x 8.0″

Toshiba 32LF221C19 32-inch 720p HD Smart LED TV

The Toshiba 32LF221C19 is a great smart TV option.  It also offers excellent features at a cheaper price point than the TCL (in the first place on our list). HD picture provides high quality, nuanced detail and rich contrasts. Like most smart TVs this edition enables you to enjoy thousands of channels, apps, Alexa, Netflix, CraveTV, CTV and Prime Video.

The TV can be controlled by Voice Remote with Alexa. Simply speak commands to launch apps, search for TV shows, play music, switch inputs and control smart home devices.  The dimensions are (W x H x D) TV without stand: 73.6 x 43.6 x 8.3 cm, TV with stand: 73.6 x 47.2 x 18 cm. Multiple device input/output options include: 3 HDMI including 1 with ARC, USB, composite input, antenna/cable input, digital output (optical), audio output, and Ethernet. Note that in addition to this 32-inch option, the Toshiba is also offered in 43 and 49 inches.

Samsung NU710040″ 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

The Samsung NU7100 is a solid option and also very popular in Canada. It comes with their signature ‘PurColor’ technology (for accurate lifelike color). The engineering of this device is excellent and its slim design will compliment your living room. This smart TV also enables you to connect and synch your TV to your phone.

NU7100 model performs at four times the resolution of full HD. It features a powerful UHD engine to upscale content to near-4K quality. Additionally, this model comes with a ‘Clean Cable Solution’ that hides all your cords from view. The NU7100 comes in sizes ranging from 40” to 75” inches.

TCL 32S327 Smart LED Television 32″

Another solid smart TV by TCL.  In comparison to the top choice on our list, this version the TCL 32S327, is smaller and cheaper.  Technologically, it isn’t as advanced as the other options, but the price tag is significantly lower.  Still, it comes with full HD (1080p) resolution and full high definition (1080p).  Its smart functionality offers access to thousands of streaming channels.

Main inputs are: 3 HDMI (1 w/ ARC), 1 USB, RF, Composite, Headphone Jack, Optical and Audio Out.  Like the other more expensive version that tops our list, this unit comes with a user friendly remote control, with half the number of buttons traditional TV remotes have.  Its dimensions are (W x H x D): TV without stand: 28.8″ x 17.1″ x 3.0″, TV with stand: 28.8″ x 19.1″ x 7.1″

Insignia 24-inch 720p HD Smart LED TV

Insignia HD Smart TV offers a solid smart TV. At 24-inches, this is the smallest smart TV on our list, although you can purchase the same version in 32-inch and 39-inch sizes. It delivers 720p picture quality with deep dark colors and rich textures.  Like most smart TVs it enables you access to thousands of channels, apps and Alexa. Additionally, you can access Netflix, Crave, CTV, and Prime Video.

This edition integrates live over-the-air TV and streaming channels on a unified home screen (HD antenna required). You can control your TV with the included Voice Remote with Alexa. Dimensions are (W x H x D) TV without stand: 55 x 34 x 7 cm, TV with stand: 55 x 38 x 17 cm. Multiple device input/output options include: 3 HDMI including 1 with ARC, USB, composite input, antenna/cable input, digital output (optical), audio output, Ethernet.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about smart TVs

When buying a Smart TV, keep in mind a number of key aspects. There are several different smart TV models and each have different features. Below, we discuss answers to some of the questions that you may have about Smart TVs.

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

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

What is a Smart TV?

A Smart TV is a TV that can be connected to the Internet and has an internal operating system. Smart TVs enable access to a large range of multimedia content and applications. The first Smart TV dates back to 2010.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Smart TVs?

Smart TVs offer several  advantages. They enable you to access the Internet. This includes a wide variety of media, applications, social media and games.  However, buying a Smart TV involves a large price tag. Additionally, some Smart TVs require frequent updates. 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 multimedia content, as well as enjoy applications and games. You can watch Youtube videos, access TV channels such as Netflix, or watch any content you have on your computer they represent a significant economic cost.
You can surf the Internet and access social networks. Some operating systems require updates. It may 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 solid Internet connection. You can access video calls on a much larger screen
Also, they allow you to enjoy on-demand TV. You won’t have to worry about missing an episode of your favourite shows

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Is it worth buying a Smart TV?

If you can afford one and you regularly watch TV then the answer is yes. The advantages a smart TV offer and the ability of integrating home entertainment elements into a single device make it worth the investment. They offer simplicity in one device with great image quality.

Mike ColterActor

“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 buying a smart TV,  you have 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 better 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 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. Enables 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 lets one enjoy a perfect image from any angle
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. It is not convenient to use as computer monitors or to play with game consoles
Lifetime Their life span is much longer. 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 been the buzzword since the 4K resolution appeared several years ago, and it can make a big difference in the image quality.

If you are purchasing a low-end smart TV, there is no need to worry about the High Dynamic Range. However, if you are purchasing 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 several years ago, they sparked interest, mostly due to the great advertising campaigns. Over time it has become apparent that their performance is not as great as expected.  As a result the general public is increasingly giving up on the so called “advantages” of curved TVs preferring the standard flat screen instead.

While you can find them in stores, there are fewer and fewer curved TVs and it is expected that they will eventually disappear. Also, in the long run, any repair to a curved TV is going to have a higher cost.

What is the sound system quality of a Smart TV?

This is one of the weaknesses of smart televisions. 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, take into account several shopping criteria.  We have highlighted several aspects we consider to be important for guiding your decision.

Screen size

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 well .

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 conceal some of the resolution loss.

Display distance (in meters) 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 choosing the type of screen of your Smart TV, you can choose between a TV with an LCD panel or an OLED. OLED technology offers superior picture quality, but come at a higher price. A similar but less expensive option to OLED is QLED technology.

Andrew AnthonyWriter

“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 the system offers. 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 4K resolution entails a higher price. If you are on a budget, better to stick with 1080p. That said, 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.

Home multimedia center

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

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

The new HDR technology is significantly improving the picture quality of smart TVs. Unfortunately, there is no single HDR standard to choose. 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, try and ensure that at least the HDR10 is directly supported and if possible also Dolby Vision.

foco

Fortunately, most televisions today support the HDR10 standard.

Connectivity and ports

When it comes to choosing which smart TV you buy, consider the connectivity options it offers. Initially, you need to determine 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

While there are many manufacturers of Smart televisions not all of them offer the same quality. The brands with the best reputation in Canada are: TCL, Toshiba and Samsung. In particular, TCL and Toshiba have been the sales leaders in recent years thanks to their superb displays.

Summary

Given the ever-increasing functionality offered by Smart TVs, many homes have made them their center of home entertainment.  Their connectivity to the Internet and other devices makes life easier and more enjoyable.

When buying a Smart TV, ask yourself several questions. Take into account the dimensions of the room in which you are going to install the TV.  Decide the screen size, screen type, screen resolution and the technical specifications such as the connectivity options.

Finally, if you feel that this guide has been useful to you, 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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Our writers and editors at SWEETESTHOME.ca focus on making your life easier by selecting the best available everyday products in the Canadian market.