All posts in “Smart Tvs”

Beat the Black Friday crowd and shop Samsung 4K TVs on sale now

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Samsung QLED 4K TVs are equipped with Amazon's Alexa for smart control.
Samsung QLED 4K TVs are equipped with Amazon’s Alexa for smart control.

Image: samsung

TL;DR: Amazon’s Happy HoliDeals event is in full swing, offering up to 47% off Samsung QLED 4K TVs.

Holiday movie season is upon us and we’re ready to have Christmas rom-com marathons all winter. You’re probably ready to fire up Love Actually right now. But if you’re still watching your favorite movies on a crappy TV, you’re due for an upgrade. You don’t want to miss out on any of the beautiful, sappy moments this season.

Amazon is celebrating the holidays with some “HoliDeals” and offering some sweet discounts — snag select Samsung QLED 4K TVs for up to 47% off.  

Samsung QLED 4K TVs offer more than a billion shades of color, giving you a brilliant picture with outstanding depth of detail. Their quantum processors upscale content to 4K to give you sharp details and refined colors. Plus, they all have smart capabilities and are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa.

There are some pretty great discounts on these TVs right now, with savings up to $1,800. So, grab a new Samsung 4K TV, cozy up by the fire, and start your holiday binge-watching.

This 65-inch LG OLED TV is on sale ahead of Black Friday — save $1550

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LG's sleek 65-inch C9 Series TV is less than two inches thick without its stand.
LG’s sleek 65-inch C9 Series TV is less than two inches thick without its stand.

Image: LG

TL;DR: You can snag this 65-inch LG 4K OLED smart TV for only $1,949 if you buy it through the PCMag Shop and apply the code SAVE300 during checkout. (It typically retails for $3,499.99, so you’ll be saving about $1,550.)

From mattresses to fine jewelry and exercise equipment, some things just aren’t worth your time (or money) this Black Friday. But whatever you do, don’t let the holiday pass you by without scoping out retailers’ TV sales — it’s peak season for awesome deals on all sorts of displays. 

Even now, the bargains have already begun rolling in: Starting today, you can score a 65-inch 4K OLED smart TV from LG’s C9 Series for under $2,000. (Yes, seriously.) Simply visit the PCMag Shop — it’s owned by Mashable’s publisher, Ziff Davis — and enter the coupon code SAVE300 to lower its already discounted price of $2,249 by an additional $300. When all is said and done, you’ll have shaved $1550 off its $3,499.99 MSRP.

The TV in question is probably one of the smartest smart TVs out there right now, offering support for both Alexa and the Google Assistant in addition to ThinQ. (That’s LG’s artificial intelligence technology, which adapts to your TV-watching habits and supports voice control.) In our humble opinion, it’s also one of the prettiest TVs currently on the market: With over 8.3 million individually lit pixels on its screen, colors look vivid and blacks appear gorgeous rich even from a wide viewing angle. Moreover, the display itself measures just 1.8 inches at its thinnest point; you can mount it flush against the wall for a clean home theater setup. 

Inside the TV, you’ll find the α9 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor — the most powerful 4K device of its kind — which enhances its picture while reducing noise. It not only affords an immersive viewing experience, but makes for smooth, responsive gaming sessions with ultra-realistic graphics and cinematic sound.

Pop over to the PCMag Shop to order it today for just $1,949 — a $1,550.99 savings.

Smart TV apps are convenient, but you should really stream with a device

If you’ve cut cable TV out of your life, you probably spend a ton of time on streaming services. 

TV manufacturers like Samsung and Vizio know this and have started packing their latest releases with built-in streaming apps. Convenient, but better in theory than in practice.

There are plenty of reasons not to rely on the all-too-convenient streaming apps that appear as soon as you turn on your smart TV. You may not want to hear this after spending hundreds of dollars (at least) on a shiny new living room display, but you should really shell out for a streaming device.

Even if it’s something on the cheaper end of the spectrum like a Roku Stick or a Fire TV Stick, you are likely to have a better streaming experience than you would by relying on what’s built into your TV. 

Life in slow motion

The number one thing you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever relied on a smart TV’s native streaming interface is just how slow they can be. Trying to navigate from one menu item to the next is practically glacial; you can feel yourself aging as you try to figure out the best place to watch that Marvel movie you forgot to see in theaters.

I swear I’ll get to Captain Marvel eventually.

Anyway, this is a real problem with smart TVs. I reviewed Vizio’s newest M-Series Quantum set earlier this summer and it really put a damper on the experience. The menus were well laid out and actually streaming things was fine, but getting there was a massive chore. 

The hardware powering an Apple TV or Roku is most likely going to be more powerful than the processor inside a smart TV. In addition, smart TVs can become outdated quickly. So can streaming devices, but they’re cheaper to replace on a regular basis. 

Keeping up with the Joneses

Sadly, the smart TV version of Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service app might not be the latest release with every new feature. Netflix, for instance, offers HDR support through Dolby Vision or HDR10 on a host of devices, including PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One S and X, Chromecast Ultra, and so on.

It's not a given that every smart TV will support the latest version of Hulu.

It’s not a given that every smart TV will support the latest version of Hulu.

Image: Chesnot/Getty Images

That feature is available on some smart TVs, but not all. The same goes for Hulu’s Live TV feature, which is available on “select models” of smart TVs from various manufacturers, but also available on pretty much any recent streaming device. 

Instead of worrying about whether or not your TV can support the latest version of each app, you might as well cut out those headaches by just getting a streaming device. According to a 2016 Forbes interview with a TCL executive, app makers are much more likely to support their apps on a handful of popular devices than do it for every model of TV under the sun.

Smart TVs are creepy

One of the inevitable realities of connecting any device to the internet is that it’s probably tracking what you’re doing to sell things to you. The world is a cold, bitter, and cynical place like that.

Smart TVs are no exception. Once you connect your shiny new TV to a network, there’s a good chance it’s tracking your activity, so it knows which shows to advertise to you. 

Seriously, there are already enough ads on TV. We don’t need to see them on the main menu.

As The New York Times pointed out last year, the easiest way to turn tracking off might be to never turn it on. If you just don’t connect your TV to the internet, it’s a lot harder for it to track what you’re doing. 

Since streaming devices are also connected to the internet and made by companies that want to make a profit, there are privacy concerns with them, too. 

The good news is you can research the privacy protections that come with each individual streaming device. If you don’t like what one device does with your data, just use another. Problem solved.

Between the performance and privacy issues, and delayed feature updates, it’s hard to make a case for relying on a smart TV’s native apps. 

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LG 4K UHD smart TVs on sale: Save $1,000 on these gigantic displays

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LG's 86-inch Class 4K UHD Smart TV (shown here) has an extra-large IPS 4K screen with four times the resolution of a Full HD display.
LG’s 86-inch Class 4K UHD Smart TV (shown here) has an extra-large IPS 4K screen with four times the resolution of a Full HD display.

Image: LG

TL;DR: Dell has two huge LG 4K UHD smart TVs on sale for $1,000 off, and both come with free Dell gift cards valued at up to $600.

It’s college football season, baby — and to celebrate, Dell is having a can’t-miss sale on two enormous LG 4K UHD smart TVs that are so detailed and vivid, you’ll be able to see every individual blade of Astroturf.

Now, let’s get one thing straight: Even with Dell’s discounts, these displays aren’t exactly cheap; after all savings are applied, neither of them cost under $2,000. They’re for serious TV-watchers and serious TV-watchers only, so anyone on a budget (hi, college students) need not apply.

That being said, it’s rare to find deals this good on such massive TVs: On top of slashing their prices by $1,000 apiece, Dell’s including hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards with every purchase. Not even LG itself can match those deals — so if there was ever a time to take the plunge and give your home entertainment setup a major facelift, it’s, well, right this instant.

Here’s the lowdown on both models:

This drop-dead gorgeous 77-inch TV features a gloriously bold OLED display; the noise-reducing α9 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor; ThinQ AI technology that supports both the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa; and built-in speakers with Dolby Atmos surround sound.

It’s normally priced at $6,997, but Dell has it on sale for just $5,997 and throws in a $600 Dell gift card on top of that $1,000 discount.

This 86-inch LG display sports the same processor, AI technology, and Dolby Atmos speakers as the 77-inch model — only instead of an OLED screen, it’s got a extra-large IPS 4K screen with an amazingly crisp resolution at virtually any angle.

It typically sells for $3,297, but Dell has it for only $2,297 and throws in a $250 Dell gift card on top of that $1,000 discount.

Get a free Echo Dot when you buy a Fire TV Edition smart TV

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Choose from multiple sizes and definition qualities.
Choose from multiple sizes and definition qualities.

Image: mashable photo composite

TL;DR: The intuitive Insignia and Toshiba Fire TV Edition TVs are on sale and come with a free Echo Dot, a value of $49.99 or more, depending on the sale you choose.

Smart TVs were revolutionary pieces of technology at their start, and now they’re available at price points that fit any budget — even if you’re a college student looking for a cheap TV to put in your dorm room.

What’s better than having a smart TV is having a smart assistant to pair it with for a holistic smart home experience. Amazon is currently running a deal where if you buy an Insignia or Toshiba Fire Edition TV, you get a free Echo Dot.

This promotion runs until Sept. 2. To redeem, add any Insignia or Toshiba Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add any third generation Echo Dot, and the discount will automatically be applied and appear in your order summary.

This TV comes in sizes ranging from 24 inches to 55 inches and is available in HD or 4K UHD. In addition to coming with an Echo Dot, each of these TV models is on sale for up to $100 off. With Fire TV built in, you get access to streaming services, apps, and Alexa skills. Plus, you’re able to seamlessly integrate live over-the-air television all within one home screen.

You have fewer size options here, with TVs ranging from 32 inches to 55 inches, but you gain the choice of 4K UHD with Dolby Vision in addition to HD and 4K HD models. Like the Insignia, the Toshiba integrates live TV with streaming services, apps, and Alexa skills. This TV has a bit more of a modern look, but otherwise has pretty similar specs. So, the choice really comes down to if you prefer Toshiba to Insignia.

The Echo Dot packs all of the technology of Amazon’s smart assistant in a smaller casing. We won’t bore you with all the nitty gritty details; you’re probably familiar with what an Echo Dot does. It will elevate your TV experience because it pairs effortlessly with Fire TV Edition televisions and gives you the ability to turn on your TV with just your voice. Add the Echo Dot and your choice of TV to your cart to receive the Echo Dot for free.