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- Honestly, they're all good. Here are three that we're using to demonstrate why that's the case.
Honestly, they're all good. Here are three that we're using to demonstrate why that's the case.
Many years ago, a lone dreamer lay on the couch with an empty pizza box across his gut, watching Pulp Fiction. How nice it was, he thought, that he didn't have to put on pants, get in the car, and sit in a theater to watch a movie. But when the credits rolled, he wanted more. Hitting rewind, he considered going to visit the surly video store clerk yet again, but there was no guarantee that Terminator would be available. And he'd still have to put on pants.
But The Dreamer was a dreamer, not a gambler—there would be no Terminator that afternoon. I was born too soon, The Dreamer thought to himself. Someday this will all change. He was thirsty, and the fridge was across the room. But he couldn't will his legs to move; he was too comfortable—or too lazy. Maybe someday that will change, too, he thought.
While The Dreamer never got less lazy, technological progress did eventually eliminate the walk to the video store. Netflix destroyed the rental industry in two giant steps, first with mail-order DVDs and then with internet streaming. Today there are plenty of ways to get Netflix to your TV: computers, gaming consoles, set-top boxes like the Roku and AppleTV, and even specialized USB sticks. But many modern TVs don't even require an add-on to access that streaming goodness, thanks to built-in WiFi and apps. Regardless of how you end up getting the content to your TV, there are great options available.
If Money Is No Object: Samsung E8000 Plasma Smart TV Series
Perhaps you've won the lottery, sold a screenplay, or unearthed a genie, and you're interested in replacing the iPad sized TV or Led Zeppelin poster in the living room with something else. The Samsung E8000 Plasma, preferably the 64-inch model ($3949), would be a perfect candidate for that space.
We could talk about its amazing performance, but that pales in comparison to the fact that you can control it just by waving your hands. And you can use the on-board internet to hit Rotten Tomatoes before you fire up a movie so your precious time isn't wasted on something insipid. Superfluous and unnecessary? Yes. But it's still the best TV we've tested.
If You Aren't Filthy Rich: Vizio V2LE LCD Smart TV Series
Nobody likes having more than one remote control. In fact, sometimes the responsibility of having even one is too much, as I have learned while searching for my still-missing remote (have you seen it?). We've eliminated the VCR remote and are making great strides toward ditching the DVD version.
Ushering in that extinction is the Vizio 2VLE, which offers an outstanding 1080p picture, solid speakers, and direct internet access for Netflix and Amazon streaming apps. A price of $500 for 42 inches of smart TV make this Vizio quite an attractive option.
A Great TV without Bells and Whistles: Panasonic U50 Plasma TV Series
If you already have an Xbox, PS3, AppleTV, or Roku that streams 1080p video, the Panasonic U50 series is the cheapest way ($600) to get 50 inches of incredible plasma quality hooked up to the internet.
It isn't a smart TV, but who cares if the content doesn't come from built-in features? The TV sure doesn't. Sometimes dumb TVs can be a smart choice. Sure, you'll have to use two remotes (what an inconvenience). But going with a "dumb" TV carries a big advantage: you can choose your smart platform.
More, More, More
We could list off scores of great TVs that can do Netflix right, including almost all of our award winners (and losers, for that matter). More and more TVs come with smart platforms, apps, and even WiFi, so you're likely to have no problem at all getting connected. Since adding Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, or iTunes is cheap and easy with a Roku, AppleTV, Boxee, or any console, you'll do better if you focus on the TV's screen quality, not the way it connects to the internet.
And if you haven't closed Firefox in six months because your friend never logged herself out of her parents' Netflix account, maybe its time to spring for that $7.99/mo subscription.