Revolutionise your living room without re-mortgaging the house.
The Smart TV market has grown exponentially in 2012. A cover-all name for internet-enabled sets, Smart TV lets you stream rental films, share content from your smartphone and surf Google Maps, all on a screen the size of, well, an enormous TV.
Most Smart TV platforms also feature a tailored suite of apps, though not all brands offer everything, so think about what you’ll use the most. While you can spend silly money, if you choose wisely it’s now possible to own something fairly great for under £1,000.
1 LG 42LM660T
This LG 3D-enabled 107cm (42in) model, which can convert 2D content into 3D, comes with four pairs of 3D glasses. The impressive Dual Play allows two-player gaming where each opponent views the screen differently. (£998, lg.com/uk)
Essential apps: Twitter, Facebook, BBC iPlayer, YouTube
2 Panasonic TX-L47E5B
Though this 119cm (47in) Smart TV doesn’t offer 3D viewing, the price, design and selection of apps more than makes up for it. Also the sound quality is as high as you’d expect from Panasonic. Easy to set up and pre-loaded with Panasonic’s Viera Connect Internet TV platform, it’s a cinch to share content between devices. (£699, panasonic.co.uk)
Essential apps: FetchTV, BBC News, BBC iPlayer, Acetrax
3 Samsung ES6710
With the family in mind, Samsung’s revamped Smart Hub interface shares photos and messages, while keeping the kids “entertained” and “educated” with dedicated apps. The 3D on this 117cm (46in) HD set is impressive when streaming movies from a PC with Allshare Play, but the 2D is equally sharp. (£948, samsung.com/uk)
Essential apps: Acetrax, Fitness, LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer
4 Sony KDL-46EX653
Sony has packed a tonne of top features into this high-tech unit. At 117cm (46in), this HD wi-fi-enabled set comes with the latest LED technology, and try using your smartphone or tablet as a remote with the Media Remote app. Sony’s Motionflow XR high frame-rate reduces blur in action scenes, even at 100 frames per second. Excellent for sport. (£899, sony.co.uk)
Essential apps: Facebook, Skype, LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer
Photograph by Michael Bodiam