Best smart TV to buy in Australia for 2020

With so many options out there, we simplify the process of buying the best bells-and-whistles and best budget smart TV in 2020.

How long is a piece of smart string? Okay, so smart string doesn’t exist (yet), but the point of that rhetorical question is to highlight that there are many ways to interpret what constitutes the best smart TV. For some, it’ll mean a smart TV that’s capable of 4K (or beyond).

For others, ‘best’ will equate to best budget smart TV. For others still, it may be based on a size restriction or the type of streaming apps it natively supports, like Netflix or Binge.

Whether you’re after bigger-budget or budget-friendly, let’s take a closer look at what constitutes the best smart TV in Australia for 2020.

What is a smart TV?

A smart TV is essentially a fancy way of saying an internet-connected TV. Back when this was novel, internet connectivity was the bare minimum requirement to earn the ‘smart’ moniker. These days, a smart TV is expected to be a whole lot brainier. Even basic models let you install apps or stream compatible content from your local network.

More intelligent models allow for casting from compatible devices without having to use additional hardware like a Chromecast. TVs that are smarter still play nicely with universal remotes, can integrate with other smart home functionality, and can even be controlled by voice commands.

Smart TV internet connectivity

The online responsiveness of a smart TV will ultimately be determined by the speed of your home network and, ultimately, the speed of your home internet. Smart TVs may connect to the internet via wired (Ethernet) or wireless (WiFi) connections, but wired tends to be faster and more reliable, which can lead to more seamless streaming. That said, if your smart TV is close enough to your
router or modem-router – faster still, a mesh system – and doesn’t have interfering objects in the way, wireless shouldn’t noticeably slow you down.

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Smart TV buying guide checklist

  • Native support for your preferred streaming apps
  • Your preference of wired or wireless network connectivity
  • Screen size that matches the intended space and viewing distance
  • Enough HDMI ports to match the number of devices (for direct-to-tele connections)
  • Quality inbuilt speakers if you don’t intend on pairing with a home theatre or soundbar
  • Max resolution that matches your intended viewing quality and media (i.e. Full HD 1080p, Ultra HD 2160p, or 8K UHD 4320p)
  • A viewing angle that matches the front-of-screen seating configuration of the smart TV’s intended room
  • HDR for supported content
  • Wall-mount compatibility if you want to keep it off furniture

LG CX - Best 4K TVS

Best overall smart TV 2020

LG CX
It shouldn’t really come as any surprise that our pick of the best smart TV to get in 2020 is one from our list of best 4K TVs. The LG CX is a 2020 4K smart TV that ticks all the right boxes. You can nab a generously sized 55-inch model for under $3,000, which is a great investment price for a quality OLED tele (65-inch and 77-inch sets are also available). The self-lit OLED screen means you get gorgeous picture quality, even on default settings, while the incredible thinness makes it easy to shift and reposition.

You can easily flick between cinematic mode for movies, sports mode for smoother action, and G-Sync support means this is a viable giant gaming screen for PC gamers with popular Nvidia graphics cards (like the RTX 3080). In terms of the all-important smarts, the CX supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice control. As for apps, there’s a range of popular options to choose from, including Netflix, Disney Plus, and Apple TV Plus. For those seeking something smarter, the CX’s ThinQ AI lets you tap into smart home functionality.

Angled front view of a Hisense 58S5 smart TV

Best cheap smart TV 2020

Hisense 58S5

If budget is the be-all and end-all consideration for your cheap smart TV needs, opt for the Hisense 49S4 1080p tele. It has Dolby Digital support, Freeview Plus (for free-to-air streaming apps), PVR recording, as well as native streaming apps for Netflix, YouTube, and Stan. That said, for a couple of hundred bucks more (and still well under $1,000), you can nab the best value smart TV while upping the resolution to 4K with the Hisense 58S5.

The 58-inch screen makes it more of a main event compared to the 49S4’s 49-inch display, and there’s smarter functionality to take full advantage of the higher resolution and decent TV speakers. Both YouTube and Netflix have dedicated buttons on the easy-to-use TV remote (you can also download Stan), and there’s more smart functionality to be found by installing the Hisense RemoteNow app on a compatible device.

Smart TV prices

Smart TV prices are affected by a number of factors, but screen size, brand, and overall resolution are the three big ones in determining overall cost. Hisense, as noted above, has solid choices for cheap smart TVs, but also has sets that stretch beyond the price of the LG CX, like the 85-inch Hisense 85Q8.

Bear in mind that each TV model tends to have at least one other (if not more) choices when it comes to screen size, so there are absolutely dollars to be saved if you’re willing to opt for a smaller screen. Use this Rtings.com TV-size-to-distance calculator to estimate the smart TV screen size that will best match the distance from where you’ll be watching it. Note that the higher the resolution, the closer the optimal viewing distance.

At the extreme high-end of the smart TV scale is the 8K smart TV. These range from around the price of that aforementioned Hisense 85Q8 through to the $15,0000-ish you’ll need to fork out for an 85-inch Samsung Q950T.

Other smart TVs

We’ve recommended our pick of the best overall smart TV and the best value smart TV, but there are, of course, great smart TVs available from other manufacturers. Samsung has a range of 4K smart TVs, like the Samsung 65-inch LS03T “The Frame” QLED TV, which boasts a bright screen and an aesthetically pleasing art mode when it’s not in use. You can nab this popular pick for less than the LG CX.

Sony teles have a reputation for great colour accuracy, and you can nab the 65-inch Sony X9500H 4K smart TV for around the price of the LG CX. If bigger is your idea of better, TCL’s 100-inch 100P715 4K set may be the smart TV for you, but you’re looking at forking out around $13,000 for the pleasure of all of that screen real estate.

Alternatively, on the cheaper end of town, FFalcon has the SF1 Full HD smart TV for under $400 (40-inch) or even under $300 (32-inch).