Toshiba's 2012 top of the range models fall under the L7200 Cinema series - a multi talented range that incorporates passive 3D technology and Smart TV capabilities.
Among the unique features of the Toshiba 2012 Smart TV range is MediaGuide. This is programme guide which is designed to replace your cable Tvs providers own guide while integrating search functions at the same time. Simply instruct the the TV on who provides your cable service, browse the TV guide on the display or via your tablet PC or smartphone, and the TV makes use of an IR flasher to control the set top box.
2D to 3D conversion is standard, and while we know that conversion is never as good as properly filmed native 3D content, it's still a useful feature.
Dual core processors ensure multi-tasking is quick and efficient, and the ClearScan 240Hz processing with an edge-lit LED panel includes local dimming to deliver clear, sharp images.
Toshiba's L7200 also comes with a standalone, Wi-Fi keyboard for entering text and commands instead of entering them via the remote control.
Models include the Toshiba 47L7200U at 47 inches and the 55L7200U at 55 inches. They should be available in April and March respectively.
2011 saw a battle for the mantle of best Smart TV between the Samsung D8000 and the Panasonic VT30. The last named is widely recognised as the best plasma set ever built by Panasonic, but this year might well see these new models from the VT50 plasma series take over.
Our analysis kicks off with the screen sizes. Two of them - the TC-P55VT50 at 55 inches and the TC-P65VT50 at 65 inches. In the looks department the VT50 models sport a silver streamlined bezel that contributes to the overall "one-sheet-of-glass" appearance. Both come with a range of design elements and features including:
•The Panasonic Infinite Black Ultra Panel •2D to 3D Conversion, 3D capable •Access to cloud based apps via the Viera Connect Smart TV portal, and an improved browser •Touch Pad Remote Controller •Built in WiFi - eliminates the need for ethernet cables •Three USB ports and 4 HDMI connection points •Multi-tasking IPTV and Twitter side view functions for simultaneously watching content and using social media applications
LG Flagship OLED Smart TV - 55EM9600
OLED Smart TVs were big news at the CES 2012 show, attracting rave reviews from the experts. For the uninitiated, OLED is the next breakthrough technology to be applied to television displays. They promise to deliver unrivalled quality and performance.
Of course that's reflected in pricing, but LG do believe that in a few years the price of OLED displays will have dropped enough to make them financially attractive.
This 55EM9600 model is not expected to hit stores until the early autumn of 2012, so there's still time to save up. If you can save enough come the release date then you could be the proud owner of one of the first OLED Smart TVs to hit the US market.
This year, the company is working toward reaching that goal with the release of its first OLED TV in the American market, the 55-inch 55EM9600.
The model expands on previous OLED technology by adding a white pixel to a normal OLED's blue, green, and red. Aside from picture quality you'll be getting:
•Full Smart TV capability •LG's revolutionary Magic Remote •Cinema style passive 3D •In built microphone •Ultra thin screen and virtually no bezel
Streamlined would be one way to describe this stunning TV. It looks great, and performs superbly with a high quality wide angle viewing range. We'll need to wait a fair few months to get a good look at the finished version. September can't come soon enough!
The Philips 46PFL9706T
The Philip's flagship TV for 2012 is the 46PFL9706T - a 46 inch LCD Smart TV set with great 2D capabilities. It's Smart, it uses active shutter 3D technology, and it comes with a new feature called the Moth-Eye filter.
We'll talk more about the Moth Eye in a minute. First some more about quality, design, sound, and Smart capabilities. Each of these are very strong with design and build quality particularly good, though the set doesn't quite hit the heights with its 3D imaging..
Now to the moth-eye filter. This filter is designed reduce reflectivity off the display, and it does this by reproducing the way that a moths eyes work. The surface of the display is covered by minute nanostructures which act to draw in light in a way that places the display as one of the best seen for viewing in a bright or well-lit room. The end result is truly brilliant imaging with probably the best contrast seen on any LCD television.
It was only a matter of time before an LCD TV got close, or bettered, the black levels seen in plasmas. This is the TV that does it. And it does it in a combination which also shows brighter colours in their best light too. There's no blur on fast motion pictures thanks to the Perfect Natural Motion technology, and this definitely helps with 3D performance as well. There's a little crosstalk, but overall the 3D imaging is perfectly acceptable and displayed with good depth.
Philips are clearly aiming for the high end of the market with this TV, and it does really have the chance to conquer that high end. It could easily end up with the accolade of best Smart TV of 2012.
I want one!
Sharp's LC-80LE844U Flagship Smart TV
It's always been recognised that 3D looks great on a big screen. The sense of immersion is stronger, and immersion is what 3D is all about. So it's no surprise that Sharp are going big with their flagship 85 inch LC-80LE844U 3D LED Smart TV.
This monster TV comes with a250 Hz refresh rate which promises to deliver imaging without any motion blur. Smart TV capability is of high quality and delivered via the Sharp SmartCentral portal with a wide range of smart services and apps available, and the processing technology works using Sharp's Quad Pixel Plus with colours handled by Quattron.
Built in WiFi adds to capabilities, and the whole lot put together ends up with a big, high class, high cost TV. Expect pricing to be around the $6500 range.
The HX series is comprised of two models - the HX 850 and HX750. They're LED models with 55 inch and 46 inch displays in each model range.
Smart TV capability delivers the usual range of services seen on most of the flagship smart TVs of 2012, including built in WiFi and multi-tasking - but there's also easy access to the Sony Entertainment Network, and Skype for videoconferencing. That list is reduced slightly if you don't have a suitable webcam and microphone, as neither of those are built in and you'll need to buy them as optional extras if you do want to use Skype..
The truth is that there are no specific stunning new features for the Sony models. Well at least not in the way that can be seen in some of the Smart TVs listed above and below. Sony seem to have focussed on delivering an improvement over previous sets in small ways, with an enhancement here and something a bit better over there.
That said, the HX series equals the overall quality of many other manufacturers TVs. True experts in picture quality will notice the improvements that Sony have made, and at a price of around $3000 or maybe slightly more, the Japanese manufacturer do have some Smart TVs to go to war with at the higher end of the market.
Vizio's Flagship Smart TV Models - The CinemaWide XVT 3D Series
Vizio took off in 2011 with their version of Theater 3D passive 3D TVs, and for 2012 they're aiming for more success. Vizio hope to achieve that with a new LED range named as CinemaWide. The main claim to fame (and the name) comes from the displays - using technology that delivers a 21:9 aspect ration, perfect for watching current day movies filmed with similar technology.
The sets are not small either. The smallest being 50 inches, the largest 71 inches, and the mummy in the middle at 58 inches.
Smart capabilities are delivered using Vizio's VIA platform, with simultaneous movie watching and web browsing a definite option. Vizio Internet Apps gets you access to the usual wide range of online content, with standard Facebook, Hulu, and Flickr access plus many more. All models work with a bluetooth remote with it's own QWERTY keyboard.
Release dates and pricing are not known at time of writing (mid Jan 2012).
Nyxio's Best Smart TV Model
Fairly new in the list of major maunfacturers, Nyxio have quickly gained an enviable reputation. Since inception in 2007 they've focussed on manufacturing high quality TVs and cemented their position in the consumer electronics industry.
Nyxio's flagship Smart TV – known as the VioSphere – earns the mantle of being the sole integrated flat screen TV and full PC available on the shelves today. Nyxio had the foresight to go down the internet TV route a few years before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon and that's resulted in a model that is one of the most advanced available.
The VioSphere comes with a built-in DVD player and burner, wireless keyboard, Bluetooth, WiFi and webcam. The touchscreen offers easy to use ways to navigate through a wide number of apps, with split screen capability solving the problem of simultaneous viewing and social or web interaction.
•32”, 42”, 55” and 65” LCD 1920 x 1080 display screens •Touch screen (also available in non-touch screen) •Built-in DVD player andburner •Bluetooth •Wi-Fi •11 mega pixel embedded Webcam •Embedded codec, microphone and sound system •Bluetooth multimedia keyboard with trackball •Multiple inputs including : HDMI, HSB, VGA, AV1, AV2, YpbPr1, YPbPr2, S-Video, Audio In, Tuner, VGA, SCART
Smart TVs are big news, and it's highly likely that within a few years pretty much every new TV released will have some form of Smart TV features. If you're considering whether to buy a Smart TV now or wait for further price drops and feature enhancements, one of the questions you're likely to be asking is ' which one is the best Smart TV I can get for my money?'
As with any technology product where there's a wide choice, the answer is not always straightforward. With dozens of models available from a range of well known TV manufacturers there's a lot to consider - you've got to make your choice of the best Smart TV from a wide number of models, display technologies, screen sizes, and pricing.
With breakthrough developments in technology becoming commonplace the range of features and number of different Smart TVs is only going to increase in the years ahead. Determining which one is the best Smart TV available at any point is going to be a subjective exercise to a point, and will be influenced by opinions from within the TV industry itself, the electrical retailers, and from what you can read on gadget and Smart TV review websites.
And determining which one is the best Smart TV for you personally is going to depend on a range of factors. Would you be looking for the best plasma Smart TV? The best LCD Smart TV? Do you want to watch in 3D? On a big or a smaller display?
Or are unique design features important? Pricing? New technology?
This is probably a good point to direct you to the Smart TV buying guide which is designed to help answer a lot of these questions.
But if you're already set on a type of display technology or size, the best option is probably going to be to either read through a number of buyer reviews or go straight to the top of the range models from each of the manufacturers. These are known as the flagship Smart TV models. Generally the flagship TV is the model that a TV manufacturer lists as their highest performing set - mainly from a perspective of technology and features.
Remember that one buyers view of the best Smart TV might be based on image quality, another on price, and another on availability of Smart TV apps or an easily useable web browser or internet interface. The truth is that seeking the best is often a balancing exercise.
Most of us will need to be working within budget limits for any major purchases, and buying a TV is not an inexpensive purchase. You'll want to be getting the best for your money, and future-proofing at the same time.
Shopping around for the best price Smart TV is always going to be necessary. The good news is that prices are dropping with the levels of competition in play and there's a possibility to pick up great bargains with careful research.
If you want to look at the full ranges of any manufacturer and choose from available sets then you can go straight to the individual manufacturer pages here on SmartTv101.com. They're listed in the menu just slightly higher up on the left hand side of the page. If you want to know the flagship models for 2012 read on through the list below, but remember that flagship Smart TVs top of the range for a reason - and that's often going to be reflected in the price.
Smart TV Manufacturers
Samsung announced their flagship for 2012 will be the LED display ES8000, a truly powerful model that Samsung are rightly proud of. It's a dual-core processor model that boasts multi-tasking capabilities. These let you toggle from destination to destination, watching a streamed movie at the same time as checking the latest sports results (very similar to Teletext in the UK in fact!).
Samsung's Smart TV portal - Smarthub - comes in for a makeover with one combined screen for all types of Smart content.
In the looks department, the ES8000's slim bezel - first seen in 2011 models - is augmented with a new complimentary U-shaped stand. Larger size 75 inch models will be available, with an extra innovation in integrated cameras for video conferencing with the high end models.
Well, for now this concludes our look at the Smart TVs which are best from a flagship model perspective. We still need to run through a list of the best Smart TV models from a quality/price/ratings perspective - and of course that doesn't necessarily mean exactly the same sets. Flagship Smart TV's are the ones the manufacturers tell us are best, and the best Smart TV's are the ones we all think are best.
There's a lot more to be written through the coming months to keep this page comprehensive. And I'll be aiming to do just that.
More to follow.
Samsung Flagship Smart TV 2012 - The Samsung ES8000