Smart TVs make it a breeze to stream. You can binge movies, TV shows and other content from a variety of services without needing a set-top box.
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But not all smart TVs are created equally. And they can differ wildly in the actual streaming services they support — particularly with newcomers like Apple TV+ and Disney+.
With all of that in mind, here’s what you need to know about built-in streaming apps on Smart TVs.
How do Smart TVs support streaming services?
Most smart TVs allow users to stream content directly from a streaming service using a built-in app, without the need for a streaming stick or set-top box.
In some cases, Smart TVs may even allow you to enjoy 4K or HDR-enabled content without needing to buy a streaming device that supports it. (Your smart TV itself will need to support 4K and HDR, of course.)
Of course, the bandwidth requirements for streaming 4K and HDR content will be different than for regular content. So keep that in mind when you’re talking to your internet service provider next (ISP).
You may need a minimum speed of 5 Mbps to stream high-definition video. When it comes to ultra HD or 4K content, you’ll need to opt for a bandwidth of at least 25 Mbps.
The actual quality of your content will rely on other factors too, such as the time of day, whether you’re using a wired connection, and the make and model of your modem and router setup.
Which new Smart TVs support Apple’s TV+ app?
The revamped TV app is available across Apple’s devices, from the Apple TV set-top box to MacBooks in macOS Catalina. But, surprisingly, it’s also available on third-party platforms.
The TV app isn’t available on all smart TVs or streaming devices, but it is available on more than you might expect.
Here are some current TV manufacturers that have added TV app support.
- Select Samsung Smart TVs from 2018 and 2019.
- Several 2019 Sony Smart TVs, including the Z9G and A9G series.
- A handful of 2019 LG Smart TVs also support Apple TV.
- VIZIO also has quite a few models that sport the TV app baked-in, including several in the 2019 P and M series.
What about Disney+?
Disney+ is already a massively popular streaming service, even though it only just launched this month. So there’s a good chance that you already have it.
You can, of course, watch Disney+ on your tvOS or iOS devices, as well as most set-top boxes and game consoles. Currently, not many smart TV manufacturers support it — but that’s likely to change soon.
As of the writing of this article, only some LG and Samsung Smart TVs actually support the Disney+ app. By December, the list should also include certain VIZIO Smart TVs.
Some smart TVs are also Roku TVs
When it comes to the streaming market, Roku is a household name. Its streaming devices support Apple+ and Disney+, but it also offers its own Roku TV app.
The Roku TV app isn’t actually a streaming platform, but it does aggregate other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Apple TV+.
When you buy a Roku TV, it means that the manufacturer has worked with the company to bake its custom UI into the system. That way, you can actually stream content from Netflix or Apple TV+ without an additional set-top box.
- TCL Smart TVs
- Insignia Smart TVs
- Sharp Smart TVs
- Hisense Smart TVs
- Hitachi Smart TVs
- RCA Smart TVs
- Philips Smart TVs
- Element Smart TVs
- JVC Smart TVs
Smart TVs that support digital assistants
It’s worth noting that some smart TVs also support digital assistants. That means you’ll be able to control your smart TV with your digital assistant, and in most cases, invoke your assistant straight from the TV.
Whether or not your smart TV supports your favorite digital assistant comes down to which on you use and which brand of TV you’re looking at.
Want to control your smart TV using Siri from your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch? As long as you get a model with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support, you can.
AirPlay 2 and HomeKit don’t have the market saturation of other smart home platforms, but they are currently available on a handful of popular TV brands.
- Samsung Smart TVs
- VIZIO Smart TVs
- Sony Smart TVs
- LG Smart TVs
Amazon Alexa is a market dominator when it comes to digital assistants and smart home products. So, as you might expect, the assistant is available on quite a few different smart TVs.
They range from Sony and Samsung smart TVs to other OEMs like TCL and Hisense. For a full list, you should check out Amazon’s specific webpage for Alexa support.
Like Alexa, Google Assistant is also available on a handful of different TV manufacturers. Here’s an updated list of smart TVs that support the Google digital assistant.
- Philips OLED
- LG 2019 Smart TVs
- Samsung 2019 Smart TVs
- Sony Bravia Smart TVs
- Sharp Aquos Smart TVs
Are you shopping for a new smart TV? Would you prefer to have a built-in digital voice assistant on the unit or would you rather have it in a connected gadget? We want to hear from you.
Affliate Disclosure: This article includes amazon affiliate links to a few products. We would make a small commission from Amazon if you decide to buy using the links in the article.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.