When it comes to smart TVs, Netflix is now picking favorites. Last week, Netflix announced the first batch of TVs that will be awarded the “Netflix Recommended” sticker. It’s a gold star of sorts, used to distinguish the TVs that are optimized for Netflix with “fast” streaming and the ability to play Netflix as big red intended.
It’s a cool idea — everybody wants a better streaming experience. But what does it mean? According to Netflix, every recommended TV must meet five out of seven criteria. Unfortunately, those criteria are only loosely defined. Recommended TVs will have faster startup and playback, for instance, but how fast?
Below is our guide to the murky waters that is Netflix’s list of recommended TVs. We’ll break down the main criteria that every Netflix super-set must have. But first, checkout which TVs have made the cut so far.
Here’s the shortlist of Netflix recommended TVs:
- LG 4K UHD TVs w/ webOS 2.0
- Sony Android Full HDTVs
- Roku TVs from Hisense, Insignia, and TCL
Does it have an Instant On feature?
Instant On will instantly wake your TV. It’s a feature that has been universal in smartphones and tablets for years and now it’s coming to your TV. Currently both the Roku TVs and Sony models wake instantly. The icing on the cake is that both sets will instantly launch Netflix and take you to your Watch Instantly menu in seconds.
The LG models recommended by Netflix are missing the Instant On feature but do have WebOS 2.0 as a consolation prize. This snappy OS has a very zippy boot-up time and an intuitive interface that allows easy access to all inputs and content — including Netflix — with the wave of LG’s motion-based remote.
Will it run the latest version of Netflix?
Netflix updates every couple of weeks. But it’s a hassle to actually update your account. The service sometimes logs you out and then you’re stuck trying to remember your password and username. Netflix recommend TVs will run the most current update of Netflix and make future updates less of a hassle.
Is it fast?
Netflix TVs also require a trio of criteria that make online streaming faster in just about every way. It’s still unclear just how much faster Netflix recommend TVs will perform — there aren’t really any specs — but faster performance is expected in these three ways:
- Fast app launch: Apps will launch quickly (though Netflix hasn’t provided any metrics for how fast).
- Fast app resume: Resuming playback will happen virtually instantly.
- Fast video playback: Your TV shows and movies begin to play instantly.
Does the interface heavily feature Netflix?
This one has a bit of a propaganda factor to it, but it also makes getting to big red much easier, requiring two traits designed to feature Netflix prominently and make it easy to get there.
- Netflix button: Designated “Netflix” button featured on the remote.
- Featured on TV menu: Recommended TVs will make the Netflix app highly visible on the menu page.
Now you know the deal, and you can be on the lookout for the new TVs coming down the pike. For more info, check out the video explaining the new specs below.