Vizo vs. Samsung Internet App Experience
November 21, 2011 7:40 AM   Subscribe

I need a new TV. Which one has the best Internet Apps. My research shows that Samsung and Vizio are the best priced TVs with Apps but which one has the best experience are there other brands I should be considering? Details below.....

Currently we have a 4+ year old vizio 50" plasma. Connected to this we have a Dish Network VIP622 DVR , a Wii, a PC, and a DVD player. We use the VIP622 the most for consuming content. We also use Netflix and Hulu on the PC regularly. The Wii and the DVD player get used once every few months at most. I am happy with the A/V quality from all sources but the over all experience leaves much to be desired. The devil is in the details.....

Here are my frustrations:
The Dish Remote will turn the TV on and off and control the volume but will not switch inputs on the TV. So we always have to keep both remotes handy.

If the computer is in sleep mode or turned off the TV will turn itself off as soon as you switch to that input.

I use the iPhone with "Hippo Remote" to navigate the PC, this is OK and probably the best experience I can expect for navigating a standard desktop from the couch.

I want to find a TV with integrated apps that reduces the need to use the PC for consuming content. I don't want to eliminate the PC because I know there will always be some content that I will only be able to view on the PC.

I haven't seen or used any of the new generation of Internet enabled TVs. The VIP 622 offers a lot of internet content but the implementation is awful. It is a painful experience to browser through their selection of their network video. (However I do applaud Dish for extending the functionality of my 4+ year old receiver and I understand its likely the hardware limitations that cause the poor user experience.)

So my question is:

Which TV manufacture provides the best overall consumer experience with their internet apps?
posted by jmsta to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How opposed are you to getting a TV without apps and another piece of hardware? The problem with Apps is that they will be outdated and useless much, much faster than any (replaceable) hardware. The PS3, for instance, can do Netflix, browsing (made easier w/ wireless USB keyboard and mouse,) stream movies off your PC/Mac with PS3 Media Serer, Hulu Plus, etc. Plus, it's functionality will be intact long after the services behind the Apps on your TV goes kaput.
posted by griphus at 7:54 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been perfectly happy replacing my connected HTPC with an AppleTV and completely ignoring the apps on my new Panasonic Plasma. AppleTV won't help you much, as it doesn't do Hulu. But a Roku box would work perfectly and probably have a longer shelf life with better updates. I'd get the Roku 2 XS (because of the ethernet connectivity rather than just wifi).

You might invest in a universal remote (like a Logitech Harmony) to control everything from one remote. The Roku + Harmony would be less expensive (~160) than a PS3 (I think).
posted by jeffch at 8:11 AM on November 21, 2011

What Griphus said. Anything you get that's actually built into a tv is going to be second rate and will probably never get updated.
posted by empath at 8:13 AM on November 21, 2011

If you don't want to jack around with an additional component and are content to use the included apps, Samsung seems ahead of Vizio. They regularly update their firmware as well (as does Vizio). I personally prefer the flexibility and utility of a HTPC, but if you're looking to keep it simple the Samsung units would be the way to go.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 AM on November 21, 2011

I have this Panasonic BluRay player that has most or all of the apps that my Vizio TV does, and a few key apps (like Skype) that the TV doesn't have. Best part is that the player cost me only $150 at Best Buy a few months ago. Netflix, Amazon VOD, Vudu, Youtube, etc.

I see you're not using your DVD player much, but replacing it would cost you less than a new TV would.
posted by Currer Belfry at 8:30 AM on November 21, 2011

The Harmony has been fantastic for simplifying our lives, coffee-table-hardware-wise. Can't recommend it enough for dealing with complicated inputs. Our living room tv has only 2 HDMI inputs, so the most-used fios/dvr is on 1 and an inexpensive 3-way HDMI switch with IR input is on port 2.

Pressing the button for the Roku turns on the tv as needed, switches to input 2 on the tv, switched the multiswitch to port 1. When it doesn't work you press the "help" button and it walks through possible solutions to turn on things that were missed or switch the inputs. So what jeffch said.

It could also handle your sleeping HTPC issue by sending a command to it (assuming you have some sort if IR listener on it) before doing any other input switching, making sure it's awake before the switch. That would involve marginally more poking at the software when you program it but it's pretty usable.
posted by phearlez at 8:37 AM on November 21, 2011

The plan is to get a new TV and put the old one in the kids play room. They are getting an Xbox 360 for Christmas and that will take care of the Netflix content that they like to watch. I looked at Apple TV and Roku as options. At the price point it almost seems like getting both an Apple TV (I think airplay would be a killer app for me), a Roku LT, and a dumb TV may be the way to go to maximize the amount of content. This likely wont be the most fluid user experience but if I can get it all controlled by one remote it might be the best of both worlds. I will check out the Harmony. Thanks for all the answers and suggestions so far, keep em coming :) .
posted by jmsta at 8:42 AM on November 21, 2011

I would check your Plasma TV's monitor setting for the PC and disable the PC power management settings or control for HDMI settings.

Get a Logitech Harmony programmable remote and set it up via the PC to your heart's content. This will reduce the number of remotes to one.

I would rely on the PC to deliver Netflix, Hulu, Twitter, Facebook, and other online content to your Plasma TV. The software can always be updated.
posted by plokent at 8:45 AM on November 21, 2011

  1. It sounds like a universal remote would solve at least half of your concerns.
  2. The Netflix app on my Panasonic plasma is about as simple and lame as a Netflix app can get. Weekly I waffle about returning to the Wii Netflix interface, but I don't want to use the Wiimote. Same goes for PS3, btw: the lack of combo IR/bluetooth universal remotes.
  3. The DLNA app on my Panasonic is not great. By far the most limiting factor in integrating this TV into my life has been the extremely limited number of file formats the TV can play. This can be an issue if you already have content on your PC that you're still going to want to have access to without transcoding.

posted by rhizome at 10:11 AM on November 21, 2011

I've been looking at TVs too. I second the suggestion above for getting an 'app server' separate from the TV. For example the Samsung UN46D6000 and the UN46D6300 are almost exactly the same TV, except one has apps (6300) and costs almost $300 more. I don't need the apps because my Roku (XS - $100) does EVERYTHING I need (netflix, hulu, pandora, SomaFM and I use roksbox for streaming content off my network). I trust the developers for roku much more than samsung developers in terms of updating apps and developing new ones.

My suggestion (and it might not work for your situation) is to get a 'dumb' tv, and get a better tv (larger visual area, clearer picture, higher contrast, etc...) or other components (app server, surround sound, etc...)
posted by kookywon at 10:33 AM on November 21, 2011


I ended up buying a 55" Vizio. It has the apps built in and was priced cheaper than any of the other medium to low end LCDs. So far I'm happy with it for the price. Rented a 1080P video from Dish and it looked great. App navigation is good Netflix looks better than the PC that I was using before. So far I'm satisfied.
posted by jmsta at 7:29 AM on December 12, 2011

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