Picking the “best” TV can feel a little intimidating with all the options out there and the cost can add up quickly when you are buying 4 or more TVs at once. So, how do you narrow down your options: Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio, TCL and more… Well, that depends on your purchasing criteria. We will share below some ways to narrow the search for the “Best STR Smart TV”.
First we have specific criteria:
1. The TV must be a Smart TV
A “Smart” TV is equipped with all the major streaming applications (Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Disney Plus etc) and has wifi capabilities. You will need wifi or a direct Ethernet connection to run these streaming services. Think of a Smart TV as a combination of a TV and a streaming device (Amazon Fire stick, Apple TV, Roku, etc). When it comes to STR less is sometimes more. Allowing your guests to access all of their streaming services from the TV without having to access a streaming device will make providing instructions much easier.
2. The TV must have a Universal Remote
A Universal remote falls under the “less is more” category. If you can provide your guests with ONE remote to control the TV, Cable, Blu-ray, Streaming services and the inputs to access gaming (ex Wii) then you will be winning the STR game. You can provide all of your instructions on a single page to run your guest’s entire entertainment experience. This will also simplify your managing life.
ONE remote to rule them all is the way to go.
3. The TV must be 4K or better
TVs are literally outdated the second you buy them. There are newer and better TVs every year. You are still in good shape with a 4K TV and they should last you for years to come.
4. The TV should be 55 inches or bigger
This is the only criteria that was not a “must” for us because sometimes a room may be too small for a 55 inch TV. With that said, that usually is a very small room. If you think a TV is too big…… you are probably wrong. Guests like their big TVs. Living rooms should be 65 inches or bigger.
5. The TV must fit your budget
This is the category that can be tricky. How can you meet the first 4 criteria and still stay in budget? I think the answer is to find the Smart TV that fits all 4 criteria. You might have to compromise on TV size to get the “Smart TV”, Universal Remote, etc.
You can buy a budget TV at 75 inches with subpar image quality, lack of streaming and no Universal remote, but hey the TV is big.
Or you can buy a High End TV without a universal remote and still need to make an additional purchase.
Or buy a TV with a “universal remote” that only controls the TV and Blu-ray players and cannot program a cable box. That is the most frustrating because you still end up with multiple remotes.
SO…. What is the Best Smart TV?
The Best Smart TV for your Short Term Rental (Airbnb, VRBO) is….
A Three way tie between Samsung, LG and TCL Roku…
LG 4K Nano-Cell TV with the Magic Remote
The LG 4k Nano Cell TV provides excellent picture quality and a user friendly “Home screen” that allows your guests to access all their streaming services with the “Magic Remote”. (Criteria 1)
The “Magic Remote” is the most important part to remember when looking for an LG Smart TV. Like all TVs, LG has multiple entry level TVs with “Universal Remotes” but those remotes only control the TV and Blu-ray.
The Magic Remote is great because it can be programmed to control your cable box. The result: the Magic Remote controls them all (TV, Cable Box, Streaming and inputs (Wii)). (Criteria 2)
The LG TV models with Magic Remote controls are all 4k or better and you can buy 55inch sizes and above. (Criteria 3 and 4)
Lastly the price for LG TVs is very reasonable…….
You may pay slightly more for an LG TV when compared to a Vizio but I think the extra cost is worth it for the convenience of your guests and you. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have all of the guest entertainment instructions on one page.
If cost is a concern you can try to time your TV purchases around holidays sales. It feels like there is a sale every holiday but the BIG TV holidays are Super Bowl week and the biggest sale “week” Black Friday.
We bought three TVs (ONE 65inch and Two 55inch LG TVs) from Best Buy the week of Thanksgiving. It was quite a sight to see when I loaded three TVs into the back of a Subaru. We saved about $200 per TV by buying last year’s model.
Samsung – 65″ 8000 Series LED 4K UHD Smart TV (or higher)
The Samsung – 65″ Class 8000 Series LED 4K UHD Smart TV is similar in quality to the LG TV and has an easy to use “one remote”. These TVs are preloaded with the major apps and allow owners to download additional apps, as needed (ex. HBO and more). Guests can also easily login to their favorite streaming services with the “One remote”. In addition, Samsung includes a basic cable option called Samsung TV. (Criteria 1)
The “One Remote” is a well designed universal remote that controls the TV, Blu-ray, AV receivers and cable boxes. It is very nice to have only one remote for your guests. The remote is also easy to replace from Amazon with replacements ranging from $10 to $20. (Criteria 3)
The Samsung Smart TV models to consider should be at least 4k. There are nice 4k options at the lower price range, in the 7 and 8 series. As you move to the OLEQ, Neo QLED and 8k options the prices jump significantly. (Criteria 3 and 4)The prices below are for the Class 8 series but there are 7 series available at a lower price point. Also, Amazon and other retailers may offer lower prices.
One bonus of purchasing through Best Buy is the Totaltech membership. This is a worthwhile option if you are purchasing multiple TVs for large set up or multiple set ups.
The TCL Smart Roku TV has a lower price point than both the LG and Samsung TVs UHD Models. The 65 inch Smart Roku TV OLED or $949 is also lower that the LG and Samsung Equivalents… But to keep the comparisons equal the below prices are for the UHD 4k series.
Like the other options, the TCL ROKU is a smart TV and is loaded with the major streaming apps (Criteria 1). It has a clean, easy to use remote, but it is not a universal remote. With that said, there are some universal TCL Roku remotes available on Amazon. The price point is great at the 55 inch and above range. (Criteria 3, 4). Lastly, the TCL Roku has a nice “guest mode” feature that allows guests to sign in and select their check out date. When they check out the roku will clear their app logins.
55inch: $319 (TCL – 55″ Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR Smart Roku TV)
65inch: $369 (TCL – 65” Class 4 Series 4K UHD Smart Roku TV)
75inch: $562 (TCL – 75” Class 4 Series 4K UHD Smart Roku TV)
In summary, you can’t go wrong with any of the above options. LG, Samsung, and TCL Roku are all great and each have their advantages. The best option for the price is the TCL Roku. The Samsung and LG models include universal remotes and may have a small edge on picture quality but the price point is higher. However, TCL Roku TVs have an advantage with the “guest mode” that these models do not offer. So in the end, they are all viable options and the “best” one will be the TV that meets your needs at the right price…
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