The market for HDTV television sets is now so well-established that the basic features and specifications of sets varies little among major manufacturers. Accordingly, two main device characteristics differentiate between established manufacturers such as LG and Samsung: picture quality and non-standard features such as Internet-based applications and services. Sets vary across individual ranges, so don't let the manufacturer be your sole reason for buying a particular set.
While measures such as pixel count and contrast ratio are objective, the all-important issue of picture quality is a subjective and often-controversial topic. Even where people have strong opinions, it can be difficult to detect a pattern across different sets and technologies. Digital Trends says Samsung is overall better with plasma sets. For LED sets, Digital Trends says Samsung has better black levels (in turn affecting contrast) but LG is better for color. TechGlam shares these conclusions. Toms Guide's survey of the best TVs of different types puts an LG model as best for those on a budget of under $1,000 while picking a Samsung set as the best high-end model, in both cases praising picture quality when compared against the set's price.
There is very little to choose from between Samsung and LG regarding display technologies beyond simply having full HD (a minimum 1080 lines of resolution). Both offer sets with the three main screen technologies in use today: Plasma, LED and OLED. Both also offer a limited number of sets with 4K resolutions, also known as Ultra HD, which offers four times as many pixels as HD screens. The only real difference is that LG offers a laser TV -- technically a projector, but it comes with a screen. Unlike most projector setups, the laser TV projector only needs to be 22 inches in front of the screen, meaning you don't need to find space for it on a back wall or worry about people moving in front of the projection beam.
Smart TV Features
Both companies offer Smart TV models that can not only connect to the Internet, but have built-in and downloadable apps for watching specific types of online content. Samsung offers more than 1,000 downloadable apps, all of which are free to download but may require a subscription to a premium service. LG has a more limited selection but does offer popular services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
Both companies offer apps for Android and iOS devices that let you use the device as a remote control for compatible sets, with the signal being transferred via Wi-Fi on your local network. Samsung's covers the basic buttons, while LG's also has a MiniTV feature that lets you preview content on other channels before switching over the main set. LG also has a "Magic Remote" bundled with some TV sets, which lets you control using pointing and tilting gestures or voice commands, rather than merely pressing buttons.
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