Are Netflix Recommended TVs better than regular smart TVs?

Does a TV bearing a new Netflix Recommended TV, or NRTV, sticker have better smart TV performance than sets that don't? That remains to be seen. Netflix says that TVs meeting its requirements will turn on quickly and launch and resume apps faster; they also come equipped with the latest version of Netflix.

Among the first companies to offer TVs with the NRTV logo are 4K webOS smart TVs from LG, Android-powered Sony smart TVs, and Roku TVs from Hisense, Insignia, and TCL. Netflix says it will also test TVs from manufacturers that don't officially join the NRTV program to see whether they meet the minimum requirements. If so, they'll be listed on the Netflix Recommended TV website, though the TVs may not bear the NRTV logo.

Netflix announced the Netflix Recommended TV program at CES in January as a way to help consumers identify TVs that can provide a consistent smart TV experience. To carry the Netflix Recommended TV logo, a smart TV must meet at least five of these seven criteria:

  • Fast app launch.
  • Fast app resume.
  • Fast video playback.
  • A dedicated Netflix button.
  • Netflix featured prominently in menu.
  • The TV turns on right away.
  • It comes loaded with latest version of Netflix.

With Roku TVs and Sony Android TVs, you can turn on the set and launch Netflix with a single press of a button, Netflix says. LG's 4K webOS 2.0 TVs have been optimized for faster streaming performance. Roku TVs have an Instant On feature that wakes up the TVs quickly, and the set will remember where you left off.

We don't have any sets with the Netflix Recommended TV logo in our labs, though we do have the LG 65UF9500, 65UF8500, and 60UF7700 4K UHD smart TVs in for testing. We're checking to see whether these TVs simply shipped too early to be able to use the NRTV logo. If so, we'll be comparing them to other models that didn't earn the NRTV badge to determine whether there's a noticeable difference in performance.

—James K. Willcox

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