Does a television bearing a logo that says "Netflix Recommended TV" have better smart TV performance than sets that don't? It's an interesting question, because only a smattering of sets have earned the right to use that language in their marketing and on product packaging.
The answer is "not necessarily."
Netflix launched the Netflix Recommended TV program in January 2015 to help you identify models that provide a good user experience. So far this year, the only TVs to pass the certification process are the LG 4K UHD TVs with WebOS 3.5; Samsung 7-, 8-, and 9-series 4K models, plus all its QLED smart TVs; and Sony Android TVs. Those are same brands that passed last year, too.
The company "raises the bar" on its evaluation criteria to reflect changes in the marketplace, according to a Netflix spokesperson.
Companies can submit their TVs for evaluation, but even if they don't, Netflix says it buys and tests sets from all the major brands. Only models that pass the tests can feature the "Netflix Recommended TV" logo (shown below).
Many televisions that Consumer Reports tests do a great job displaying Netflix content and shows from other streaming services, so you have lots of options. But the Netflix Recommended TV approval process does ensure that a smart TV takes full advantage of Netflix features.
Easier Access, Faster Operation
To pass the Netflix certification process this year, a smart TV must meet at least five of these seven criteria. A Netflix Recommended TV must:
• Come loaded with the latest version of Netflix.
• Have an instant-on feature, so the TV starts up instantly and apps are ready to use quickly.
• Allow the Netflix app to always launch quickly.
• Include a dedicated Netflix button on the remote control that turns on the TV and launches Netflix simultaneously.
• Feature Netflix prominently in the menu.
• Include a resume feature, so your TV remembers where you were in a show or movie when you restart it.
• Use a high-resolution 1080p Netflix interface, so graphics and text are sharp and bright.
Video quality is no longer part of the Netflix Recommended TV program evaluation process, the Netflix spokesperson told us: "Reviewers already do this really well, price plays a big factor, and it's ultimately subjective," adding that "our criteria focus on areas that meet three requirements: It's something that consumers care about, it's not widely covered elsewhere in consumer or professional reviews, and there's a notable difference between some devices and others."
Learn more about the 2017 Netflix Recommended TV program.
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