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The Fastest Smart TVs You Can Buy Today: An Expert‘s Guide

Smart TVs have revolutionized home entertainment, offering integrated streaming apps, web browsing, gaming, and more in addition to traditional live TV viewing. With so many smart TV options available, it can be challenging to find the right balance of features, picture quality, and speed. As a digital technology expert with over a decade of experience covering the latest innovations in consumer electronics, I‘ve researched and tested the top models to help you choose the fastest, most responsive smart TV for your needs and budget.

What Makes a Smart TV Fast?

Several key factors contribute to a smart TV‘s overall speed and performance:

  • Processor: The CPU and GPU handle everything from running the smart TV operating system to opening apps, upscaling content to higher resolutions, and processing HDR. Look for at least a quad-core processor for the best speed.

  • RAM: Like in a computer or smartphone, more RAM allows the smart TV to run multiple processes simultaneously without slowdown. 2GB or more of RAM is ideal for intensive multitasking.

  • Operating System: Each smart TV brand uses its own proprietary OS like webOS, Tizen, Roku, Google TV, or Fire TV. The OS determines the overall user experience and impacts speed through design efficiency and optimization.

  • Gaming Features: Smart TVs marketed toward gamers often include special optimizations to reduce input lag and improve responsiveness. HDMI 2.1 features like 4K@120Hz and VRR make a huge difference in performance with next-gen gaming consoles.

  • Wireless Connectivity: Using the latest Wi-Fi standards like Wi-Fi 6/6E instead of older protocols helps to ensure smooth streaming of high-bandwidth 4K and HDR content without buffering or lag.

With those key specs in mind, let‘s dive into my top picks for the fastest smart TVs available today across a range of price points.

Best Overall: LG G3 OLED evo Gallery Edition

The LG G3 OLED evo sets a new standard for smart TV speed and responsiveness thanks to its cutting-edge a9 AI Processor Gen6 and webOS 23. Navigation is instantaneous, apps load quickly, and demanding games play smoothly with virtually no lag.

Spec LG G3 OLED evo
Screen Sizes 55", 65", 77", 83"
Display Type OLED evo
Resolution 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate 120Hz
HDMI 4x HDMI 2.1
Gaming Features 4K@120Hz, VRR, ALLM, <5ms input lag
Processor a9 AI Gen6
OS webOS 23

Industry-leading picture quality elevates the G3 even further, with perfect black levels, incredible color accuracy, and astonishing peak brightness for an OLED thanks to LG‘s Brightness Booster Max technology. The G3 also boasts a sleek, ultra-slim design that mounts nearly flush to the wall.

Experts agree the G3 is a remarkable achievement. RTINGS.com gives it a 9.1 score for mixed usage, praising its exceptional HDR, gaming performance and "nearly instantaneous" response time. What Hi-Fi? says the G3 is "LG‘s best OLED yet" with "lightning-quick operation."

Best Value: TCL 6-Series Roku TV Mini-LED (R655)

TCL‘s 6-Series Roku TV punches well above its price point in both speed and picture quality. The AiPQ Engine powers zippy navigation and fast load times for the simple but efficient Roku OS.

Spec TCL 6-Series R655
Screen Sizes 55", 65", 75"
Display Type Mini-LED QLED
Resolution 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate 120Hz
HDMI 2x HDMI 2.1, 2x HDMI 2.0
Gaming Features 4K@120Hz, VRR, THX Game Mode
Processor AiPQ Engine
OS Roku OS

Mini-LED backlighting with up to 240 local dimming zones provides excellent brightness and contrast for the cost, with a Quantum Dot layer ensuring vibrant colors. The 6-Series is a great pick for gamers on a budget, with HDMI 2.1 and a THX Certified Game Mode for low latency.

Tom‘s Guide calls the 6-Series "one of the best values in home entertainment," while CNET says "It‘s one of the best TVs you can buy for the money, period."

Premium Pick: Samsung QN90C Neo QLED

Samsung‘s QN90C Neo QLED is a speed demon wrapped in a brilliantly bright Mini-LED package. The Neo Quantum Processor 4K powers lightning-quick app loading and multitasking, while Tizen 7.0 is responsive and intuitive.

Spec Samsung QN90C
Screen Sizes 43", 50", 55", 65", 75", 85"
Display Type Mini-LED Neo QLED
Resolution 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate 120Hz
HDMI 4x HDMI 2.1
Gaming Features 4K@120Hz, VRR, FreeSync Premium Pro
Processor Neo Quantum 4K
OS Tizen 7.0

The QN90C‘s Mini-LED backlight boasts incredible brightness, contrast, and viewing angles, with Quantum HDR 32X delivering astonishing specular highlights and color volume. Gamers will appreciate the full HDMI 2.1 inputs and advanced Gaming Hub.

Reviews consistently praise the QN90C‘s performance and design. TechRadar says the TV delivers "some of the most pristine 4K pictures we‘ve seen," and Digital Trends notes its "extremely fast response time" with no judder or blur.

Best for Gaming: LG C3 OLED

The LG C3 OLED builds on its popular C2 predecessor to offer one of the fastest, most feature-rich smart TV experiences for gamers. The a9 AI Gen6 processor and webOS 23 provide speedy navigation and quick Wi-Fi 6E streaming.

Spec LG C3 OLED
Screen Sizes 42", 48", 55", 65", 77", 83"
Display Type OLED evo
Resolution 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate 120Hz
HDMI 4x HDMI 2.1
Gaming Features 4K@120Hz, VRR, G-Sync, FreeSync, ALLM, <5ms input lag
Processor a9 AI Gen6
OS webOS 23

Where the C3 really shines is in gaming performance. Four HDMI 2.1 ports with 48Gbps bandwidth deliver 4K@120Hz, while LG‘s Game Optimizer menus allow customization of display settings for specific game genres. VRR, G-Sync, FreeSync, ALLM, and razor-sharp 0.1ms response times complete the package.

RTINGS.com calls the C3 "superb for gaming" thanks to its nearly instantaneous response time, low input lag, and HDMI 2.1 support. IGN says it‘s "the perfect gaming TV" with "buttery smooth" motion, making it ideal for fast-paced games.

Smart TV OS Speed Compared

One of the most critical factors in smart TV speed is the operating system. Here‘s a quick breakdown of the most popular smart TV platforms and their performance:

OS Global Market Share (Q4 2022) Strengths Weaknesses
Roku OS 30% Simple interface, voice search, free content Clunky menus, limited customization
webOS 14% Intuitive layout, magic remote, frequent updates Aggressive LG content promotion
Tizen 12.6% Attractive design, smart home control, multi view Some lag in cheaper models
AndroidTV/Google TV 10.6% Powerful voice control, ChromeCast, personalization Cluttered interface, privacy concerns
Fire TV 6% Alexa voice assistant, content-centric UI Favors Amazon content, limited customization

Data from Conviva State of Streaming Q4 2022 via FlatPanelsHD

While each OS has its strengths, LG‘s webOS and TCL‘s Roku models tend to be the most consistently responsive and reliable in my testing. That said, Google TV and Samsung‘s Tizen have made strides recently and offer plenty of speed in their higher-end implementations.

The Future of Fast Smart TVs

According to a quote from John Archer, Forbes‘ resident TV expert, "Processing power is becoming one of the most important factors in smart TV performance. The demands of 4K, HDR, and advanced gaming features like 4K 120Hz require serious horsepower. TV brands that neglect their SoCs will quickly fall behind."

Fortunately, the major players continue to innovate with their custom silicon. Since the first smart TVs hit the market in the late 2000s, processing power has increased dramatically. For example, LG‘s Alpha 9 AI processor used in their 2023 OLEDs boasts 50% more RAM than the 2022 chips for improved multitasking.

Looking ahead, the rapid growth of next-gen gaming and 8K content will demand even faster smart TV processors and connectivity. The global gaming TV market alone is expected to grow at a 21% CAGR through 2030 according to Acumen Research, much of that driven by esports. Wi-Fi 7, the next frontier in wireless, will deliver the multi-gig speeds necessary for higher resolution streaming as it rolls out to TVs in the coming years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What‘s the most important smart TV spec for speed?

The processor is the heart of a smart TV and the key to its overall speed. Look for at least a quad-core CPU for snappy performance. Additional tuning of the SoC for AI/ML tasks is a plus.

How much RAM do I need in a smart TV?

For the smoothest multitasking, such as jumping quickly between apps or using multiple built-in smart assistants, opt for a model with at least 2-3GB of RAM. Budget TVs often get by with less than 1GB, but slowdowns are more common.

Do I need the latest HDMI version for fast gaming?

To take advantage of 4K@120Hz, VRR, and ALLM for the most responsive next-gen console or PC gaming, you‘ll want a TV with HDMI 2.1 ports. That said, many games still play well on TVs limited to 4K@60Hz or 1080p@120Hz.

What‘s the fastest smart TV OS?

In my experience, LG‘s webOS and Roku OS tend to be the most reliably speedy smart TV platforms. Both offer snappy navigation, quick app load times, and smooth animations with minimal lag even on mid-range hardware. Samsung‘s Tizen and Google TV are capable but have more variance between low- and high-end TVs.

Should I worry about my smart TV‘s Wi-Fi version?

If you have a very fast home internet connection (500Mbps+) and plan to stream a lot of high-bitrate 4K HDR content, a Wi-Fi 6 or 6E-capable TV will help ensure you get the most wireless speed possible. For most users, though, Wi-Fi 5 is still sufficient and preferable to relying on weak built-in Wi-Fi antennas.

Conclusion

If you‘re looking for the absolute fastest, most responsive smart TV experience possible and price is no object, the LG G3 OLED evo and Samsung QN90C Neo QLED are top choices. For a more attainable option that still delivers zippy speeds plus incredible value, the TCL 6-Series Roku TV is hard to beat. Finally, for gaming aficionados, the LG C3 OLED‘s unmatched combination of speed, HDMI 2.1 features, and customization make it a clear winner.

No matter which fast smart TV you choose, you‘ll enjoy a more fluid, intuitive, and frustration-free viewing experience. As streaming apps become more sophisticated, 4K HDR content becomes the norm, and gaming demands ever-faster response, a speedy smart TV will ensure you‘re ready for the next generation of entertainment.