The 10 Best Smart TV Apps

By Danny Chadwick
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Smart TV apps are catching on less quickly than their counterparts in the smartphone world. However, the day will soon come when TV apps are as big, popular and numerous as the ones you have on your iPhone or Android device.

Netflix – Streaming movies on demand is the biggest bandwidth-consuming internet habit right now, and it doesn't look like it will slow down any time soon. Netflix is an established brand that has millions of films and TV shows ready to watch on demand. The smart TV app version of this service runs in much the same way as its cousins on the iOS platform. The library is by no means comprehensive; the price is the compelling factor for Netflix.

Facebook – Why would you want a Facebook app for your TV? So you can spend even more time updating your status and liking those hilarious lolcats. The Facebook app for most smart TVs is functional but doesn't give you the complete experience.

Twitter – You want this app for the same reason you want the Facebook app – so you can update your status right from your TV. Some may say there really is no point in putting this app on your TV. However, if that were true, there wouldn't be a demand for it, now would there?

Pandora – Movies aren't the only thing streaming through the internet. Most people who like movies also like music, so it makes sense that the pioneer in the music-streaming industry would find its way onto this list. Having access to your favorite music stations from your TV is not only convenient, but it also lets you take advantage of your TV's powerful speakers for a truly immersive experience.

Hulu Plus – Need to catch up on your favorite show? Netflix is great for streaming, but new shows aren't there. Hulu Plus fills that need, allows you to watch new shows and past seasons of old shows. This app doesn't include the free version of Hulu; you have to go to your computer for that.

YouTube – The queen mama of all video services, YouTube is a must-have for any smart TV. Finding videos, commenting on them and sharing them through this app is easy because it is extremely functional across many devices. It's arguably better than the website, since no computer screen can compete with the size and quality of a picture on a smart TV. Vast majorities of the videos uploaded to YouTube are in HD, and a large, high-definition screen is the only way to truly experience the videos in their full glory.

Skype – Everybody's seen "Star Trek" (well maybe not everybody … no everybody) where Captain Kirk (or Picard, depending on which generation you prefer) talks to alien commanders through the ship's view screen as though they were on the bridge with him. Only a few years ago, this technology was the exclusive domain of science fiction. The Skype app for your smart TV now enables you to do the same thing from your living room – minus the aliens, of course; you'll have to wait a few more years for that feature.

HBO Go – You have a good chance of finding movies and TV shows that you can't get on other video-on-demand apps due to exclusivity agreements and royalty contracts on HBO Go. This is because HBO has a long-standing relationship with every one of the movie studios. The only drawback to this app is that it's only available to HBO subscribers.

EBay – The supreme irony of this app is that if you're unhappy with your smart TV, you can sell it to the highest bidder using the eBay app. If you read our reviews, you shouldn't have that problem. However, you can buy and sell most anything else you want. For example, if you see some very well done product placement on your favorite show and need to buy it right now, you don't even have to leave the couch to satisfy your instant-gratification urges.

NBC Sports – This app is a placeholder for all sports apps, because which networks' and leagues' sports apps that come on the smart TV you buy is a roll of the dice. We picked NBC Sports because it is the very first app to stream the Super Bowl live at the same time it was being aired on its parent broadcast channels. Don't expect NBC to back down after that.

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