In a world where you don’t really need to have a TV to watch TV, Netflix is getting into the business of recommending TVs.
The streaming content service just rolled out its second year of “Netflix Recommended” televisions, the sets awarded the company’s stamp of approval as the best smart TVs of 2016. And the pickings this year are a little slim, with just a few models from TV-makers Sony
and LG wearing the new sticker.
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The company’s rating system for smart TVs is based largely on speed. Netflix
tested TVs on how quickly they turn on, how fast they can resume playing videos, and how swiftly they can launch the Netflix app.
But, of course, since this is Netflix, the machines were also evaluated on how well they promote…Netflix. Sets were judged on how easy it is to access the streaming service: Is there a dedicated Netflix button on the TV’s remote? How prominently is it featured in the interface? Does it come with the latest version of Netflix preinstalled?
For more on TV, watch:
For the second year in a row, TV giant Samsung
was absent—though in a statement, Samsung said that it “chose not to participate this year or last in Netflix’s Recommended TV program.” (However a Netflix spokesperson told Fortune via email that this year’s Samsung TVs simply “have yet to be evaluated as they are just now coming to retail.”) Samsung’s smart TVs came under fire last year for “listening in” on customers, but are they really slower than LG or Sony sets? It’s tough to know how much of ranking is based on performance and how much is simply due to a closer manufacturing relationship with Netflix. Still, as Variety reports, part of the reason the pickings are so slim this year is that the company made it harder for sets to qualify by reducing the maximum time allowed for TVs to complete certain tasks. That doesn’t just make for faster Netflix, it speeds up any streaming TV-watching. Which is a good thing, given all the new binge-watching options rolling out this month.
Here’s the full list of this year’s winners:
LG 2016 4K UHD TVs with webOS 3.0: UH6300 series, UH6500 series, UH7500 series, UH8500 series, UH9500 series, G6 series.
Sony 2016 Android 4K UHD TVs: X85D series, X93D series, X94D series.
Clarification, March 23 & 24, 2016: This story has been updated with additional information from both Samsung and Netflix on Samsung’s participation in the Netflix Recommended TV program.