From Amazon to HBO Go to YouTube: App availability on 2012 TVs compared (big chart)

CNET compares which apps are available from which 2012 Smart TVs.

"Smart TV" is even more common than ever this year among the TVs of 2012 , and as always, content is king.

With that in mind we present the chart above, summarizing the various major apps available from most major TV manufacturers this year. As you can see, pretty much everything has Netflix, and the differences begin from there.

Compared with last year , the major addition to the chart is HBO Go, which is currently exclusive to Samsung TVs. It's a superb app with a wealth of content that helps makes Samsung's suite the most compelling of the year, especially for HBO subscribers (at least, those whose TV providers support it ).

On October 24th Samsung cemented its content lead by adding one of our favorite services , Amazon Instant. Especially for owners of the popular Kindle Fire tablet and people who subscribe to Amazon Prime -- allowing access to all-you-can-eat Prime Instant Videos -- Amazon Instant has become a must-have app on the same order as Netflix.

Roku LT
The $50 Roku LT also has HBO Go. Sarah Tew/CNET

We also added a "Roku" column this year to illustrate a basic point: for $50, the price of a Roku LT , you can access a substantial array of content, including HBO Go, on any TV. Blu-ray players, game consoles, and other standalone boxes like Apple TV also offer many of these apps and cost far less than a new TV.

The chart doesn't attempt to show every app, just the ones that we think matter most. All of these makers offer many, many other apps, from minor video and music services to games to proprietary branded apps (we included Sony's Music and Video Unlimited because of its breadth of content) to 3D video streaming to news, sports, weather, finance fitness, kids, etc. Leave a comment if there are any missing from the chart that you consider "major" enough to include.

This article has been updated several times to keep pace with changes in TV app suites.

 

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