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.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
David Katzmaier
Ty Pendlebury
2 min read

"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.