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Netflix’s first recommended TVs in 2016 are from LG and Sony

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For the second year running, Netflix is awarding its "Netflix Recommended" badges to smart TVs that meet its criteria. This year, the selection process has got a little tougher, with Variety reporting that the company has reduced the amount of time it gives TVs to perform certain tasks. A TV must meet five of the following seven criteria to get its stamp of approval from the company: it must turn on instantly, resume whatever activity was stopped, offer the latest version of Netflix's app, launch and resume the app quickly, and make it easy to find the streaming service — either by offering a dedicated Netflix button on the remote, or making the app "prominent" in the user interface.

big names are missing — including Samsung

Netflix says that increasing its speed requirements for some of these tasks will mean fewer TVs qualifying, but the streaming service has already picked its first winners: sets from Sony and LG. It's interesting to note that many big names are absent, including industry leader Samsung, which told The Verge it "chose not to participate" in Netflix's program — either this year or last. Here are the qualifying sets for 2016 so far:

  • LG 4K UHD TVs with web OS 3.0: UH6300 series, UH6500 series, UH7500 series, UH8500 series, UH9500 series, and G6 series
  • Sony Android 4K UHD TVs: X850D series, X930D series, X940D series

The streaming service says the program is about pushing TV manufacturers around the world to improve their hardware, and while it's true that many smart TVs still add more frustration than functionality to the viewing experience, there's obviously a self-promotional aspect to the "Netflix Recommended" program too. Still, if you're a binge watcher tired of waiting for Netflix to launch on your TV, look out for the company's seal of approval next time you're shopping for a new set.

Update March 23rd, 14:40 ET: Updated to clarify that Samsung opted out of Netflix's program, rather than failed to meet its criteria. Removed additional Sony TV models that Netflix later removed from its approved TV list.