I was in a similar situation to the OP, and ended up buying the Sony KDL-40HX853. Thankfully, I bought it mainly because it has a great screen and with the intention of plugging something else into it, because the smart component it very disappointing. The menus are sluggish (at times verging on the unusable), streaming is patchy (despite a solid 8mb web connection.) and the file support via USB isn't very good. I've ended up using my 360 with it, and the difference is like night and day. The 360 is generally good to use. My only gripe is the noisy bloody fan.|
I've spoken to other people with other brands, and reports seem to be much the same - sluggish, not as wide a range of service apps as they would like etc, bad UI design. I know you don't want to have additional boxes, but to be honest that's your best bet at the moment, in my opinion. The current crop of smart TVs are a stopgap technology at best, so I would spend your money on the best quality screen you can afford and assume you'll be plugging something else into it later on.
Generally, trying to browse content in a linear way with a TV remote on a screen on the other side of the room just isn't very good. I'm pretty convinced (UI design being my job) that the future will be secondary devices such as 7 inch tablets replacing the TV remote for 'sit forward' browsing, and then flipping 'sit back' content to your large screen when you want to, in the way that airplay etc are starting to do (but, you know, better.)
Hmm, that last bit wasn't really what you asked for was it? Sorry, went off on one a bit.
#9197310, By HoraceGoesSquiffy SMART TVs - Catch up only use
HoraceGoesSquiffy 1,563 posts
Seen 1 day ago
Registered 12 years ago