Smart TVs can be found in almost every home. In fact, it’s difficult to find a TV on the market these days that doesn’t do clever things like play movies and TV episodes from the newest streaming services; while you ask it to do so using (gasp!) your voice via an intelligent voice assistant. Widgets and applications give up new options like as gaming, weather, video chatting, and smart home capabilities, making your old TV fearful of the trash can.
But what really qualifies a television as smart, and why should you care? Is it only a matter of having an internet connection and a computer operating system? Is it better or worse than my trusty Apple TV or Roku set-top box if it’s merely a more direct access to streaming services like Netflix and Disney+? Who produces smart TVs, and does it make a difference which one I get? We decided to take a stand on the issue.
What distinguishes a smart television?
Your previous TV was a hermit; cut off from the rest of the world save for the material it needed via an antenna, cable box, or A/V source like a DVD player. The main difference between smart TVs and non-smart TVs is; that smart TVs have an internet connection, which opens up a world of possibilities. Almost every modern smart TV has an Ethernet connector; built-in Wi-Fi, or both, and the latest models are powered by a variety of sophisticated and powerful operating systems, CPUs, and software; making them more like smartphones or computers than ever before.
What may a smart TV be used for?
While today’s TVs are intelligent, the primary use of a smart TV is still to watch television. However, how this is done currently is substantially different from how it was done in the past. Most of our movies and shows are now streamed over the internet; to our TVs through set-top boxes or streaming sticks like the Apple TV, Roku Ultra, and Amazon Fire TV Stick; thanks to the surge in popularity of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Apple TV+. Over time, however, most smart TVs from Samsung, LG, and Sony to TCL, Hisense, and Vizio have arrived with these streaming service applications pre-installed.
There are certain benefits to this; such as not having to purchase a separate device; and not needing additional HDMI and power cords, network connections, or settings – the TV setup procedure is streamlined and simplified.
However, unlike smartphones, PCs, and even set-top boxes; TVs don’t place as much emphasis on processing power. So even with frequent software and firmware upgrades; your TV will get slower, lag in navigation, and show a reduction in performance over time; as image and audio quality improves. The CPU in your television cannot be changed or improved, but an out-of-date set-top box or streaming stick can. Both offer advantages, and many individuals utilize a combination of the two.
Voice assistants, smart homes, and more
For many people, the television is the center point of the home; we arrange our furniture around it and hang it on the wall as a focal point of the decor. But, aside from glancing at them for enjoyment, they’ve never been as useful as they are now. You can control and access all of your smart home devices, such as lights, robot vacuums, security cameras, and thermostats, stream music and podcasts, make video calls for work (with some Sony, TCL, and Amazon TVs offering support for Google Duo and even Zoom), work out (with apps like Peloton installed), and more with today’s smart TVs.
Most smart TVs include built-in smart assistants such as Google Assistant or Alexa, allowing you to manage most of this with your voice (more on that below). When you add in the ability to cast applications and information from smartphones and tablets to a smart TV by mirroring their screens, the possibilities are almost limitless.
Operating systems for smart TVs
Despite the fact that all smart TVs have the same purpose in mind — allowing you to access your favorite entertainment without the use of an intermediary (in this example, a set-top box or streaming stick) — they don’t all function in the same manner. In general, each manufacturer employs a separate operating system with its own unique features and oddities, with two of the most popular being LG’s WebOS and Samsung’s Tizen, all of which are quick, smart, and packed with capabilities. Most TV manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, TCL, Hisense, and Sony, do, however, offer models with built-in operating systems such as Roku, Android TV, and its successor, Google TV. These operating systems support a large range of functions and features, as well as device interoperability with smartphones and access to a greater choice of apps and information. It’s up to you to determine which TV operating system is the finest.
Search with your voice
Smart TV interfaces are, for the most part, meant to be simple and intuitive enough for anybody to use without any training or instructions (after all, lots of people check out display TVs before buying). Still, there are occasions when you don’t want to seek and peck, which is where voice search comes in handy.
Voice search, which is a pretty popular function in modern smart TV remotes, makes navigating a simple one-click operation, no matter what you’re looking for. However, keep in mind that certain platforms, like as Roku, have more powerful search options than others, and remote mics aren’t always good at recognizing your speech, so be patient.
But what type of orders are they capable of executing? Here’s a quick rundown:
On Netflix, watch the most recent episode of Lucifer.”
“Go to Amazon Prime Video and open it.”
“Change the input to HDMI 3.”
“Turn down the volume.”
“After this episode of Friends, turn off.”
Some higher-end versions include built-in Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, which provide access to a significantly bigger knowledge base. You’ll be able to use one of them to not only instruct the television what to do, but also to search the internet for answers to inquiries and search your associated accounts for contextual information like calendar events.
If your TV doesn’t come with a voice remote, you might be able to use a smartphone app or an Amazon Echo or Google Home to access voice search.
User info is kept private
With all web-connected gadgets, a reasonable rule of thumb is that any user data you submit is always at danger. Smart TVs are no different. When it comes to subscribing and purchasing, we recommend sticking to the app store on your TV. Hackers may easily modify TV web browsers since they are clumsy. If you need to order something from Amazon, do it from your home computer or phone.
Smart TVs aren’t all made equal. Perhaps the TV you prefer doesn’t have the most up-to-date operating system, or you just don’t have the funds to invest in a brand-new screen. If this rings true, set-top boxes and streaming sticks are excellent options that provide virtually all of the features of a high-end smart TV at a lower cost. Roku’s products (such as the Streaming Stick 4K) and Google’s Chromecasts and Amazon’s Fire TV devices are excellent at converting current dumb TVs into smart TVs. These gadgets are constantly being updated with new features, and their operating systems are routinely updated. They’re also reasonably priced, giving them a tempting alternative.