There are a whole bunch of smart TV options out there on the market now – after years of the technology becoming fully widespread across the globe.
It’s now a pretty safe bet that most TVs you can think of buying will be smart TVs, so we’ve got a guide here for you to establish what that means and what you can expect from them.
What is a smart TV?
The difference between a smart TV and a regular (or, more so, an old) TV is quite simple – an internet connection.
This connection and an operating system on the TV usually allow you to access streaming apps and other services without the need for additional hardware.
Of course, smart TVs can also function as regular TVs, so you can connect your game consoles and set-top boxes to them, as well as use an antenna or satellite dish to get live TV.
How do smart TVs work?
Because of the above fact, it is all about the internet connection for a smart TV – when you set up a smart TV, you will get it connected.
Many will have an Ethernet port on the back for a simple wired connection, but you can also use Wi-Fi in many cases.
All of this is managed by the TV’s OS (operating system) – something that will be designed by the company that makes the TV, or used by it if it’s a template like Android TV or Fire TV.
Once set up, you’ll be able to access and install apps like Netflix and Prime Video. However, the availability of apps will depend on your model and TV software. This means that we recommend that you check which apps are available before committing to a TV purchase.
On older TVs, you may also find that streaming companies stop updating their apps to support newer hardware or software — another reason to double-check app support from your favorite options before buying.
Do I need a smart TV?
Whether you actually need a smart TV is an interesting question – even if they seem like essential, basic things at this point.
The reality is that you may already own some hardware that allows you to use all the features that a smart TV would otherwise unlock – including streaming apps and more.
So if you’re already the proud owner of something like a PlayStation 5 or an Amazon Fire Stick, you might not need a TV that can do all that again.
Similarly, a smart TV can be even more painless than these options – offering you a one-remote solution that’s faster and easier than an external add-on.
Ultimately, since most good TVs today are smart TVs by default, that’s a bit of a problem – we wouldn’t recommend you buy a TV that doesn’t offer at least some smart TV functionality, in short.