What makes a smart TV so smart?

When you're looking at new television models, one of the first options you may encounter is the choice between a Smart TV vs. traditional TV.

But what is a Smart TV, and what edge does it have over a regular flat-screen? Smart TVs tend to feature a higher price point but can be the better buy depending on your content needs.

What is a Smart TV?

The most basic explanation of a Smart TV is that it is able to connect to the Internet. This allows you to access far more content and features than in a traditional television set. Smart TVs often feature extensive menus with apps you can install, access to Internet browsers and live content streaming services as well as the traditional ability to hook it up to cable or network television channels or a DVD player or game system. Depending on the Smart TV, it may connect to your home Internet via an Ethernet cable or built-in Wi-Fi system.

Features to Expect in your Smart TV

Depending on the brand of Smart TV, you’ll have access to different features, but generally, you can expect access to a selection of apps either pre-installed or downloadable from a menu. These apps can range from go-to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, to social apps like Facebook, games and much more. The range of apps you can access depends on the brand and quality of your Smart TV. You may also be able to stream directly from your phone or computer, allowing you to enjoy the larger screen size and better speakers of the TV, while indulging in the wide availability of content on your device. Because you’ll be able to stream content, you can do away with the clutter of cables and DVD players. A single universal remote gives you nuanced control.

Benefits of Investing in a Smart TV

The initial benefit of buying a Smart TV seems obvious, as it gives you increased functionality from your TV set, but this leads to an array of cascading benefits. Access to live streaming Internet TV services may allow you to cancel your cable television, making it cheaper in the long run. The sheer volume of stream-able music and content solves the issue of never being able to find something to watch. The ability to browse the Web from the comfort of your couch and enjoy the big screen adds luxury to your Internet experience. Smart TV’s also tend to deliver the best quality along with their higher price point, especially from established brands like Sony, Panasonic or Samsung. This means you can expect better video processing, and more physical features, such as plenty of HDMI ports.

Cons of Getting a Smart TV

Like any computer or piece of technology, Smart TVs can encounter errors and freeze. The menu designs are sometimes not very intuitive and can be bothersome to navigate. The computer-like format and connection to the Web makes them capable of being hacked. Traditional TVs can be enhanced with a set-top system like Apple TV or Chromecast for Smart-style features at a slightly lower price, though these systems tend to be designed for specific purposes such as just web browsing or streaming content from your other devices.

Advances in technology allow you to get much more out of your TV with the options that Smart TV sets offer. Because of the differences between manufacturers, be sure to take a look at the options available in individual Smart TV models to get a sense of what choices you have, before making the decision between Smart and traditional.