The term Smart TV is becoming more and more common these days, but the concept of a smart TV has been around for some time.
That said, the smart TVs of the past few years are light-years ahead of the first models that hit the market.
While old-fashioned cathode ray tube sets are becoming rarer, not all LCD or LED TVs are under the umbrella of “smart TVs”, and just because a TV is flat doesn’t make it smart.
We’ll take a look at what does.
A smart TV is a TV that can connect to the internet. This connectivity allows the TV to stream media from popular streaming services, and newer models also integrate voice control and even personal digital assistants. This gives the TV a much wider range of functionality and use than was ever possible before.
What Is A Smart TV?
A smart TV has a way of connecting to the internet for a variety of reasons.
While smart TVs have been around much longer than many people realize, they haven’t always been as “smart” as they are now.
However, just like many other aspects of modern life, they have evolved at a rapid pace and are now redefining the way that many individuals and families interact with the media they consume.
Streaming services have continued to change and develop over the years, which has fundamentally changed how we consume our media.
During the height of the pandemic, for example, streaming services had access to many new releases that were scheduled for theaters but couldn’t debut due to the restrictions on public gatherings and business openings.
TVs have also changed, and have added more features than most people would have ever thought we’d see in a TV.
Most flat-screen TVs today are technically smart TVs because they can connect to various media services and stream movies and shows.
However, just like any other piece of tech, there are smart TVs that are far more capable than others, running smoother, operating more nimbly, and experiencing fewer errors and bugs than other brands.
How A Smart TV Connects
Older smart TVs had connectivity through ethernet cabling or early wifi connections such as 802.11n.
Most modern smart TVs utilize 802.11ac wifi connections, which facilitates much higher bandwidth throughput.
There are also newer smart TVs that are beginning to use the new wifi 6 standard, though they are relatively rare still at this point.
Pros & Cons Of A Smart TV
Smart TVs are complex, and while they seem like they are the perfect evolution of the TV, there are some drawbacks to them.
Here are the most common pros and cons of smart TVs.
- They Are Getting Cheaper Every Day: Years ago when smart TVs first came to the market, they were incredibly expensive and only had a limited list of relatively basic features. Nowadays, however, the selection of smart TVs is overwhelming, and you can see the variety and affordability in every sales ad you come across. There are smart TVs that would have cost more than a thousand dollars a few years ago that can be bought for just a couple of hundred dollars now.
- Streaming Is Becoming The Norm: There are countless households across the US, and even the globe, where broadcast TV simply isn’t used. Not only is broadcast TV rapidly becoming obsolete, but the old standby of cable programming is also becoming less prevalent because many people can get the media they want to watch for much less money by using streaming services. Even though not all media is available on a single service, subscribing to several services is often still cheaper than cable or satellite TV by several times.
- Digital Assistant Integration: A rapidly growing number of smart TVs are now integrating personal digital assistant technology, offering voice recognition and capabilities built on platforms like Alexa and Google Assistant. This can be used to change channels, search for something specific to watch, send sound to wireless sound systems throughout the house, and even interface with other aspects of smart home infrastructure.
- They Can Crash: With more complexity comes more potential for problems, and for smart TVs, this means they have the potential to crash, just like with a computer. This is because they are often running an operating system that is often ported from other systems, however, higher-quality smart TVs will have more reliably designed software that won’t crash as much.
- They Need Updates: Just like computers, smart TVs will need periodic updates. In many cases, these will be delivered over the air without needing any action from you. In some cases, however, an update won’t install properly or will fail to install, and you may need to update your TV with the updates loaded onto a USB drive, which can be a hassle. Failing to update can cause the TV to crash or not function properly.
- Repairs Can Be Costly: Smart TVs have vastly more functionality than other TVs, and this means more things to go wrong. No matter what goes wrong on a newer smart TV, it will likely be costly to repair.
Smart TVs might sound complicated, but at their core, they’re simply a TV that allows the user access to a wider variety of media.
They can also provide additional voice commands and smart-home functionality, for those equipped with such features.
Just be aware of what you’re buying, many budget-level smart TVs only include basic functionality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will My Smart TV Update Automatically
In most cases, your smart TV will update automatically, provided it has power and a constant connection to the internet.
Do Smart TVs Have Web Browsers
Generally speaking, a smart TV will have a web browser on it.
They usually aren’t fast, or considerably good, but they are there in a pinch.