What Do Smart TVs Do? Are They Worth It?

Last Modified: November 28, 2017

What is a Smart TV?

A smart TV, also called a connected TV is a digital television or set top box that has inbuilt internet and combines computer based and TV based technology.

Other than providing the normal broadcast content provided by the media houses, smart TVs can also offer internet services, live media streaming, and online interactive media.

For the user to connect to the Internet on the smart TV, they can rely on wireless connectivity such as WiFi or through use of Ethernet cables. There have been different debates on their functionality and the question that most people ask is “Are smart TVs worth it?“.

How are Smart TVs Different from General TVs?

Smart TVs offer internet services that normal TVs cannot offer. With inbuilt computer functionality, smart TVs offer the viewer a wide range of services including streaming popular online content such as movies through apps like Netflix, CinemaNow, Vudu etc, that cannot be provided on normal TVs.

The technology behind the running of smart TVs is also completely different from one used by normal TVs. You can browse the web on most smart TVs, connect a keyboard and a pointing device, making it a gigantic computer screen. Imagine a smart TV as a computer built into a traditional TV.

The striking difference in terms of content is the ability to watch video on demand on smart TVs. Some high end manufacturers also offer Skype calls via the TV’s built-in camera and mic.

New smart TVs are also offering the user new ways of controlling it. Instead of the traditional remote devices used in normal TV sets, some smart TVs can also be controlled via facial recognition, gestures and voice navigation.

There are different apps for different purposes just like we have in modern smart phones.

smart-tv1

How to Use a Smart TV?

Smart TVs suit a wide range of different people:

  • Music lovers can stream live music on their smart TV using apps like Pandora.
  • For movie enthusiasts, there are movie apps like Vudu, Netflix, CinemaNow, and Amazon video on demand. With these apps, the user can download and stream movies from TV libraries and movie stores. This gives the user the option to view TV shows they might have missed.
  • For gamers looking for live interaction, the smart TV acts as a virtual playground for games like Quizmaster. Along with built-in gaming apps, almost every Smart TV can be connected to gaming consoles like Xbox or Playstation. And with the advent of 4K resolution smart TVs, PC gamers can now enjoy an even more refined 4k TV gaming experience.
  • Smart TVs also keep the user updated with informational apps such as Accuweather and Google maps.

Doing Away with Terminology Confusion

If you’re confused about the difference between a 4k TV and a smart TV, or the difference between a smart TV and an LED TV, let us do away with the confusion quickly.

The old TVs used to be cathode ray tubes which were replaced with LCD, then Plasma and then LED TVs. These, in very short are different technologies used in presenting the picture.

Whereas 720 pixels HD, FULL HD, 4K or UHD TVs etc determine the picture quality of a TV screen and can be based on any of these technologies, the same goes for smart TVs too.

Smart TVs are different from general TVs only in terms of the user interface and internet connectivity and not in terms of the back end technologies.

How Does a Smart TV Work?

While the technology used to display the picture can be either LCD, Plasma or LED, smart TVs use open based technologies such as html, Css and JavaScript for creating the user interface. The latest smart TV models are running on HTML 5.

With such technology, developers are able to integrate interactive media in smart TVs, run social networking sites and offer personalized communication.

Advantages of Smart TVs

Integrated TV Experience

Smart TVs offer more than just switching on a TV set and sitting on the sofa to watch pre-programmed content.

With smart TVs, you can watch YouTube videos, do video conferencing, compete in online games and check the happenings on social media with the inbuilt component that comes with these TVs.

Smart TV owners can also stream online movies from apps such as Netflix, Hulu and CinemaNow.

Highly Interactive

Smart TVs are manufactured in a way that they “communicate” with the viewer. For example, they can suggest to the viewer what movies or TV shows are popular based on what friends are watching.

Convenience

Smart TV viewers have the convenience of connecting and managing all their online activity from one spot.

Disadvantages of Smart TVs

Security

Due to their online connectivity, smart TVs are potentially exposed to hackers and malware. There have been suggestions that smart TVs be installed with firewalls to minimise hacking and infiltration of malware.

Privacy

Just like in the case of accessing internet on a computer or a laptop, another concern with the use of smart TVs is the interference with the viewers’ personal privacy.

Concerns have been raised about the possibilities of spying through the cameras that come with these TVs. Loss of personal data is also another possible drawback. Since viewers use smart TVs to access their social networking sites, the users’ sensitive information such as passwords may also be at risk.

With internet connectivity and social interaction at the core of smart TVs, there are more chances that your content preferences be known to friends and others.

App Repetitions

Most of the social media apps that come with smart TVs are already on our smart phones.

It is much easier to access some of these apps on smart phones rather than smart TVs due to typing restrictions on smart TVs. Typing is available using the remote as a default feature, which can be very tasking unless you connect an external keyboard. A

lso, many of these apps are personal in nature where you might not want everyone to see your information on a big screen, for example, your Facebook timeline or email.

Come with Pre-installed Apps

Most of the smart TVs come with pre-installed apps. Some do not offer the option of updating the apps or adding new ones. That means the viewer will be stuck with the same apps until they decide to buy another smart TV.

Brands that Offer Smart TVs

The major companies that make smart TVs include LG, Panasonic, Toshiba, Vizio, Hisense, Samsung and Sony amongst others. Each brand has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Which Smart TV to Buy?

Samsung UE22H5600

Samsung UE22H5600
  • With a full HD1080p, this smart TV offers clear, crisp and amazing photos.
  • The processor is quad core, which allows faster processing of information.
  • 22 inch screen
  • Built in WiFi technology
  • Comes with the Samsung Smart Hub that offers instant access to video on demand games and catch up TV

Check Pricing on Amazon UK

Samsung 48J5500

Samsung J5500
  • 48 inch Smart TV with live streaming functionality and web browsing
  • Fast processing and access to favourite content
  • Color Enhancer Plus for personalized viewing experience
  • Enjoy a wide variety of channels with Freeview HD
  • Full HD 1080p – 300 PQI providing excellent picture quality

Check Pricing on Amazon UK

LG 42LF652V Smart 42 Inch TV

LG 42LF652V
  • 42 inch smart TV with built in WiFi technology
  • WebOS
  • High resolution Full HD offering clear and quality photos and videos
  • The speaker system is multi channelled providing excellent sound quality

Check Pricing on Amazon UK

Sony KDL-32W705C Smart Full HD 1080p 32 Inch TV

Sony KDL-48W705C

  • 32 inch smart TV with high-quality picture experience with x reality pro technology
  • Slim and sleek design fitting seamlessly into any living space and can also be mounted on a wall
  • Offers smooth images with reduced blur due to the Motionflow XR 200 Hz functionality
  • One flick touchpad remote helps you to flip through personal content, internet content and TV remotely.

Check Pricing on Amazon UK

Do I need a Smart TV?

If you use a computer at home to surf the web, watch videos, use BBC iPlayer to watch missed tele programs etc, then a Smart TV will not do anything new for you. Yes, it’ll be a better, clearer and crisper experience on a big screen that the entire family can enjoy together, but nothing new.

Buy a Smart TV if

  • You have a big family that watches Tele together. You’ll have much more viewing choice.
  • You’re an entry level Internet user and watching online videos is what you do most. Instead of buying a desktop or laptop, you’ll be better off buying a Smart TV. Make sure you buy one that comes with a keyboard or you’ll struggle typing.
  • You’re a technology fanatic and must have the latest gadgets.

Smart TVs have been available on the market for quite a while. With the perfection in technology and streamlining of the few issues, they will become more popular. More new brands are entering the smart TV market in the UK, thus, making the devices more available and affordable.

We look forward to tracking the smart TV progress here on Top Upminster Technology Venture, TopUpTV.co.uk and keeping you updated.