These days, TVs have become much more than just a way for us to consume a program, although that is their primary concern. They’ve become a way to connect with each other, conduct research, and even learn how to do new things.
In the past few years, there may not have been a bigger buzzword than “smart” when applying a concept to a particular piece of technology. It almost may seem as if everything has been prefixed with that word, though we think that it’s probably best used when concerning televisions.
We’ll break down what Smart TVs are, what to expect when you get them, as well as some common concerns if you’re considering adding one to your household or office.
What Is a Smart TV?
If you find yourself looking at a row of TVs at a department store or online, you may find yourself inundated with terms like “Apple TV” or “Android TV”. Both of these are considered Smart TVs, though they work with different interfaces for you to interact with.
These interfaces are just essentially operating systems that allow you to use your network to access additional media, usually through a free or subscription-based service over the Internet, or free from the manufacturer that makes the television.
A traditional cannot do that unless they have an additional component, whether it’s a Fire Stick, a Roku box, or something along those lines.
How Smart TVs Work
Smart TVs require the Internet to operate, whether it’s through a WiFi cable or Ethernet cable that is hardwired into the TV itself. To access this media, you would have to use the same internet that you use for your tablet, desktop, or laptop.
As you may know, if you want the best connection, you’ll want to use your Ethernet cable to plug directly into the television. However, if you want to use your Smart TV where your connection is far away from the wall, you may want to use your WiFi to connect.
It may not be as strong of a connection, but it certainly will work for most TVs given that your internet speed is up to snuff. There’s a chance that you may not have a choice, so don’t worry too much if it’s not possible to connect the Smart TV to the best possible source.
In any event, once the internet situation is figured our and there is have power to the TV, there will be a prompt to enter any Internet Service Provider details, generally being the user name and password. Once successful, the TV will then display a list of applications that it comes with, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others.
The ones that don’t come preloaded will probably be available through some kind of store, although you won’t have to pay for many of them unless there is a subscription is required.
Once everything is downloaded, the program can be launched and you’ll be able to access its content. This is also where there will be a prompt to enter subscription details if needed.
It should be said that while many of these products are similar in many ways, there will be some variance in how they work, though it doesn’t take much to figure it out if you’re diligent.
What Can A Smart TV Do?
Depending on the manufacturer of the TV, you’re set to be rife with numerous amounts of benefits if you choose a Smart TV. However, they all possess one huge benefit – you won’t have to need a TV antenna or use a cable or satellite service to enjoy TV.
Products like Spotify can potentially replace music whereas Netflix, Youtube, or Hulu can replace the TV. If live sports is a favorite in the house, there are even numerous programs that can substitute the need for things like ESPN or Fox Sports. However, this doesn’t mean that one has to replace cable or satellite. They can work harmoniously.
There are even some brands that have satellite and cable options built into their TVs, and things like YouTube TV and others that completely make life even easier.
Additional Features of a Smart TV
As stated earlier, there are a number of additional features that you can enjoy, such as screen sharing that allow their user to watch content from smartphones and tablets on their TV.
The compatibility can even go the other way, too!
So, if a person happens to be watching their favorite program on the television, they can even stream that program on their phone or tablet if they don’t want to miss out on the best parts!
Common Concerns and Additional Costs
While this is all pretty dandy, there are always limitations. One of the biggest issues with Smart TV users is the fact that while there are some applications that are free, there are some that still require a monthly subscription fee. A great example of this is Netflix.
Just because a Smart TV has the ability to stream via this platform, it still does require one to pay for their pleasure. The same goes for Prime and Hulu. They are still paid options that operate as they would on any other provider. However, it seems as if most people already have their subscription to these, so it’s just a matter of adding one’s credentials.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t bring up the fact that many of these TVs are different in their user interfaces. They all are pretty similar in that they offer some of the same services, however, there are some more niche applications only available by certain brands.
It’s for this reason that every buyer should look closely to see the proprietary benefits of a given TV before they purchase it
Do You Need One?
Whether or not you need a Smart TV depends on your viewing preferences and what you already have. For example, if you are looking for a new TV and you don’t have a way to access streaming content through the Internet, it may be a good idea to get one.
On the other side of the coin, if you have a Smart TV and it doesn’t have the functionality or channels that you’d like, you may be able to forego a bigger purchase and add some external, such as any of the suggestions above.
The same would be true if you don’t have a Smart TV but you’re fine with its ability to display audio and video.
As you know, technology is rapidly changing, and the TV industry is assuredly no different. We can reasonably expect Smart TVs to move in the same neck-breaking pace as we develop new technologies, ways to stream, and slicker interfaces.
Fortunately enough, it doesn’t have to be expensive to get your hands on one. However, it’s important to assure that you get the right one that suits your audio and video needs, as there’s nothing worse than shelling out hundreds of dollars for a mediocre product.
Armed with this information, you should be able to pretty confidently shop online or physically walk into a store and essentially understand what you need without too much help, at least to the point of asking “what is a Smart TV?”