What Is a Smart TV?

By jamie
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TVs have been around for a long time. To begin with, we had grainy black and white images on screens so small that the family would have to sit around the TV to see. Later on, color television became available, and the quality of the picture and sound kept on improving.

Nowadays, TVs have large screens that show very high-quality pictures. Such is the quality of the pictures that it is getting harder to improve on them, but that doesn’t mean the technology stopped advancing. One of the latest developments is smart TVs, and here’s a look at just what a smart TV is.

1. Internet Connectivity

It is hard to imagine life without the internet nowadays, but it isn’t that long ago that it first came on the scene. Since it was introduced, it has become increasingly faster, allowing us to download increasingly large files. Not only that, but we now want access to the internet via mobile devices, whereas in the past we would have had to use a modem. There are numerous online TV streaming services available.

Without a smart TV, you would need to use a PC or Laptop to access them. With a smart TV, however, you have easy and instant access. In addition to using your smart TV to watch a movie on Netflix, for example, you can even use it to check your emails.

Smart TV

2. How Do They Connect

As mentioned, connecting to the internet in the past would mean using a modem. These eventually become obscure and we would connect through a router that we would connect to using cables. Then came along wireless internet, which was even better still.

Most smart TVs give you the option of connecting through either the ethernet or through Wi-Fi. Most people prefer to connect using the ethernet because it makes for a more reliable connection. If cables are inconvenient or too unsightly for you, however, then Wi-Fi could be the better option. Remember also that it is important to have a fast and reliable internet connection.

3. Updates

Smart TVs use operating systems, just like computers and phones do. As anybody that uses Microsoft Windows will be able to tell you, updates to the software will occasionally need to be downloaded and installed. This is automatic so you won’t need to do a thing, although waiting for updates to complete can be inconvenient.

Smart TVs are no different, so you can expect the software to be updated from time to time. As with Microsoft Windows, this will usually be done automatically via your internet connection. Updates will usually be to fix bugs or security flaws, although they will sometimes give you access to more features.

Smart TV

4. Apps

One of the greatest benefits of having a smart TV is that they give you access to countless different apps. The vast majority of these are entertainment focused, allowing you to watch movies or catch up on the latest in sports. They help you to watch what you want when you want, rather than having to adhere to a schedule.

The apps available to you will depend largely on the specific model of smart TV, and the software it is using. Less expensive models will generally have fewer apps available, although you should still find that there is plenty to keep you entertained.

5. Voice Search

Voice activated machines used to be limited to the realm of sci-fi, with the likes of Captain Kirk able to speak with their “computers.” The technology is no longer limited to science fiction, however, and they are becoming increasingly common in our homes. Voice search is also a feature that is found in some of the latest smart TVs.

Voice search can be particularly useful with smart TV because it saves you from having to keep on pressing buttons to find what you want. If you are looking for a particular episode of your favorite sitcom, just ask the TV and it will play it for you.

Smart TV

6. Are They Secure?

Being able to share information with other people over vast distances clearly has its benefits. Unfortunately, however, it also comes with its drawbacks. For example, there are people out there that will do what they can to access your private information to use for their own purposes.

Theoretically speaking, it is possible to hack a smart TV that is connected to the internet. With this in mind, it is a good idea to play it safe and make sure that nobody can access valuable information like bank account details. Avoid making payments and similar over a smart TV and use more secure devices instead.

7. Marketing Spies

Have you noticed how after you search for something on Google that ads for the same thing start showing up all over the internet? This is because of a system called AdWords that helps advertisers to have their ads shown to people that have an interest in their product.

A smart TV will also be able to follow your habits. It will know what you like to watch and what you search for using the browsers. While this can be convenient when it comes to finding what you want, it is also something that might be used by marketers to try and sell to you.

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8. Cost

Considering that smart TVs are more advanced than “dumb” TVs, you should expect to pay more for them. As things stand, you will pay around $100 more for a smart TV than for a similar dumb TV without the additional smart features. Obviously, whether you want to pay for this will depend on your personal finances and your needs.

As with other technology, however, smart TVs will soon become the standard while dumb TVs will become obsolete. Don’t worry, your old dumb TV will still work just fine, but you will find that they won’t be in the shops for much longer. Once technology becomes even more developed, it will be today’s smart TVs that become obsolete at some point in the future.

9. Additional Costs

When enquiring about buying a smart TV, you should also ask about any additional costs that you might need to pay in order to get full access to all of the apps. While most will come with a number of apps that are free to use, you will need to pay a subscription for some others.

In some cases, paying for access to additional costs can end up costing as much, if not more, than your monthly satellite or cable subscription. If your budget is limited, then choose carefully which extra apps you choose to pay for. Remember also that you don’t have to pay for any if you don’t want to.

10. Is the Picture Better Quality?

Whether or not you will get a better-quality picture depends largely on what you buy. Smart technology in itself won’t necessarily improve the image over dumb TVs, but you will often find that smart TV technology is built into TVs that have higher specs, thus giving you a good-quality picture.

When it comes to high definition movies, such as HD and 4K, streaming sites like Netflix are probably the best source. This means that if you have a smart TV with 4K capabilities, you get to enjoy watching movies in the best quality definition possible. What’s more is that the audio technology is also likely to be at the higher-end in smart TVs, meaning the sound will be better.

Smart TV

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