Smart TV Buying Guide

There's so much to think about when buying a smart TV...

smart tv

Trying to pick out a new TV might make you feel more than a little overwhelmed. With 4K, curved, OLED, and more, it’s hard to know which one is right for you. In most cases, it still comes down to smart TV or standard TV. The rest is just extra features. Use this guide to help you figure out if a smart TV is actually right for your entertainment needs.

What’s So Special About a Smart TV?

smart tvThink of a smart TV as part smartphone and part TV. Instead of needing a special streaming stick or box, you’re able to bring up apps on your TV. A standard TV just receives a signal from a digital antenna, satellite box, and/or cable box by default.

For instance, your smart TV might give you easy access to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and even a web browser with just a few clicks of your remote. For some people, this smarter TV replaces their computer.

Are They Better Than Standard TVs?

That’s debatable and completely dependent on what you want. Some experts will tell you that smart TVs aren’t the better option, while others still praise them. If you want an all-in-one streaming system without any extra equipment, a smart TV is the way to go.

However, standard TVs are usually still cheaper. If they have the right ports or wireless capabilities, you can use streaming boxes and sticks, such as Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. Gaming systems also work as alternatives to smart TVs if you aren’t ready to switch from a standard TV.

How Can You Stream Your Favorite Shows?

When picking out a smart TV, stop to consider if it supports the streaming services you want to use. Some manufacturers may support Netflix, but not Amazon Prime Video. As far as actually streaming your shows, all you need to do is use your remote to navigate to the main app screen. Choose your app, enter your user details (first time only), and start streaming. You will need to connect your TV to your wireless network first.

Related Read: 5 Streaming Sites (Other Than Netflix) To Try

What Type of Ports Do You Need?

Soundbars, cable/satellite boxes, media players, and gaming systems need ports to connect to your TV. Most newer devices rely on HDMI, so look for smart TVs with at least three to four HDMI ports. If you want to play 4K video, you’ll need at least one HDMI 2.0 or higher port.

Before you go shopping, take a look at what ports your devices currently use. For instance, component inputs and optical outputs might be necessary for older devices. USB ports are also ideal for quickly showing pictures or videos from a flash drive.

What Apps Are Available?

The last thing to look for is what apps are actually available on a smart TV. Every manufacturer has a different app store. It’s the same as Google Play versus App Store. For instance, some smart TVs offer a wide variety of TV and music streaming apps, while others may also offer weather and browser apps.

The majority of newer TVs now have some smart TV capabilities. Look at the whole picture, not just the “smart” part, to decide which TV is best for you.

Related Read: Smart Home Audio Systems for Every Household

Contribution by Crystal Crowder

About the Author

Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.