Smart TVs are the wave of the future; the evolved cousin of your normal flat screen and a hot device many households are now featuring in their ‘smart homes’. They come with a vast range of advantages over your average TV, and keep you both worldly and updated with easy access to the internet, movies, TV programs, games, and even applications. The TV manufacturing industry is one of the biggest booming industries on the planet, with a load of technology being devoted towards its evolution.
Here you’ll find what you need to know about Smart TVs, their capabilities, differences between brands, price ranges regarding brands, and what qualities in a Smart TV you should be looking for based on your entertainment type.
What is a Smart TV?
A Smart TV is like having a TV and smart phone combined, or a TV and computer combined. They feature built-in Internet connectivity, giving you the capacity to access the web via internet browser and online services such as instant messaging, video-on-demand, and social networking. Some come in a Curved variation, some offer 4k instead of 1080p, but all include features associated with the next wave of entertainment.
You will need to connect a Smart TV to your home internet, they don’t automatically connect themselves (in the more common cases). The majority of Smart TVs will have an Ethernet port on the back, so you can plug it into your broadband router, or they’ll have the option of connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network. This feature will either be built-in to the Smart TV’s hardware or you’ll need to use a USB dongle depending on the type and brand chosen. These days, nearly all Smart TVs will connect easily to your Wi-Fi network so don’t sweat it.
What are Smart TV Capabilities?
There are enough to satisfy any entertainment type. Below are listed some of the best features Smart TVs have.
1. Browsing the Web
You can go to any site on the Internet you could visit normally on a computer. This feature makes it easy to view your social networks online and watch streaming videos. Many popular websites have adopted special site layouts for smart TVs.
2. Online Streaming
You don’t have to download everything you want to watch or play – you can watch various things streaming – including YouTube and Netflix..
3. Smartphone Connectivity
View all of your streaming media, your photos, or play your favorite music or apps using the big screen.
4. Applications & Games
Netflix and YouTube feature their own apps for Smart TVs as well as many other popular brands (Angry Bird being one of them). Most apps are those geared towards video and streaming data, though games are increasingly becoming more popular. Some Smart TV platforms have developed their own applications for their TVs.
5. Social Networking
Most Smart TVs are capable of Skype video conferencing. You can also log into your social networks via internet browser.
Like a video console hooked up to your average TV, a smart TV comes with its own menus and screen layouts based on its brand and design.
7. Motion Control
Some of the newest Smart TVs come with built-in motion control features, making it easier for you to select movies or play games while using just a sweep of your hand.
8. Voice Control
Again, some of the newer versions out there come with the ability to navigate your TV using voice control via the remote control. Instead of clumsily trying to find the right buttons on the remote or the correct location of an app on the TV’s menu, you can simply press a “mic” button on your remote control and tell it what you want (“open Netflix” or “volume up” etc.).
9. Keyboard Connection
You can connect a wireless keyboard into the USB port of your Smart TV, making it much easier to type into any search engine or browse different websites. These are especially useful if you enjoy instant messaging on your TV.
Are There Differences Between Smart TVs?
Like with any device, every brand will have their selling points, perks, and downfalls. With the evolution of the smart TV, new and improved features become available with time, and successful companies follow suit.
When looking for a Smart TV, you’ll want to keep these features in mind
Smart TVs come in many screen sizes with either 720p or 1080p. There are some that come in 4k, but they’re not yet mainstream and can cost anywhere around $10k. A hot new item on the market are the curved Smart TVs, but they’re only as mainstream as the 4k TVs. However, they are more affordable than 4k TVs, starting at $1.5k.
Most have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi, but if you’re looking at an off-brand, double check you won’t need to connect it to a cable wire or a USB dongle for internet connectivity.
Ensure you’re satisfied with the menus programmed into the Smart TV and they’re easy for you to navigate.
4. LED vs LCD TVs
You can choose whether you want your Smart TV to have light-emitting diodes (LED) as pixels which give you a sharper image (meaning blacks are darker; whites are brighter) instead of cold cathode fluorescent pixels that are standard in LCDs. They also tend to be more energy efficient.
5. Voice & Motion Control
These features are going to cost a bit extra and will be featured on high-end series selections, but can improve your entertainment experience immensely.
Who Makes the Best Smart TVs?
This is debatable, but reading reviews will help you determine which Smart TVs are best by comparing various aspects of products.
Thus far, the Samsung H series is mentioned quite a bit on the web and ranked one of the best brands to buy on various review websites. Both comparaboo.com and internet-tvs-review.com feature a Sumsung as their leading sellers with the highest ranking reviews. Yet another website, intellireviews.com, features the Vizio 720p LED Smart HDTV as its top seller with abundant positive reviews.
Both Samsung and Vizio are being given great reviews because prices of the two competing products are significantly different, with each appealing to people with various budget ranges.
If you’re simply looking for the best of the best, without prices in mind, then you’ll find Samsung takes the cake again. The Samsung 4k UHD S9V Series Frameless 85” Smart TV has been given some of the best reviews on the net, but is sold at the lovely price of $40k.
Besides Samsung and Vizio, some other leading Smart TV companies include LG, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Philips, Panasonic, Hisense, and TCL.
Which Smart TV is Right For Me?
Determining the right TV for you will mostly depend on your budget. However, from an affordable standpoint, think about what your favorite entertainment is regarding all your devices and gadgets at home? Do you spend a good deal of time playing games, watching movies, surfing the internet, or staying up to date on your favorite TV series?
Below are listed some of the aspects you’ll want to keep in mind when buying a Smart TV
For Film Fanatics
This type of Smart TV buyer will want the best in online streaming to watch full-length movies via internet connection. Ensure the Smart TV you’re purchasing connects to Wi-Fi, has the type of pixels you’re looking for (720 or 1080p & LED or LCD) and features advanced application use to ensure you can easily connect to Hulu or Netflix.
For Net Surfers
Keyboard connectivity is best for those of us that love browsing the internet or use it for education. The Smart TV you’ll want will work best depending on the type of keyboard you choose to use. It helps to have motion control at your fingertips to easily navigate, so look for this feature in your Smart TV.
For Series Spectators
Much like film fanatics, you’ll want great online streaming to easily view all your episodes online, and you’ll want need to look at the amount and type of pixels you prefer for the best entertainment experience within your budget. Roku, a small black box that connects to your TV might be something a series spectator would be interested in. It helps you stream everything better on your TV from TV show services such as Netfix and Hulu Plus, movies, Pandora music, Amazon Video on Demand (VOD) an more. Make sure the Smart TV you choose can support this if it’s something you prefer working with.
For Music Monsters
Audio features should be attuned to your taste, and many Smart TVs will have differing audio options. Look for a “digital audio out” port on the brand you’re eyeing (most automatically include them these days, even most older sets) so you can hook it up in surround sound for your apps. Be sure and check the Smart TV manual to view any limitations on digital sound (can it produce a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal?).
For Zealous Gamers
It can be hard to pin down the right Smart TV for a gamer. Usually, gamers need it all – the capability of fast and fluid streaming to ensure less lag, a sharper screen to view every advanced graphic within every game, voice command to keep one’s hands free for game use, and console compatibility. You should be finely tuned to your needs as a gamer, including whether or not applications truly mean anything to you. You could find a great TV that features the best graphics, but doesn’t have a menu you like. This won’t matter if you’re constantly switching on your video game console and use the menu on it instead.
How Much are Smart TVs?
Every brand will have their standard Smart TVs and their exceptional TVs. Below are some price ranges found on Amazon ranging from a brand’s cheapest to its most expensive Smart TVs when purchased new. Generally, it will be the size of the TV that will dictate how expensive it can get, with most having LED backlighting and featuring 1080p.
This brand’s prices range from the Samsung 40in 1080p Smart LED TV which can be found for around $400 to the Samsung Curved 88-in TV with a curved soundbar that sells for $21,200. They’ve many types of Smart TVs in between, the majority resting within the $800-$2500 range. Generally, it’s the size of the TV that dictates price.
The Vizio 24in 1080p Smart LED HDTV sells new for about $170. This is for those of us that don’t mind such a small screen for entertainment. Their more expensive set is the Vizio 55in 4k Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV. Wow, that’s a lot to spit out! It comes at a price of about $6,400 new and is one of the top-dog Smart TVs that features 4kp. Still, they have the in-betweens – such as a 50in 1080p Smart LED TV for about $1,500.
This brand has a 40in 1080p Roku Smart LED TV selling for $300 and a Curved 65in 4K Smart ULED TV selling for $3,000. Their slightly bigger, better quality TVs that are still affordable are within the $500-1400 range.
Sony’s Smart TVs can range from its 32in 1080p LCD Smart TV at $315 to its 75in 4k Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV which is about $7,000. They offer more options regarding 4kp screens and many of their common Smart TVs sold are between about $1,500 and $3,000.
You’ll be able to find a 39in 1080p Smart LED HDTV going for $600 at the low end, and an 84in 4k Ultra HD 3D Smart LED HDTV surrounded with black gun metal trim going for an amazing $79,000. They do offer a 50in 1080p LED TV for around $1,600 if you like this brand but want something reasonable.
When shopping for a Smart TV, it’s best to go into a store and take a look at the different brands yourself to see if the quality is up to your standards and the menus are easily navigable for you. Adjust settings and volumes to ensure the one you’re choosing can both be as bright or dark as you prefer and as loud as you enjoy (or has the correct audio output) based on your entertainment needs.