Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of buzz about smart TVs. If you’re in the market for a new television, you might want to consider one. Smart TVs are essentially HDTVs that have Internet connectivity. In other words, they can connect to the Internet and perform a variety of functions. In many ways, they are TVs that double as computers. While most people call them smart TVs, they are also sometimes called hybrid TVs or connected TVs. No matter what they’re called, they’ve quickly become among the most popular types of TV on the market today.
Smart TV Features
There’s not a single, universal type of smart TV. Each model has its own quirks and differences. By familiarizing yourself with the most popular smart TV features, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision when you go to purchase one.
Games and Apps
Just as a smartphone or tablet can run games and apps, a smart TV can too. This capability is possible because smart TVs are connected to the Internet. The most popular smart TVs have user friendly interfaces with bright, attractive icons. Each icon represents a different app, game or feature. Using your remote, you can click from one icon to the next to choose the one you want. Many of the same apps that are available on mobile devices are available on smart TVs, including Netflix, Amazon Instant and Angry Birds.
Why bother using your smartphone or tablet to share things on Facebook if you can do so through your smart TV? While it’s unclear how many people actually use social media apps on their smart TVs, it’s definitely a cool feature. In order to make the most of it, though, you’ll need a keyboard. Otherwise, you’ll have to use the remote to awkwardly select letters on the screen, which can take eons.
By using the right app, you may be able to connect your smartphone or other mobile device to your smart TV. Why would you want to? The biggest perk is that you can then stream content from your mobile device on your TV, which makes it easier to view and enjoy. You may also be able to transfer files from your mobile device to your smart TV.
This is actually a very basic feature, and it’s largely overshadowed now by wireless connectivity. Still, most smart TVs can connect to other devices via USB or DLNA. This may come in handy if you have a device that isn’t Wi-Fi capable.
The majority of smart TVs include built-in web browsers. If you’re already comfortable in front of your smart TV, you don’t have to use a different device to browse the Internet. Just click over to the web browser on your TV. Again, though, you’ll probably want to use a keyboard to make the experience as fun and easy as possible.
You use a touchscreen to navigate around a smartphone or tablet and a mouse to navigate a computer screen. With many smart TVs, you can use a special remote to gesture to the parts of the screen that you want. These remotes are much like Wii remotes, and they are very easy to use. Similarly, some smart TVs have voice recognition and can be controlled using voice commands. The technology isn’t perfect, however, so a little patience may be in order.
Would you get rid of your DVR if you could? By purchasing the right smart TV, you may be able to. Some models include built-in DVRs, so there’s no need for a separate device. It should be noted that the DVRs on many smart TVs are pretty basic, and many have fairly limited capacities.
Just like popular mobile devices, smart TVs need to be updated regularly. The software on which they operate must be updated from time to time, and individual apps and games do too. It can be a little frustrating to have to wait for such updates to finish.
Are Smart TVs Worth It?
If you’re already looking for a new TV, you might as well consider a smart TV. If you already have a nice HDTV and a computer or mobile device, though, it may not be worth it to upgrade.