Along with improving in picture quality, TVs have also seen an increase in what they can do. No other feature probably demonstrates this better than that of the Smart TV. Smart TV is actually a term that can encompass a range if different features, but the one basic capability that they all have in common is that they connect to the internet to provide access to online content. That being said, there can be a dramatic difference from one model to the next when it comes to features and capabilities.
A Smart TV connects to the internet to provide the user with access to a broad range of different features and functions and how it does this is by using apps. Much like the apps that you use on a tablet or mobile phone, these apps allow the user to connect quickly with different internet and computing services. The range of apps that will be available to you will vary depending on the model, but generally you are going to be able to stream content from providers like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, the BBC, ITV and the list really goes on. Additionally, many of these TVs will also have apps for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and they might also have an internet browser and apps for things like games and music.
Since the variety of apps can vary, it is important for the consumer to look into the list of available apps before they make a purchase.
The User Interface
With most Smart TVs, there is going to be a Smart hub or interface where all of the apps are collected for the convenience of the user. From this screen, the user can search through and launch their apps to connect to the different services. The different TVs will have different operating systems, so the experience will vary depending on the model. Some will have additional features that allow the user to personalize the home screen or they may have a recommended viewing section. In addition to that, some Smart TVs allow the user to continue watching broadcast TV while they are searching through the Smart menus and using certain features.
This is probably the one area where so many of the Smart TVs come up short. Many of these advanced TVs will still come with a remote that is not much more than a standard TV remote. With this basic remote control, the user has a button that opens the interface for the Smart features and then they are left to navigate the menus and use the features with a remote that just was not designed for the job. While that may be the case with some Smart TVs, it isn’t that way with all of them. Many of the manufacturers offer a compatible Smart remote to operate the Smart features. This provides a much better experience because it is a device that is intended for the purpose. Some of these Smart remotes will come with features like voice commands, a touchpad for controlling a cursor or the ability to use the remote as a pointer for the screen. However, this Smart remote is not always included, so with some models, you may need to purchase this accessory separately. If it comes with the TV, that is a major bonus. If not, then it is something that you may want to figure into the purchase price.
Another nice feature with many of the Smart TVs is that they have the ability to connect with devices like smartphones and tablets. Depending on the model, there is a variety of ways in which they might do this. Some can connect through the home network, some may pair wirelessly through a Bluetooth connection and others offer an app that you install on the device.
Connecting the TV to the device can unlock a few different features. With most you can do screen mirroring to send the content from the device to the big screen of the TV. Some models even allow for two-way screen sharing which allows the user to put the content from the device on the TV or put the content from the TV on the device. The two-way mirroring is nice because it means that you can keep watching even if you need to leave the room for a few minutes.
In addition to that, many of the manufacturers will also offer an app that allows the user to turn their device into a Smart remote for the TV. This can be an especially appealing option if the TV does not come with a Smart remote. With these apps, you can use the touchscreen of the device to navigate through the features on the television.
4k and 3D Content
Going for a TV with Smart features can do a lot for any buyer. Even with a modest 720p television, the Smart TV features will open up all sorts of entertainment options and the ability to do more with the set. However, there are certain TVs where having Smart TV included is going to be even more attractive. If you want to buy a TV that has 4k resolution or 3D, then Smart TV is a much bigger deal.
When it comes to 4k and 3D content, your options are somewhat limited. You won’t find much support for these types of content through regular broadcast channels. If you have an Ultra HD TV or a TV that offers 3D viewing, one of your best options for content is to go with Smart TV. For the most part, almost every 4k TV comes with Smart TV, but there could be a few that do not have it. If your TV is 3D or 4k and you do not have Smart TV, then the only options for taking advantage of these features will be to get a special Blu-ray player and the supported content or to get a separate Smart TV component to connect to the TV.
The Smart TV is a relatively new development and the technology is continuing to advance. In the future, we can expect more features and manufacturers will find ways to make these models even easier to use. For right now, they do offer a great range of features and having a Smart TV unlocks an immense world of entertainment options. To get a better idea of what kind of experience that you can expect from a given model, it could help to read a few reviews to learn more about the features.