What is the difference between smart tv and internet ready tv?


A smart TV makes it easy to lớn stream movies & shows, and newer models offer voice control & smart home page integration.

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What is a smart TV? As streaming services have changed the way we watch movies & shows, TVs have changed as well, adding features và capabilities that weren"t possible a decade ago, from stream9ing shows to lớn responding to voice control. Most TVs today can be called smart TVs, thanks to lớn mạng internet connectivity and the ability lớn run apps, but they"re not all the same.

Can a smart TV really be better than the best streaming device? What about privacy concerns? And which is smartest? The specifics will also vary from one brand or mã sản phẩm khổng lồ the next, which is why we"ve sầu put together this handy guide.

We"ve sầu got the answers to all your most frequently asked questions about smart TVs.

1. What is a smart TV?

The old "dumb TVs" – which can only display content from an HDTV antenna, cable or another A/V source – are on the way out. Today"s connected world expects something a little smarter. With powerful processors, mạng internet connectivity & easy-to-navigate software, the modern TV is more like a điện thoại thông minh or tablet than the tube TV of yesteryear.

Smart TVs, much lượt thích smartphones & smart trang chính devices, offer mạng internet connectivity và tư vấn for a range of apps. This opens up a world of new entertainment options, from streaming video clip on Netflix và Hulu khổng lồ playing games, checking social truyền thông, and controlling a whole house full of connected gadgets, including the best Alexa compatible devices và best Google trang chủ compatible devices.

A growing number of models now include voice recognition tools, like Amazon Alexa& Google Assistant, for switching channels và searching for programs. Most smart TVs will work with one of the best smart speakers you already own, and a few will offer some or all of that same functionality built right into the TV.

Smart TVs are also gaining more integratedsmart home features and some are even the best smart trang chủ devices. Many TVs are compatible with other connected devices in the home, including best smart lights, best smart locks & other sensors, and some TVs even include a dedicated dashboard for controlling all of the devices in your connected home page.

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2. Which companies make smart TVs?

Every major TV manufacturer has shifted away from dumb TVs, with the trend toward making every phối "smart." A partial menu of the biggest smart TV makers includes Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TCL, Toshibố và Vizio.

Budget-friendly sets from TCL và Hisense boast built-in Roku streaming, while high-over models from LG, Samsung & Sony offer even more capabilities, ranging from motion controls lớn voice interaction và smart home integration.

While most of these companies tout their smart platforms as the latest & greakiểm tra, watch out for budget-priced TVs that only vaguely mention smart TV capability. These off-br& smart TV platforms may leave sầu you stuông chồng with limited ứng dụng selection, sub-par performance và worrisome security holes.

3. How bởi smart TVs connect khổng lồ the internet?

A smart TV uses your trang chủ network to lớn provide streaming video clip và services on your TV, and smart TVs use wired Ethernet & built-in Wi-Fi lớn stay connected. Most current TVs tư vấn 802.11ac Wi-Fi, but watch for older models, which may still use the older 802.11n standard. Some of the latest models will also tư vấn the new Wi-Fi 6 standard (see our article about Wi-Fi 6: What it is và why it"s better), but it"s still pretty rare.

We have sầu a guide to lớn optimizing your trang chính Wi-Fi for streaming, whether it"s adjusting your router placement, tweaking settings or just opting for a wired connection.

(Image credit: Tom"s Guide/Shutterstock)

If your smart TV isn"t getting a strong enough wireless signal, there are a few ways to remedy the problem. If you"re due for an tăng cấp, any mã sản phẩm on our best Wi-Fi routers danh sách will vì chưng the triông chồng, even the budget-friendly models.

Mesh routers that extover coverage throughout a home provide another option, & are a great choice for homes where there are multiple TVs, và not all of them near your main router. The Nest WiFi and Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 are two such models that, in our tests, have sầu proved to be excellent solutions for people trying lớn cover a large home page with Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi range extenders are also available from companies such as Netgear, but these devices require some time and patience lớn mix up & install.

4. What services bởi vì smart TVs offer, & how bởi vì they differ from one another?

Regardless of which TV brvà you choose, today"s smart TVs will offer a variety of streaming services & content choices, including services lượt thích Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus or HBO Max. But it"s not all paid subscription services, with a growing number of ad supported miễn phí streaming services lượt thích PlutoTV, Tubi and Crackle.

Cheông xã out our guides khổng lồ the best streaming content available:

Popular đoạn phim sharing sites, lượt thích YouTube, also have sầu their own smart TV apps for easy browsing that"s tailored khổng lồ viewing on a TV & navigating with a remote control. Smart TVs also offer a great way lớn enjoy streaming music, with internet radio services lượt thích Spotify & Pandora.

Most smart TVs have sầu apps for social truyền thông media, like Twitter và Facebook, but without adding a keyboard it may be harder lớn enjoy these sites the way you are used to lớn.

Samsung"s Smart TV interface

The biggest trends in smart TVs is the inclusion of voice assistants, lượt thích Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant. These interactive sầu tools provide the same functionality as most smart speakers, và can be used with either a microphone built into lớn the remote or (in some cases) microphones built inlớn the TV that listen to lớn the room.

Finally, the smart TV has become a central hub in our connected homes, providing compatibility and control for a household full of connected devices, ranging from smart doorbells to smart thermostats. With many TVs offering smart home controlled dashboards, you can control a huge variety of devices from the comfort of your couch.

But not all smart TVs are created equal, và not every smart TV platkhung or operating system will support the same apps và features. Some manufacturers rely on proprietary operating systems for their smart TVs, such as Samsung"s Tizen smart TV software và Vizio"s SmartCast. Others use third-buổi tiệc ngọt software, such as Roku TV or Amazon Fire TV, which are popular on budget friendly sets, as well as Google"s Android TV which appears on sets from Sony, Hisense và other manufacturers. Certain sets offer Apple TV built-in, too.

MORE: How lớn AirPlay khổng lồ a Samsung TV

These operating systems will all offer some or even most of the features mentioned above, but each will have their own selection of apps, features and compatibility with other devices.

Each smart TV operating system will also have a different user interface, and these can vary widely. Many use a scrolling ribbon of phầm mềm icons along the bottom of the screen, while others offer a full screen menu that lets you see several options at once. Navigating these menus will also vary by brvà as each TV manufacturer uses its own chất lượng remote control design.

For specifics on the apps, services & distinct features of each smart TV platkhung, kiểm tra out our latest đánh giá of the best TVs.

The upshot: Spend a little time at the store flipping through the set"s smart offerings khổng lồ make sure you and your family will be comfortable with that Model, and read our detailed comparison of the major smart TV platforms to lớn help you make a decision.

5. Will my smart TV maker regularly update the software with new features?

The general answer is yes. All of the major TV manufacturers routinely put out updates for their smart TV software, adding new features, refining old ones và patching bugs & security issues, just like any other operating system. Some of these updates add entirely new features, such as expanded tư vấn for high dynamic range (HDR) formats lượt thích Dolby Vision, or merely making refinements lớn the TV"s internal firmware (often downloaded automatically late at night).

But it also depends on some other factors. Smaller TV brands và older models may not be as quick khổng lồ push out updates as larger companies, lượt thích LG, Samsung và Sony. TCL does quite well in its partnership with Roku, but many other value-priced brands will be slower lớn issue updates or add new apps. Nevertheless, most major manufacturers perform software updates periodically.

Need lớn vì a manual update? Chechồng out our guide to lớn how lớn update your Vizio TV for a look at how khổng lồ get the lathử nghiệm software. The basic process is the same for most smart TVs.

For the most part, TV manufacturers are adding & customizing apps on their own. Some TV companies are quicker than others at fixing the occasional bug or working with developers lớn improve apps. TVs that are powered by such platforms, including Roku and Android TV sets, have sầu the distinct advantage of receiving regular updates and additional channels/apps.

And don"t worry about getting left behind; if one company adds a popular service, such as Netflix, the rest of the manufacturers generally follow suit. Even when there is a delay, it usually works itself out, as seen in the recent announcement that HBO Max was finally coming to Roku TVs.

6. Can a smart TV crash or hang lượt thích a PC?

The simple answer is yes. As smart TVs take on more of the roles once exclusive sầu to computers và smartphones, there is a risk of hanging or even crashing. Just as phones have become computers, so, too, have smart TVs. We now expect our TVs to pull in nội dung from the website, run sophisticated apps, manage other connected devices và even include voice interaction. Despite this, smart TV problems often catch us off guard because we aren"t used lớn thinking of them as anything other than basic displays.

The good news is that, while crashes và laggy performance have sầu been a problem in years past, these sorts of hiccups are much less common now. As the smart TV market has matured, manufacturers have introduced more powerful processors, outfitted systems with better components và memory, & refined the software platforms that handle apps and TV functions.

That said, problems may still occur, especially in low-over smart TVs that may not have the lademo hardware and polished software. If you bởi run into lớn a frozen screen or hanging process, powering the TV off và on will usually resolve sầu the problem.

7. Aside from apps, vị smart TVs have other benefits?

Smart TVs bởi vì offer other potential advantages.The newest sets have sầu added popular voice assistants to the set.Voice search now lets you find content from live sầu TV as well as streaming services, & adds tìm kiếm for everything from weather & stoông xã prices to lớn looking up the lakiểm tra celebrity gossip. The voice integration lets you access other services from your couch, letting you order a pizza or summon an Uber in comfort. And if you don"t like the TV"s built-in voice assistant, you can usually pair it with the smart speaker of your choice.

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These new features also let you control smart home page devices lượt thích connected lights và thermostats, view feeds from your Nest camera or Ring doorbell, or control your robot vacuum. As voice assistants continue to evolve, you can expect lớn see the same improvements come khổng lồ current smart TVs via software & firmware updates.

Because these TVs tkết thúc lớn have beefier processors than regular sets, as well as online connections, manufacturers can add other features, such as casual games, which are now quite common on smart sets. The games are nowhere near as sophisticated or as compelling as those available on a PlayStation or Xbox console, but they can be addictive.

(Image credit: YouTube TV)

Many sets also let you mirror or share pictures và Clip from a connected điện thoại thông minh on their big screens. Most manufacturers rely on proprietary apps to lớn offer a more curated experience when sharing media, while others rely on third-party solutions like Google Chromecast. In either case, sharing the videos and photos from your phone or tablet has never been easier.

A new trkết thúc in smart TVs is vastly improved built-in sound systems. LG and Sony are making particular advances in this area, offering Dolby Atmos sound on several models & hoping that the smart TV will also bởi duty as the home stereo system khổng lồ stream music và online radio stations.

8. Can I use my smart TV with Amazon Alexa or Google Home?

The biggest trend in smart trang chính technology is the smart speaker, a speaker with built in microphone & hardware khổng lồ run a voice-enabled assistant. Amazon made the first big splash here with the Amazon Emang lại and other Alexa-enabled devices, but Google"s own Google Assistant has made strides in products like the Google Home. And Apple"s HomePod puts Siri inlớn a similar khung factor.

The great news is that these devices will usually work with most smart TVs, & compatibility is improving all the time as new software updates add capability lớn existing smart TVs. As it stands, all of the major TV manufacturers have sầu smart speaker compatibility with at least one of the three main smart assistant platforms (Amazon, Apple và Google). These options often require using an additional device, such as a smart speaker or di động device, but it will give you a way to control your TV & smart devices with the convenience of simple speech.

Many of the smart TVs on the market now have these voice assistants built in. Google Assistant can be found in Android TVs from Sony và Hisense. Amazon Alexa is now offered Amazon Fire Edition TVs as well, và Sony has announced compatibility with a new Amazon Alexa app for Android TV. Even better, smart TVs from LG and Samsung now have sầu both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built in.

These models generally offer remote controls that feature built in microphones, letting you press a button to lớn activate voice interaction. But some new models, like the Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV, also have far-field microphones built in. When enabled, they let you simply speak lớn the room, & the TV will listen for your commands.

9. How does a smart TV compare khổng lồ set-top boxes such as Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV?

You vị not need a smart TV lớn get streaming Netflix movies or YouTube videos on your screen. The best streaming devicescan stream those services & more to an older HDTV, or even a newer4K TV. The leading models are from Amazon, Apple, Google và Roku. But, it"s worth noting that these streaming devices rarely offer more functionality than current smart TVs will provide. In fact, all of the device manufacturers we just mentioned have sầu the same interface & phầm mềm selections available in their respective smart TVs.

For example, the Roku Streaming Stick+, which costs just $50, delivers thousands of channels & apps. Those include nearly every major service, as well as hundreds of more obscure channels, ranging from Kung-Fu Theater khổng lồ Victory Westerns. In fact, Roku offers more options than any other set-top box or any smart TV on the market. So if you don"t need khổng lồ buy a new TV but vị want smart-TV services, a separate, inexpensive sầu streaming-media player is the prudent choice.

In addition, set top-boxes, such as the Roku Ultra, offer 4K content.

If you live in an Apple household và want your iTunes collection on the big screen, you"ll need an Apple TV, which is the only device that can deliver that iTunes connection. No smart TVs have apps for iTunes. The latest, 32GB iteration of Apple TV is $149 & includes Siri support for finding programs. However, it does not offer 4K Ultra HD support và has a limited number of streaming services.

Apple TV và Siri Remote (Photo: Jeremy Lips/Tom"s Guide)

Google"s $35 Chromecast and $69 Chromecast Ultra let you stream nội dung from your computer"s website browser, but they don"t include a separate remote.

Amazon"s $90 Fire TV doubles as a basic gaming console & offers 4K content, plus some Alexa skills. The Fire TV Stick is even more affordable.

10. Is it better to lớn buy a smart TV or get a cheaper TV and a set-top box?

A smart TV costs more than a comparable phối that lacks smart services. However, that price difference is quickly evaporating, and soon most sets will have sầu smart services built in. In 2021, it"s hard lớn even find a 4K TV that doesn"t have smart capabilities and internet connectivity.

The price difference can also be deceiving, because higher-over TVs often offer more than just connected services. Usually, smart TVs also include better video processing — in other words, better picture quality — and expanded features, such as more HDXiaoMI ports on the back. That means you get more for your money than just an mạng internet connection and apps.

11. Can my smart TV be hacked or contract a virus?

In theory, the answer is clearly yes. So-called white-hat hackers have sầu brought attention to lớn the issue by demonstrating ways to lớn break into a smart TV connected khổng lồ the internet và vày things lượt thích steal passwords & change channels. WikiLeaks documents purporting to reveal CIA techniques for surveilling smartphones và smart TVs confirm what many cybersecurity experts have said privately for years: Government agencies can and bởi break inkhổng lồ such devices.

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Although smart TVs have a variety of interfaces, most run some version of Linux underneath, a popular operating system that hackers know how to manipulate well. The application programming interface (API) that lets your TV interact with apps and thiết bị di động devices is also a point of concern, and recently reported vulnerabilities might let hackers make mischief on Samsung & Roku sets.

To be safe, avoid doing anything sensitive on a smart TV, such as online banking or shopping with a credit card. Smart TVs are simply not as safe as computers.

12. Can a smart TV watch you?

Yes, it can. Information you nội dung on a Facebook tiện ích on a TV or when ordering on Amazon or Netflix on the big screen is shared in the same way as when you conduct such business on a PC or a smartphone.

Companies can collect private information about you và your viewing habits from a smart TV. In late 2013, for example, LG admitted that it had received information about what channels owners were watching, even after those users turned on the privacy setting. (LG said this was due to lớn a software bug that has since been corrected.)

In early 2017, Vizio agreed khổng lồ pay $2.2 million to lớn settle claims alleging that the company had collected viewing data from 11 million TVs without getting the owners" approval. The claims accused Vizio of secret monitoring that included information about not just phầm mềm use but also what owners watched on their disc players, cable systems and even over-the-air broadcasts.

And tracking isn"t limited to any one br& or manufacturer. In fact, you"re safe to assume that any smart TV is sending viewing data baông chồng khổng lồ be sold khổng lồ marketers and advertisers, regardless of who makes the hardware.

Most of this data is limited to lớn viewing information, telling advertisers what you watch and what apps you use to vì so. While that"s fairly innocuous, the bigger concern may be the fact that (like most smart home devices) your TV"s security isn"t that great at keeping other snoops out. To get a better idea of how to protect yourself, check out the 5 essential smart TV security tips.

And if you"re worried about a TV that actually watches you, or listens in on your conversations... well, it"s not an unfounded fear. Many smart TVs come with far-field microphones to allow the same conversational interaction you get with a smart speaker. But that means that, when enabled, those mics are always on, & always listening. We haven"t heard any reports of these mics being misused, but it"s still a valid concern.

And any TV that has a built-in camera (they are very rare these days) should also, at minimum, include a physical shutter or lens cover lớn keep prying eyes out of your living room.

13. Can you surf the website on a smart TV?

Most smart TVs let you go online, & will include a website browser aước ao the preinstalled apps that come with the TV. These browsers may not be exactly lượt thích the desktop website browsers you"re familiar with, but they are both compatible with all the HTML standards that websites use và able lớn convert & display those sites properly on a big screen.

Some smart TVs allow you to lớn surf the internet. (Photo: Samsung)

Browsing the website on your TV can be a bit of a challenge, though. Unless you can add on a wireless keyboard (và they are rarely included with TVs), you"ll be using your remote control buttons or voice-interaction lớn navigate to websites, & neither is a particularly comfortable or intuitive way lớn surf the web.

Web browsers are also getting harder khổng lồ find on smart TVs, as the ecosystem of connected apps grows lớn provide an experience better tailored lớn the TV.

14. Can a smart TV get local channels?

Smart TV services và features don"t affect a TV"s ability lớn get local stations. If you have sầu cable or satellite service, you will continue to receive the same stations. If you don"t have either of those services, you"ll still need some sort of mạng internet connection (DSL or cable) for the smart services, and then one of our best TV antennas khổng lồ pull in local, over-the-air broadcasts for không lấy phí. At least for now, most television stations have not followed the lead of radio stations, which stream their live sầu broadcasts online.

15. Does a smart TV need a cable box or broadband?

If you want lớn continue receiving the same channels you have sầu, then the answer is yes: You still need a cable or satellite box, because no other option will deliver the same channels và stations in the same way.

However, whether or not you need lớn stiông chồng with a paid subscription in order lớn keep getting the shows you want lớn watch is another question. Many channels offer their own streaming apps, and popular shows can often also be found on services like Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Prime.

As for the question of broadband, then the answer is unequivocally yes. If you want to take advantage of any connected apps & services – anything that makes the smart TV smart – you"ll need an mạng internet connection. As for what speeds you need, it will vary according khổng lồ your intended use, but the following guidelines will help.

To stream video clip in DVD chất lượng, at less than 1080p resolution, you"ll need a minimum tốc độ of 3 Mbps. For Full HD, at 1080p, you"ll need 5 Mbps (according khổng lồ Netflix) or 6 Mbps (according lớn Hulu).

But if you want lớn stream in 4K, the demands are much steeper: Hulu suggests a minimum bandwidth of 16 Mbps, while Netflix recommends "A steady mạng internet connection speed of 25 megabits per second or higher."

16. Can a smart TV replace cable?

More và more people are trying cord cutting, which refers to the termination of cable or satellite TV service in favor of paid online services such as Amazon Video, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube TV. These services offer a cable-like experience with several channels for a subscription fee that"s probably less expensive than your current cable or satellite bill. You can use your smart TV to lớn take advantage of these services & cut the cord, with certain limitations.

There are also several miễn phí, ad-supported services that provide hours of shows, movies, và even live sầu news và sports without a subscription. Crackle, Plukhổng lồ.tv & Xumo are available on most smart TV platforms and offer something for just about everyone. More specialized services, like the anime-focused Crunchyroll and the music video-only Vevo deliver niche content on most smart TVs, & others, lượt thích The Roku Channel, may be specific khổng lồ one platform.

The biggest reason lớn maintain a cable or satellite TV subscription is lớn watch live sầu sporting events. (Some apps, such as MLB.com, stream live sầu sports, but these services cost extra & don"t include all games.)

However, there are several cable replacement services that now offer both local broadcast networks và live sầu sports, such as Dish Network"s Sling TV và Sony"s PlayStation Vue. Sling TV, another popular cable replacement option, was once limited khổng lồ TVs using Roku or Android TV software, but is now available on LG và Samsung TVs as of 2018. DirecTV Now và YouTube TV are two other options.

The other option, particularly in urban environments, is lớn add one of the best TV antennas lớn pull in không lấy phí local broadcasts khổng lồ supplement online streaming services.

17. Does a smart TV have sầu a better picture or sound?

Not necessarily. Built-in Wi-Fi & a processor for decompressing video clip vì chưng not directly affect picture unique. However, since manufacturers initially added smart TV features to lớn more expensive sầu, higher-over (& better-performing) HDTVs, shoppers will find that the picture unique on some smart TVs beats that of lower-priced models that lack the smarts.

They also are more likely to have sầu the lakiểm tra audio features, such as Dolby Atmos sound & HDXiaoMI ARC support. Dolby Atmos offers a richer sound experience with vertical surround capability as well as horizontal, and it uses a higher bit-rate to lớn deliver fuller, more nuanced audio. Another feature, Audio Return Channel (ARC) lets you use a single HDXiaoMI cable to lớn skết thúc audio data too and from your soundbar, so all of your connected devices get the best sound, no extra cable required. These features aren’t restricted to lớn smart TVs, but manufacturers are far more likely to lớn include them on their more premium products, which leaves TVs without smart functionality unlikely lớn get them.But it is worth noting that streaming apps, lượt thích Netflix & Amazon Prime Video, offer one of the easiest options for enjoying 4K & HDR-enabled content. While 4K Blu-rays are available lớn buy and rent, streaming offers the easiest way to get a wealth of nội dung for your TV that truly takes advantage of your high-resolution, high-brightness display. You can get some of this same functionality with a streaming stichồng – provided you get a model that supports 4K & HDR – but smart TVs offer the best combination of convenience và nội dung, often without costing any more than what you"re already paying for your streaming subscriptions.