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What is a Smart TV … and Am I Dumb if I Don’t Have One?

Published On July 15, 2015 | App & Software, Electronics

It seems like these days, everything is “smart” from smartphones and smartwatches to smart TVs and yes, even refrigerators. If you’re not up to speed with the latest technology like so many millennials and Silicon Valley dwellers, not owning one of these devices can make you feel, well, dumb.

But don’t get down on yourself just yet, Here are answers to some of the top questions about smart TVs.

What is a smart TV?

A smart TV is any TV that features integrated Internet connectivity. While some people use smart TVs simply for streaming videos and TV shows, there are a whole host of activities that users can now perform with their smart TV, including browsing Facebook and other social media, listening to Internet radio, playing video games and more.  Smart TVs come pre-loaded with software and apps for performing these tasks, and in many cases, users can add additional apps to their smart TV.  Unlike external devices such as Apple TV, which can work with your already existing “dumb” television, smart TVs have the capabilities built in seamlessly.

Are all smart TVs the same?

No, in fact, each and every smart TV varies quite a bit. Each television manufacturer uses their own proprietary software for their smart TVs. While most smart TVs come with the most popular apps and tools such as Netflix, Facebook and Pandora, what else is included is on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, when shopping for a smart TV, it is important to understand which apps are most important to you and your family. This will help guide you in your decide of which smart TV to purchase.

It’s also important to note that some smart TV manufacturers offer differ “tiers” of service. A lower-priced model will feature fewer apps and tools than the top-of-the-line models. This works in the favor of those consumers who want to upgrade, but don’t want to spend a fortune.

Do smart TVs need to be replaced more often?

One of the common questions about smart TVs is whether they need to be replaced more often than traditional TVs to ensure software is up-to-date. The thought is that, like personal computers and cell phones, it seems newer (and better) technology comes out at lightning speed. Fortunately, however, most television manufacturers perform regular software updates and security updates. Keeping the software up to date will lengthen the lifetime of your smart TV. Prior to purchasing, however, you should check with the manufacturer to see about warranties and the frequency of software upgrades.

Are smart TVs affordable?

The price for smart TVs varies widely based on the brand and the features of the specific television. However, the good news is that the price of smart TVs is going down. According to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan, the average sale price of a smart TV in 2011 was $2100. Now, in 2015 it is $1510, and expected to drop to $1200 by 2017.

Are smart TVs safe?

The question of privacy and security is nothing new in the age of the Internet. The truth is that just like an email account, a cell phone or any other personal electronic device, smart TVs are susceptible to hacks and viruses. For those reasons, it’s best to avoid using highly personal or sensitive apps on your television, such as a bank app, or anything that requires your credit card information.

 Just like with every technology purchase, it’s important to think about your individual needs and wants. While a smart TV offers many cool, interesting features, it may not be the purchase for you, particularly if you’ve resigned to only watching basic cable. But, it can’t hurt to keep up with the latest trends regardless of whether you buy or not.




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