How to Buy A Smart TV
Smart (also known as net or internet) TVs are next generation televisions classified by their ability to work seamlessly with internet connections. Unlike standard HD and 3D TVs, they offer certain apps uniquely designed to stream straight to your TV to enhance your watching experience. There are tons of smart TVs out there, different in feature, size and brand, and a lot of not so clever TVs calling themselves smart. To help you go through the options and choose a good quality smart TV that is right for you, we have created this buying guide that includes everything you need to know about Smart TVs, along with helpful shopping tips.
Smart TVs are divided based on how they connect to the internet. Your options are a wireless connection, LAN port connection, and smart televisions that offer a combination of the two. To help you make a decision for the right type, think about what internet connection you have at home, the spot where your television will be placed, and what kinds of things you are likely to watch. Here is a breakdown of each to help you compare:
LAN or Ethernet Port Connected Smart TVs: These smart TVs have a direct connection to the router by an ethernet cable. This offers viewers a much more stable internet connection and therefore makes HD video streaming much more enjoyable.
Wireless Connected Smart TVs: Smart TVs that provide wireless connectivity gives owners much more freedom of movement when setting up their television. This is especially helpful for people whose routers are located in a different room to their entertainment setup.
Based on all the consumers’ reviews we’ve scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:
- Image: It is no surprise that smart TV images are the most reviewed feature, and smart TVs that offer crisp images and good adjustability of both contrast and color are rated much higher by their owners. To ensure maximum satisfaction, check that your new smart TV gets good reviews for imaging, and make sure it has the features to make it compatible with the type of content you will be watching.
- Remotes: Remotes add convenience to your entertainment setup and smart TVs offering quality intuitive remotes are reviewed well. Remotes that make it easy to navigate TV features and apps or that offer modern gesture controls are favored by users.
- Apps: A varied app list is praised by smart TV owners. Top apps like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Pandora are a must when choosing a smart TV. Some brands include subscriptions to these services as part of your purchase, which means way more viewing options for your money.
- Sound: Smart TV owners favor ones that include good built-in sound over ones that don’t. Choosing a smart TV with better sound will lessen your need for soundbars and external speakers, especially if you don’t have the space for a big entertainment area with lots of accessories. If this is a concern for you, comparing the top brands manufacturer specs for the best sound options will avoid disappointment.
- The most important consideration when purchasing your smart TV is the speed of your home network. For optimum results, your home connection download speed should be at least 5mbps for a single device (i.e if you will only be running your smart TV and no other smart appliances). For multiple connected devices, you will need a minimum speed of 10Mbps to stream HD content.
- For the most efficient smart TV options, look for a brand that has both, mobile and tablet apps, that can be downloaded, as this will make it possible for you to use these devices as a remote control.
- Choosing a smart TV with Ultra HD and/or 3D watching capabilities gives you a lot more viewing pleasure for the price you pay.
- When deciding on a smart TV, it is helpful to look at which apps the model offers. A variety of game, lifestyle, video, and even social network apps are offered by various brands and choosing a smart TV with interest related apps will improve your viewing. It is also good to be aware that, like mobile apps, these apps will need to be updated from time to time to ensure peak performance.
- To add wireless function to a LAN connected smart TV, an external wi-fi adapter will give you multiple connection options.
- Choosing a smart TV that provides viewers with a full web browser will mean you are able to surf the web directly on your TV, which is really convenient.
- Digital Living Alliance Network (DLNA) connection enables users to link multiple devices on a single network. This is a handy smart TV feature as it will make it possible for you to connect computers and TVs to share and stream data – meaning watching TV content on your laptop andlaptop content on your smart TV.
- Not all interfaces are designed the same, and choosing a good smart TV brand with clear user-friendly interface designs will ensure easier navigation.
- New smart tv remotes often support gesture controls and/or speech recognition. This remote feature allows you to easily navigate screen menus with the flick of a hand or use voice prompts to change channels.
- It is important to consider the length of the ethernet cable you will need when opting for a LAN connected smart TV. The cable will have to reach from the TV to the router, and measuring the distance beforehand will make sure the length is sufficient.
Samsung: In 2007, Samsung introduced its first Internet TV, and as of writing, they offer 35 different smart TVs for consumers to choose from. Many of their new TVs come with a handheld remote control that has a touch-sensitive and clickable trackpad, in addition to gesture control.
LG: LG’s Smart TV remotes allow users to change channels using gestures, and some even let you choose your channel by writing the numbers in the air and incorporate voice recognition software.
Vizio: Based in Irvine, CA and founded in 2002, Vizio Inc. primarily manufactures flat screen television sets, with almost every model a Smart TV. They were the first company to manufacture a sub-$1000 4K 50” smart TV.
Toshiba: Toshiba is a Japanese electronics designer and manufacturer. They offer a wide range of televisions, and starting in 2010 announced that all of their LCD TVs would meet Energy Star standards. A number of their 4K smart TVs run the Android operating system.