Below you will find the answers to the following questions:
What is a Smart TV, and what makes it “Smart”?
What makes a TV “Smart”?
HD TV or Smart TV?
LED or Plasma or OLED?
Smart TV, Internet TV, or Cloud TV?
720p, 1080i, 1080p, or 4K?
Sidelit or Backlit LED? What is 4K? Is it part of Smart TV Technology or HD technology?
What is a Smart TV, and what makes it “Smart”?
Simply put, the Smart TV gives you the freedom to choose with truly on-demand content. It brings together your television, computer, apps, video games, movies, on-demand streaming, social media, and even smartphone. More choices, more programs, and more connected means more fun!
The Smart TV has become the new gold standard of innovative in home entertainment. Its broad functionality and flexibility makes it the centerpiece of any home. A term first coined by Samsung, a Smart TV can take advantage of resources that are outside the functions of normal televisions. It continues to provide traditional television content while enhancing the users’ experiences through the internet.
Using your home WiFi network, the Smart TV allows access to other digital devices in the home and to online services. Along with surfing the internet and accessing traditional computer applications from the couch, its internet connectivity allows viewers to seek out and find digital content through on-demand services, instead of only accepting the shows that traditional TV’s provide. Netflix™ and Hulu™ along with other providers traditionally found on your computer and smartphone offer content for your new Smart TV.
Viewers will also find video games available and be able to access their social media, photos, music, and movies. Then add to all this a growing library of apps that provide original subject matter and prove apps aren’t just for your smartphone anymore. And if your Android or iOS smartphone is compatible with your new Smart TV, you can use your phone to control and interact with your TV, creating a never-before-seen level of entertainment.
Your new Smart TV will be the centerpiece of your home and social life.
You know it… you love it… it’s the reason people don’t stare at paintings on cave walls anymore. Smart TVs come in LED or Plasma, and there’s a size to fit every room – from a freshman dorm to a vaulted ceiling living room. Whatever your needs or tastes, there’s a Smart TV for you.
Everything you love about TV continues in your Smart TV. If you wanted to hook it up and treat it like your old television, you could… but why would you? Especially when you see all the new toys.
500 channels and nothing on? Not anymore!
WiFi is built in to your Smart TV, giving you easy access to a world beyond cable or satellite television from the comfort of your couch. Premium content comes to your living room on-demand through Netflix™, Hulu™, and other streaming online programming. The best movies and shows are even closer. Action, Romance, Comedy, Horror, Animation, Children’s Shows. There is something for everyone in the family.
With much of the
Library of Apps:
One of your favorite features of smartphones comes to your Smart TV. Third-party apps bring a variety of interests comprising sports, streaming videos, social media, weather, finance, breaking news, and more. If you are bored you can play a game or even challenge your brain with an educational app. With libraries growing every day, there will be new discoveries waiting all the time.
Browse the library to find your newest toy and update your Smart TV with Facebook™ or Angry Birds™ or Accuweather™. Just download the app and away you go.
With apps and content added regularly, your Smart TV is newer, better, and more entertaining every time you turn it on. There is a vast world to discover that is ever expanding. Your biggest concern will be finding the time to search through it all.
Social Media and Video Games:
Are you checking your Facebook™ page constantly and missing your favorite show or the big game? Do you want to call a friend on Skype™? Do you want to see or edit your photos on Picasa™? Wondering what’s happening on your Twitter™ feed? Facebook™, Skype™, Picasa™, Twitter™ and more are available at the touch of a button. Your friends, family, and newsfeed come to you like never before.
If you’re still bored, download some games from the app store and play your favorite and new games on the big screen. Angry Birds™ isn’t confined to a few square inches of your phone anymore. Launch them across the 50” screen mounted on your wall and experience the game like new before. Then check out classics like Pac Man™ and relive the arcade feeling.
(Availability of certain apps dependent on Smart TV manufacturer’s apps library.)
Interact with your smartphone:
Your new Smart TV comes included with a remote control capable of advanced functions, but why stop there?
Download your Smart TV manufacturer’s available app to your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, and watch it become a remote control too! That’s right – many manufacturers provide an app for your smartphone that allows it to interact with your Smart TV.
An additional benefit over the remote control includes controlling sites like Youtube by typing in search keywords through your smartphone’s keypad. And now share pictures, video, or music between the smartphone, tablet, and Smart TV. See your photos from your smartphone on the big screen, or watch Netflix on your tablet. Your files aren’t spread out across multiple devices anymore. They can be wherever you need them.
Not only does it allow you to share content between the devices and gain a new level of control, but you also don’t have to worry about losing the remote again!
Check individual brands and models for size, specifications, and functionality
What makes a TV “Smart”?
It’s a good question. First off, don’t worry about your TV becoming TOO smart. It isn’t sentient, and it hasn’t become self-aware. So no time travel or robots here. Instead, Smart TVs differ from “dumb” TVs in that they don’t simply sit there and rely on a cable or satellite provider to push shows to your home. Old TVs are totally dependent on whatever is attached to them – cable, satellite, DVD player, or Blu-ray player. These feed data to your screen without any input or say from you the viewer, aside from changing channels or putting in a DVD or Blu-ray disc or just turning it off altogether.
A Smart TV is “smart”, because it gives you power to dictate what, when, and where you want to watch. If your satellite provider doesn’t offer it, who cares? You can find it elsewhere now. Whereas non-Smart TVs have content “pushed” to it, the Smart TV allows the viewer to pull content from outside sources, selected based on your personal tastes. It really is the ultimate freedom to choose.
HD TV or Smart TV?
Are you looking for a new television and can’t decide what you want?You’ve heard about Smart TVs, but you really like your high definition television.You know HD TV and love HD TV, so you can’t decide if it’s worth taking the risk to buy a Smart TV.
Well, have no fear!TV manufacturers have not re-invented the wheel or thrown away all their past innovations.The Smart TV is the next step in the evolution of television, taking HD TV and making it better.In all likelihood, the Smart TV you are looking at has the same great HD that you’re used to.Many manufacturers took their HD TVs and simply made them greater.
It is always wise to check the specifications of any TV model that you are considering, especially the more affordably priced models.While almost all Smart TVs have 1080i or 1080p resolution, a few have the lower 720p, which is still HD.Even so, you never know when a cost-effective model may be released that offers the benefits of Smart TV functionality at the expense other aspects.Taking a Smart TV converter box and attaching it to an older, lower resolution TV will not magically make it HD, but any current model Smart TV model is almost certainly HD.
LED or Plasma?(Updated: or OLED?)
LED or Plasma screen?It is the age-old question.Like which came first, the chicken or the egg?It can stir passions among the more tech-savvy consumers, but for the rest of us, the answer may not be so clear.This brief discussion is not intended to tell you which is better – only explain the simplest aspects of each for us casual buyers without a background in television specifications.
The good news is that you can choose a Smart TV in either an LED or a Plasma screen.You might have a preference already, which is great, but many people don’t understand the differences between them.Without getting very technical, this column is meant to give just a couple basic differences and limitations.
Both LED and Plasma provide tremendous benefits, but like all things in life, there are some trade-offs for each.Brand variety, price, and size are the non-technical categories that present obvious differences between the two types.
The first difference may not be the most obvious, but it’s arguably the most important.And that’s brand selection.Now, you won’t have any trouble finding LED TVs in any brand you can imagine, but if you want a Plasma screen TV, then you’re restricted to three major brands – Samsung, LG, and Panasonic.You might ask why. The simple answer is that LED TVs require a dedicated factory while Plasma TVs require their own dedicated factory.LEDs and Plasmas cannot be built in the same factory.Consequently, it takes a large investment by the company to build a complex just for Plasmas or just for LEDs.Most companies bet exclusively on LEDs while only Samsung, Panasonic, and LG also opted to include Plasma screen TVs in their line-up.
The second difference is price, although this is not as much of an issue as it used to be.Plasma screens have a reputation of being cheaper than their similarly sized LED counterparts, but in recent years, LED technology has become more competitively priced.Plasmas are often a few hundred dollars cheaper than LEDs on average in the current marketplace, but it is always wise to check prices for sales and discounts.You may just find an LED Smart TV at a cheaper price than a comparable Plasma screen Smart TV.So, LED Smart TVs can offer a good value as well as the Plasma Smart TVs.
The third difference is size variety.LEDs can be produced is almost any size while Plasmas can only be produced only in larger sizes.Smart TVs with LED screens run from the smaller range of approximately 24” on up to 90” currently.There really is no size limit on LEDs.Remember that your tablet or smartphone has an LED screen.Meanwhile, Smart TVs with Plasma screens start at 42” in size and run up in size from there.They are aimed at being larger and more affordable, although current Plasma screen Smart TVs only run up to 65” at the largest model.
As far as picture quality and other technical specs, you will find that each of the TVs present a wonderful picture.There are arguments for each one being better, but there is not a glaring difference.The only obvious difference in viewing experience comes when viewing from an “off-angle”, i.e. watching the TV from way off to the side.Plasma screens look great not matter what angle you watch from or how far off to the side you sit.The picture quality of the LEDs does degrade when viewed from a severe angle.LEDs have improved a lot in recent years though.In the past, the difference was noticeable from less acute angles, but now the picture quality doesn’t degrade until you reach way off to the side.This should not be an issue with your viewing experience unless you have a giant room with seating at the far edges.The Smart TV brands offered here are high quality and will give a great viewing experience whether LED or Plasma screen.
A new display technology called OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is set to revolutionize TVs.It uses organic molecules to generate light from electrical current and create the picture on the screen.OLED TVs have the potential to be extremely thin, although we are not yet seeing the true potential in this metric, but we are confident of its possibilities.OLEDs consume less power than other displays but still provide an extremely crisp, bright picture.
Due to its relatively recent introduction to the market, it is still a rare and expensive option compared to Plasmas and LEDs.The ones available ten to be in the $8,000 range and up.
Despite this exciting technology, it does not yet offer options within the budgets of most consumers.For the moment, it remains only in the price range of the extremely wealthy and so-called “early adopters”.With time, we expect to see their prices become affordable and begin entering more homes.In the meanwhile, Plasma and LED displays will continue to dominate the consumer TV market.
Do you wish you had access to international programming that isn’t available in the US?Maybe you immigrated to America and miss your favorite channels from home.Or maybe you have family in another country and your relatives really want you to see the hottest new show.Or you could be a curious TV watcher with 500 channels and nothing on, so you want to see what other countries around the world offer for entertainment.
Smart TV brings the answer.
The wide assortment and various styles of programming around the world provide amazing opportunities for viewers that reach beyond traditional channel offerings in the US.Now that programming is available to American viewers through Smart TV apps.
Maybe you never considered watching international programs.In that case, I would suggest you reconsider.
Remember the early days of sports channels on cable television?The days when the program directors didn’t have enough programming to fill 24 hours, so they ran obscure sports from far off parts of the world.(Admit it – don’t you miss those shows just a little.)Even if we have moved past that and now enjoy shows such as SportsCenter on ESPN or one of the myriad of NFL pre-game shows, the fact is that there are a lot of re-runs and dull content out there.Take a chance and explore what other viewing opportunities lie out there, both sports and otherwise.
Check your TV’s library of apps and download the corresponding apps.You might be amazed what you find.Enjoy the European soccer leagues when the football game is over here.Nothing in the movie theatre or your streaming queue, then a Bollywood film from India might bring a new style of cinema to your living room.Sick of the same songs topping the charts here, then look for a Korean station to hear the latest K-Pop from Korea.Movies, sports, music, news, weather, and more.
If there is one particular region that you are most desiring, it is wise to check the offerings of the different manufacturers and their apps library before purchasing to determine if it is available through your prospective brand.
The larger the library of apps, then usually the wider the content available.Hence, it’s wise to check the size of a brand’s apps library before making the investment in your new Smart TV.
Smart TV or Internet TV or Cloud TV?
You may notice several different names used in the descriptions of the TV list on this site.Mostly you will see “Smart TV” to describe these televisions, but occasionally you will also see the terms “Internet TV” or “Cloud TV” used as alternatives.
Is there a difference you ask?For all intents and purposes, no.They are different terms used by different companies to describe the same thing – an internet-capable TV that allows vast functionality. Each one is a Smart TV, only they are different monikers to stand out from the crowd.Certain manufacturers have attempted to differentiate themselves from the competing manufacturers by using catchy or descriptive names other than Smart TV.
The origin of the alternative names is fairly self-explanatory.“Internet TV” obviously comes from its internet connectivity.“Cloud TV” derives from the cloud-based apps in cyberspace that you can access through their program interface.
Samsung originated the term “Smart TV” as a designation for their burgeoning technology to pull together the capabilities of their “connected TV”, using your home WiFi network to access the internet and integrate it into your TV.Since then, “Smart TV” has become the widely-accepted, general phrase for this evolved TV class, using a different term also allows a manufacturer to attempt to trademark and control a name for their own use.Smart TV is not a trademarked or controlled name.
Manufacturers assert that an Internet TV or a Cloud TV is better or different, but they fall into the same category of WiFi capable televisions, i.e. Smart TVs.Smart TVs that are labeled as Internet TVs and Cloud TVs are wonderful products made by companies trusted by the public.They are worth your consideration and deserving to be in people’s living rooms.This explanation is only meant to explain the difference in names.When you buy an Internet TV or Cloud TV, rest assured you are buying a Smart TV.Any of the Smart TVs through this site are great opportunities to improve the level of entertainment in your home.
720p, 1080i, 1080p, or 4K?
720p, 1080i, 1080p, or 4K? – When checking the resolution on different models, your first reaction might be – what do these numbers mean?There are actually two aspects to the resolution – the number and the letter.
First the number: In simplest terms, the higher the number, the better the resolution.More specifically, it is an indication of how many pixels are on the screen.These numbers are shorthand for the pixel number running along one side of the screen.The actual measure of resolution is the screen’s dimension of width x height measured in pixels.720 has a dimension of 1,280×720 pixels, which translates to a total of about 1million pixels.1080 has a dimension of 1,920×1,080 pixels, which translates to about 2 million pixels.So, 1080 has approximately twice the pixels on the screen as 720.The additional pixels provide greater detail and a sharper image.Hence, 1080’s superior picture to 720.1080 is the most common among Smart TVs.
Both 720 and 1080 are HD.4K is a new resolution called UHD or Ultra High Definition.4K is measured at 3840×2160 pixels or about 8.3 million pixels – 4 times the pixel number of 1080.That’s a lot of numbers, but it boils down to the resolution quality in ascending from lower to higher – 720 then 1080 and 4K on top.(The higher resolution TVs will play lower resolution content as well.)
Second, the letter: This is either “i” or “p”.i stands for Interlaced Scan while p stands for Progressive Scan.These refer to how images are refreshed on the screen.Without going into technical details, Progressive Scan refreshes the images twice as often each second as Interlaced Scan.Thus, “p” produces a smoother image than “i”, especially for fast motion such as sports and action movies.“p” tends to be superior to “i”.
Sidelit of Backlit LED?
If you decide to buy an LED over a Plasma and need to decide between Sidelit and Backlit, there are several things to consider.This is a choice of how the screen is lighted, and each has its benefits.
First, Sidelighting: Also called Edgelit LED, the Sidelit LED is a display that consists of a liquid crystal display that is lighted from behind by LEDs that are placed around the edges.This placement along the perimeter takes up less space and allows a very thin screen.The obvious benefit of thinness being its ease of placement in a TV cabinet or on the wall.
The position of lighting along the perimeter makes the local dimming (when available) quality less than its Full Array Backlit cousin.This is improving but still trails.
Second, Backlighting: The Backlit LED is a display that consists of a liquid crystal display that is lighted by multiple rows of LEDs that run behind the screen.The rows run across the entire screen, so it is also referred to as a Full Array.The multiple rows of LEDs take up more space and create a thicker screen depth than Sidelit LED TVs.The large array of LEDs behind the display allow more uniform lighting and sharpness as well as more uniform control of color and picture quality.
The Full Array Backlit LED is more likely to have high quality local dimming functionality, which improves the lighting and contrast across the whole screen.Local dimming (when available) on these models allows better independent brightening and dimming of zones across the screen than Sidelit.It also avoid overly bright edges that Sidelit LEDs have been known to suffer.
When space is at a premium, Sidelit LEDs might be your best bet while Backlit LEDs may be the way to go if uniformity and sharpness of picture quality is your chief criteria.
What is 4K? Is it part of Smart TV technology or HD technology?
Actually, neither.4K is a developing innovation in TVs.It is the next step in resolution that you are beginning to see.4K is not HD though.It is UHD or Ultra High Definition.A new technology to take resolution beyond current boundaries of 1080p by providing 4 times the number of pixels available on most high-end HD TVs.
UHD and Smart TV technology are distinct.4K is how you perceive the images on your TV while Smart TV provides you with a universe of content.In other words, Smart TV provides what you see, and HD or UHD provide how you see it.They are different parts to a powerful machine – in the same way that the horsepower in a car doesn’t affect the paint color.Both add benefit, but they aren’t dependent on each other.
There are available Smart TV models with Ultra High Definition.The quality brands are still pricey though, tending to start between $2,000 and $3,000 and go up from there.Even if this is out of your current budget range, don’t worry too much.UHD technology is still taking shape, and TV and movie producers may take a few years to produce enough content to make it worth the added price.In the same way, Flat Panel TVs were priced above most people’s budgets when they first appeared, but as the technology improved, the prices fell.The same will happen with UHD TVs.In the meantime, current HD Smart TVs provide more than enough enjoyment and programming to keep you entertained while 4K resolution technology develops and becomes more affordable.As Smart TVs take advantage of 4K resolution, your living room will blend into the world on your screen and become one immersive experience.
Do you love the games on your smartphone but your eyes are tired from squinting at the small screen?Do you wish there was more you could do on your TV at home when nothing’s on?
While a Smart TV does not come pre-loaded with Xbox One or PS4, it does allow easy access to many of the other time-absorbing games that you love.The easiest way to access these games is the same app interface that you know from your smartphone and tablet.The assortment available is growing with the popularity of Smart TVs.As more Smart TVs enter our living rooms, more and more established popular games along with new games are filling the libraries of app stores for multiple brands.While many games are available across multiple brands, the selection does vary from one manufacturer’s library to another.These types of games are what you know from your smartphone – Angry Birds, Bejeweled, and Texas Hold ‘Em, for example.The apps let you download fun, little time-wasters to enjoy, but the app library doesn’t let you download the more immersive, stunning games found in consoles.These types of games are still available through your Smart TV, just not through the app library.You need to use the cloud to get games more like those.
You might ask – What is cloud-based gaming?Well, it is probably the single most exciting opportunity for Smart TVs in development today!It’s the same concept as Netflix streaming of movies, only with video games.This can be a much more affordable option for gaming.You stream video games through your Smart TV, just like you do for movies through Netflix service, without the hassle of leaving your living room or the long wait to download them.There are several services that permit cloud-based gaming.Gaikai had a deal with Samsung for their line of Smart TVs, but Gaikai was purchased in mid-2012 by Sony Entertainment for $380 million.This lends credence to the future of cloud-based gaming with Sony putting its money where its mouth is.The other major cloud gaming service is OnLive, which is the larger of the two major players in this field.They have partnered with many of the largest and best known game developers (over 50) to make their games available through their service.A third option is GameTreeTV, but it’s offerings are closer to the types of games found in your apps library, not a home game console.It is useful if your Smart TV brand’s app library is missing one of your favorite casual games like World Poker Tour or Tetris.(It is always wise to check a brand’s apps library before purchase to check for app availability.)
You can find these two cloud-based gaming companies and their offerings at the following sites:
Next Generation game consoles still exceed anything available through Smart TVs – apps or cloud-based, but for more casual game players, Smart TV games offer entertainment for a much more affordable price than an Xbox One or PS4.As Smart TVs and internet streaming technology continue to evolve, soon even the most demanding games, like Call of Duty, will be accessible free of glitching or errors without the need of a home console.While not here yet, the technology is rapidly approaching to eventually replace the home gaming console that first entered our living rooms back in the 1970’s with a smarter, more affordable alternative driven by the Smart TV.