De-mystifying Smart TVs

“Smart” is a frequently-used word nowadays, and can be attributed to people or devices. While this can indicate a device’s credentials, it can also create something of a minefield when trying to understand what it is you are buying. This article aims to break through some of the misconceptions about Smart TVs and how to understand what it is they do.

Can the TV access the internet?
Look for the word “Wi-Fi” or the ‘5 ripple’ symbol that indicates it (the same one that appears in the top left-hand corner of your cell phone). This quickly tells you whether a TV is internet compatible.

Apps – what does the TV come with?
A great feature of modern Smart-TVs is that many models come pre-loaded with streaming platforms such as Amazon, YouTube and Netflix – this avoids having to install these popular apps when you get your TV up and running. When buying, check the outer packaging for the relevant logos to indicate pre-installation.

New TV resolution
The picture quality of your new Smart TV is all about the resolution, and this is determined by the number of pixels – in simple terms, it’s the more the better in terms of picture quality. Look for the ‘HD’ or High Definition symbol on the TV for the best display. An HD 1080 display is a solid, mid-range option that suits most budgets, or 4K Ultra Smart TVs cost that bit extra but offer the best available picture quality.

Get your teeth into it
When you make your new TV choice, be sure to check for Bluetooth functionality. With this, you can wirelessly connect speakers, headsets and other peripheral devices to aid your viewing experience without the clutter of cables.

Hard to port
HDMI ports are a must, and a common feature of good, modern Smart TVs. They enable the connection of devices such as games consoles to your TV, and provide the best high definition picture from them. Be sure to look for a TV model that has plenty of HDMI ports to enable you to plug multiple devices in at the same time.

Off the wall….
Last but not least, be sure to check that your choice of new Smart TB is setup for wall mounting. Not only do floor standing TVs take up unnecessary space in your room, but nothing truly beats the visual experience of a wall-mounted screen.

Can You Make a TV Smart?

If your TV isn’t smart, that doesn’t mean you need to head out and buy a brand-new TV set to access smart features.

As long as your existing set has a HDMI port on the rear, you can use a smart dongle to make your TV smart. Here are some of the top smart dongles you can consider:

  • Fire TV Stick – Amazon’s Fire TV stick has access to all the major apps including Disney+ and Apple TV which aren’t on all smart dongles. It comes with a remote that has a built-in microphone for using Alexa to control your device.
  • Google Chromecast – The other popular dongle for making your TV smart is Google’s Chromecast. The latest generation comes with a remote and the Google Play Store which has the broadest range of apps and games of any streaming device.

Setting up the dongle is as simple as plugging in a power cable and popping the device into your TV’s HDMI port.

In summary
With the availability of information at our fingertips nowadays, it’s understandable that it can be daunting to sift through and find the right (and reliable) information about Smart TVs. I hope this article has helped a little with some of the main things to look out for, and be sure to check back for more tips and guidance!

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