Smart TV: Everything you need to know
One of the biggest selling products in the smart technology sector over the past few years has been the smart TV. As streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime exploded in popularity, the market for smart TV’s followed, allowing homeowners access to the latest and greatest shows, games and movies through the biggest screen in their house – all at the touch of a remote.
However, whilst many of us are already using smart TV’s, many are still waiting to make the switch. If you need a little help to decide whether a smart TV is right for you, we’ve broken down everything you need to know below.
What is a Smart TV?
Simply put, a smart TV is an internet-enabled television that incorporates a few extra features, such as streaming services, app integrations for things like web browsers and some occasional extra features, such as voice-control and customisable hubs for programmes.
Most modern smart TV’s usually come with 4K (also known as UHD) resolution, however there are a significant number still available in standard definition. In addition, at the absolute top end of the scale, there are a number of TV’s available in a mind-blowing 8K resolution. As this is a relatively new technology, these models can be quite pricey. However, it’s something to consider if you’re striving for picture-perfect TV viewing.
Do I need anything to operate a smart TV?
Technically, no; your smart TV will operate in the same way as a non-smart TV, meaning that even if you have no internet connection, it will broadcast your programmes through a set top box or aerial. However, without an internet connection, you would have no access to its extra features, so an internet connection is required if you’re going to get the most out of your investment.
However, it’s not just about having a stable internet connection – ideally, it needs to be a fast one. When you’re streaming programmes it can take up a lot of data, especially if you’re watching it in high definition; for example, if you wanted to watch any of Netflix’s content in it’s highest 4K UHD setting, you’ll need a speed of around 25mbps or higher to ensure you avoid any annoying buffering issues.
Finally, even though you may be spending a lot of time on your new streaming channels, remember that watching any broadcasted TV in the UK requires a TV Licence – and you could be hit with a hefty fine if you’re caught watching broadcast TV without one.
Are smart TV’s really all that?
The recent rise of streaming platforms, especially the amazing amount of original content that you can find on the major providers, has turned the TV game on its head. The digital providers are quickly becoming the major players in the sector, as evidenced by Amazon Prime’s stretch into showing the Premier League, the most watched sporting league on the planet. And thanks to Netflix, made for TV films are no longer resigned to the bottom of the critics’ choice pile, but are credible award-winning entertainment.
This diversification of content means that you’ll never be short of something to watch, and you can gain access to it all at the simple touch of your smart TV control.
Which smart TV should I choose?
As for which TV to go for, your choice will mostly come down your budget; there’s a whole host of options available to suit any pocket and requirements. If your budget can stretch to it, we’d suggest looking into 4K-ready TV’s, as the majority of content going forward will be supplied in that resolution. Although we aren’t at the tipping point between standard HD and 4K yet, future-proofing your setup with a 4K ready TV wouldn’t hurt!
If you are keen on looking into a smart TV, we’d advise checking out Which? to get some impartial guidance on the best smart TV for your budget.