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The Pros and Cons of Smart TVs: What Should You Really Look for in a TV?

by Ann Ferguson

Smart TVs are everywhere, each with a whole bunch of apps to make watching TV and listening to music in your home even easier. With a "dumb" TV, you only have a primary display monitor for regular TV channels with several connectors to hook up other devices. So, when smart TVs came out, the ease of Wi-Fi connectivity and streaming took the world by storm. But when searching for a new TV, should you really look for all those smart features?

Over 53 percent of American households have a smart TV, but it might not be what everyone needs to view their favorite content to the fullest potential. We'll go over the pros and cons of a smart TV and what you should look for in a TV.

PRO: Stream Content Easier

Person scrolling through TV apps

The most significant advantage of a smart TV is the endless hours of entertainment, courtesy of all those streaming apps. You'll never run out of things to watch with platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and more.

You can even surf the internet without opening your computer, which can be handy if you're dealing with technical difficulties. And, along with all the smart apps and Wi-Fi, you can still receive regular TV channels.

PRO: Set Up Anywhere

TV mounted on bedroom wall

The second biggest advantage of a smart TV is that you can set it up anywhere — all you need is a power outlet. Since all you need is Wi-Fi to operate all the apps, you won't have to deal with finding a place for your cable box or streaming box.

So, if you want to move the TV to a different room or even have multiple TVs - one in each room - you can! Just plug them in, connect to your network, and you're good to go.

CON: Poor Picture Quality

While the ability to stream effortlessly is fun and easy, it can negatively affect your picture quality. For instance, when your Wi-Fi signal is slow, your TV picture gets blurry. And if you have internet bandwidth issues or a faulty connection, it can cause your display to malfunction.

And even if you have fast Wi-Fi and all the connections are working great, some of your TV's natural settings can affect the resolution and cause you to have a blurry image. Most TV’s come with noise reduction, which reduces the “snow” that affects picture quality. But since a snowy picture mostly affected older TVs, it mostly smooths over the fine details in a picture.

Similarly, sharpness control and motion smoothing can cause images with halos or the dreaded “soap opera” effect. So, be sure to check out these settings to get a better picture.

Pro Tip: If you have a consistently blurry or low-quality image, check your TV's zoom settings, or do a hard reset.

CON: Unreliable Performance

Buffering Netflix

Like any computer, a smart TV is prone to crashing or malfunctioning. As mentioned before, if your internet is buggy, your image quality will suffer, and might even experience choppy streaming. And if your internet is slow, then sometimes your TV slows down too. Other issues you could face include:

  • Software crashes when it needs updating.
  • Insufficient processing power causes freezing or crashing apps.
  • Input lag when pressing buttons.
  • Not getting updates or software patches.
  • Limited app features (some don't transfer over from desktop or browser versions).

CON: Security Issues

While Wi-Fi connectivity is a significant pro, it can also be a disadvantage since connecting to the internet means it's vulnerable to security issues. Most use automatic content recognition to track what you're watching to show you more relevant ads. But the biggest problem is the potential eavesdropping from hackers because of faulty manufacturer encryption.

While data breaches are possible, that's easy to circumvent — just don't use your TV for sensitive information, like banking. And always use the securest password possible even in your streaming apps.

CON: Streaming Devices Offer More

Having all your apps on a TV might sound like a good idea, but you're missing out. Streaming devices such as Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire offer better platforms, easier interfaces, and better integration with your smartphone and other devices.

For instance, if you want to use voice control to launch an app or share something from your phone, the process is much simpler. You'll have fewer clicks to make, so you can watch what you want with less hassle. And not only is the interface easier, but the whole device is inexpensive and easy to upgrade!

CON: Insufficient Interfaces

Using smart device to stream on TV

Smart apps are convenient, but only if the interface is simple and easy to use. With smartphones and computers, the ease of pointing and typing makes working the interfaces incredibly simple. But with smart TVs, you can only use your remote, which makes typing what you're searching for tedious and prone to annoying typos.

Overall, it's just too many button presses to get to where you need to go, which wastes valuable TV-watching time and can negatively affect your mood.

The Takeaway

The pros and cons of a smart TV are numerous, but what's the takeaway? The simple answer is that you shouldn't select a TV based on the smart features. These features should only be a nice add-on, so your TV isn't your only source of content, making wiring, programming, and setup a total headache.

Instead, your focus needs to be solely on picture quality — the nicer, the better! And with more and more content available in 4K resolution, investing in a 4K TV is just the thing. But even if 4K isn't what you need, ensure your TV has at least a 120 Hz refresh rate, is HDR compatible, and supports HDMI 2.1 formats or higher.

Pro Tip: Upgrade your TV sound with a soundbar or home audio system and enhance your content!

Ready to Watch

Woman amazed by incredible TV picture quality

Now that you know more about the pros and cons of a smart TV, it's time to upgrade! But no matter what you prefer, at Decker & Sons, we have plenty of TV options for you to choose from! And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call or stop by!

We'll help you narrow down your choices and find the ideal TV solution that works for you so that you can feel like you’re in the middle of all the action!