If you’re in the market to buy a new HDTV, you may be wondering whether to buy a Smart TV or an LED TV?
Which offers better quality? Which would give you the best bang for your buck?
Difference Between Smart TV and LED TV
Smart TVs are actually LED (Light Emitting Diode) TVs which act more like a computer CPU.
They come with Internet functionality and apps installed.
To put it simply Smart TVs are actually ‘giant’ smartphones or tablets, rather than traditional TVs or tube TVs which can do no more than receiving TV broadcast and video signals from devices like VHS and DVD/Blu-ray players.
Just as you can access video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu over your mobile devices and computer, you could also do so with a Smart TV.
Also, you can access social media, play games, and also control your home gadgets especially Alexa and Google Home compatible devices.
Some latest smart TV models support voice recognition offering support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can switch channels and do a program search by talking to your TV.
Most smart TVs are compatible with almost any smart speaker you may own. Some have the functionality built into the TV itself.
Some smart TVs come with a special dashboard that allows you to control smart lights and smart locks.
The standard LED TV, on the other hand, can only be used as a display device for video sources from media playback devices like Blu-ray players, TV boxes, and cable TV boxes.
Smart TV Video Streaming Functionality
One main attraction of a Smart TV is its ability to stream video from the Internet.
Usually, you watch video streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu Plus over your computer or smartphone. A Smart TV has that capability, too.
As has been mentioned earlier, a Smart TV is very much like a computer.
Smart TV is a Miniature Computer
You can go online with it and use a web browser which would enable you to visit social media sites and even perform tasks like sending emails and so on.
But then when it comes to social media apps like Twitter and Facebook you won’t enjoy the convenience you do with a computer unless you use a keyboard.
Of course, you would need a fast, stable Internet connection. If you already have one, then you can connect your TV to the Internet wirelessly or through an Ethernet cable.
The latest Smart TVs offer support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi. So, if you’re shopping for a Smart TV be informed that some older models support only 802.11n Wi-Fi.
802.11ac adopts the 5GHz band and offers a speedier Internet connection compared to 802.11n.
Some top-end models are Wi-Fi 6- ready. Wi-Fi 6 can support speeds up to 9.6 Gbps (theoretically). It also offers better security features.
Smart TV Operating System
Unlike computers which operate mainly on Windows or iOS, Smart TVs come with various operating systems.
Samsung’s Smart TV software is Tizen.
Vizio runs on SmartCast.
Sony and Hisense use Google’s Android TV operating system.
Other budget sets are powered by Roku TV or Amazon Fire TV. A few come with built-in Apple TV.
Smart TV User Interface
User interfaces also differ from one Smart TV brand to another. Some have the scrolling ribbon mode of displaying apps, usually located towards the bottom of the screen.
Others display more apps across the screen, giving your eye more options. The ease of navigating the menu will depend on the remote control layout.
You’ll have to decide which interface you and your family members are comfortable with.
LED TVs are a form of upgraded LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TVs.
They use a special kind of backlighting instead of fluorescent lighting placed horizontally behind the display area in a normal LCD TV.
LEDs are much smaller than fluorescent lighting panels. As such the display unit is less bulky and much thinner than a normal LCD TV.
The LED feature provides TVs with a darker shade of lighting and higher energy savings.
LED TV Drawback
Despite this plus, LED TVs have a drawback.
You get a limited viewing angle compared to that of an LCD TV.
With the advent of Internet-enabled affordable standalone TV boxes with preloaded apps, there’s not much of a difference between a Smart TV and a LED TV.