What’s the Difference Between a Smart TV and a Roku TV? Which should you buy if you’re in the market to replace an older HDTV set?
A Smart TV is a TV which has computer functionality, albeit limited, built in into it.
It comes with an operating system which allows you to do much more than a normal ‘Dumb” HDTV.
For example Samsung’s and LG’s Operating Systems are Tizen and WebOS. respectively.
And yes, it could be connected to the Internet.
Smart TV : A Giant-Sized Tablet
Imagine having a giant-sized tablet, through which, once connected to the Internet, you can make full use of most of the apps.
Smart TVs come with pre-installed apps. The bigger brands even have their own app stores from which you can download proprietary and popular apps.
For example, if you buy a Samsung Smart TV, you get apps in such categories as Lifestyle, Information, Education, Kids, Sports, and Video apps.
Popular apps available with most Smart TVs are YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, PlayStation Now, Hulu, Spotify, Vudu, Plex, HBO, iPlayer (BBC) and Web Search.
If you’re content with enjoying these basic services, then you don’t have to buy any add-on devices like a TV box to enjoy more services.
Smart TV Warning
On the cost side, be prepared to pay more for a Smart TV than a normal HDTV.
A word of warning though, if you’re buying a Smart TV. Apart from the popular apps they come with, their operating systems are rather limited and don’t get updated often like an Android TV, for instance.
So, you may want to look at a Roku TV.
A Roku TV is just a kind of Smart TV. Only that it’s operating system is powered by the Roku OS.
Roku : A ‘Smarter’ Smart TV?
Those who’ve used Roku TV call it a smarter’ Smart TV : A Giant-Sized Tablet Why? Because it’s purpose-made for video streaming.
Flexibility and App Variety
Compared to a Smart TV, a Roku TV has software which is much easier to handle and navigate through.
You also have the flexibility of using free apps and even download apps like WatchESPN, HBO Now and Hallmark Movies which aren’t usually available over Smart TVs. Of course, you must have paid accounts to enjoy these services.
At the time of writing, there are over 1800 such services available with Roku TV.
Be informed though that these services aren’t available globally except the ones like Netflix. But if you’re in the USA, you can access most of these channels.
With a Roku TV you get variety if you’re a movie buff. You can rent a movie from Movie Store, a popular Roku app. This facility isn’t available in a Smart TV.
Main Difference Between a Smart TV and a Roku TV
Here’s the main difference between a Smart TV and a Roku TV.
With a Roku TV, you get regular software updates. We’ll call it Over-The-Air(OTA) software updates.
When your TV is connected to the Internet, the availability of such updates are checked every day. You can’t turn these auto updates off. So, you can rest assured that you’re equipped with the latest software in your Roku TV.
That’s not usually the case with a normal Smart TV.
Which to Buy?
You may have to pay a little extra for a Roku TV but the reward is you get more flexibility and variety compared to a Smart TV the software of which is more proprietary and limited in nature, no matter what they say in their advertising.