News Update

FAQs Vol. 1: What is a ‘Smart’ Telly and do I really need one?

What is a Smart TV?

For those amongst of us belonging to the older generation, it can often be a little dispiriting to see yet another ‘television’ fad rear its head. Since its inception, television has been a product heavily focused on innovation. However, whereas innovations in a product like mobile phones have provided utility to the consumer which has warranted the repeat investment, the television’s track record has been a little sketch in comparison. Great leaps forward have been announced only to be dropped by the wayside a few years later. For example, 3D televisions made a huge splash in the late noughties, with companies such as Samsung claiming that they would be the future of home entertainment, a decade down the line, however, and that reality is far from the truth. In comparison, the switch in the UK from analogue to digital television presented a very real demand for homeowners to upgrade their hardware in order to continue their service.

There’s been significantly less fuss made over the development of smart TVs, despite their features offering a significant step up for anyone currently using a non-smart television. Smart TVs are a step up from normal televisions with in-built digital functionality, they have access to the internet and are therefore able to run popular video apps such as Netflix, Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. Access to these services is still dependant on signing up, so you’ll need to pay a subscription in order to make the most of these benefits. Some Smart TVs have in-built memory, allowing you to save live television to re-watch later, whereas others also offer internet browsing capability or access to gaming services.

So is a Smart TV a mandatory purchase?

Unlike the switch over to digital TV, which was completed back in 2012, you are not required in any way to purchase a Smart Television. There will be no point in the near future when your normal, non-Smart TV will stop working, however, you may find yourself tempted to purchase one if you see how intuitive and useful they are becoming. Early incarnations of Smart Televisions promised smooth navigation and easy usability, but controls were sluggish and far behind the responsiveness you’d find on video games console. Today, modern Smart TVs are equipped with more processing power which means that using them is a much more enjoyable, smooth experience. If you feel like you can live without the benefits of one then you are not obligated to the purchase, especially when there are cheaper ways of obtaining Smart functionality with your current set.

Is there a cheaper option?

New televisions have never been a cheap investment, and what’s more, they are wont to depreciate in value at an alarming rate. Thankfully, there are cheap alternatives to getting access to the benefits they offer, without dropping the money for a new TV. If you own a current-generation console (such as the Xbox One or PS4), then you may find that you can delay the purchase of a smart television for a while yet, as having one of these hooked up to your TV essentially gives you Smart capability. You can run most major video streaming apps through modern consoles, in addition to making use of some basic recording functionality. Alternatively, you can purchase a streaming dongle, such as Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire Stick to access streaming services, you will need a spare HDMI socket on your TV for this to work though.…

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