Cutting the Cord - Smart TVs
In one sentence: A Smart TV is a television that can connect to the internet and stream content through apps. It's that simple... well, sort of...
While a Smart TV is defined, generically, by the above sentence, there is no standard that dictates which features must be included to be considered a Smart TV. While all Smart TVs have some way to connect to the internet, and some apps to present content, the similarities can go off in many directions from that point.
The hardware of a Smart TV is an all-in-one concept. You get one television with the components built in that enable you to view content and one remote that operates all the features of the TV. There are no stand-alone boxes nor multiple remotes necessary - everything is included all-in-one. You just plug in the power, connect to the network, and select the apps you want to use to watch content. Of course Smart TVs are still regular TVs as well, so you can connect your OTA antenna, cable box, or satellite dish, just like you would any other TV.
You could consider the smart part of the TV to be like a built in computer - not a full fledged desktop computer, but a very capable computer module that is designed to run apps for presenting content. This part of a Smart TV runs firmware (like software) to operate the smart functions of the TV. Apps are included as a part of this firmware. Most manufacturers will provide firmware updates from time to time. Unlike tablets and smartphones though, you don't usually get to pick and choose which apps you want to run on the Smart TV - that decision is usually baked in to the firmware by the TV manufacturer. Smart TVs run on a particular OS (operating system) chosen or designed for that TV. Common Smart TV OS versions include Android, Firefox, or individual brand name operating systems - a few TVs even come with an OS featuring the popular Roku service.
Some Smart TVs may have additional features above and beyond the basic apps available over a network connection - for example, some Smart TVs will include an app for web browsing, an optional wireless keyboard or other input device, or a built in camera like a webcam that can be used for video calling apps.
Purchasing a Smart TV is a process intended to provide several years of entertainment and enjoyment. Be sure to take the time to research the features that are important to you when making this purchase.
If a Smart TV seems like the best approach for you, take a look at our selection of Smart TVs.