Last updated: February 04, 2013
What is Smart TV?
The new main functionality in televisions of the last
few years is the ability to do more than just watching television. In the most
advanced TVs, you can connect them to the internet and browse the web like you
can on a computer without the need of an additional peripheral. They also have
a wide range of applications, from a Netflix stream player to a weather report.
The goal of today's televisions is to have all your home entertainment sources
in one device.
Keep in mind that these features are usually added as an afterthought. On most TVs, the applications can be slow and buggy. You usually have a better user experience with a dedicated device like an AppleTV or a Roku.
Do I need a Smart TV?
Not everyone needs a smart television; some only need a
television to display the picture. You should consider getting a smart TV if:
want to watch Netflix, browse the web, see youtube videos, check the weather,
etc. all on your television
- And you don't have already a device that could do the above if you plug it in your
- Video console (Xbox, PS3, Wii)
- HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)
- Entertainment device (Roku box, Apple TV, Google TV, etc.)
A Smart TV is really just incorporating existing things you can do with your television directly inside it, instead of using a third party device.
Which applications come with a Smart TV?
Not all televisions brands have the same applications and functionalities;
it varies a lot. Some brands like LG have a full third party app store where
you can even buy games from independent developers. Others come with only a
limited set of official apps. You do not necessary need a lot of applications,
but make sure the ones that you are planning to use (like Netflix) are there.
||LG Apps (currently 610 apps, full list here)
Magic Motion Remote (Except PM4700 and PM6700)
With Voice (LM8600 and LM9600 only)
||Viera Connect Apps (currently 76 apps, full list here)
Touch Pad Controller (WT50 and VT50 only)
||Samsung Apps (currently 876 apps, full list here)
Smart Touch Remote with Voice and Gesture control (ES7500, ES8000 and E8000 only)
||Limited set with no app store
||Limited set with third party Yahoo Connect TV Apps (currently 207 apps, full list here)
||Limited set with no app store
||Separate wireless keyboard included
||Limited set with third party Yahoo Connect TV Apps (currently 207 apps, full list here)
||Adapter required (sold separately)
Here is a table comparing the main apps across all smart TV platforms, Xbox, PS3 and Roku. This is not the full list thought, if you want an app not listed here go checkout the official list as linked above.
Last Updated: 11/30/2012. If you see any error, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can see in the table, a Samsung Smart TV has a lot more apps than a Roku box, a PS3 or a Xbox. However, you might not actually need those additional apps, so if you already have a Roku box, you might not need a Smart TV.
LG Smart TV
LG Smart TV main screen
LG has one of the most complete Smart TV experience. The main menu interface is divided into 4 main sections. The section to the left displays what you are currently watching. The center section, called Premium, is for streaming contents like Netflix. The right section is for 3D content. The other kinds of apps are shown at the bottom of the screen.
The LG Smart TV platform features a complete third party App Store, with currently 610 apps. The higher end models comes with the Magic Motion Remote with voice control. You can control the cursor with the special remote, as well as giving vocal commands.
Panasonic Smart TV
Panasonic Smart Viera main screen
Panasonic did not change a lot its Smart TV interface for 2012. It still consists of a customizable stack of 7 apps per page, the center being reserved for a live footage and the bottom center for the app store. A strange caveat though, one of the spot need to be taken by an advertisement block. You can move it around, but you cannot complete remove it.
While more limited than the LG, Panasonic Smart TV still offer a third party app store, called Viera Connect Market, with currently 76 apps. The top of the lines models comes with the Viera Touch Pad, a touch sensitive remove that can be used to control a cursor.
Samsung Smart TV
Samsung Smart TV main screen
Samsung put a lot of energy into its Smart TV platform for 2012. The main screen, called Smart Hub, features all your favorite apps and content. They got the biggest third party app store, for a current total of 798 apps.
Samsung's Smart TV distinguishes itself mostly for the vast way you can interact with it.
Their special remote available on its best model, called the Smart Touch Remote, is the most advance of all manufacturers. You can use the track pad, give voice commands as well as execute gesture controls (with the models featuring a built-in camera).
Sharp Smart TV
Sharp Smart Central main screen
Sharp has the most limited Smart TV offering. The Sharp Smart Central, as shown to the left, does not feature any third party store. You are stuck with the 12 native apps. One of them is called VUDU apps, which while might refer to being an app store by itself; it is a very limited version. You cannot download more apps; they come preinstalled in the VUDU interface.
Sharp does not have any special remotes that either comes with the TV or that you can buy. This makes surfing the web on it barely useable.
Sony Smart TV
Sony Entertainment Network main screen
Sony's Smart TV is also limited, but slightly less than Sharp. Like Vizio, they rely on the Yahoo Connect TV Apps store, which features 207 apps currently. This is on top of their native apps, which you cannot choose. Because they base the user experience on a third party company, Yahoo, to handle all its customizable apps, the apps feel a lot more disconnected than the rest.
Also, Sony does not have a special remote than can be used to navigate the web browser or Smart TV interface more effectively.
Toshiba Smart TV
Toshiba ePortal main screen
Toshiba's Smart TV platform is even more limited then Sharp. It does not have a third party app store, and rely on the VUDU app to fill that need. You are basically stuck with the apps than comes preinstalled on your television, which is 7 apps total.
The only good thing about Toshiba's Smart TV is you can hook up a Bluetooth keyboard to browse the web. This simplifies a lot entering text in the browser, but without a good way to control the cursor it is still a bit of a pain.
Vizio Smart TV
Vizio VIA sub screen
Vizio's Smart TV is similar to Sony's. They both rely on the third party Yahoo Connect TV Apps store. Unlike all other brands though, Vizio does not have a full screen home page. Instead, a bar comes up at the bottom of the television featuring all available native apps.
To make things worse, you can only use your smartphone as a TV remote by buying an adapter. At least though, their normal remote has a QWERTY keyboard on it, so you can type text in the web browser faster.
How do I connect the television to the internet?
To have access to the television Smart TV features, you need
to connect it to the internet. You will need to have access to the internet at
home. If you don't want to plug in an Ethernet cable into
it, you will need to have a Wi-Fi network.
Most smart televisions now come with a Wi-Fi receiver out of
the box. You simply need to select your wireless network from the television
settings menu and provide a password if necessary.
Televisions that are listed as Wi-Fi optional cannot connect
to a Wi-Fi network directly. You will need to buy an additional adapter from the
manufacturer of your television to connect it to your wireless internet.
The last option, and also the most common one, is via an Ethernet
cable. Simply connect an Ethernet cable from your router to the television to
have it access the internet. All Smart TVs should have that option.
Most televisions will come will a full web browser, allowing
you to surf any page of the internet without needing a specific application. However,
it is not all televisions that support Flash plug-ins. If your television doesn't,
you will not be able to access any Flash-only website (although they are rare
How do I interact with the Smart TV?
The television remote is the main way of interacting with
the television. When using a smart television, it is important to have a very
user friendly remote. This is especially important when you are surfing the web
in a browser because you will need to control a cursor and type text. If your
television have a qwerty keyboard on it (full keys keyboard), it will be easier
to enter large amount of text.
Is a Smart TV better than a standalone box?
Standalone boxes offer a few advantages compared to a smart
television. For example, you can play games on an Xbox or PS3 console. A smart
TV will always be behind standalone boxes in term of features; especially
compared to a HTPC (home theater personal computer) because they are less
flexible (you cannot install anything that you want on it). An independent device
will always be better than an all-in-one, but depending on your need it might
be overkill. A smart television is more than enough if you only want to watch
The inconvenient of a standalone box is the added cost of
the device as well as shelf space, which can be restricted if you are planning
to install the television on your wall.
You may also want to read
Mar 01 2013
Do smart TVs make good computer (Mac) monitors?
All TVs can make a good computer monitor, smart TV or not. The only requirement is to have a HDMI or DVI input.
Nov 28 2012
Can you access more apps on Roku stand along box than a Samsung tv?
A Samsung TV has way more apps, but Roku has some apps that are not found on a Samsung Smart TV. You can find the full list of Roku's apps (called channels) here
. We will add to this article a table comparing the apps available in the next few days, stay tuned. Update:
we added a table including the comparison with Xbox and PS3.
Jul 15 2013
I am shopping for new TVs and had a question. What is the advantage of getting a smart tv over getting a Google TV set-top box and connecting it to a dumb TV? Its a lot cheaper to get a dumb tv and a set-top box over a smart TV so I was wondering if there is any advantage. Also, if you have a smart TV, can you connect a set-top Google TV to it for enhanced functionality? How does the wifi from my DVD player (I have a DVD player with wifi access), my Google TV box and Smart TV merge together?
Beside having one less box to worry about, there is no real advantage to a smart TV compared to a dumb TV + smart box. On that subject though, do not forget that the manufacturers put the Smart TV functionalities on their best TVs, so you kinda indirectly get a better picture quality. Yes, you can use a set up Google TV box on a smart TV. The WiFi won't merge, they are just separate devices. You will have to choose which one will display on the screen.
May 07 2013
Is s smart tv payable or free?
It depends on which app. Some are free, some aren't and some require a subscription like Netflix.
Dec 27 2012
My vizio smart TV did not come with a qwerty keyboard remote. It just came with a basic remote. Can I use a basic wireless keyboard with it? It's really annoying to use the on screen keyboard.
It depends on the model. Not all Vizio Smart TVs comes with Bluetooth. You can verify your model by going on the Vizio website and looking up the specifications for it or you can also send us an email with your exact model and we will help you.
Jan 06 2013
Is it possible to use the LG magic motion remote for the models that do not have the remote as standard in their package, for instance LM6200
Yes, the LG's magic motion remote is compatible with all of LG's Smart TVs of 2012.
Jul 27 2013
Can i connect my Apple iPad to a Samsung Smart TV?
It depends what you mean by that. There is an iOS app to control your Samsung TV named "Samsung SmartView".
Jan 03 2013
I do not have internet at home. If I buy a Smart TV, will I be able to use it without an internet connection? As a shop said, they had to take one customer's TV back to update it then return it to the customer.
If you do not have an internet connection at home, you will not be able to use the Smart TV features; it will only behave as a normal TV. You can update the firmware without an internet connection though, via a USB key. Go to the manufacturer website and put the new firmware on your USB key, then plug it in your TV. The TV should have an option to update itself from a USB key.
Feb 20 2013
How can I surf the web on my vizio lcd smart tv?
You can't. Vizio 2012 models don't have a full web browser.
Jul 03 2013
We just bought a Samsung smart TV and we do not know how to type in the website that we want to search because we do not know if it requires a computer keyboard plugged to the back. Does it have any feature on the remote that would enable us to do this.
It doesn't require a computer keyboard but it is easier with one. You can still use the on-screen keyboard, but it is really harder to use.
Sep 24 2013
I do not plan on buying cable for my new place, but do plan on purchasing a Smart Tv. With that, I understand I must purchase Internet. If Netflix is already programmed on the tv, do I still have to purchase Internet AND pay for a Netflix subscription?
Yes, you need Internet + Netflix subscription + a player.
Feb 09 2013
I bought the Toshiba Smart TV as it was a good price. Is it possible to still buy an apple TV and use that with the Smart TV to have more options? Also it gets 'stuck' - the remote is aweful to use. Could that be my internet connection, or the TV?
Yes, you can even use an Apple TV on a dumb TV, in the same way you can use an Xbox with any TV. As for your problems, it is the TV. Smart TV apps, mostly on TVs with limited options like Toshiba, are not very stable and buggy. The Apple TV is a lot more stable.
Feb 03 2013
I have a LG 3D TV non smart and want to buy a LG 3D smart blu-ray player. Will I be able to access the internet via the player or must the TV be smart too?
Unlike 3D, the television does not need to be smart if you want to use a smart blu-ray player. Just make sure that a web browser is available on the smart player that you want to buy.
Mar 12 2013
I have a 2012 Panasonic Viera hooked up to the internet via Belkin router. The icons on the TV (Netflix, Twitter, etc) don't highlight when you toggle over them. Any thoughts as to why that may be? How to fix?
It looks like it couldn't connect to the internet. Is it connected via Ethernet or Wifi? If Wifi, make sure you entered the correct password. Additionally, you can verify if the router actually sees your TV by logging in your router (for Belkin, it is usually http://192.168.2.1/).
Jul 13 2013
Are there any Bluetooth keyboards made that work with the Sharp LC-90LE675U?
(I am assuming that you made a typo and you mean the Sharp LC 90LE657U). Yes, 99% of the Bluetooth keyboards will work with it (you do not need to get one from Sharp).
Dec 25 2012
Can my wifi connected smart TV give internet to my Xbox?
No, a WiFi Smart TV cannot give internet to an Xbox. Even if a TV has both WiFi and a Ethernet port, it cannot serve as a router and give internet to a device via the Ethernet port.
Jan 13 2013
Can I use any wifi dongle to connect smart tv on home hub? I can't get a proper answer and prices seem to range from £3-£100 for dongles.
Most Smart TVs nowadays do not need a dongle to connect to WiFi, they already have that built-in. If your television does not, but have a Ethernet plug, you can buy any WiFi to Ethernet bridge. However, do not
buy a WiFi to USB receiver. TVs do not support receiving an internet connection through their USB, they only support Ethernet port.
Feb 11 2013
I have a lot of digital content on my laptop's iTunes (music, videos...). Could I get it all into a smart TV smoothly, or do I need an apple TV for that? I mean: would I be wasting my money buying an apple TV + a Smart TV?
You are better off using an Apple TV. It is possible without it, but it is less straightforward. iTunes does not have a DLNA server feature, so you would need to download a separate server application to have it streamed to your Smart TV.
Feb 28 2013
I have LG LM7600
. Is it recommended to buy ROKU? Do I get free channels in LG smart world?
It depends on your need; not everyone needs a Roku. Roku does offer a few things that a LG Smart TV cannot, and vice versa. Checkout the full list of Roku channels here
Apr 12 2013
Can I get rid of cable if all I want is the local channels? Will I need an antenna or a converter box? I have a Samsung Smart TV.
If all you want to watch is broadcasted local channels, yes you can get rid of cable. You will need an antenna but do not need a converter box. Converter boxes are for old, analog only televisions. Check out this
for the list of available channels in your area.
Jul 29 2013
Wireless internet signal is weak in my girl cave, I can barely access my Ipad. I just purchased (yet to be delivered) an LG Smart wifi TV, could this take the place of a Netgear or belkin router so that I can use my Ipad?
No, Smart TVs cannot act as a wireless router. You should get a WiFi repeater to increase the signal strength.
Sep 07 2013
Is there any risk of virus on the smart tv's if you go to a website and download or watch something?
No. A Smart TV is even more closed than a smartphone, so there isn't any virus that exist which can easily get installed on it.
Aug 29 2012
I cannot watch Amazon Prime videos with my Hisense Smart TV, why?
The web browser in a television like HiSense doesn't support every website. More specifically, it doesn't support Adobe Flash yet, which is what Amazon uses to play in a browser. Also, Amazon doesn't have yet a standalone app in HiSense Smart TV.
Nov 19 2012
How can I get my Smart TV full potential with satellite internet?
You will need to connect your Smart TV to the internet. To do this, you need to have already a router. Depending on your actual TV model, you will either need to connect to it via WiFi, or via an ethernet cable. Once this is done, you should be able to go in your Smart TV menus to have access to all functionalities.
Jan 25 2013
Does the LG LM7600
web browser support flash?
Yes, up to version 10 of Flash.
Feb 09 2013
How do I block ads on the LG (as you would use Ad Blocker on a laptop) Smart TV?
Unfortunately, you cannot. The LG Smart TV platform does not have a way to author third party plug-ins like Ad Blocker.
Feb 14 2013
I connect to the internet through a 4g wireless usb , do I need to buy any other device to connect to the net with smart tv's with built in wi-fi?
You cannot connect a Smart TV via a 4G USB receiver. You will need to use a 4G-Wifi router, but verify with your internet provider if they support one.
Mar 15 2013
I purchased a Vizio Smart TV and I want to access the new Red Box subscription but can't figure it out. Can we do this?
No, you cannot at the moment on a Vizio Smart TV alone.
Mar 22 2013
Can I get rid of cable because of the amount of apps on smart TVs?
Very unlikely, unless you watch very little cable. The amount of content isn't yet up par with cable.
Mar 30 2013
Does the Visio E60li-A3 support flash player?
No, it doesn't even have a web browser.
Apr 01 2013
I use the net via my phone which I can plug into my computer to access the net through the phone. Can I also do this on a smart tv?
Most likely no. TVs only accept an internet connection via WiFi or an Ethernet cable. They cannot get access to internet over USB (which is probably how your phone works). However, if you really want to, you could plug your phone into your computer and then your computer into the TV via Ethernet. You will just need to set the computer to act as a router.
Apr 26 2013
I just bought the VIZIO E3D470VX
, I have wireless internet connected on the TV itself but I can not access the web. Is there something I'm missing? When I bought the TV I was planning on getting rid of my home computer and use the TV for everything. I have the apps but no where does the TV show web access.
does not have a web browser, so you can't.
May 08 2013
Is it possible that some smart tv doesn't have a wifi connection or ethernet port?
No, they all at least have an ethernet port.
Jul 10 2013
Can I record Xbox 360 Gameplay with any of the Smart TVs?
No, there are no recording feature in any smart TV as of today. You will need to buy a separate recording unit.
Jul 14 2013
I have a Vizio smart tv. How can I surf the regular web? I have a modem with at&t hard line. Do I need any other devices to surf the web?
You cannot browse the web with only a Vizio TV. You will need to plug into another device like a Google TV or a computer.
Jul 22 2013
I have an LG Smart TV and want to start downloading and watching downloaded tv series and movies. Am I better to get Apple TV or get Netflix? I also have an iPad and an iPhone.
It really depends on where you want to get your content. Apple TV is really great if you want to access iTunes database of content. Netflix has another business model (subscription based instead of a la carte). It is cheaper if you plan on watching a lot of stuff but the selection is not as wide.
Aug 23 2013
What is the purpose of having a smart tv when you can have an apple tv?
Not much, unless there is some extra functionality that you want like skype. They do about the same thing.
Sep 03 2013
I have a smart tv and am considering buying an apple tv. One apple employee told me I should definitely do it, because then all the billing for netflix, etc. is through itunes. Another employee didn't know what the advantage would be having Apple tv with a smart tv. What do you think?
Don't do it just for Netflix, because you can already do that. The main advantage of the AppleTV vs a smart TV is to access the iTunes database of movies/music as well as interactions with Apple devices (like iPhone or iPad). If you do not own any Apple devices or do not plan on using iTunes, it is not worth it.
Sep 05 2013
I have Sony bravia smart tv. Can I use apple tv on it, or is it necessary to buy an apple tv so I could use smart functions like browsing the net?
I am not sure I understand your question. You can use the Sony smart TV features without buying an AppleTV. You can also buy one and use it with your TV.
Sep 06 2013
Thank you for answering my question. I'm about to install wifi at home and my computer is old (hp-2007 model),and it's not wifi ready. Can I possibly install wifi using my old computer/laptop. If not, is there any other way so I could have internet in my smart tv.
Yes you can. If you want to configure your router, you can always plug it by wire via Ethernet to your computer.
Nov 13 2013
How will I know if my smart tv has built in wifi?
Check the specifications. Nearly all 2013 models have built in wifi now.
Nov 15 2013
I have a Panasonic Smart TV 2012 and am not sure what the advantages are. I do not think we are getting the best out of it. Can you tell me what we can do with it?
At the end of the day, it is mostly a gadget and few people uses it besides the streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube. Browsing the web is not as practical as on a tablet or smartphone. There are very few apps (especially compared to smartphones) and a lot of them are buggy.
Nov 15 2013
I just bought a Vizio smart tv. My question is how do I tape programs without the use of cable or a VCR player? I was using cable but wish to discontinue this service.
You can't using the Vizio smart TV features. You will need to buy at third party device for that.
Nov 30 2013
As 21st century consumer, I am concerned about privacy. Do smart tv's come with built in cameras and microphones?
It depends which one, but the top models yes. They have a visual cue to know when they are recording though. For example, on Samsung, the camera pops out from the top of the screen.
Dec 01 2013
I plan on purchasing a new tv and want to surf the internet with the browser. What type of television or television plus gadget do I need to do it efficiently? I would like to use a wireless keyboard for efficiency.
If you plan on surfing the web often on a smart TV, you definitely need to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse. This is supported on most (but not all) smart TVs. Some higher end TVs come with a fancy remote. While this is better than a standard remote to navigate, it is nowhere near the mouse/keyboard combo.
Dec 01 2013
What is the best wireless keyboard and mouse to use with Samsung smart TVs for web browsing?
Any bluetooth one will do (assuming your Samsung Smart TV does have bluetooth support). It is more a matter of personal preference, depending on the size/weight that you want.
Dec 02 2013
Is it better to buy a tv that has built in wi-fi or one that is wi-fi ready and needs a dongle to connect through your wireless?
It doesn't matter, but now most TVs have built in wi-fi anyway.
Have a question?
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