What is a Smart TV?
Put simply, a Smart TV is a television, usually LCD or LED, which connects to the internet and has a user interface that allows the user to download apps. The apps can be used to view internet TV, on demand streaming and paid subscription services (such as Netflix and Hulu). They can even be used to access home networking, to access things like media stored on a NAS server.
Are they actually good?
I have had a smart TV for some time now, and it has served me well. The picture is astounding, the network access is responsive and fast even over wireless and the app store is simple and pleasant to use. The TV has social networking ability, however I have never needed to use this.
The prices can be a little steep at around £200 for a small one and up to around £5,500 for a 75” model.
So what are the alternatives?
The alternatives are simple. Buy a regular TV and a smart set top box. These are made by companies like NOWTV, YouView, Amazon, Google and Apple. These can usually be found at around £100 or less, and come with more or less the same features as the smart televisions do.
You could go the way I went, and use a dedicated computer as a media server, using Kodi or openELEC. However, if you go with these, I absolutely DO NOT condone the use of any third party applications that may break laws in your respective country or province, and they may damage your system. Kodi is not as good without third party apps, but please do your research and don’t use it to break any laws.