A smart TV makes it easy to stream movies and shows, and newer models offer voice control and smart home integration. But there are some risks, too.
While regular TVs have been around for decades, these so-called “dumb TVs” only do one thing: Receive signal from an HDTV antenna, cable or another A/V source. That was great when those were you only TV viewing options, but today’s connected world expects something a little smarter.
Smart TVs, much like smartphones and smart home devices, offer internet connectivity and support for a range of apps. This opens up a world of new entertainment options, from streaming video on Netflix and Hulu to playing games, checking social media, and controlling a whole house full of connected gadgets, including devices that work with Alexa and Google Home-compatible products.
A growing number of models now include voice recognition tools, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, for switching channels and searching for programs. Most smart TVs will work with the smart speaker you already own, and a few will offer some or all of that same functionality built right into the TV.
Smart TVs are also gaining more integrated smart home features. Many TVs are compatible with other connected devices in the home, including lights, door locks and other sensors, and some TVs even include a dedicated dashboard for controlling all of the devices in your connected home. Samsung’s SmartThings – which comes built into Samsung Smart TVs – is our current favorite, but similar offerings are available on LG and Sony smart TVs.
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