Smart TV is gradually replacing the older generation of television lately. This is however not a very smart move if you look deep into the smartness of these Smart TVs. Smart TVs are quite like the regular TVs but with the ability to connect to the internet. Although, this may sound smart for a TV to connect to the internet and stream online contents, in reality, it is not that smart to do so.
One major point of our today’s discussion is whether you should buy a Smart TV in 2017.
My honest answer would be a big No.
Moreover, yes I do have strong reasons to advise you to stay away from getting a Smart TV that is not as smart as it may seem. First, let us look into the features that might influence you to decide for buying a Smart TV.
Why a Smart TV Sounds Appealing At First Place
Smart TV has the ability to connect to home internet and stream any online content directly to your larger screen TV. Yes, that is it; this is the only reason that might make you think of buying a Smart TV. To keep things in perspective let us do a comparison with a regular TV to see what more a Smart TV has to offer.
online media contents
social media like Facebook
Well, these are the USPs of a Smart TV that differentiates it from an older generation TV. This does not provide you the concrete reason to buy a Smart TV, as today you get many streaming devices that perform the same task. We will talk about the media-streaming device and if they could replace a Smart TVs, a bit later.
In my frank opinion, buying a Smart TV for the sole purpose of streaming online contents is not worth the extra money. It may initially sound to be a profitable investment to make, for a future-proof entertainment experience, but that is not the truth here. Spending a little you can easily get a streaming device and get the contents from the web directly on your TV. We are here talking about devices like the Google Chromecast or the Amazon Fire Stick, that does the same job as a Smart TV, if not better than the former.
Do You Really Need a Smart TV
Smart TV should not be on your list of electronics shopping this festive season, the main reason is simply the extra cost is not justified for the functionality it provides. Apart from the cost, many other factors might make you think twice before you decide to buy a Smart TV this year or later. These 5 reasons are very common and every manufacturer has this on their cons list of Smart TVs.
1. Higher Cost of Smart TV
Smart TV will cost you quite a lot of money for a decent one as compared to its older generation non-smart brothers. Mostly due to the fact that Smart TV is being smart by only streaming online media contents over WiFi. In that case, you have the opportunity to watch your favorite YouTube videos or contents from Netflix directly on the TV. While they may sound very intuitive, in the actual scenario they are not that user-friendly.
Let us take a simple example of a 40” Samsung LED HD TV and the same size Samsung LED Smart TV for the price comparison. A Samsung 40” 1080p HD LED TV would cost you around Rs. 30,000-35,000( $350-450) but the same size Samsung 40” HD Smart LED TV would cost you around Rs. 50,000-55,000 ($550-650).
A cost of over Rs. 15000-20000 or $100-200 is not at all justified for the sake of streaming online contents. A simple media-streaming device like a Chormecast would cost you Rs. 3500-4000 ($30-40) only and it would perform all the function a Smart TV would. Stats are here for you to decide for the best possible deal that you can get.
2. Security Is a Major Concern with Smart TVs
In past, we have seen many reports suggesting that security is a major concern for every Smart TV user as the device is highly vulnerable to hackers. It is among the devices that can be hacked as they are connected to Wi-Fi. What is really threatening is most Smart TV makers look to force Ads based on the user’s usage. Moreover, these are third-party vendors pushing the ads to the users over the internet. Thus it is easily understandable that the user data are in the hands of third-party vendors or even the TV manufacturer. In a way, your personal data is in the hands of people who can use it as they may like.
Another aspect of some Smart TVs is the voice control feature, seems quite useful but can be utterly dangerous. A voice recognized TV has the ability to hear us and hence it is possible it is listening even when we are not interacting with the TV. We all talk in our home, and if our entertainment device spy on everything we say. In addition, transport it to the servers, this might be the most dangerous intervention we could think of.
Furthermore, if your TV comes with a camera, it is possible that hackers can use the camera to spy on you. We all know how easily a webcam can be hacked and if that happens, you know how devastating it can get. Privacy is a real concern for the Smart TVs as there is no recognized software like antivirus or privacy protection services to make us feel safe.
3. Using Media Streaming Devices Like Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick Are More Cost Effective
Smart TVs as said earlier has the ability to stream contents from web directly to your TV screen wirelessly. This is same as a Media-streaming device like Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV or Roku Express. All these devices work the same and have their own set of features too; I personally like the Chromecast and the Amazon Fire Stick. Both of them are cheap and easy to use with just plug in and play. Chromecast has the ability to stream your content from your smartphone directly to your TV using the screen-mirroring feature. I love this feature, as you can use the smartphone as your navigation tool and get all the contents of a larger screen effortlessly.
These streaming devices come with a price tag of Rs. 3000-4000 ($30-40) *except Apple TV, and can be simply plugged into any TV has an HDMI port. They are small, easy to use and provide better value for money in every aspect. You can stream YouTube or Netflix contents directly on the TV using these streaming devices and make life easier.
Even if you pair a Samsung 40” 1080p HD LED TV with a Chromecast, the cost would be near about Rs. 40,000($ 480) at max. You still have a saving of nearly Rs. 15,000($ 200), isn’t that a great deal while compared to a Smart TV that would come at a higher price.
4. Not So User-Friendly
No matter how attractive the ads may sound, in real life, the user interface is not that user-friendly. Especially if you are going to try using the web browser typing a search term would be a real pain. Moreover, most of the Smart TV makers use their own operating systems that are not so user-friendly in my opinion.
Taking the above example of the Samsung 40” HD Smart LED TV it comes with a custom operating system Tizen, that you might have heard if you have used the earlier generation Samsung Smartphones. The UI is confusing, slow, lags too much, and can piss you off very easily while navigating through your TV interface.
However, the newer generation Android smart TVs have been more user-friendly but, they still lack the proper functionality and smooth interface. Personally, the Chormecast or the Amazon Fire Stick UI is easier to navigate and responsive compared to the Smart TV interface. In addition, they do come at price tag very affordable and even works seamlessly.
5. No Smart Reason to Get a Smart TV
There is not a single strong reason to suggest you a Smart TV. If you are more into the end user experience and want a cleaner interface, a media-streaming device is best. Not only the Smart TVs lacks the smartness of providing a seamless experience, they are also priced much higher. A Smart TV does not even allow you any flexibility on the part of streaming contents over the internet. Mostly, as you will notice yourself using the smart features to stream contents from YouTube or Netflix most of the time. For the sole purpose of connectivity and flexibility to stream local media content a media-streaming device like the chromecast does a better job.
As in most cases with a Smart TV, you end up having support for mirroring for only a few devices as in the case of Samsung Smart TVs, which allows only S6 and higher models to mirror. Whereas, devices like Chromecast allows every device to connect through Wi-Fi. In addition, the built-in apps for Smart TVs are not as responsive as apps built for media-streaming devices. While using a Chromecast the control over your viewing is far better compared to a native Smart TV app. In addition to this, the Smart TV UI does not receive regular updates and you have to bear with the old, slow layout.
Do You Still Want a Smart TV
I guess your answer would be a straight, No. It is really a matter of concern as most of the manufacturers are driving the consumers towards buying Smart TV. Mostly by providing very fewer options to choose from a non-smart TV range. However, as we are here to get Smarter and become a Smart Consumer. Never, ever, fall into the traps of the salesperson luring you to go for a Smart TV at a discount.
I have faced the similar issue where the sales representative tried to convince me that a Smart TV would cost me just a few thousand bucks more by comparing with a regular TV of a higher range to show you that the price difference is very negligible.
Most of the time we will fall into the trap as a regular TV would just be few thousand bucks cheap but, is after all a non-smart TV. Furthermore, buying a TV probably mean it would be there for a long time. In most cases, the salesman won’t tell you that the Smart TV he is comparing is a base model and the regular TV is a higher model having same resolution and size. You must have a clear thought and make up your mind even before stepping into a store that, you should not buy a Smart TV at any cost.
Be Smart Save Smarter
*image sources: flickr.com, pexels.com