21 Top Must-Have Features of Smart TV that give most Value for Money
Have you always wondered what a Smart TV is and what it has to offer? In this article, I have compiled a list of 21 top features of Smart TV that are a must have, to get the most value experience and value for your money and also make your purchase future-proof. It’s going to be exciting, so hop on and let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- 1 List of Top Features of Smart TV
- 1.1 Image/Picture Quality
- 1.2 Audio/Sound Quality
- 1.3 Screen Size and Resolution
- 1.4 Faster Refresh Rate
- 1.5 Streaming Audio Services
- 1.6 Streaming Video Services
- 1.7 Remote Control and App Functions
- 1.8 Wireless Connectivity
- 1.9 Quick Response Time
- 1.10 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) Streaming Video
- 1.11 Speed of the User Interface (UI)
- 1.12 Media Player
- 1.13 Smart Suggestions
- 1.14 Universal Search
- 1.15 Games
- 1.16 Screen Share between Smartphone and the Smart TV
- 1.17 Voice Control
- 1.18 App Store
- 1.19 HDMI ports
- 1.20 Consider Soundbar
- 1.21 Stay away from Curved Smart TVs
- 2 Conclusion
The following is a list of 21 top features of Smart TV, that IMO, are a must-have if you plan on purchasing one:
The primary purpose of any television set is to play series of images or pictures and to provide you with the most gratifying picture pleasure. Without this, any TV is useless and not worth it. This means that any video that plays on the TV, should have sharp and crisp quality. By this, I do not mean just “look bright”. Brightness is just a setting that can be tweaked as per your liking.
What I am talking about is the overall “feel” you get when you view an image or a picture on a screen. It has to be something that will appeal to you and satiate your viewing pleasure hunger, when you watching something on it, within your own domain. Usually higher resolution screens tend to pack more pixels in any given area and hence much better video quality.
Without sound, a TV set can be considered as half-dead! The audio/sound quality of any TV should be so that when you play the audio in an audible rage, you should be able to hear everything clearly, without any static in them.
Static, blurred, thick sounds are something that you want to stay away from. Unfortunately, these things can be determined only in person and so this will require you to pay a visit to the neighboring TV store and check out the Smart TVs. Also make sure that you ask for a brochure and check out the sound output across different models and compare them, before deciding.
Nowadays, the Smart TVs are being made thinner and thinner to make it more appealing. This means that the space available for the in-built speakers is also decreasing causing the audio to be muffled in some TVs. In such cases, there is an option of using a Sound box to enhance the audio.
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of an adequate screen size and higher resolution. An important factor to consider is the number of family members that you expect to share the Smart TV with you at all times. This is because if you have a very small family with just couple of other members, then a small sized or a medium size Smart TV will do just fine. But if you have a large family and need to accommodate large number of people and also make sure that the enjoy the viewing pleasure, then a big screen size may be needed.
Screen size and resolution directly affects your budget, so make sure you exercise caution at this level. If you sit too close to the TV, then you might end up seeing the individual pixels on the screen. Or if sit too far, you may not make the most out of the viewing experience.
Regardless of the above concerns, if you are confused or want something to get started with, I would suggest that you start looking at screens that are at least 50 inches and with at least 1920x1080p resolution and work your way up from there.
The resolution 1920x1080p if more common nowadays. But if you would like to future proof your investment, I would suggest a resolution of 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) i.e. a resolution of 3840×2160. The biggest benefit of 4K TVs is that smaller objects on the screen have more detail. This also including sharper text. On the whole, when the picture is rendered on the screen, it appears richer and more life-like than on a High Definition TV.
A newer version of the 4K UHD Smart TVs is 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR). The specialty of this HDR feature is that the device can deliver more color, increased brightness and much better contrast levels, than any other resolution that you can find in the market today. In fact, the 4K HDR can be called as the Superset of the 4K UHD.
Refresh Rate, by definition, is the number of times a picture is refreshed on the screen, per second. The current market standard refresh rate is 60 Hz. This means a picture is refreshed 60 times per second, when it appears on the screen. In Ultra High Definition devices, a refresh rate of 60Hz may simply not be enough to show the pictures in a crisp fashion and hence they may appear blurry.
In order to eliminate this issue, opting for a faster refresh rate is always preferred over a smaller refresh rate. A minimum refresh rate of 120 Hz is suggested. You may also find a refresh rate of 240 Hz, but the cost of that device may go up even more, so you are advised to decide accordingly.
As technology advanced, the field of audio streaming has progressed significantly. As a result, you are no longer required to listen to a radio or manually tune in to a specific channel on your TV. You can now stream audio content directly from music streaming and automated music recommendation internet radio services such as Pandora. As long as you have the Pandora app installed and connected to the internet, you will be able to stream music.
There are other services such as Napster, Spotify, etc. that provide you access to virtually unlimited audio. Listening to your choice of audio over dinner or playing that favorite rock band over celebrations and enjoying the same in digital quality simply is an unbeatable experience!
Long gone are the days when you used to play just cassettes on the Video player to watch a movie. Now, you can stream video content directly from sources such as YouTube for free. If you would like, you can also opt for a subscription and stream content from video content providers such as Netflix.
Similar to Netflix, there are other sources of video streaming such as Amazon, VUDU, Hulu Plus, HBO, ESPN, etc. All this video streaming can be done online, just by using your Smart TV, without having to step outside of the comfort of your home.
If you have a home-theatre, then streaming movies of your choice and enjoying them along with digital surround sound could be a very amazing and mind-blowing experience!
It is very well known that every modern-day TV has a remote control. I don’t know which one doesn’t! But every Smart TV definitely needs a remote control, if not, voice activated speech recognition commands. A Universal remote control can be a great option, but can be expensive.
Having an app that can be installed on your Smartphone and controlling what plays on your Smart TV using your Smartphone, can be a great way to navigate and play a program of your choice. So, make sure that you get an installable app from the Google Play store or from the iOS store, for your Smart TV. This will double the efficiency of working with your Smart TV at least twice.
A wireless connectivity or having a built-in Wi-Fi is of paramount importance, especially when it comes to Smart TV that you intend to mount on a wall. There could be variety of reasons why you would want wireless connectivity, such as lack of enough space in the room to provide wired connection, adjustment of best viewing angles may create a problem for wired connection, etc.
Whatever may be the reason, you want to make sure that you have the Wi-fi feature available in your Smart TV, to make it future proof an also be able to keep your TV set mobile so that you can move it from one room to the other, without having to worry about losing internet connectivity.
To be able to get the most value out of your Smart TV, it is very essential to make sure that the TV does not lag out and has a very quick response time. It will be really frustrating to have a TV that stops randomly, does not swap the channels fast enough, or does not respond to the signals from the apps promptly.
In any case, you would want to make sure that the overall speed factor and the response time in your preferred choice of a Smart TV meet your expectations level.
At present, the most satisfying and the highest resolution available for a Smart TV is the 4K resolution. No other resolution can beat this because of the amazing clarity and definition that 4K has to offer. But do note that just merely buying a 4K Smart TV does not mean that you will be able to enjoy all of the content in the highest resolution that technology has to offer today.
In fact, your service providers must supply you with 4K content and you must have a very fast internet connection in order to stream and reap its full benefits. There are few services such as Amazon, etc. who serve you 4K content currently in the market.
If you want to make a future-ready purchase, and willing to enjoy the currently available 4K content, then making sure that the Smart TV has the 4K UHD feature would be a “smart” thing to do.
Gone are the days when we used to turn on a TV and wait for it for couple of minutes to show up. In today’s world, devices start up almost instantly or in the shortest time possible, thanks to the advancement in technology. As every Smart TV has an in-built operating system, a very fast operating User Interface is a must. Everything should load up pretty fast, ideally, under a second or two.
A sluggish User Interface that takes more time can lead to frustration and may ruin the entire experience of enjoying your favorite activity on the Smart TV. So, make sure that the UI is snappy and responds very fast to your input commands.
A media player that can easily play your photos and videos on your Smart TV so that you can enjoy the content on an 80-inch screen, if not more, would be an amazing experience. A basic Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) media player can play photos and videos stored on a storage device or access them from another device on your network.
There are advanced media players such as “Plex”, that organizes your personal video, music, and photo collections and streams them to all of your devices. This can be a great way to enjoy your own personalized content, wherever you may be.
If you have noticed, virtually every search engine today offers “Smart Suggestions“. These are nothing but suggestions that pop up as you type in your search-term in a search box. This could be very helpful and time saving as you get to your desired option more quickly. These Smart Suggestions also show you other options that you may possibly be interested in. I really love these Smart Suggestions and I use them myself.
How cool would that be if your Smart TV does the same, when you are searching for content? Just type in few words and bam! An option of your choice shows up, you simply select it and start playing. This can be a time saver and also very helpful if the content of your choice is unavailable for streaming and you need to make a different choice.
The most gratifying experience when it comes to search, is the one when you search for something and you get the most relevant and accurate results, not from just one, but from multiple sources. But unfortunately, not every Smart TV performs a global search for a search-term of your choice. Rather, they pick only few selected providers and repeatedly search just them, for every search you make. This is not too helpful as there could be other providers beyond the ones that your Smart TV is searching.
So, if a Smart TV has a feature of Universal Search, in which it would perform a global/universal search and then return results, I definitely recommend that you shortlist such kind of a Smart TV!
I am a gaming fan and if you are like me, you will be able to enjoy not just audio and video on a Smart TV, but also games. There are a wide range of games that you can enjoy, right from the old classic Solitaire. In the recent times, thanks to the advancement in technology, Smart TVs are able to access the PlayStation Now game streaming service by making use o controllers such as Sony Dualshock 3 or Dualshock 4.
Say you have some great pictures that you shot on your Smartphone along with some videos. Now what if you want to watch them? Sure, you can go ahead and start the slideshow on your Smartphone or start the video right on it. But what if you want to be able to enjoy all the details and see a bigger version instead? What if you want to share them with your entire family or a bunch of people? Surely, a Smartphone alone can’t do take care of this task alone. This is a task for Smart TV!
Modern day Smart TVs are now designed to be able to share content with Smartphone. Just pick up your Smartphone and swipe and share your media files, right onto your Smart TV, after you pair them together. This feature is called differently across different brands. If you heard of the terms, “second screen experience”, “flinging”, “casting”, etc. then you know now what it is referring to. Having this feature is a must because you don’t want to sacrifice the pleasure of enjoying your media files over a bigger screen.
Pretty much, every TV today has a remote control, using which, you can control what runs on the TV. What about Smart TVs then? Yup, even a Smart TV can have remote control. But wait, what if you lose the remote control? Do you have to go and buy a new Universal remote control again? And how are you going to navigate the Smart TV and/or control the programs in it, if you really lose your remote control? Is there a solution to this? Fortunately, there is.
In the recent times, technology has advantaged to a stage, wherein, bots that use AI, control pretty much everything using voice activated commands. Sony, one of the pioneers in technology, has invented a Voice Controlled Smart TV, that lets you virtually do everything on the Smart TV, by just issuing voice commands. I really think, this is a feature of the present and of the future, so having a Voice Control feature will be a simple, easy-to-use and future-proof option.
Similar to accessing the Google App Play Store for Android apps, having an app store so that the software inside your current device can be upgraded, is very essential. You may also need to download new apps, as you see fit. This is only possible if there is an app store from which you can download the relevant files. And hence, it must be ensured that there is support for App store.
Some companies have their own proprietary app store, while some others that are based off of Android operating system, let you access any/all apps off of the Google Play Store. You will need to check what app store the device is connected to and see if it meets your needs.
The HDMI ports are the ports (female rectangle pins) on the back of the device in which, you can plug your plug-and-play devices, game console, sound bar, etc. Its pretty easy to use up all the ports in one way or the other and you may soon find yourself short of the ports when needed. So, make sure that there are at least 4 HDMI ports in the Smart TV that you plan on purchasing, so that you do not end up purchasing more external devices that do the same job.
In the recent times, TVs are becoming more slimmer and thinner. Because of this, the speakers that are accommodated inside of the Smart TVs are also becoming slimmer and hence the overall sound output is also less. If you have a home-theatre already, then that’s great! You can hook it up with the Smart TV and start using it. If not, then you may consider buying a Soundbar to increase the overall audio output so that you can enjoy the maximum audio experience.
When shopping for Smart TVs, you may come across TVs that are of different shapes and sizes, among which, you may also find Curved versions. Just stay away from them. The reason is because of the bloated costs associated with the manufacturing of the non-standard shape of the screen. It is done just to increase the ambience factor and has no significant impact on the picture quality. So, you might as well stay away from it and save up on the overall costs.
In this article, we have covered top features of Smart TV that are a must-have. What are your favorite features in a Smart TV? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.