Smart TV buying guide
October 13, 2020

Gone are the days of a handful of channels and TVs that can only broadcast from an aerial. As TVs get smarter, the things they can do and show increases and gets more impressive. From streaming channels, to browsing the web, the smarter generation of TVs are here to make our lives much easier.


What is a smart TV?


Simply put, they are TVs that can connect to the internet and use apps. This allows for the viewing of on-demand apps, like BBC iPlayer, All 4, and ITV Hub, along with the ability to connect to wireless devices like a tablet or smartphone.


At the even smarter (and more expensive) end of the market, some sets allow voice control, or act like a smart hub, to give you control over thermostats, smart bulbs and more, all from the comfort of your sofa. 


Why should I buy one?


Smart TVs come with a whole range of features that make them enjoyable to use. Including:


Web browsing: Most now come with a web browser so you can surf the internet on the big screen. This is easier to control on some than others though.


Streaming: Or casting. Got something you want to show the room on your phone? No need to huddle around a small screen anymore as with a smart TV you can wirelessly stream the content from your device


Apps: The major ones will usually be preinstalled, but most others will be available from the brand’s app store. Like Amazon Video, Netflix, and even social networking.


Do I need an internet connection?


You can watch smart TVs without the internet, but you’ll need a decent broadband connection to use their range of features, such as apps. This is particularly true if you want to stream video, and definitely true if you want to stream HD content on subscription services like Netflix, where a 25Mbps connection is a minimum. 


You’ll need a TV licence if you’re planning to watch live TV, or any content on iPlayer.


Smart TV security


If you’re connecting your TV to the internet, you’ll need to take the same precautions you would connecting any home device to it:


Be network secure: Keep an eye out for the ‘WLAN’ setting on your router and set it to the WPA2 standard, the most secure. Also make sure your router's firewall is enabled to protect against threats and other vulnerabilities.


Strong passwords are key: One to remember in all walks of digital life, but use a strong password for your router. It may be a pain to type in, but including a long password with upper and lowercase letters, a special character, and numbers will make you extra secure.


Disable cookies: Check your TV’s browser settings to disable these and enable a ‘private browsing’ feature if possible, which will stop some of the web tracking.


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