Smart TV 101
With waves of TV content going digital, Smart TVs are becoming the new standard. The ability to connect to Wi-Fi makes a TV smart — this way, your TV can use apps and streaming services to bring you content. Most newer TVs come with some sort of smart functionality while some come pre-built with specific apps. While there are too many options to go over in one article, we're here to help you understand what to look for in Smart TVs and how to set them up for an easy experience.
Your Favorite Content
With hundreds of streaming apps available today, the first question you should ask yourself is what you want to do with your new Smart TV. There are a number of free or paid services that help you customize your experience. Whether you're looking to switch on Netflix or Hulu after work, listen to Pandora while entertaining or simply do some internet browsing — there's an option for you. Different Smart TVs come packaged with different apps so it's important to research what apps are important to you and what's available on different Smart TVs. While the major players like Netflix are available on most, some other apps may be limited to certain TVs. If you use Crackle or MLB.TV, then you may want to do some extra snooping before splurging on your Smart TV.
Casting your content entails the use of your phone/laptop/tablet to access content through Wi-Fi and stream it to your TV while still freeing up your phone for other activities. Casting can be accomplished with the use of an external device, like the Google Chromecast, or be built into the TV. In some Smart TVs, casting is built in while also providing a Smart platform with apps integrated directly into the TV. If you buy a new Smart TV and later wish it had casting capability, never fear, there are relatively low cost solutions that can get your TV ready to cast.
One additional consideration when researching Smart TVs should be search functionality and voice control. Some TVs feature voice control built directly into the remote. Just like voice search on a smartphone, you can ask your TV to search for movies, videos and more. Simply state what you want, like "find action movies," and your TV will do the rest.
After You Bring the Smart TV Home
First and foremost, the fastest internet connection for your Smart TV will be with a wired Ethernet cord. If there's a practical spot for your TV within reach of your router, then try for a wired connection. If not, then it's important to have the least amount of obstacles between your TV and router as possible. The more walls and doors, the weaker the connection and slower the response time of your Smart TV. If you've optimized the placement and still experience buffering, a simple upgrade to your router may be in order. Check out our Home Networking 101 guide for advice on upgrading your home network.
Once you've connected to Wi-Fi, the Smart TV should walk you through all the necessary steps for setup. Simply find your favorite apps and sign in to watch movies, shows and sports directly on your TV.
Best Buy 2016-12-02T00:00:00-06:00