If you already have a PC, is there anything to be gained by getting a smart TV?

I’m debating whether or not to get a smart TV and asking myself if the bump in price is worth it compared to dumb TVs.
So, what are the benefits of a smart TV?
Is it difficult to read text from several yards away on a smart TV?
What should one know when choosing a smart TV?

If by smart TV you mean a TV that already has things like Netflix and Hulu built into it, then one of the main benefits is not having an outside device clutter up your entertainment center.

It’s also nice to be able to control everything with one less remote.

But heck, these days I think it’s pretty standard to have Netflix and the like already built in. I don’t think you’ll have to pay extra. The other day I was shopping Blu ray players. All of the ones I was looking at had the built in Netflix and Hulu, I didn’t even particularly want it, but those were the only ones I could find that I liked.

TL;DR: If you’re buying a decent TV, it will probably a Smart TV anyway.

We just recently got a smart TV… but not because it’s smart. We were researching TV’s and the quality (according to reviews and Consumer Reports, etc) and price (aided by a convenient sale) worked out so that we wound up with a Samsung one. So far, so good. It works, nice picture, nice sound, and decent customer service the few times we called with questions.

Features: we don’t use most of them, so I can’t help you much there. There’s a Smart Hub where we can access Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu and a bunch of other, lesser known services. One annoying thing: currently you need to re-enter your username and password every time you log in to Netflix, but supposedly they’re working on a fix for that.

It also does 3D, which is kinda a neat perk, but also was the cause of some confusion for us because there were other steps we needed to take to get it set up (had to upgrade our DVD to a Blue-Ray, and upgrade to a HMDI connector, which we should have done long ago anyway and both things improved picture quality when watching DVDs). Turns out, however, that there’s hardly anything 3D that we find to be worth watching.

There’s no trouble reading the text on the screen, and you can easily adjust the font size from the remote.

And BTW, when we upgraded to a Blu-Ray player, it also came with the Smart Hub.

The biggest feature of a smart TV for us is being able to watch internet content on a much, much larger screen than our PC. It’s not necessary for heavily text-based stuff, but for movies, TV, and other video content it’s a nice perk.

Agree with Broomstick, it is a nice perk. We use it for Netflix almost exclusively. I can sit on a couch and watch Netflix, or I can sit on a desk chair and watch Netflix. Hmmm…

Most of the other apps I’ve tried, including YouTube and Facebook, leave a lot to be desired, though HBO Go (thanks to my brother’s HBO subscription) is fantastic.

Our bundle included a 3D Blu-ray player that also supported WiFi, but obviously you only need one.

So, if I hooked up a cheap PC to a TV, would that accomplish pretty much the same thing without having to pay for the novelty value?

I’d get a smart BluRay player or a Roku over any smart TV I’ve seen - the TV apps and interface and control tend to be absymal and annoying. But yes, a good “TV” interface is much easier to use and doesn’t have computer hassles like bootup, crashes and endlessly updating component apps. I’ve done it both ways for many years each and while I understand the fondness for making a laptop do everything but pick up dog poop, I’ll stay with a convenient, appliance-like, remote-driven TV setup.

We just got a SmartTV and it’s nice to watch Netflix in your living room instead of sitting in front of a computer monitor (it’s also bigger than most computer monitors).

My TV isn’t a “smart” TV, but it does have ethernet for streaming, and it’s very convenient for watching stuff I’ve downloaded. It’s nice not having to turn on my Xbox or PS3 to do that.

Only problem is I have to rename mkv files to avi before it will play them over ethernet. Oddly if I copy an mkv to a usb drive and plug it into the TV it plays without renaming. Stupid glitch.

I’ve had three TVs now that were internet-capable, and I’ve found the net features weak, buggy and limited on all of them. Plus twice as hard to use as the streaming features built into my (relatively ancient) BR player, and ten times worse than the very smooth and fast Roku interface.

My advice to the OP is save money on the TV (get the best you can, irrespective of any net features) and pick up a new BR player with outstanding streaming features (start with LG - they lead the pack) or a Roku. You’ll appreciate it.

Yes, and there are many people who use a computer connected to their tvs as a DVD/media server. However the cheapest and easiest solution would be to get a Roku HD for about $50. You can see the different models here -


Even the simplest $40 model does 720p which should be fine on an older tv. If you want 1080p, it’s about $20 extra.

Buying a smart tv, the ‘smart features’ don’t add all that much to the cost of the tv itself. The added hardware just isn’t all that expensive. Another option is to get one of the current game consoles but that’s more expensive of course. Either way, keep in mind that you’ll need either a wireless internet connection or a wired ethernet cord to your modem.

We have a smart TV, but we don’t use any of the features since it is connected to a Roku and without cable or satellite we stream everything.

Every now and then when I’m bored, I’ll tinker with the TV’s features and then head right back to Roku as I find the smart TV to be a slower, clunkier experience.

If you already have a PC sitting around, I highly recommend using it with your TV. I did that with my 1080p flatscreen in the living room about 5 years ago and never looked back. I use a wireless Logitech keyboard and mouse from the couch. The keyboard is made to stand on its edge when not in use, and the mouse is a trackball that doesn’t need a pad. Best setup ever. I’m probably about 8-9 feet from the TV, which is just a 37-inch. Should have gone bigger, but will wait until it craps out before replacing.

HD from Netflix looks great (720), and full screen 1080 on YouTube looks amazing. The PC is nothing special, a cheapie Acer I got from Newegg several years ago for $400 (just before the TV, to replace an older PC anyway), now probably less than half that, and a 25Mbps cable connection. I wouldn’t say you should buy a PC just for this purpose, but if you already have one laying around with at least 4gigs of memory, I say go for it. Loading videos takes all of zero to two seconds in high def.

I think I’ve spoiled myself, though, and probably wouldn’t find any smart TV or BR player experience satisfactory. Kind of like going from a smartphone to a dumbphone.

Not necessarily. We had a “media” PC for several years and even with things like a wireless keyboard, MS media remote and every tweak and tinker I could put into it, it was always a PITA to use. Something needed updating every time we used it. The wireless keyboard wouldn’t work half the time until I reset it and moved the pickup unit. Booting the system took minutes no one wanted to sit through.

The appliance streaming experience has gotten 10X better - maybe more - in the last few years. The only part that remains mired in “dumb phone” is text entry, such as for searches… it can be excruciatingly tedious. But everything else is as biff-bang-boom as a modern cable remote. And all in HD.

The smart TVs, as I’ve said and others have confirmed, pretty much suck. Very slow, clunky interfaces, limited features, ragged updates… don’t bother. Start your search with the features LG Blu-Ray players and Rokus have.

Chromecast is $35.


We have a server that functions as a MythTV backend with front end boxes attached to all our tv’s, so effectively they’re been computer monitors and the computers have been our tv tuners, DVD players and all else. We hadn’t been able to set up Netflix or Hulu through it, so we were only using Netflix on the PC.

We recently replaced our main tv (an old plasma) with a Samsung LED with Smart Hub. That thing is awesome! Much nicer to watch Netflix from the couch on a big screen. We found the instructions online to let us set it up for the UK, and now we have BBC iPlayer, 4 On Demand, etc. It has been a great addition to what we already had.

It might fall out of use as the novelty wears off, but we’ve enjoyed being able to control YouTube on the TV from our phones. Seems a little buggy from the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, but works perfectly from the Samsung Galaxy S2.

I just checked Amazon. They’ve got a smart tv, 32", 1080p 60hz for $300. (It even has a pac man game)

That’s a freak’n bargain! A lot cheaper than hooking up a pc to a “dumb” TV.
As far as “Novelty” goes, I’ve had my TV for two years now and still love it to pieces. :slight_smile:

I have a smart tv and I prefer it much more than my PC.

Meh. I have a smart TV and my dad has a non-smart TV. A blu ray player or other kind of set top box (roku, etc) will turn a regular TV into a smart TV. A chromecast, blu ray player or roku box will provide you with smart TV functionality for <$50.

As far as my smart TV, I still use my laptop sometimes via an HDMI cable connected to the TV. Most laptops come with HDMI outputs now.

As others have been saying, good quality TVs are Smart TVs (I too have a Samsung and love it). Good BluRay payers are also “Smart” and then there are the media players like Roku. So, I wouldn’t replace a perfectly good TV in order to get the Smart functions, but wouldn’t buy a new one that wasn’t.