Skip to Content

Apple TV vs Smart TV: Which Is Better? (2023 Comparison)

Apple TV VS Smart TV

Apple TV and Smart TV.

Both devices offer streaming apps and Internet access.

And their names even end with the same word.

However, 1 of them is better than the other. 

And to know which of the 2 it is…

Continue reading to find out:

  • 11 simple steps to connect an Apple TV to Smart TV. 
  • The key differences between a Smart TV and Apple TV. 
  • Whether it’s worth buying an Apple TV when you already have a Smart TV.
  • And this is just the beginning… 

Differences between a smart TV and Apple TV

There are many differences between a Smart TV and Apple TV.

See, while both platforms let you access the Internet and hundreds of streaming apps… 

The rest of their design is unique from each other.

So it’s best to know how the 2 devices are different before you buy any of them. 

With that, let’s first talk about how they each fall under a different… 

Device type 

The main difference between Smart TV and Apple TV is their device type.

Well, a Smart TV is an actual television. 

On that note, it has a screen and will automatically boot up when you plug it into an outlet.

Really, you can think of a Smart TV as an upgrade to your regular TV.

That’s because it has every function of a regular model. But on top of that, a Smart TV can also connect to the internet and support apps while regular ones can’t.

Now, let’s talk about Apple TVs. 

An Apple TV is an example of a streaming device. And it’s similar to gadgets like:

  • Roku.
  • Amazon Firestick.
  • Chromecast with Google TV. 

That said, you can think of it as a brain you can use to turn any TV Smart

And if you’re wondering…

“What does this device look like?”

Well, an Apple TV doesn’t look like a TV at all. 

In fact, it’s just a small gadget that weighs 425g. 

And it has these dimensions: (35x98x98) in millimeters. 

Now, mentioning Apple TV’s size leads us to another difference between this device and the Smart TV. 

And that’s their… 


An Apple TV is portable, but a Smart TV isn’t.  

As mentioned earlier, Smart TVs look like actual TVs. 

That means their diagonal length can range from 15 to 80 inches. 

So honestly, they’re safer sitting on 1 place because they’re bulky, heavy, and fragile devices.

On the flip side, an Apple TV is a very portable gadget. 

As I said, it’s small and light. So it’ll easily fit inside any handbag or backpack you may have.

Moreover, it doesn’t have a screen on its surface. So you won’t need to worry about cracking it even if you accidentally bump it on a hard surface. 

On that premise, if you want to enjoy watching your favorite shows and apps even when traveling… 

You might want to consider grabbing an Apple TV. That’s because it’s compatible with any TV with an HDMI port. And it just takes a couple of minutes to set up every time. 

You might also be interested: Can You Use Apple TV On Older TV? 7 Easy Steps


I’m sure you’ve also experienced getting frustrated with endless digital advertisements. 

I mean, ads are prevalent on any social media platform and website.

But they don’t just stop there. Because ads also exist on most Smart TVs.

This leads us to another significant difference between Smart TVs and Apple TVs.

And that’s the frequency of the ads on their system.

See, while Smart TVs sometimes have huge advertisement banners on their home screen…

All you’ll see on your Apple TV homepage are the apps on your device. And you won’t spot any ad that tries to draw you into buying or getting a service or product. 

Therefore, if you don’t like seeing advertisements all over your screen…

You might want to consider getting an Apple TV instead of, or even if you already have a Smart TV. 

Note: Apple TV apps will still display advertisements. That’s because the information on your applications isn’t controlled by the Apple TV system. 

Frequency of updates 

If you have an iPhone, this won’t come as a surprise to you… 

But Apple frequently updates its devices’ systems. 

In fact, their Apple TV gets more updates than most Smart TV models out there.

And this is good news for Apple TV users.


Because frequent updates mean your device’s system will keep improving.

And you’ll also lower the possibilities of your apps being incompatible with your Apple TV. 

On top of that, Apple doesn’t stop updating their older models even when new ones come out.

But unfortunately, the opposite happens on Smart TVs. 

For example, for LG Smart TVs…

The older models get abandoned when newer versions come out. 

“What do you mean?”

Based on experience, when LG releases a new version of a Smart TV…

Most of the time, they stop giving software updates to their older models. 

As a result, your older TV will eventually run slower and freeze more often as time passes. 

And some of its apps will also become unavailable on your Smart TV app store.


When it comes to the user interface…

Apple TVs are easier to use than Smart TVs. 

And this is especially true if you already have other Apple devices at home.

That’s because Apple TV’s interface is similar to how iPhone and iPad work.

With that, you’ll be able to use your Apple TV immediately, without needing to read its manual.

Moreover, Apple TV also integrates exceptionally well with other Apple devices. 

For example, when you’re streaming on your Apple TV…

You’ll also see what show’s playing on your TV screen through your iPhone and Apple watch. 

So you can also pause, play or fast forward your Apple TV movie or show using these devices. 

On top of that, when you need to type on your Apple TV…

Your iPhone will get a notification indicating that you can use it as your TV’s keyboard instead. 

Furthermore, if you’re a fan of AirPods, you’ll also be glad to know that you can use them with your Apple TV.

And that’s thanks to Apple’s AirPlay which is also incredibly easy to use. 

However, these features aren’t available on most Smart TVs.

And while they exist on some high-end models…

They don’t work as well compared to the features on Apple’s streaming device. 

Models available

Many companies create Smart TVs.

So unsurprisingly, hundreds of different Smart TV models are available on the market. 

But most Smart TVs still fall under the same categories. And to give you some examples, here are…

The most common Smart TV display types


This stands for Light Emitting Diode.

And this is the screen type that existed before QLED and OLED TVs did.

It’s worth noting that this is usually cheaper than other TV types.

But it still provides a high contrast ratio and vibrant colors. 


This TV is built just like a LED TV.

However, there’s another layer between its backlight and LCD called the quantum dot layer.

Hence, its name stands for Quantum Light Emitting Diode.  

Thanks to this addition, QLED TVs have more saturated and pure colors. 

So you should opt for this TV type if you enjoy looking at colorful images. 


This stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode.

But unlike the first 2 models…

OLED TVs can adjust the brightness of their individual pixels.

So they can provide the highest picture quality to you.

However, this advanced feature comes at a price. 

Because an OLED TV generally costs thousands of dollars. And it’s 1 of the most expensive TV types. 

And now that we’ve talked about Smart TVs, it’s time to focus on…

The different Apple TV models

Like Smart TVs, there are also different kinds of Apple TVs.

However, it’s worth noting that there’s only 1 lineup of this device.

“What do you mean?”

Apple releases new versions of the same Apple TV series every 3 years. 

This means you’ll see no massive difference between the Apple TV models.

Because in simple terms, you can say that the newer models are just improved versions of the older ones.

On that note, you won’t need to overthink which Apple TV model you should buy. 

Because when Apple releases a new version, they immediately discontinue the previous model. 

So you should just opt for the newest Apple TV. 

You might also want to know: 7 Best Smart TV Brands (According To An Expert)

Can you use Apple TV on a smart TV?

You can use Apple TV on a Smart TV.

Because as mentioned earlier, you can connect this device to any TV with an HDMI port.

Fun fact: It’ll even work with a computer monitor. 

And if you’re interested in setting this streaming device up, here are the…

11 simple steps to connect an Apple TV to your Smart TV:

Step 1: Prepare your Apple TV

If you haven’t bought 1 yet, you can click here to get the latest Apple TV model. 

Or you may also visit your local Apple Stores to buy this device.

Get An HDMI Cable

Once you have your Apple TV on hand, you should… 

Step 2: Get an HDMI cable

Unfortunately, Apple TV boxes don’t come with their own HDMI cable.

So you need to buy it yourself online or from your local stores. 

Step 3: Have all your materials ready

Lay all of these items beside each other so the following steps will be easier to do:

  • Siri remote. 
  • HDMI cable. 
  • Lightning cable. 
  • Apple TV’s power cord.
  • Apple TV streaming box.

Note: All these materials are inside your Apple TV package except for the HDMI cable. 

Step 4: Plug your Apple TV into its power source

Grab the power cord of your streaming device.

Then, plug its connector into the charging port of your Apple TV box.

Note: It’s the slot that looks like 2 circular holes joined together. 

Now, ensure that you push the power cord all the way through.

And proceed to plug the adapter of the cable into a functioning wall outlet.

Once you see a little white dot in front of your Apple TV box, go ahead and… 

Step 5: Connect your Apple TV to your Smart TV

Grab the HDMI cord you prepared earlier.

And plug 1 of its connectors into the HDMI port of your Apple TV.

After doing so, plug the other end into the HDMI IN port of your television. 

Note: Take note of the name of the port you’re using on your TV. Because you’ll need it later when changing the input source. 

Step 6: Turn your Smart TV ON

Plug your TV into its power source.

And turn it ON using its remote or physical power button.

Step 7: Change the input of your device

If you already see the Apple TV welcome screen, skip to the next step.

But if your display shows your regular Smart TV screen or something else, follow these steps to…

Change the input of your Smart TV:
  1. Tap the Input/Source button on your remote.
  2. You’ll see the list of available inputs on your Smart TV.
  3. Select the HDMI port you used to connect your streaming device. 
  4. Wait for the Apple TV’s welcome screen to appear.

Note: If these steps don’t apply to you, check your Smart TV’s user manual. 

Pro tip: Reconnect your HDMI cable if you still can’t see the Apple TV welcome screen even after changing the input. That’s because you may have loosely connected it to the TV or your Apple TV. 

Step 8: Pair your Apple TV remote

Point your remote to your Apple TV box, and follow the instructions below. 

For 2nd generation Siri remote:

Simultaneously press and hold the Back button and the Volume UP key of your remote. 

For 1st generation Siri remote:

Press and hold the Menu and Volume UP buttons simultaneously. 

Step 9: Select the language you prefer

English will be the very first option.

But feel free to choose whichever language you want. 

Step 10: Select your region

Note: The “United States” will automatically be at the top.

After selecting the region you’re in, just press the Continue button on the next screen.

Then, proceed to… 

Step 11: Set Up your Apple TV

You have 2 choices to do this:

  • By using your iPhone.
  • By setting up your Apple TV manually.

Now, if you have an iPhone, I highly recommend using the first option. 

That’s because your Apple TV will automatically set up using your iPhone’s information. 

And that means you don’t need to manually:

  • Log in using your Apple ID. 
  • Connect your Apple TV to the Wifi.

But if you don’t have an iPhone, you can simply select the Set Up Manually option.

That said, after selecting the setup method you’re comfortable with…

Simply follow the following on-screen instructions. Until you can go ahead and… 

Bonus: Enjoy your Apple TV on your Smart TV 

Your Smart TV now has an Apple TV.

So you can enjoy both of their features at the same time.

Want a video to guide you throughout this whole process? Watch this:

Recommended reading: 7 Ways To Know If You Have A Smart TV 

Is it worth getting an Apple TV on a smart TV?

It’s worth getting an Apple TV on a Smart TV. Especially if you’re used to using Apple products and services. That’s because Apple TV makes it very easy to transfer media files from your iPhone to the bigger screen. And you can also control your TV using your mobile devices or Apple Watch.

On top of that, you should also consider getting this streaming device if you love traveling.

That’s because you can easily connect the Apple TV to any television in hotels. So you won’t need to go through the lengthy process of signing in to streaming apps. Even if you’re not using your own Smart TV.

Why Apple TV is better than smart TV

Apple TV is better than Smart TV because it’s updated more often than the latter. 

On top of that, Apple devices are way more protected than Smart TVs are.

So if you’re serious about privacy, Apple TV will be your better option.

Also, Apple TVs don’t have as many advertisements as Smart TVs do. And this is very convenient because you won’t be bombarded with random content whenever you open your TV.

Moreover, I can’t deny that Apple TVs are way cheaper than Smart TVs. 

See, most decent Smart TVs cost around $650. And they generally last for 4-7 years.

And if you compare that to new Apple TV 4K models that only cost $180 to $200…

You can easily buy 3 new Apple TVs with the same money. 

Moreover, it’s also incredibly easy to listen privately to your shows or movies on Apple TV.

Because with the help of AirPlay, it’ll only take seconds to connect your AirPods to this device. 

So if these pros and features sound tempting to you, I highly recommend grabbing a new 4K TV.