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Is A TV A Computer? 5 Things You Need To Know (2023)

Is A TV A Computer

Twins are similar but not the same. 

And so I wondered if that’s also the case for TVs and computers. 

You know, TVs can be computer monitors. And computers let you watch TV channels. 

But after listing down their characteristics, I finally have the answer.

And if you wanna know too… 

Continue reading to find out: 

  • A computer’s forgotten definition. 
  • Whether a TV is secretly a computer. 
  • 5 must-know truths about computers and TVs. 
  • 3 shocking differences between a TV and a computer. 
  • And this is just the beginning… 

Is a TV a computer? 

A TV isn’t a computer. It’s a device that receives signals from a source, such as a satellite or a cable. Then, it displays those signals as pictures and sounds. Meanwhile, a computer mainly processes and stores data. Therefore allowing user interaction via a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.  

TV vs Computer: 5 things you need to know

#1: What a computer means  

Every person is born different. 

Unique appearances. Different cultures. Various experiences. 

But despite all that, we’re the same human beings.


It’s because our common traits transcend these differences, such as:

  • Doing actions. 
  • Feeling emotions. 
  • Thinking thoughts. 

Now, a similar thought could be applied to computers. 

Because if you trace back its history and evolution…

All of these “computers” look different. Yet, they’re computers nonetheless. 

Take all these examples: 

Antikythera Mechanism, a.k.a the world’s oldest computer, looks like a golden door. 

Meanwhile, Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine resembles a steam train. 

Even the early 20th-century computer, ENIAC, could pass as a locker.                                                                 

And so the question is: 

What’s at the very core of these computers? 

What do they all have in common? 

Well, they solve complex problems for us, especially ones that involve math. 

Specifically, they process data input and show us what they’ve calculated. 

For example, the Analytical Engine’s main task is to solve polynomial functions. 

However, Antikythera Mechanism predicted “evil” eclipses. 

Meanwhile, ENIAC calculated the U.S. military’s firing angles in WW2. 

That strategy was really needed to hit opponents and save resources. 

With that said, if it weren’t for these computers’ accurate calculations…

You can only imagine how it would’ve been much more difficult for everyone. 

Now, if you’re looking to know more about the history of computers… 

Why don’t you tune in to an informative documentary below? 

#2: When to say a device is a computer

I’ve mentioned that computers process data and show the calculation results.

That’s why they have a variety of functions to improve our lives.  

But nowadays, there are a lot of devices that “compute.” 

For instance, simple calculators help us solve basic math problems. 

But, here’s the thing: 

Even if standard calculators can “compute,” they aren’t computers in the same way as PCs.


Well, there’s this thing we call “Turing completeness.” 

And it’s a criterion that filters out whether a device is a computer.

Basically, a device is a computer if it’s programmable.

“How do I know if a device can do that?” 

A programmable device allows you to run various programs. And so, you could do different tasks with it. 

You see, most devices already have a clear set of instructions for using them. And you can’t do stuff outside of that.  

It’s like you can’t tell a cow to fly. And you can’t say to a bird to milk. 

Or, you can only do simple addition and subtraction on a regular calculator. 

But here’s the thing: 

Programmable calculators are computers. 

And that’s because you can do a lot more than just basic math operations, like: 

  • Graphing functions. 
  • Solving polynomial equations. 
  • Calculating trigonometric functions. 

But more importantly, it allows users to store data using its built-in memory. 

Because apart from processing data, saving data is also 1 of a computer’s features.  

Read also: How To Use Smart TV As Computer Monitor 

#3: The original TV technology 

Now, it’s time to talk about TVs. 

As you know, modern computers and modern TVs closely resemble each other. 

But, when you go back to the TV’s roots… 

That’s where you’ll find that the difference between them is clear as night and day. 

I’m talking about how the original TV works.

You see, the 1st TV technology was based on radio signals. 

In fact, TV stations would broadcast their signal over the airwaves. And the TV receives these signals all at once. 

As a result, each channel that the TV could receive is already available. 

So, it’s like a jukebox full of various selections. And all that’s left to do is pick your favorite TV channel. 

“How do you pick a channel?”

Viewers can select a TV channel using a tuner, like the 1 on radios. 

But unlike radios, the tuner converts the radio signal into a sound and a picture. 

And the TV’s screen and its built-in speakers would display those outputs.

That said, you could even say that the original TVs were more like radios than computers. 

#4: What’s inside a TV 

TVs have come a long way since they first hit the market. 

In fact, they’ve gotten: 

  • Lighter. 
  • Thinner.
  • More powerful. 

But what exactly is inside a TV that makes it work? 

Well, TVs have the following components: 

A power supply provides the TV with the electricity it needs to run. 

Plus, it has speakers that convert electrical signals into sound. 

And, as I’ve mentioned already, a TV has a tuner that receives radio signals. 

But, what could be a whole lot more enjoyable for you is this: 

All TVs also have a computer inside them.

Yes, you’ve heard that right.

Instead of thinking that a TV is a computer…. 

It’s more appropriate to say that a TV has a computer. 

Now, this computer is very similar to the one inside a PC. 

Although, this computer handles video and audio signals explicitly. 

In fact, it interprets signals that come in from the TV’s connections, like: 

  • DVI.
  • USB.
  • VGA.  
  • HDMI.
  • Antenna

Then, after “understanding” these video and audio signals… 

The computer sends the video output to the TV screen. And the audio output into the TV speakers.

That said, you could treat TVs as more of a display than a computer. 

#5: How Smart TVs changed the game

Smart TVs are becoming more and more popular. 

And that’s because these TVs have many extra features and apps that traditional TVs can’t offer. 

In fact, Smart TVs are so advanced that you could call them computers.


They just have so many similarities in terms of functionality. 

And that’s simply a game changer. 

I’m talking about the following resemblances: 

First, Smart TVs also have operating systems (OS), such as: 

And that allows you to run various apps and get other extra features on a TV. 

Second, Smart TVs also have a wide range of input and output ports. 

These give Smart TVs greater flexibility because you can connect other devices, like: 

Plus, you can even connect your laptop or computer to your TV. 

If anything, that offers you more options than watching the same TV channels all day. 

Moreover, Smart TVs typically come with built-in Wi-Fi. 

How Smart TVs Changed The Game

And you know what that means? 

You can connect a TV to Wi-Fi hotspots. And then access the Internet. 

And you can only try to imagine what you could do with the Internet. 

Its possibilities are just endless. 

Lastly, Smart TVs have storage options like computers. 

In fact, Smart TVs can store a variety of files, including: 

  • Music.
  • Videos. 
  • Pictures. 
  • App files. 

“How much can I store?”

Smart TVs typically have between 8 and 16 GB of storage. 

And that could be more than enough for a TV because you can just stream online. 

But, the great news is: 

Smart TVs can also connect to external storage devices like USB and hard drives. 

You know, that could be a good option if you really want more space. 

You might also be interested: 9 Easy Ways To Turn Your TV Into A Smart TV

Differences between a TV and a computer

There are a few differences between a TV and a computer. That includes their original purpose and the strength of their processors. Also, they’re different in the applications they could use. 

Now, allow me to elaborate. Starting with: 


Nowadays, the differences between a TV and a computer can be blurry. 

And that’s understandable, considering their similarities. 

But here’s the thing: 

TVs are primarily for entertainment, especially displaying video content, such as: 

  • News. 
  • Games. 
  • Movies and TV series. 

On the other hand, computers are mainly for processing and storing data. Even if they also display the said data.

But if anything, a computer can still do its job even without its monitor. You just can’t see what’s going on at all. 


As I’ve mentioned before, TVs actually have computers inside them. 

And each of those computers has a processor like a standard PC.

But, because of the difference between a TV and a computer’s purpose… 

The strengths of their processors are also different. 

And that’s because TV processors only need to process audio and video signals. 

Meanwhile, computer processors handle much heavier tasks, including: 

  • Programming. 
  • Ultra HD Gaming. 
  • 3D video rendering. 

Plus, these processors should be able to process all the files on the computer. 


As you already know, computers can run various software applications. 

Meanwhile, a TV can only support pre-installed apps. 

And yes, you can install apps, but you still have limited options.  

And that’s because TVs aren’t as optimized as computers in running certain applications.

Plus, only a handful of software developers allow their apps to run on TV. 

Moreover, you can make apps using other applications on your PC.


Through programming

And it’s been a great help to the advancement of technology. 

You see, your TV even uses apps that are made by computers. 

Some of the most notable of those are: 

Plus, developers designed the websites you access using your Smart TV on a computer.