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


8 out of 10 US households now own at least 1 smart TV.

And if you’re among the few still holding on to an LED TV…

You probably thinking about whether it’s time to ditch it for a smart one.

Well, allow me to help you decide.

Keep reading to learn:

  • 9 reasons why smart TVs are better than LED TVs.
  • 3 gadgets that can turn your LED TV smart in an instant.
  • Notable distinctions between an LED TV and a smart TV.
  • And much much more…

Differences between LED and smart TVs

The main difference between LED and smart TVs is the latter can connect to the internet. Because of that, you can stream from apps directly from a smart TV. LED TVs, on the other hand, need an external device like Roku to do that. Moreover, some smart TVs have better displays than LED TVs.

9 reasons why smart TVs are better

#1: You don’t need to invest in an external device to stream

It’s safe to say that the main reason most of us buy TVs is to watch. It can be live TV, movies, or series.

And this is where smart TVs trump regular LED TVs.

Because you can connect a smart TV to the internet…

It means you’ll also be able to stream directly from the most popular media services. Including:

  • Netflix.
  • HBO Max.
  • Youtube TV.
  • Disney Plus.
  • Prime Video.

Now, if you’re an owner of a non-smart LED TV… 

You can do that too. It’s just that you’d also need to invest in a media player first before you can stream.

And while those players aren’t expensive…

That’s still an additional expense that you won’t have to worry about if you own a smart TV. 

In addition, you’d also need to plug those streaming players into an outlet. So again, that’s an added expense. This time, with your electricity bill.

But aside from the monetary benefits of streaming directly through a smart TV… 

You’ll also get the benefit of having a remote with specific buttons for the most popular streaming apps.

All you have to do’s push that button to start watching.  So it’s extremely convenient…

There’s no need to plug in and set up another device.

That’s why when it comes to overall movie and TV watching experience…

Smart TVs definitely beat LED TVs.

#2: Allows you to browse the web

Another great thing about smart TVs is they can act as a computer as well.

So if you’re done watching and you’d like to check your social media…

It’s easy to do with smart TVs because they also have web browsers that come preinstalled.

Now, granted, some brands don’t allow the installation of 3rd party browsers.

For example, if you own a Samsung TV…

You’re pretty much forced to use the S-Browser.

However, these TV brand-specific browsers have come a long way. And they’re now comparable to Chrome or Firefox when it comes to functionalities.

So there’s no longer much difference between surfing the net on a smart TV and on a laptop.

You can even plug in a keyboard to make typing and navigation easy.

#3: Some smart TVs have better displays than LED TVs

Some Smart TVs Have Better Displays Than LED TVs

Just to be clear, some smart TVs actually use an LED display.

So, in a way, the term “LED TV” can also apply to certain smart TV models.

But smart TVs aren’t only limited to that particular screen panel.

In recent years, more models with an OLED display have emerged.

As examples, here are some of the best OLED smart TVs:

Now, if you’re wondering what makes OLED great…

Well, unlike an LED, it doesn’t rely on backlights. That’s because this type of display has pixels that can light up on their own.

And because OLEDs don’t use backlights…

You won’t have to worry about white spots or half-dark screens happening on your TV.

Furthermore, since the OLED displays are made of organic plastics…

They’re more flexible and not as prone to cracks compared to the LCD panel that LED TVs use.

So they’re also better than LEDs when it comes to durability.

#4: You don’t need a console to play games

Who says you need to buy an Xbox or PS5 to play games?

With a smart TV, those aren’t really necessary.

This is because each smart TV brand has its own app store. From there, you’ll have hundreds of games to choose from.

And you can easily download and install them on your TV and start playing.

Samsung, in particular, has recently partnered with Xbox.

And starting in 2022, some of the best Xbox games will now be available on Samsung smart TVs.

So owners can get the full Xbox experience without purchasing the console.

Amazing, right?

So essentially, when you buy a smart TV…

You’re pretty much also getting a computer and a gaming device.

It’s something you wouldn’t be able to say with a regular LED TV.

#5: Voice assistant-compatible

“Alexa, find me a comedy movie on Netflix.”

Another awesome feature of smart TVs is their voice control capability.

If you’re a fan of Marvel, you’ve surely seen Tony Stark give out commands to his AI Jarvis.

Well, you can kind of do that on some smart TVs, too.

For instance, if you’re unsure what movies to watch on Netflix…

You can simply ask Alexa or Google Assistant to give you some recommendations. And they’ll start playing a video that they think you’d like.

In addition, you may easily navigate a smart TV’s menu through a voice AI.

Want to change a picture setting?

Just instruct your voice assistant. It can also do that for you. You’ll no longer have to push multiple buttons to make changes on your TV.

Now, of course, not all smart TVs have this feature. 

An easy way to know if it has it is by looking at the remote. If you see a Microphone button, then it means it has voice assistant capability.

It’s a really cool feature that’ll make you appreciate modern technology.

#6: You can mirror your phone to a smart TV wirelessly

Do you have pictures or videos on your phone that you’d like to show on your TV?

It’s certainly possible if you own a non-smart LED TV.

However, you’d also need to use an HDMI cable plus an adapter to make it happen. It’s only through those that you can connect your phone to your TV.

With a smart TV, though…

None of those connectors are necessary.

You can easily mirror or cast your phone’s contents to your TV via WiFi.

And there are many ways to do it.

One’s via AirPlay. Another way’s through the built-in Chromecast of some smart TVs.

Furthermore, some TV brands have their own method of mirroring.

For example, Samsung has Tap View. To make it work, you just have to literally tap your phone on the TV screen. And it’ll automatically mirror.

So in short, mirroring’s yet another thing that’s much more convenient to do on a smart TV.

And if you’d like to see how it actually works…

Check out this video on how easy it is to mirror a smartphone to a Samsung smart TV:

#7: You can control a smart TV with your phone

It’s probably safe to assume that a lot of us have misplaced a TV remote at least once.

But if you own a smart TV, that shouldn’t be a problem.

That’s because you can control your device using your mobile phone as well.

Every major smart TV brand has a corresponding phone app that includes a virtual remote.

All you have to do’s download and install it. Then pair it with your smart TV.

And you can start using it immediately. 

What’s even better?

Those apps are absolutely free.

Now, contrast that to a non-smart LED TV. 

If you lose its remote, you’ll have to buy a replacement one.

And even if universal remotes are cheap…

A free app’s still much better.

#8: It’s easier to find replacement parts for smart TVs

Both smart and LED TVs will eventually break down.

As far as durability goes, they’re actually similar in that they last around 4 to 7 years.

However, yet another advantage of smart TVs is the ease of maintenance.

And the reason for that?

Non-smart LED TVs are slowly becoming obsolete.

In fact, an early 2022 study revealed that over 80% of US households now own at least 1 smart TV.

And as manufacturers continue to scale back on LED TV production…

Replacement parts for that type of TV will be even harder to find.

Meanwhile, the opposite’s true for smart TVs.

Since they’re only growing in popularity…

More and more 3rd party service centers are focusing on smart TV repairs. And so, you won’t have trouble getting your TV fixed when it starts showing signs of wear and tear.

You might also want to know: How Long Do Smart TVs Last? 9 Must-Read Facts

#9: Has all the features of an LED TV

LED TVs are great. They’re a massive improvement over the CRT TVs and the HDTVs of the past.

With LED TVs, you can enjoy a 720p or 1080p resolution. They also have multiple ports for external devices.

It’s just that…

You’d also be able to find all of those features on a smart TV. Plus a whole lot more.

In other words…

A non-smart LED TV has no advantage, functionality-wise, over a smart TV.

Everything that you can do on an LED TV, you may also do on a smart TV.

The only reason you should even consider buying an LED TV’s if you’re short on budget.

But even then, the difference in cost isn’t really huge.

Case in point, a 32-inch LED TV with a 720p resolution costs around $140.

Meanwhile, you can find a smart TV with those exact specs for only $150.

So here’s the bottom line… 

Smart TVs are simply better than LED TVs in every way.

You might also like: 7 Ways To Know If You Have A Smart TV

Can LED TVs be smart?

LED TVs can be smart. You’ll just have to plug in a media player that can connect to the internet. Some of the best streaming devices compatible with an LED TV include Roku, Chromecast, and Fire TV. These devices are also generally affordable. So turning your LED TV smart won’t cost much.

So I just went over the many reasons why smart TVs are better than LED TVs.

But that doesn’t mean you should just discard your non-smart TV. 

It’s still very much useful. And you can easily make it smart by using a streaming device.

Now, many brands are available out there. 

But just so you don’t feel overwhelmed… 

I’ve narrowed down the choices for you.

I’ll be naming 3 of what I believe are the best streaming players on the market. And I’ll discuss what makes them great as well as how much they cost.

#1: Roku

When it comes to streaming players, no brand’s more popular than Roku.

A 2022 report from Statista revealed that there are over 60 million active Roku users in the US alone.

And that number should only continue to grow in the next few years.

But what makes Roku so popular?

And why is it a highly-recommended streaming player?

Well, for one, it comes preinstalled with some of the best streaming platforms. These include Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus.

You’ll also get to watch over 200 live channels that include sports, news, and weather stations.

In addition, Roku has voice control capability. 

Also, you may easily connect it to a Bluetooth speaker for private listening.

Furthermore, there’s a Roku app that allows you to control it with your smartphone.

And of course, the Roku interface is as clean and user-friendly as it gets. You won’t have trouble navigating the entire menu.

But best of all…

Roku players are really affordable. The Roku Express in particular is perfect for LED TVs with an HD display. It also only costs $25.

#2: Amazon Fire TV Stick

A close 2nd behind Roku’s the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

With over 50 million active users, this streaming player’s also packed with many features.

As with Roku, you’ll also find your favorite streaming apps on the Fire TV Stick.

And being a product of Amazon, it’s built-in with Alexa. So you’ll have arguably the best voice assistant at your disposal.

This streaming device also grants you access to over 200,000 free movies.

It also allows you to stream music from services like Amazon Music and Spotify.

Moreover, the Fire TV Stick’s been branded as Certified for Humans by Amazon. This means that the product was created specifically for non-techies.

So even older folks should have a relatively easy time using it.

As for its price, you can get one for only $40.

#3: Chromecast with Google TV

When Google originally released Chromecast in 2014…

It was designed mainly to allow you to cast contents from your phone to your TV.

But this device has evolved over the years. 

It has since become a legitimate competitor to Roku and Fire TV as a streaming player.

Chromecast with Google TV now comes with its own user interface. It’s where you can install your favorite streaming apps for free.

With this player, you’ll also be able to choose from over 700,000 movies and TV shows. And you can stream from a selection of over a million songs.

And while Fire TV has Alexa…

Chromecast has Google Assistant. So you’d also be able to command it with your voice.

It’s yet another great device to turn your LED TV smart. And you can buy one of these today for only $50.