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Smart TV vs Non-Smart: What’s The Difference? (2023 Guide)

Smart TV VS Non-Smart

TVs generally last for 4-7 years.

That’s why it’s best to know which kind best suits you before you buy one.

On that note, let me tell you the differences between Smart and non-smart TVs.

So you can confidently purchase a device that fits your needs. 

Continue reading to discover:

  • 5 real disadvantages of getting a Smart TV. 
  • The 5 key differences between the 2 TV types. 
  • 5 practical reasons why Smart TVs are superior to the regular models.
  • And this is just the beginning… 

Differences between Smart TV and a non-smart TV

There are many differences between a Smart TV and a non-smart TV.

The information below will equip you with all you need to know. So you can outweigh the pros and cons of each device according to your preference.

That being said, here are the…

5 key differences between Smart TVs and the regular models

#1: Ability to access the Internet 

The easiest way to tell a Smart TV apart from a non-smart version is to check if it can use the Internet. 

That’s because only Smart TVs can connect to a network. 

In fact, this ability is why they’re referred to as “smart” devices. And that’s a similar reason why phones are also called “smartphones.”

That said, there are 2 ways to check if a TV can use the Internet:

Method 1: By checking if it has an ethernet port
Smart TV Ethernet Port

Most Smart TVs have a port dedicated to ethernet cables. So if a model has an ethernet port, then it’s smart.  

However, there are also instances when Smart TVs don’t have this slot.

So the best way to know if a model can connect to a network is to…

Method 2: Check its settings
  1. Turn the TV ON.
  2. Press Home/Menu on its remote.
  3. Head to the TV’s settings.
  4. Find the Wifi/Network option.

If your TV shows these options, then it’s a smart device.

#2: Streaming applications

You can only watch shows and movies on regular TVs if you have input devices like:

  • CD players.
  • DVD players.
  • Cable set-top boxes. 

However, with Smart TVs, you don’t need gadgets like these. 

That’s because smarter televisions have access to streaming applications like:

With the help of these apps, you can choose from thousands of TV shows and movies on your Smart TV. And you don’t need to use any streaming gadgets to do so.

However, it’s still worth noting that…

The exact number of streaming applications you’ll have on a Smart TV depends on its brand and model.

That’s because TV companies have different partnerships with streaming platforms.

For example: Only Samsung TVs that run Tizen OS (operating system) can run the Disney Plus Application.

And likewise, the streaming platform Peacock only works with LG TVs that run on webOS 3.0+. 

It’s also worth mentioning that…

There are instances when TV companies get into a dispute with the streaming services.

And to give you an example…

The company Roku pulled out Youtube TV from their Smart TVs in April 2021. Because of conflicts of interest between the 2 services. 

#3: Games

Another difference between regular TVs and Smart TVs is their access to games.

See, while the non-smart versions don’t have these applications… 

Smart TVs usually contain dozens of games you can use for entertainment.

However, keep in mind that…

The games you’ll find in Smart TVs aren’t the same as those on your PC or phone.

That’s because TV gaming apps are usually simple and easy to play. 

Specifically, most of them are classic games you’ve played in your childhood, like:

  • Chess.
  • Sudoku. 
  • Pac-Man.
  • Tic-tac-toe.

#4: Access to a browser 

Only Smart TVs have access to the Internet. 

So naturally, only these devices have access to the browser.

With that said…

You can also use your Smart TV to search for any information on the web. 

It’s worth noting, though, that most TV models have their own browser.

So you won’t usually find PC browsers like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge on your Smart TV. 

#5: Security risks 

Regular TVs have close-to-none security risks. 

However, Smart TVs are prone to hackers. 


Because non-smart TVs are offline devices. While Smart TVs have access to the Internet.

See, all gadgets connected to the Wifi are at risk of being hacked.

And yes, even these popular smart devices have security threats. 

Now, you’re probably thinking…

“What happens if my Smart TV gets hacked?”

And to answer that, unwanted strangers will be able to:

  • Use your credit card information. 
  • Control the Smart TV camera and microphone. 
  • Gain access to your personal accounts and password.

However, fortunately,…

There are several ways to protect your Smart TV from being hacked. 

And here are the easiest yet most effective ones you can try: 

  • Regularly update your Smart TV. 
  • Avoid installing 3rd-party applications. 
  • Use non-dictionary passwords for your Wifi. 

Still want more information about the security risks of Smart TVs? Watch this video:

Why Smart TVs are superior to non-smart TVs

Smart TVs are superior to non-smart TVs because they’re easier to use. And their designs are much more appealing to the eyes. Moreover, they also have a much better picture quality thanks to their built-in AIs. 

Let me explain each benefit of Smart TVs. 

#1: Easier to use 

I may be a “tech” person, but I still prefer simple devices over complicated ones.

That’s because I believe well-designed gadgets are intuitive to use. 

And if you’re the same way… 

Then getting a Smart TV will be beneficial to you. That’s because, trust me, this device is very easy to control. 

As mentioned earlier, Smart TVs don’t need any input device to work.

On that note, to use this device, all you need to do is:

  1. Plug your Smart TV into its power source.
  2. Turn it ON.
  3. Start streaming. 

See, it’s such a simple yet powerful piece of tech. So even if you’re not the best at connecting wires or setting up gadgets…

You’ll surely have no problem operating a Smart TV. 

#2: Phone compatibility 

Most likely, the device you’re most comfortable with is your phone. 

And lucky for you…

Smart TVs can integrate with mobile gadgets with extreme ease. 

That’s because it only takes a few screen taps to send media from a phone to the TV, thanks to these features: 

  • Chromecast.
  • Screen mirroring.

Not just that, you can also use your phone as your TV remote. 

That’s because most modern Smart TVs have mobile applications. Which you can use as your TV’s virtual controller. 

For example, Samsung TVs have the “SmartThings app (iOS and Android).

And Roku TVs have the “Roku – Official Remote Control” application (iOS and Android).

#3: Smart TV remotes can control other streaming devices

If you have a regular TV…

You know the struggles of needing to switch remotes every time you use a different input device.

That’s because the controller of a non-smart TV is different from that of the DVD player.

Plus, the cable box also uses a different remote. 

However, you’d be glad to know that if you have a Smart TV…

You can simply use 1 remote to control different streaming devices.

And that’s all thanks to the HDMI-CEC feature of Smart TVs.

Note: This term can vary depending on the TV brand. 

See, I only need 1 remote around regardless of where I want to watch a show from. 

That’s because my Samsung TV remote also works with my Fire TV streaming device.

Moreover, my DVD player also recognizes my Smart TV controller as its own.

So if you also want to experience the convenience of not having to use several remotes…

You shouldn’t miss out on buying a Smart TV. 

#4: Pleasing to the eyes 

Smart TVs are aesthetically pleasing. And that’s not just because they don’t need bulky streaming devices around them.

See, for the past years, they’ve been designed to make rooms look better.

And some brands like Samsung even go the extra mile of framing their TVs like art pieces.

Fun fact: These TVs are part of “The Frame” series. And they’re models that can also act as art. That’s because you can customize the bezels of these devices. Plus, you can choose dozens of art pieces to display on these TVs. 

Now, of course…

Other companies also put their best foot forward when designing their devices. 

For example, Philips Smart TVs have the Ambilight feature

Or in other words…

Their products have LED light at the back that extends the colors from the TV screen to the wall. 

Note: Here’s an example of a TV with this feature. 

The brand Sony also makes their TVs look better. And they do so by using innovative minimalist stand designs. 

With all that, it’s safe to say that regardless of which Smart TV brand you pick…

You’ll be sure to find a model that’ll improve your room’s or space’s aesthetics.

And if you’re thinking… 

“But aren’t regular TVs also made by the same companies?”

You’re not wrong. However…

Brands generally don’t put much effort into improving their regular TVs’ designs. That’s because most consumers are now interested in buying smart models.

#5: Better picture quality 

Best Picture Quality

Like Smart TVs, regular models can also exist in UHD and 4K.

However, the resolution isn’t the only thing that affects the picture quality of a TV.

That’s because how images are processed also contributes to this aspect. 

This being said, unlike their non-smart counterparts… 

Smart TVs improve their images with AIs to make the screen’s picture quality look better. 

For example, Sony’s Bravia A90J Smart TV is built with a cognitive processor XR. And it aims to process images similar to how human minds do. 

This way, the images you’ll see on the Sony screen will look as realistic as possible. And you’ll feel as if you’re part of the movie or show itself. 

And if you want to go into the specifics…

This Smart TV’s processor focuses on the main object of each scene. Then, it enhances the subject’s detail so that it can stand out from the rest of the picture. 

Note: You can compare this to how cameras can “focus” on a subject. And blur an object’s surroundings. 

See, you can’t find this advanced technology on non-smart TVs.

That’s because they’re not built with AIs. And they also don’t have as good processors as Smart TVs. 

Bonus: Smart TVs still function like their regular counterparts 

Last but not least…

Smart TVs can still do everything that non-smart TVs can, so they’re the better choice.

Specifically, you can still use your Smart TV to be the display for:

  • Cable boxes.
  • DVD players.
  • Various streaming devices. 

With that said, you won’t lose out on anything if you get a Smart TV instead of a regular one.

So I highly recommend you opt for the smarter device instead. 

Further reading: 9 Real Reasons Why You Should Get a Smart TV (Updated)

What is the disadvantage of a Smart TV?

Their higher price point is 1 of the few disadvantages of Smart TVs. And their heavy reliance on the Internet can also be a problem. These devices can also crash as PCs and phones do. With that, some people avoid buying them. 

And to further explain these downsides, here are the…

5 disadvantages of getting a Smart TV: 

#1: They’re pricier 

Smart TVs are more expensive than non-smart models. And this can be a huge disadvantage, especially if you’re on a budget. 

For example, this 1080p 40-inch TV by RCA only costs $230. While this SmartCast Vizio TV of the same size and resolution costs $270. 

Moreover, a 24” non-smart LG TV only costs $173. And it’s way cheaper than this $250 24-inch Smart TV from the same brand.

#2: Slow Internet means poor streaming experience

Smart TVs rely on streaming apps for their shows and movies.

And these applications can only run smoothly if you have a fast connection. 

That said, if your network is slow…

Unfortunately, you’ll also have a poor streaming experience. Or worse, you won’t even be able to watch any movies or shows at all. 

#3: Advertisements

The home screen of Smart TVs, like those from Samsung, have advertisements banners on them. 

And not only can these can be annoying to look at…

They can also make the TV user interface hard to navigate through.

That’s because these ads sometimes sit too close to the application tiles.

With that, it’s easy to accidentally click on them. And this results in you being redirected to a new page involuntarily. 

#4: Smart TVs can crash as PCs do 

Smart TVs have dozens of apps and can open several ones simultaneously.

However, unfortunately, these devices don’t really know their limits.

And they sometimes end up taking on more tasks than they can handle. 

As a result, you might find yourself enjoying your movie night on your Smart TV for a moment. And staring at a black or blue screen seconds later. Because your device has crashed without you knowing. 

#5: Privacy and security risks

I’ve already discussed this earlier. However, it’s still worth noting again that…

Security risks are another disadvantage of getting a Smart TV.

That said, smart televisions are at the highest risk of being hacked if they’re:

  • Not regularly updated. 
  • Have a lot of 3rd-party apps. 
  • Connected to a Wifi without a secured password. 

On that note, taking proper precautions when using Smart TVs is crucial. So you don’t end up exposing your data to hackers. Or worse, letting strangers listen to you and your family through your Smart TV’s microphone.

Read next: 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Smart TV (Updated)

Is it worth it to buy a non-smart TV?

It’s worth buying a non-smart TV if you’re on a tight budget. That’s because there are several ways to turn regular TVs smart with the help of streaming devices.

However, I still suggest that you opt for Smart TVs. Because they have more features than the regular ones. Plus, they’re much easier to use.