Apple TV vs Smart TV

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Updated September 16, 2022

The internet age reinvented what it meant to have the best TV. Where before, durability and image quality were the mainstays of judging the overall value of a TV, modern smart TV features add a whole new level of consumer expectation.


  • Apple TVs come with wide access to 4k content and the Apple ecosystem features.
  • Other Smart TVs have various numbers of available apps and features but trail Apple regarding data privacy and voice command software.
  • Apple TV is more pricey than many other smart device options when it comes to cost.

If you’re curious about this topic, keep reading as we compare Apple TV vs a smart TV. For more information on smart technologies, check out our article on Blu-Ray players vs smart TVs.

Differences Between an Apple TV vs a Smart TV

Owning a smart TV part of a more prominent brand’s ecosystem — like Apple — comes with its benefits and constraints. For example, Apple has its proprietary software and user interface and access to the Apple app store, Apple Music, and Siri voice control. Also, for outdoor television advice, you can read our article that compares aluminum vs plastic TV boxes.

Insider Tip

If you are looking to reduce your data usage, you can change the resolution settings on your smart TV to 720p.

So, is the Apple TV experience superior to the average smart TV? Below we’ll look further at how Apple TV features rank against smart TV competition and help you calculate if an Apple TV should be your next move.

Picture Quality

Apple TVs come with many apps that now offer 4k UHD content. While you can find 4k HDR content on many smart TVs, the new Apple TV has more streaming platforms that provide 4k content than the average smart TV or streaming stick.

Remote Features and Voice Functionality

The new Apple 4k TV control features are perhaps the most useful on the market for remote design and smart speaker functionality. The remote even has a dedicated button on the side of the remote that puts the TV into “Siri Mode.” This feature allows you to navigate your streaming apps and other content through voice search.

Many other Smart TVs come with similar functions, but the consensus is that Apple TV does it better than the rest. Additionally, if you would like, you can learn about the differences between WiFi TV vs smart TV.


Another benefit to buying a 4K Apple TV streaming device is that it will probably be more affordable than purchasing a new smart TV. Depending on how many gigabytes you need, you can get an Apple TV device for anywhere from $100-$200.

As for the smart TV options, the most affordable will start at $150-$200, and you won’t get the same picture quality or range of features that come with an Apple TV device.


Although the new Apple TV has many apps that offer 4k content, Apple TV does not provide 4k YouTube Content.


Is it possible for smart TVs to get hacked or have bugs?

Hacking is possible on a smart TV, and protection varies depending on the manufacturer. And Apple TV devices, while highly secure, do not protect the TV that it is connected to.

Are smart TVs a suitable replacement for cable?

The apps that both smart TVs support, such as Google TV, Hulu, and YouTube TV often make them more affordable than cable. The same goes for Apple TV devices. They also offer the same, if not a wider, range of content.

Can a smart TV watch you?

Most TVs with internet connections track viewing habits. And while Apple TV has the best in class data privacy options, the TV you connect it to can still track habits.

STAT: The estimated number of Apple TV users in the United States, as of 2019, is 33.6 Million. (source)

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