Apple TV vs Smart TV

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

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Updated February 9, 2023

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. Or, if you prefer not to use Apple products, you can check out our comparison of smart TV vs Android TV.

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. Like other popular streaming services, you will have access to endless entertainment options, like movies, games, and award-winning series. Also, for outdoor television advice, you can read our article that compares aluminum vs plastic TV boxes.

apple tv

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.

Insider Tip

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

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. Plus, hooking up your TV to Wi-Fi is easy with the Apple TV


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

Remote Features and Voice Functionality

The new 4K Apple TV remote 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. So if the Apple TV is your streaming device of choice, check out our guide on the best TV for Apple TV to ensure you’re getting the best viewing experience possible. Additionally, if you re adding an Apple TV device to your TV, you need to make sure you have enough HDMI ports for everything you will use. If you don’t, you can learn how to add HDMI ports to your TV. There is no shortage of options for Apple to compete with, from the likes of Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TV, and the Roku streaming stick, to name a few, wheat you choose may come down to price, connectivity, and which has your favorite movies available to watch.

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

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. With an increased demand for quality streaming content, more feature films that used to only be on the biggest screens in theaters are now coming to subscription libraries as well.


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.

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