Regular TV Vs Smart TV

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Updated January 26, 2023

The best TVs are out there somewhere, but knowing which one is best for you can be a confusing and often burdensome journey. Modern consumers must consider regular TVs vs smart TVs.


  • Smart TVs can connect to Wi-Fi and have access to streaming content.
  • Smart TVs can connect to smart home devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Smart features, however, do not impact picture quality, where both types are evenly matched.

Here we’ll outline the differences between the two and help you understand which kind will be best for mounting on your living room wall. Additionally, another interesting topic worth looking into is the difference between rear projector TVs and LCD TVs.

Differences Between a Regular TV and Smart TV

Connecting to WiFi is one of the biggest things that differentiates a smart TV from a non-smart TV. Internet connectivity lets users access online content, download apps, and use streaming services without requiring additional research and payment for an external device. Smart TVs come with a built-in operating system, which works similarly to a mobile device, and you can download certain apps to be used for streaming. We go more in-depth on smart TVs in this other article in case you’re still wondering, “What is a smart TV exactly?”

Insider Tip

You can link your smart TV to a virtual voice assistant, such as an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, to use as a remote control to make it easier to search, toggle between apps, and change settings.

On the other side of the fence, a regular digital TV typically doesn’t have wifi accessibility and needs a connected device to access smart TV features. Also, not all digital TVs can connect to smart home devices like Google Assistant. However, once you get a streaming device, little separates the two types. A streaming media player, like the Roku streaming stick, will make your regular television act like a smart TV. This device gives you access to streaming apps using Wi-Fi connectivity to enhance your viewing experience by increasing your entertainment options. And, if you’re wondering, “How do I cast to my TV from my phone,” just know it can be done with external streaming devices.


A common inquiry is that if Smart TVs aren’t as expensive as regular TVs, why even waste time thinking about it? One big reason has to do with user control of their data. Because of the connection to the Internet, websites and apps track data just as they would a phone or computer. Because of these privacy risks, those looking to limit their data sharing may want to consider a regular TV. You may also want to look into how to hack a smart TV camera, so you know how to protect yourself.

Another reason typically leveraged against smart TVs is that streaming devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google TV, or Chromecast are better than smart TV operating systems have built-in. These set-top boxes are also inexpensive and typically have a more dynamic range of functionality. There are also dongles like the Amazon Fire Stick for a portable option. If you would like to learn more about some of these options, we have great comparisons of Fire Stick vs smart TV, smart TV vs Roku TV as well as Apple TV vs smart TV. It is also important to note that almost all new large-screen TVs, like the one in our Samsung UN65RU7100FXZA review, will have smart TV functionality. Whereas smaller, 32-inch models may come without them. Additionally, if you have never had a smart TV before, you may need to read up on how to update a smart TV to ensure it stays up-to-date.


While standard TVs tend to be cheaper, Smart TVs are more affordable than ever. The reason for low prices is that manufacturers are making lots of money off user data, so it’s in their interest to sell them at a bargain. When considering the price, it’s also essential to make a TV screen size comparison to see what’s right for you.


Remember that if you use a smart TV, it collects your data. However, there are now ways to configure settings to increase data privacy.


Is the picture or sound quality better on a smart TV?

Smart features have nothing to do with sound or picture quality.

Can I use my smart TV with Amazon Alexa or Google Home?

Voice control is available on smart devices for many different virtual voice assistants, like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.

How do smart TVs compare to set-top boxes?

Many say that set-top boxes like Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Roku have interfaces that are easier to navigate and have higher performance.

STAT: The number of households with smart TVs is expected to increase to 119 million in 2022 (source)

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