WiFi TV vs Smart TV

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Updated February 8, 2023

If you are new to the wide world of home entertainment, you may look to compare WiFi TVs vs smart TVs. Many of the best TVs, are filled to the brim with high-tech innovations, including smart features and WiFi functionality. So what are the actual differences between these two TV types? This is largely an issue of semantics, though WiFi TVs are older and used to be called Internet-ready TVs, which is useful when learning how to connect your phone to a TV. These older models featured WiFi receivers but none of the bells and whistles affiliated with modern smart TVs if you are comparing a TCL 55c815 vs a TCL 55c715. While Smart TVs are internet-ready, they’re also designed with a user-friendly interface, making it easier to access and navigate various features and content without using an external device, such as a streaming stick or set-top box.


  • WiFi TVs used to be called Internet-ready TVs, and they were the precursor to modern smart televisions, with Dolby Vision and advanced remote controls.
  • OId-school WiFi televisions did not have an optimized user interface or a design that emphasized streaming like Amazon Fire TV streaming sticks and the like.
  • Modern smart TVs, like Google TV models, nearly always allow for voice controls and are designed around streaming apps.

Differences Between WiFi TVs and Smart TVs

Generally, you can consider some smart TVs are simply WiFi TVs, but the reverse is not always true if you are comparing an Apple TV box to a smart TV.

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Here are more ways in which those differences break down. However, nowadays, the two terms mean the same thing, so we are focusing on the older Internet-ready models.

Operating Systems

When you say television is smart, you are typically referring to a robust operating system designed for ease of use. Modern smart TVs feature state-of-the-art operating systems made by Samsung, Google, Amazon, and other tech giants. Older WiFi models simply featured a wireless receiver and a bare-bones web browser. This browser could be navigated to streaming sites to watch content, but that was not the primary design.

Voice Assistant Integration

Internet-ready televisions landed on retail shelves before modern voice assistants made a huge dent in the market. In other words, old-school WiFi TVs will not provide access to Siri, Alexa, and the rest of your digital friends. On the other hand, modern smart TVs nearly always feature robust voice controls, so you can choose what you want to watch just by speaking.

STAT: Also referred to as a “connected TV,” a smart TV is a television that connects to the internet and has a built-in operating system (OS), like your mobile phone or personal computer. (source)


Back when Internet-ready televisions entered the marketplace, they were extremely expensive. However, times have changed. Nowadays, just about every TV out there is “smart” in one way or another, and the costs have decreased significantly. You can pick up a decent smart TV for around $500 in the current market.

Smart TV Vs WiFi TV FAQs

What is a smart TV?

A smart TV, like a Google TV, is a television with plenty of high-end features like smart assistant integration, access to numerous streaming apps and streaming devices, and more.

Which companies make smart TVs?

Many companies make smart TVs, from Google TV to the Apple TV set-top box and beyond. These televisions include smart assistant integration, like Google Assistant, an Ethernet port for Internet connectivity, and much more.

Can a smart TV crash or hang like a PC?

Modern smart TVs with Dolby Vision, like the Google TV or Apple TV box, are basically computers, so yeah, they can crash or hang up just like a PC.
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