If you’re planning to buy a new TV, many would recommend Smart TVs because of their many attractive features. They provide app usage, easy connectivity, and a convenient user experience, but for how long?
Like any other electronic product, Smart TVs do get outdated. Think of it like your phone – there is a limited duration wherein it is supported by the manufacturer’s software updates. When a newer model comes out, the old one won’t be able to run newer apps.
But despite their effective lifespan, Smart TVs continue to be a popular choice among consumers. In this article, we will provide a brief background on Smart TVs, how they become outdated, and list down their pros and cons. Let’s get started!
What is A Smart TV?
According to a 2023 survey by Statista that was conducted on over 8,500 respondents, 67 percent said that they own a smart TV. But what exactly makes a TV “smart” that attracts consumers?
A smart TV is a television that can connect wirelessly to the internet. One of its most attractive features is its ability to install apps just like smartphones.
Each TV has its own operating system that works differently, that’s why they have different menus, interface designs, and navigation features which consumers can choose from according to their liking.
Some of the most common apps that are available on Smart TVs include:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Disney Plus
- Apple TV Plus
- TV Channel Apps
- Video Game Apps
Having a smart TV indeed is very convenient, but if you decide to buy one, expect that most of the apps installed on your television will eventually stop working in the years ahead.
Even if you spend thousands of dollars on the latest and most top-of-the-line model, it’s still not exempt from app obsolescence.
How Do Smart TVs Become Outdated?
Times have changed – when you want to buy a TV today, it’s not only the quality of the hardware that matters, but the lifetime of its software should also be considered.
Because just like any type of smart device, smart TVs have an effective lifespan. We all know how fast technology is improving, so electronics a year from now will have better abilities and features compared to what we have now.
But not just that – apps and services also update continuously to keep up with the capabilities of the hardware and will eventually outrun older technology.
Take for instance what happened in 2019 when Samsung and Panasonic smart TVs that were purchased in the early 2010s lost their access to Netflix. The streaming platform said that the technical limitations of these devices didn’t support their latest digital rights management protocols.
In 2023, SBS also decided to withdraw SBS on Demand from Sony Linux smart TVs, saying that the processing power of these TVs could no longer support the app’s best experience.
Also, developing and maintaining an app for various TV models and operating systems is very expensive, so it’s understandable why streaming services don’t bother updating their apps for older TVs anymore and instead focus on the latest models wherein their services are more likely to run more smoothly and reach a wider audience.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Smart TVs?
Ease of Use: The interface of most smart TVs is designed for user-friendliness. With a few clicks from your remote control or smart device, you can easily browse the menu, switch between apps, and find internet content. For easier access, you can also personalize the home screen with your favorite content and apps of your choice.
Access to Apps: Smart TVs work similarly to smartphones where you can access a wide range of apps that are designed for TVs. Whether you’re interested in social media platforms, games, or news apps, there are plenty of choices that cater to different interests and preferences.
Internet Connectivity: Because smart TVs can connect to the internet, entertainment possibilities for the user are endless – you can watch videos or play games on a bigger screen, stream your favorite movies and shows, and install various apps, among other things.
Integration with Other Devices: Smart TVs have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features which means they can easily be connected to other devices like smartphones and tablets. Because of this, you can easily control the TV and even mirror or cast your screen for streaming, demonstrations, or presentations.
Better Image and Sound Quality: Smart TVs are modern TVs, which means that on top of their digital features, they also offer enhanced quality of picture and sound. Models today have either have HD (high definition) or 4K Ultra HD resolutions and support advanced display technologies like OLED or QLED.
More Expensive: Smart TVs are generally more expensive than regular TVs because of their advanced features. The pricing depends on the device’s brand, model, size, and features, but even the low-end ones tend to have a higher price compared to the latest non-smart televisions.
Requires a Learning Curve: While most smart TV are designed to be user-friendly, many people will find it difficult to navigate through the various settings, apps, and customization options in the begininning. If you’re not tech-savvy, it may take a little bit of adjustment and learning to use the device.
Internet-Dependent: The quality of your internet connection greatly impacts your smart TV experience. The speed of your internet affects how you access online features, stream content, and update software.
Privacy and Security Risks: Any device that uses the internet has privacy and security risks because they collect user data that are likely shared to third parties. Just be sure to be mindful of your personal accounts that you use on the TV to avoid hacks or unauthorized access!
Are They Worth It?
As a customer, it is important to do our due diligence and consider pros and cons of a product before buying. Smart TVs are really convenient and provides access to multiple features, but are they worth it?
Smart tvs do provide a lot of convenience to its users to watch favorite shows online and launch streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, etc. with just a click of a button.
Thanks to the new features such as built in microphone, voice recognition and cameras that’s making them more user friendly.
With some models, you can even browse social media, connect food delivery apps and your home security network.
But, all these features and integrations also lead to security risks.
Any smart device that connects to the internet is vulnerable and pose a real security risk and smart TVs are one of them.
Like a smartphone, a smart tv doesn’t get regular software updates and that’s what make it a security risk and vulnerable to malicious hackers.
Now that most smart Tvs have cameras and microphones, the chances of hacking your TV and spying on you is more.
There has been several reports of scamming through pop ups and fake websites on smart TVs. Sometimes, they can even ask for a remote access to your smart TV.
I have not seen smart TV manufacturers doing anything to make browsing on a smart tv as intuitive as scrolling your smartphone.
Yes, you can use hands-free navigation with voice recognition but it is still imperfect.
If you are using the remote buttons for navigation, you will have to deal with frustrating slow menus. Also, if you are trying to change some settings, you will have to look for the exact steps online as important settings are always hidden behind menus and nonsense categories.
Overall, the experience you get with smart tvs compared to your phone is inferior and requires more attention.
Alternatives To Smart TVs
There are several streaming devices that you can use to make your regular TV smart such as Amazon FireStick, Roku etc.
But, do they really turn your regular tv into smart tv?
Yes, I have been using Amazon FireStick with my old TV in my bedroom and I can do everything on it that I can do with my smart TV like using streaming apps such Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ etc.
So, if you have an old regular TV, you can just get a streaming stick and turn your TV to an smart TV with all the latest functionality.
However, if you are looking for ways to use your Tv without an internet connection, you should check our guide Can You Use Smart TV Without Internet.
Now that you know how smart TVs work, how they become outdated, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, the choice is ultimately yours whether to purchase one or not. Consider your personal needs and preferences.
Smart TVs do become outdated like your smartphone or any smart device. You can enjoy many wonderful features for years until it no longer supports app updates. if you’re okay with that, then by all means, purchase one and enjoy its convenient features!