So, you’ve got an old, dumb TV sitting on the entertainment center at home. You wish that you could outfit it with Smart TV features to make it a little more capable, but you’re not sure what to do with all of the different options out there. Do you get a set-top box and keep your traditional TV in play, or do you upgrade to a Smart TV altogether?
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Or, you can skip the set-top box entirely and pick up a Smart TV with, say, Roku software installed already. It’s hard to choose with so man different options. That’s why we’re showing you the big difference between a standard Smart TV and a TV with Roku already installed. Let’s dive right in.
You can essentially say goodbye to the standard TV now that Smart TV is here. Smart TVs are now extremely affordable, costing you just as much as a traditional flat screen, sometimes even less. Smart TVs are a great way to jump into the modern era without a whole lot of cash upfront.
A Smart TV at its core is like a traditional TV but has its own operating system that provides you access to a bunch of other content, like apps that you can download for streaming your favorite movies.
Turn on the Smart TV, and you’re instantly taken to the home screen where you’ll have access to a list of pre-installed apps, and generally a market where you can download more, depending on the operating system. Most Smart TVs will have software like Netflix or Prime Video installed by default.
Smart TVs are particularly helpful because they come with an operating system out of the box. You don’t have to “add” an operating system to it as you do with traditional TVs. Old, dumb TVs usually have to be outfitted with something like a Fire TV Stick to plug into its HDMI port, which would then give you that functionality similar to a Smart TV.
Smart TVs generally cost a little more than traditional TVs, but their price has come down a lot. Depending on where you find your Smart TV, you’re pretty much going to be looking at the same cost. It’s often cheaper to do than picking up a standard TV and then a set-top box to go with it.
Now, you do have to be careful when you purchase a Smart TV. More often than not, people will buy a Fire Stick, Roku Ultra, or Apple TV to go with their Smart TV, simply because the native software is just so awful. That’s why things like the Roku TV was invented — to provide an out-of-the-box solution that works.
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If you’re wanting to upgrade your TV instead of doing something like a set-top box and standard TV combo, you’ll want to look out for a Roku TV. A Roku TV is essentially a Smart TV, but one that uses Roku’s software for its operating system.
These are so much better, and a little pricier, because many Smart TV brands have some strange and challenging to navigate software; not to even mention that most Smart TVs don’t have a library of content that you can watch. Roku software has been around a long while, much longer than many of these Smart TV systems.
With the Roku TV, you are opened up to a ton of different free content and apps. On a Roku TV, you’ll be able to download popular apps like Netflix and Hulu, as well as specific channels, such as WatchESPN, HBO Now, or the Hallmark Movies channel. Those are services or content that usually wouldn’t be accessible on some off-brand Smart TV.
Roku TV provides some other benefits, such as being able to shop for movies to rent directly from the Movie Store within the Roku software. That’s something you would never find on off-brand software, unfortunately. At least not for the time being.
Ultimately, you might pay a little more for the software of a Roku-powered TV; however, it’s hard to beat the value that comes with a Roku TV. On top of that, you’re going to save yourself time and frustration from fiddling around with the ever-complicated OEM software.
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The massive divide between Smart TVs and Roku TVs ultimately comes down to software and user experience. You can usually get a Smart TV pretty cheaply, but that generally means you’re getting poor OEM software — that is even the case for companies like Samsung and LG.
That said, pay a little extra and get something like a Roku TV, you’ll get such a better and more enjoyable user experience. There is plenty of free content on Roku TV as well, whereas you won’t find much of that on a Samsung or LG TV. This method is generally cheaper than picking up a Roku set-top box and TV as well.