You can skip this article, click the following link, and build your own smart TV. Be sure you are the type of person who is comfortable with tiny objects and electrical components. You need perfect eyesight, hands that don’t shake, a middling knowledge of electrical engineering, and nerves of steel. If you don’t have all that, you might want to read on.
Smart TVs are rather easier to buy than they are to build. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing for you to know before you buy. Like 4K, a smart TV is something you purchase by accident. Few people set out to buy a smart TV. They are just trying purchase a TV. The smarts come with the package. But if you are going to get a smart TV, you just as well get a great one. Here’s how:
Check with the experts
The first thing you will want to do is check your budget. Once you have a price range, check for the best deals. Hint: if it is not a good product, it is not a good deal regardless of how inexpensive it is. So when you check for the best deals for TVs, check with the experts, not the ads in the newspaper.
Reading professional reviews is an excellent way to jumpstart your education on a particular product category. The reviewers will often bring up things that you haven’t considered. The reviews tend to break down into highly readable categories. These categories will instruct about what to look for, and what is important about the product category.
Even so, reviewers expect a certain base level of knowledge about what it is you are looking at. So there are some questions that they never address. For instance, if you are reading a review, they assume that you know that it is something you want. They also assume you know the pros and cons of owning such a device. There are some questions you should ask even before you start reading professional reviews.
Will you actually use the smart part?
For decades, people have had one expectation from their television. They want it to produce a great picture of the content jammed into it from the cable company copper. Today, we get content from more places than that. Many bypass the copper altogether.
Instead, we are getting our content from set-top boxes that didn’t come from the cable company. We are getting it via wifi from Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV. So the real question is will you use any of the smart features that come with the TV. Or will you still use it as a generic window into the world of your media boxes of choice?
Smart TVs are not worth it if you are not going to use the smart part. The smart part is really just a marketing buzzword for Internet content. The included software is typically out of date, hard to use, and a vector for security breaches.
Maybe a little too smart
How smart does your TV really need to be? If your TV only has average intelligence, you watch your TV. But if you have a smart TV, your TV watches you. Vizio just recently got caught tracking all of your TV-watching habits, recording the data, and sharing it with (selling it to) their partners.
According to the FCC, that’s not cool. But we didn’t really need the FCC to tell us that. We also learned that it is not just Vizio engaging in that kind of behavior. It is all of them. The big companies can learn a lot of valuable information about you from your TV habits. And they are profiting from it.
Smart TVs are all the rage. But they haven’t proven necessary yet. So read up on security. Decide if they have features you want to use. And consult the experts on the best deals.
Photo credit: LG전자 / Kārlis Dambrāns
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