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Smart TV vs Apple TV

With the ever-changing landscape of technology and smart TVs, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest releases and which products are best for your own household. 

If you are in the market for a new TV or if you want to streamline your streamlining and entertainment services, you may be wondering what the differences are between a smart TV and an Apple TV.

Learning the differences between a smart TV and an Apple TV as well as the features they have to offer can help you decide on a make and model that delivers exactly what you need. 

To help you decide on an Apple TV or a smart TV for your home, we’ve covered the pros and cons of owning each below.

Smart TV vs Apple TV

Before you make a purchase of any kind, it is important to familiarize yourself with both Apple TV technology and what smart TVs actually are in the marketplace. 

What is a Smart TV?

A smart TV is any television that has the ability to connect to the internet.

This can include televisions with built-in applications such as Netflix and Hulu, or televisions that provide wireless internet access manually.

Most smart TVs today available in-store include built-in streaming services and web browsers that do not require additional programming or coding. 

What is Apple TV?

Apple TV is a media streaming solution that is compatible with many flatscreen televisions and computer monitors today.

Apple TV is not its own standalone TV, and is instead, an add-on component and device that helps to connect to the internet to stream media using a wireless internet connection and/or Bluetooth. 

Pros of Using a Smart TV

Before you decide on either a Smart TV or Apple TV, compare the pros and cons of both.

Some of the most notable features of a Smart TV that help it stand out from traditional flatscreen televisions on the market today include:

  • Access multiple applications with one touch. Manage various music, entertainment, news, and gaming applications in one central location. 
  • Use voice control with your remote, depending on the type of Smart TV you are using as well as your preferred streaming controller/platform.
  • Sync your Smart TV with other smart devices you have throughout your home, including both Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
  • Cast your device to stream your media just about anywhere once your SmartTV is properly connected to the internet.
  • Smart TVs include built-in technology that does not require additional devices in order to get started with the features available. 

Cons of Using a Smart TV

Using a Smart TV provides plenty of flexibility when it comes to managing and streaming media. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to using a Smart TV, such as:

  • The unpredictability of software. If there is a software leak or if there are no available updates for software, consumers are stuck with what they have on their screens.
  • Outdated software: Investing in a Smart TV increases your risk of experiencing outdated software or technology within just a few years. With a Smart TV, you may need to replace the entire device, rather than just updating a box or a separate device itself.

Read more: Does Stadia work on Apple TV?

Pros of Using Apple TV

Investing in Apple TV is ideal for those who enjoy using Apple products exclusively. Some of the stand-out features and pros of using Apple TV over Smart TVs include:

  • Cast media from your Apple devices immediately using your iPhone, iPad, or any device with an updated Apple operating system, or iOS.
  • Cast media using Airplay on any Apple streaming device or product, such as the HomePod or HomePod mini.
  • Listen to your media privately with the use of a pair of your Apple Airpods.
  • Update and manage the color balance of your media on any screen or device with the use of your Apple iPhone.
  • Take advantage of a built-in Siri, which can help with browsing for media, purchasing items, or keeping track of media and entertainment you already have available in your Apple library.

Cons of Using Apple TV

Read more: Why won’t my Apple TV connect to Homepod?

Similar to a Smart TV, there are also drawbacks to using Apple TV as a standalone option to stream your media.

Some of the more notable drawbacks of choosing to use Apple TV over a next-gen Smart TV include:

  • Limited apps: You may find yourself limited with the number of apps you can download and install with Apple TV. Apple TV has exclusive contracts with app developers and publishers, which can limit the number of media apps you have access to even if you have the latest model of Apple TV available. 
  • Requires Apple products: In order to maximize the use you are able to get out of owning Apple TV, you will also need to be the owner of additional Apple products, including, at a minimum, an Apple iPhone. Investing in Apple products such as iPads, iPhones, and other Apple streaming devices is not cheap, and can quickly add up in cost if you are on a budget.

How to choose between a Smart TV and Apple TV

If you’re an avid Apple and iOS user, sticking with Apple TV is advisable, just to easily streamline and integrate your media with ease.

If you are interested in expanding beyond Apple and iOS products, however, your best bet is to invest in a new Smart TV.  

For a more budget-friendly option that is not as exclusive to one brand of digital devices, opt for a Smart TV for maximum compatibility. 

Do I need an Apple TV if I have a smart TV?

No. You do not need an Apple TV if you already have a smart TV, unless you want to take advantage of exclusive Apple TV features, such as a built-in Siri. 

Can I still use Siri with my Smart TV?

Unfortunately, no. You will need to use an official Apple TV or Apple product in order to use the built-in Siri feature. You will not be able to use Siri voice controls with a standard smart TV without Apple TV.

Can I still access my Apple TV shows with a smart TV?

Yes. You can access your Apple TV shows with a Smart TV by using the Apple application, which can be downloaded from your smart TV’s official play store or app library. 

Do I need a smart TV if I have an Apple TV?

This will depend on the features you want to use with your Apple TV that are not available with your home’s Smart TV.

Features such as using Airplay in Dolby Vision, managing color balance with your iPhone (or other Apple device), or even privately listening to your media using Airpods are not available if you are using a smart TV instead of an Apple TV.

However, you can still use a variety of streaming services, such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO, and more with both the Apple TV as well as a smart TV solution. 

Can I use other streaming platforms with Apple TV?

Yes. You can stream using other platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO, and more using your Apple TV once you have connected to your device and logged into your Apple account.