Television watching is the most popular leisure activity in America: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 80% of Americans watch an average of 2 hours and 46 minutes of TV every day.
Television energy usage accounts for 7% of energy consumed in American households. This includes the use of DVRs, streaming devices and video game consoles, and costs each home an average of $103 a year. Depending on the type of television you own, watching three hours of television a night consumes between 65.7 and 256.23 kWh a year.
With the advent of smart TVs, television watching has changed for many Americans. But what is a smart TV good for, what’s the difference between smart TVs and regular TVs, and how do smart TVs work?
A traditional television has only one function: to display the signal from an antenna, cable connection or satellite system. In contrast, a smart television offers users the opportunity to stream video directly from the internet. It can also download a variety of apps and games and even control other electronics.
Smart TVs work by connecting to the same wired or wireless router you use to connect your computer or mobile devices to the internet. Once your smart television is connected to the internet, you can access online streaming services without the need for a media streamer while still watching traditional television channels through cable connections.
If your smart TV has an ENERGY STAR®️ label, it will use approximately 25% less power than a traditional television. One of the most exciting advantages of smart TVs is the ability to connect televisions to other smart devices, allowing you to control both the television and connected devices from any location.
Television peripherals such as cable boxes, media streamers and gaming consoles all consume electricity when used to stream content to traditional televisions. Using a smart TV removes your reliance on such devices, thus saving you energy.
The advantages of smart TVs are many. If you’re wondering what a smart TV does in addition to streaming online content, here are a few common features.
Partnering your smart TV to a voice assistant or smart home hub allows you to control television functions remotely. Why bother with remotes when you can just tell your TV what to do?
What’s a smart TV good for if not watching shows and movies? If you’ve downloaded a show onto your laptop or smartphone, you can cast it straight to a partnered TV and watch it on the larger screen. Conversely, you can cast content from your TV to your smartphone so you can watch shows from anywhere in the home.
One of the great advantages of a smart TV is the ability to download useful apps — including popular music-streaming services. Once the music is downloaded, you can use your television to play the tunes you love, with the TV acting like a smart speaker and responding to voice commands.
One of the biggest differences between a smart TV and a regular TV is that smart TVs partner with other smart devices. You can use your television as a dashboard to control other devices, turn off lights, lock doors and change thermostat settings directly from the television.
Smart TVs come with built-in web browsers so you can surf the web without reaching for your smartphone or laptop. Easy access to a smart TV browser makes it possible to order takeout or call a ride all from the comfort of your favorite chair.
Once partnered with a smartphone, smart TVs can be controlled from anywhere, so if you forget to turn off the TV, you can do so even after you leave your home.
Children can access inappropriate content on smart TVs, especially through the television’s browser. Parental controls allow you to monitor the types of shows your children watch, and many smart TVs come with the option of setting television schedules so they turn off at certain times, giving kids a chance to tackle homework or head to bed.
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Smart TVs are still a relatively new innovation. Here are some common questions asked about smart TVs:
While you can access some features of a smart TV without an internet connection, the TV needs to be online to work properly.
If you want to keep an existing cable subscription, you’ll need to use your smart TV with a cable box. However, many premium channels now offer streaming services through subscription apps, so you can still access their shows if you decide to “cut the cord.”
Smart TVs are generally considered safe but have been targeted by hackers in the past. To be safe, never use your TV for financial transactions or data-sensitive operations. Claims of hackers gaining control of TV cameras have been made. While the risk is low, covering the camera when not in use protects your privacy.
With smart TVs flooding the market, traditional TVs are rapidly becoming obsolete. The ability to connect a television to not just cable but also streaming services and an ever-increasing range of apps means that smart TVs are highly appealing, especially when combined with energy-saving smart devices. If smart TVs are the televisions of the future, then the future is already here.
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