Forum Topic: Smart TV vs. Dedicated Box

Is your TV Smart enough?

by hodg100 Aug 18, 2017 at 6:58 AM

  • Having owned their Smart TV for more than five years, AVForums member boksbox is pondering the merits of going for a dedicated Smart TV device rather than relying on the built-in services of a TV.
    While there is not one single answer and there is absolutely no doubt that the connected platforms built in to televisions have been greatly improved over the years – especially by the likes of Samsung and LG – we (well, I for sure) would probably lean towards recommending a dedicated box to take care of business.

    The primary reason for this would be for the longevity of support by the manufacturers. The likes of the NVIDIA SHIELD TV, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick and Roku 3 continue to receive regular updates, and enhancements, many years after their release, whereas support for the typical Smart TV tends to be more sporadic and wanes to virtually non-existent two to three years following launch.

    Let’s face it, most people tend to replace their TVs every five to ten years – it’s a significant investment, after all - whereas a Smart Box is much cheaper to replace or upgrade, with costs ranging from between £35 for a Fire TV Stick to about £180 for the SHIELD TV. With the way video technologies rapidly evolve, it’s probably fair to say that it’s easier to keep up using a dedicated box as well.

    There are other advantages to be had by going dedicated device including the ability to adjust the video refresh rate to complement the framerate of the content, where a Smart TV will almost invariably be locked in to outputting a 60Hz signal, which is less than optimal with 24, 25 and 50 frames per second content. You can also get more flexibility in terms of choosing input devices such as remote and games controllers, as well as keyboards and mice.

    There are advantages in the all-in-one Smart TV approach too, however. It is often the case that you’ll find one of your key streaming services is missing from ‘Box x,y or z’ where most of the Smart TVs from the major manufacturers tend to have more of the bases covered. There’s also the convenience and aesthetic factors of not having to wire up another box and the fact you don’t have to outlay further cash.

    At the end of the day, you need to weigh up all the factors, and their importance to you, before making the decision but we’d love to read your experiences on the world of streaming and Smart TVs in general.

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