If, like me, you remember the days of CRT TVs that were as deep as they were wide, you’ll know how much TVs have evolved over the last decade. First there was the flat screen, then HD resolution and now it’s smart TVs.
If you purchased a TV in the last few years, then it’s probably a smart TV, but if you’re struggling to tell, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you out.
What is a Smart TV?
Put simply, a smart TV is capable of connecting to the internet. This allows it to provide additional functionality such as on-demand TV, voice control or interacting with other smart devices.
Manufacturers can choose which operating system to run on their smart TVs, some choose to build their own platform such as LG and Samsung, whereas others will use a standard platform such as Sony and Sharp who both use Android TV.
Whatever system the TV uses, it will likely have the ability to install apps such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube which allows you to access online content.
How to tell if your TV is a smart TV
Here are four different ways you can identify a smart TV:
Look for apps on the remote or home screen
Look for an ethernet port on the rear of the TV
Check settings for ‘network connections’
Check the model number on the manufacturer’s website
The tell-tale sign that your TV is smart, will be the presence of apps. The two most popular apps to look out for are Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Sometimes you’ll know this by looking at the included remote which may have dedicated buttons with shortcuts to certain apps. Other times you may need to navigate to a home screen or main menu.
There are more details below about how to find apps on major TV brands.
Without even turning the TV on, you can identify a smart TV from the presence of an ethernet port. An ethernet port is what is used to connect to the internet, it’s the wired version of WiFi that we’ve become accustomed to.
This is what an ethernet port will look like, it is usually labelled LAN or Internet.
If a TV can connect to the internet, then it is a smart TV. This means there will be a section in the TV settings for connecting to your WiFi router. This is usually labelled something along the lines of network connections or internet connectivity.
If all else fails, you can Google the model number that will be found on a label somewhere on the TV. With current models, you’ll probably come across a listing on Amazon or another electronics website with your TV specs.
If it’s an older or discontinued model, you may need to visit the manufacturers website where you’ll find the specs for all older models.
Brand Specific Guides
Here are a few tips for checking popular TV brands for smart functionality:
Is My Samsung TV a Smart TV?
Samsung smart TVs usually run on their proprietary Tizen operating system. If it’s a smart TV, you will have the Smart Hub which can be accessed via a home button or the Smart Hub logo on the remote.
Once on the Smart Hub, you’ll see the apps along the bottom of the screen.
Is My LG TV a Smart TV?
LG use their WebOS platform in their smart TVs. When you press home on the remote, a ribbon will pop up along the bottom of the screen allowing you to navigate through pre-installed apps and add your own. This indicates that it is a smart TV.
Is My Vizio TV a Smart TV?
Vizio have changed their approach to smart TVs a few times with older TVs running Vizio internet apps and newer TVs running SmartCast apps, this makes for a confusing user experience.
The easiest way to check if your Vizio TV is smart, is to look for an ethernet port on the rear, all Vizio smart TVs will have one of these regardless of which platform they run.
If you are still unsure, try these methods.
- On older Vizio TVs, press the V or home button on the remote, look for Connected TV Store or My Apps – if you see these, it’s a smart TV.
- On newer Vizio SmartCast TVs, press home and you should see a row of apps across the screen.
Is My Panasonic TV a Smart TV?
Panasonic smart TVs will either run My Home Screen or Firefox OS depending upon their age.
Regardless of which system your Panasonic TV runs, the method for telling if it is a smart tv is the same. Press the home button and if it is a smart TV, you will be greeted with an Apps Market logo. This will usually be at the top left of the screen and will be followed by a list of currently installed apps which will usually include Netflix.
Is My Sony TV a Smart TV?
Sony smart TVs run on the Android TV operating system. The quickest way to tell if your Sony TV is smart is to check if the remote control supplied with it has a button with a microphone icon, this indicates it is smart.
Alternatively, press the home button and look for any of the following:
- a row called Featured Apps
- the Google Play store
- or, an onscreen microphone icon.
Sanyo, Sharp and Toshiba smart TVs usually use Android TV as well, so you can follow the same instructions.
Is My Phillips TV a Smart TV?
If you have a high-end Phillips TV in the UK, chances are it runs Android TV which can be identified using the same instructions as the Sony section above.
If it’s a more affordable TVs, you may find it running their own Saphi OS system. This is very easy to identify as you’ll press the home button and a ribbon will appear with the options; sources, watch TV, apps and search. This indicates it’s a smart TV running Saphi OS.