Haven't made the switch from a regular TV to a smart TV? See what you could be missing out on and how to get all of today's convenient media features.

By Berit Thorkelson
Updated July 29, 2019
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Smart televisions give you direct access to the Internet, which means you can do all sorts of Web-related things: watch YouTube videos, stream movies on Netflix or another media-streaming account, Skype with family, listen to customized music with services such as Spotify, and post photos on social media apps like Facebook. They often also have additional apps that let you easily check the weather or sports scores.

Are you curious about whether or not a smart TV's touted benefits are anything you'd use or need, or how challenging the switch might be? We talked to Dr. Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), to get the scoop on your potential smart TV upgrade. Below are three reasons to consider making the switch.

1. Setting up a smart TV is simple.

Although a smart TV might sound complicated, setting it up is actually quite simple. Just plug it in as you would a regular TV, then walk through the manufacturer's instructions for getting it connected to your home's Wi-Fi. It shouldn't be much more difficult than connecting your laptop or tablet to a new Wi-Fi network.

2. Using a smart TV is simple, too.

Smart TVs look like regular TVs, but they're wirelessly connected to the Internet. You can conveniently access all its features through its standard remote. Browse for shows, apps, or settings on your smart TV just as you would your regular TV. Some smart TVs even feature platforms that mirror the look of your smartphone, making it even more familiar to use.

3. You might be able to make your existing TV smart.

If you don't have a smart TV, but your standard TV has an HDMI port (as most newer models do), you can add smart features to your existing television with streaming devices. Popular devices include Roku, Google Chromecast, AppleTV, and Amazon Fire TV Stick—all options that are under $100. The apps and features they offer vary, so research before buying to find the device that offers you the functions you're most excited about in a smart TV. Once you've purchased a streaming device, simply plug it into your TV via the HDMI port and walk through the manufacturer's instructions to connect with your home's Wi-Fi. You'll then be able to add, rearrange, or remove apps like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and more to suit your preferences.

Editor's Tip: Note that you must already be a member or have an account to use many, but not all, streaming apps.

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