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How “Smart” is Your TV?

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How “Smart” is Your TV?

What You Need to Know + Some Helpful Hints

Looking for something to watch? With Smart TV’s and streaming services, options are no longer limited to cable or the local video store. Let’s start by talking about what makes a TV “smart.” Smart TV’s are able to connect to your home internet by way of Wi-Fi or ethernet cable. They display programming in the form of apps (web-based services such as Netflix, for example). Older TV’s, on the other hand, can’t connect to the internet and rely on cable or antennae. If you don’t have a Smart TV, you may want to look into an external streaming device such as a Roku or Amazon’s Fire Stick. These plug directly into the television, allowing it to hook up to the internet and display apps just as a Smart TV would.

So what is streaming, exactly? In a nutshell, it’s a way of playing media over an internet connection without having to download the files. Videos are transmitted in small packets of data which play instantly and are automatically deleted once you play them. This is how apps like Netflix offer thousands of movies and shows at the click of a button. All you need to stream is a strong internet connection. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular streaming services (please note that most apps require you to create an account with an email address and choose from a tier of price plans).

Netflix is the most popular streaming service used today. It offers a hefty selection of movies, TV shows, and documentaries as well as high-quality Netflix originals. There are never any ads, and there is always something new being added. A Netflix monthly subscription costs $9.99 for the basic plan, $15.49 for standard, and $19.99 for premium.

Hulu has a smaller but more curated collection of movies, while boasting a strong selection of TV shows. Though the base plan has ads, it starts at only $6.99. Premium subscriptions start from $12.99.

Amazon Prime Video has the largest selection of movies and shows overall, plus thousands of titles available for a la carte rentals or outright purchases. An Amazon Prime subscription is $14.99/month or $139/year and comes with plenty of perks (free 2-day shipping, music streaming, eBooks, and more), but you can also opt for just the video streaming for $8.99/month.

Note: all services and prices listed above are accurate as of April 22, 2022.

For further information on current services and resources, visit your local branch of the Citrus County Library System and ask about our free technology classes. Classes are held throughout the county on a wide range of topics including Alternatives to Cable. Additional classes and resources can be found by visiting or you can get more information by calling your local branch.

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