Smart TV and Streaming Device – Know the Difference

You do not always need to buy a new TV to avail the latest Smart TV streaming media features. A streaming media player like Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV, Nexus Player or Apple TV can provide all the amazing media services and games that a Smart TV delivers, and they doesn’t cost that much either.

Smart TV and Streaming Device


A Smart TV is one with in-built services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, web browsers, games etc. A streaming device is only for the purpose of streaming content from the Internet or local cable network to your TV. The two devices supply the same thing essentially (media content) but the ways they do it are vastly different.

Understand the Difference

1] Content

A crucial aspect to streaming is the amount of current TV shows and movies that the device is able to stream. The two services with the highest content in that aspect are Amazon and Apple. No TV contains iTunes, and not all Smart TVs have Amazon Instant Video.

Streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV have iTunes and Amazon Instant Video as well as other contents like HBO GO in the US and Sky’s Now TV in the UK. So if the desire is to watch content, media streaming devices offer much more flexibility than Smart TVs.

2] Speed and ease of use

Streaming devices are easy to navigate and fast to use. Smart TVs are often slow and bulky to use, and most TVs do not have proper menus for their streaming content.  However, with TVs you have the simplicity of having only one remote for the entire thing.

3] Updates

Streaming devices are hands down winners in this category. Streaming devices constantly undergo updates to improve and increase available apps and change the interface.

Most Smart TV platforms are updated only in the year they are launched, and afterwards grow stagnant as irrevocably as any other device. The exception is Samsung’s Evolution Kit, but is twice as expensive as Roku TV.

4] Price

Generally a Smart TV costs around $100. Most streaming devices also costs about the same, so technically it’s a tie.

5] Picture quality

Picture quality

If the internal scaler of the Smart TV is not good, the streaming devices provide comparatively better picture quality. So, contents like Netflix would be sharper in streaming devices than in the Smart TVs. The picture quality of the Smart TV also depends on how well the TV up-converts the 720p content to the TV’s 1080p or 4K.

Irrespective of these parameters of comparison, whether or not you should buy a streaming device comes down to these: Is it really worth buying a media streamer when you already have a latest Smart TV with streaming services?

If you want to view any movie or TV show you want, in the greatest possible picture quality, then yes, it is definitely worth it. You can also escape from the bulky, irritating interfaces of Smart TVs which are not updated regularly, and all that would make owning a streaming device worth it.

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About the author

Michael Austin

Michael Austin is a Internet Entrepreneur, Blogger, Day Dreamer, Business Guy, Fitness Freak and Digital Marketing Specialist. He also helps companies to grow their online businesses.