With all the options out there today for streaming movies, videos and television shows, it can be difficult to choose which method to use to access all your favorite content. While Smart TVs come pre-programmed with all the best apps, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, some slightly older ones can simply be upgraded to provide these same services.
When looking to access all of these apps in one place, should you buy a Smart TV or get Chromecast? A Smart TV is a great choice if the price doesn’t matter to you, but on a budget, Chromecast is the way to go. Of course, there are many more things to consider when making this choice, but this is essentially a dollar amount decision.
Smart TVs are a great option for those who want the whole package in one. They can be a bit pricey, however, so sales are the way to go when making a purchase. Chromecast, on the other hand, is a great way to get streaming apps on an already-existing television that may not have come with all the essentials.
What Are the Differences Between Smart TVs and Chromecast?
The main differences are the obvious ones. A Smart TV is a TV that comes off the line with many apps for streaming and listening to music, no added equipment needed. Instead of plugging in a device to get the apps, they’re already there waiting for you to sign in and get started streaming. These TVs usually include all the most popular apps.
Chromecast, similar to Amazon’s Fire Stick and the famed Roku device, is essentially an upgrade for a standard TV with an HDMI port. The device simply plugs into the HDMI port, which then turns your TV into a Smart TV with all the same popular apps that Smart TVs come with.
A Smart TV is going to be a lot pricier than Chromecast, largely due to the technology involved in the production. When you purchase a Smart TV, you’re buying the whole package- the TV itself, the apps that allow content streaming, and of course, the remote with all the buttons to get you there.
However, when you purchase Chromecast, you should already have a compatible TV. So, instead of buying everything, you are simply adding an element to the one you have. Chromecast works on any TV that has an HDMI port, so many standard TVs have the capability to support the device.
Smart TVs range from around $120 for modest sizes all the way up to $60,000 for home-theater sizes. Considering the size and technology of the TV you are after, it can start to cost a pretty penny. Of course, if you have a TV that you already like, but that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, Chromecast is a much cheaper option.
For an older, refurbished device, Chromecast can cost as little as $20. If you want a little more, however, the newer generations, with all the latest functions and necessities, can cost around $70, still much less than the average price of a Smart TV. All you need is an HDMI port, a shipping address, and a few days to wait for the device to arrive!
Smart TVs come in many brands, sizes, and other formats. For the purpose of comparison, we’ll look at an LG TV. For a new (2020) LG TV, here are a few of the apps that come pre-installed, as well as those that can be downloaded onto your TV from the LG app store:
- Prime Video
- Apple TV
- CBS All Access
- LG Channels
- Movies Anywhere
And many, many more. LG TVs, like most new Smart TVs, come with a vast array of apps for just about everything- even ones just for women and for exercise at home! You can view more of these apps at us.lgappstv.com.
Chromecast has a similar lineup of the best and latest apps for streaming content. Like LG, Chromecast offers many options for accessing specific content, all contained within the device and displayed on your television screen. Here are some examples of what Chromecast offers:
- Prime Video
- Sling Television
- Google Play
And another several pages of options to choose from. Chromecast has a seemingly endless array of just about anything you need. While some apps focus on specific types of content, others offer many genres of content to choose from. It’s all about preference.
It is especially important to consider the hardware involved in making the decision to buy either a Smart TV or Chromecast. Everything from remote controls to smooth menu UIs makes a difference in how you will spend your time in front of the screen.
A Chromecast device does not come with a remote, which can be tricky if the remote you do have lacks modern functions. Chromecast works best with an app installed on your smartphone, but you can program your TV to use your regular remote by following the instructions to do so.
As previously mentioned, Chromecast needs an HDMI port to plug into, so if your TV is too old for this kind of wired hookup, then it may be time to upgrade to a Smart TV, or at least a TV that has an HDMI port. It’s uncommon in this age for a TV to lack an HDMI port, so your TV, if relatively new, likely has one.
A Smart TV of any brand will come with its own remote control and “feet” for the bottom. Some even come with their own mounting hardware. Of course, a Smart TV will also come with all of its pre-installed apps, so no extra hardware there. Setup is easy and generally guided, but you’ll need an internet connection, either wired or wireless, for your TV to work.
While choosing the right technology for your home can be stressful, it’s always beneficial to do some research before diving in. Make sure that whatever you choose, it’s compatible with the technology and preferences you already have. If you need Google in your home or if you already have some Google technology, it may be best to go with Chromecast.
However, if you need a little more and prefer to have everything run on one device, then upgrading to a Smart TV is probably the best option for you, if budget isn’t an issue. Smart TVs can come with a lot of extra perks, such as free access to a certain amount of channels, so that’s just something to sweeten the deal.
Honestly, if your TV meets the qualifications necessary to run with Chromecast and you don’t need anything fancy, then Chromecast is the right choice for you. Buying a whole new TV when all you really want is to Netflix and chill is a bit overkill- unless, of course, that’s exactly what you had in mind!
If your TV doesn’t support Chromecast, then it’s time for an upgrade. Many smaller-sized Smart TVs can cost just a bit more than buying the latest version of Chromecast, so a small price increase can get you a lot more than what you already have. Besides, who doesn’t love a new remote control?