Smart TVs connect to the Internet to stream video or for other tasks. There is no standard for smart TV features or interfaces, so buyers should research individual models before making purchases.
Online services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus let people stream television shows, movies and other content; YouTube hosts a variety of shows and user-generated content. Smart TVs provide integrated interfaces for access services such as these. Many also provide apps for other Internet services, especially social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
Smart TVs largely replicate the functionality of external devices. Roku, Apple TV and various Android-based devices offer similar functionality. The advantage of smart TVs is that they offer these without requiring users to connect external devices. Some smart TVs also offer features external devices do not; integrated cameras, which some smart TVs include, let users run Skype and other communication apps.
However, smart TVs might not offer all of the services a user wants, and there is no way to add new features the TV doesn't support. Many smart TV manufacturers provide updates to their internal software, but there is typically no guarantee that the manufacturer will provide updates after a certain period of time. Because of this, some users prefer to use external devices instead of relying on their smart TVs' internal capabilities.