A Smart TV is one that allows a connection to the Internet. For many new TVs, this means access to a collection of apps (e.g. YouTube, Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, etc), a web browser (e.g. Chrome), and access to home network files. In order to do this, the TV needs access to the Internet by connecting it to a router and broadband.
So how do you get the Smart TV experience without springing for a new TV. Pretty easy. Get a set-top box; Roku, Apple TV or Google TV.
Roku Streaming Player
Roku is a small box that connects to your home network via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi signal and streams over 300 channels to your television set. You connect the Roku to your TV through the included AV cables or HDMI cable. The only other connection you’ll need to make is plugging the Roku unit into a wall outlet.
Apple TV is a tiny entertainment powerhouse that plays the content you love from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and your favorite sports leagues on your widescreen TV. In up to 1080p HD. Setting up Apple TV takes almost no time at all. Just plug the power cord into the wall and connect Apple TV to your widescreen TV using an HDMI cable. Since everything streams wirelessly to Apple TV using your Wi-Fi network, that’s all you need.
Google TV is a Smart TV platform from Google co-developed by Intel, Sony and Logitech. Google TV integrates the Google Chrome browser to create an interactive television overlay on top of existing Internet television and WebTV sites. As well as making it easier to find stuff to watch from your existing TV service, Google TV enhances the TV you’re used to with over 100,000 movies and TV episodes on demand, thousands of YouTube channels, apps, & more content coming all the time.