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What is a Smart TV processor and why it matters

Looking for a new TV? We’ll help you understand everything you need to know about processor rates for Smart TVs…


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From screen size to Smart platform – there’s quite a lot to get your head around before you can decide which TV to buy. One thing you should take into consideration is the processor rate, especially if you want to make the most of the TV’s smart functions.

What does a TV processor do?

To put it really simply, a TV processor (and this goes for computers as well) controls the processing of data. Every time you tell your TV to do something, whether that’s changing programmes or switching to a streaming app, the processor steps in to make it happen. It’s like the brain of your TV.

The better the processor, the quicker your apps, games and features are on the telly. All the fancy tech that your new TV comes with relies on a good processor, so if you’re comparing two similar models, it’s worth having a look at the processor too.

Jargon buster:

There’s a lot of spec out there around TV processors – so let’s break down a few key terms you might see floating around:

- Cognitive intelligence / deep learning / AI algorithm - These are all pretty technical ways of saying the same thing. It just means that the TV assesses what’s on screen and adjusts the settings to match. So, your TV will know if you’re watching the news and need a brighter image, or if you’re watching a film that will look better with more contrast. This is a pretty impressive feature that you’ll see on top-end tech.

- Upscaling - Buying a 4K TV doesn’t mean that everything you watch will automatically be in 4K. After all, older films and some TV shows aren’t filmed in higher resolutions so it’s sometimes just not possible. But if your TV’s processor upscales, that just means it will improve the image as much as it can to get the source (that old film for example) as close to 4K as possible. Same goes for 8K TVs.

- Processor rate v processing rate - At first glance they may seem like the same thing, but they actually refer to two distinct parts of a smart TV. Processor rates relate to how quickly apps load on your TV and processing rates are important when it comes to how smooth the picture quality is.

What is a Smart TV?

A smart TV is any TV that connects to the internet. So, if your TV has apps (for Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer etc.) then it’s smart! Simple as that.

What is a Smart TV processor?

The better the TV, the more complex the processor needed to run everything. Smart TVs have a computer chip to handle all of the features that make them smart like catch-up services, as well as things like 4K upscaling and surround sound. You’ll most likely see the benefits of a fast processor when you’re switching from one app to another and back to live TV. Older models tended to lag while the app loaded but now with quad-core processors they load quickly.

What processor is best for a Smart TV?

When you’re picking a new TV, you want to know which processor is best for smart TVs. A good rule of thumb is to check the spec! 4K and 8K Upscaling is a key feature of higher-end processors, as well as quality directional audio. Keep an eye out for any AI features too, that’ll let you know that the TV has a really good processor – for fast switching between apps and impressive smart connectivity.

Need more help picking your new TV? Why not check out our buying guide. If you’d prefer to speak to an expert, our in-store colleagues are here to help on ShopLive.

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