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While Roku is a popular option for Smart TVs, you can also purchase a standard Smart TV that doesn’t have Roku. However, purchasing Roku TV has many extra benefits you wouldn’t get otherwise, like flexibility, streaming, easy navigation, and customization.

Let’s get into the features Roku offers, what you can expect from a standard Smart TV, and help you make the best decision in your purchase.

AdobeStock_468311607 Video on demand service on smart TV

Roku vs. Standard Smart TVs – What’s the Difference?

Smart TVs have been around for many years. At this point, nearly everyone who has a television has a Smart TV, and for a good reason. They have great features and are easy to use.

In recent years, Roku has come to the forefront of the Smart TV experience. It seems like everyone wants a Roku TV, and this, too, is for a good reason. Roku TVs are packed full of various features that can’t be beaten.

So, what’s the difference between these two?

The primary difference between a Roku TV and a standard Smart TV lies in the features you get with the TV. Things like resolution, streaming capabilities, and internet capabilities draw the line between Roku and other Smart TVs.

You also can purchase a standard Smart TV and connect Roku to it – thus turning any TV into a Roku TV. This universality is one of the best features of Roku. Their flexibility in use is unparalleled.

Standard Smart TV Features

Let’s first look at standard Smart TVs to understand and compare them with Roku TV’s features.

Smart TVs come in many different brands and types. Some of the most common brands of Smart TVs include the following.

  • LG
  • Hisense
  • Samsung
  • Amazon

Each of these brands has slightly varying features. For example, an Amazon Smart TV may come as a Fire TV, which works similarly to a Roku TV .

Less Power Consumed

One of the best features of Smart TVs is that they consume significantly less power than traditional TVs once did.

Before Smart TVs came out, TVs were using significant wattage. As time has passed, however, Smart TVs have become more and more efficient in their power usage. Today, Smart TVs even consume less power than most other electronics.

Excellent Resolution

If you remember the TVs we had before Smart TVs, you probably remember the resolution being very grainy. In contrast, all Smart TVs are built with, at minimum, 4K resolution, and most standard Smart TVs have an 8K resolution.

Resolution is measured in pixels and determines the clarity of the picture. The higher the resolution number, the clearer the picture.

Internet Connectivity

Another feature common to all standard Smart TVs is the ability to connect to the internet. Internet connectivity is more than just an option for these TVs, however. It is a necessity.

Internet connectivity is a major feature that makes a Smart TV a Smart TV. It’s also one feature that makes one of these TVs worth buying. This feature allows you to stream videos, connect to various apps, and more.

Excellent Refresh Rate

A quick refresh rate is a feature common to all modern Smart TVs. The refresh rate is defined by how many times per second the television can process an image and put it on the screen.

TVs present multiple single images, one right after the other. That said, you have a much better image quality with a better refresh rate. While Smart TVs vary in refresh rates, most have a pretty quick rate.

Roku Features

All of the features that we discussed in the previous section are also common to Roku Smart TVs. However, Roku offers additional features that can’t be found in other Smart TVs.

Let’s take a look at some of Roku’s best features.


Roku can be used with any device with an HDMI port, which is one of the major defining features of Roku.

In addition, no matter what type of Roku device you have – a Roku TV, a Roku stick, or a Roku box – you get all the features Roku offers.


While most Smart TVs offer streaming of some sort, Roku excels in its streaming ability. Not only do they have all of the traditional streaming options, such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, but they also have their own streaming service.

With Roku, you can access the Roku channel, which has a variety of movies and TV shows to choose from. You also can search directly within Roku for any movie or show, and it will pull up what streaming services have what you’re looking for.

This streaming and search service is one of the biggest advantages of Roku and one of the reasons many people see it as necessary.

Easy Navigation

Another great feature of Roku is its enormously easy navigation. Roku is built for simplicity, and it’s one of the features that make it a good option for those who are a bit technologically challenged.

With one simple remote, you can power your TV, control the volume, and navigate through everything Roku offers. In addition, Roku’s home screen layout is extremely easy to navigate, with each app being represented by a large box with the name on it.


The final feature Roku offers over standard Smart TVs is the ability to customize. With Roku, you can customize what your home screen looks like, organize your apps in whatever way works best for you, and more.

This customization is a great option for those needing electronics to represent who they are. It also makes it much easier to find what you’re looking for.

To Roku or Not?

Roku has many great features that can add to your streaming experience. While all Smart TVs have internet and streaming capabilities, Roku has, in many ways, outshone the competition.

However, Roku also has a few disadvantages – at least when you choose a Roku TV.

Roku TVs are typically cheaply made. While Roku itself has quite a few features, the TVs that usually operate as Roku TVs aren’t built to last. This poor build quality can lead to frequent replacements. You can learn more about the issues with Roku TV in our article, ‘Can a Roku Stick Go Bad? (Answered!)’

Another disadvantage is that Roku TVs usually don’t offer as high of a resolution as other Smart TVs. Roku TVs typically have a 4K resolution, which, while still decent, doesn’t compare to the 8K resolution found on many other Smart TVs. However, 8K resolution is more than anyone needs because the differences are hard to discern on your TV screen.

Of course, as we discussed, Roku has many beneficial features that make up for poor build issues and not as high a resolution.

With this in mind, one of the best things you can do if you want the best of both worlds is to purchase a good quality standard Smart TV and add Roku to it through a Roku box or Roku stick.

If you choose this option, you’ll still need two remotes, at least part of the time, but you get all the good features of Roku with none of the bad, and this can make for a great streaming experience.

Final Thoughts

Roku isn’t necessary with a Smart TV, but it can enhance the Smart TV experience. Roku offers many features that aren’t found in other Smart TVs, so I recommend using it in conjunction with another Smart TV for the best results.