Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2013) -
Editor's Note: TV's
Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to
best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If
you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by
sending an e-mail to
Q. I've been
thinking about buying a Smart TV so I can watch Netflix
streaming video, but a friend tells me that I should just get a
Blu-ray player that has Netflix because it would be cheaper.
What do you think? -- Tommy, Miami, Florida.
Your friend is right in this respect. If you have a TV you're
already happy with, you could get a
Blu-ray player that has
built-in Wi-Fi for under $100 and stream Netflix (and other Net
TV services) to the set. You wouldn't have to spend hundreds of
dollars or more on a new TV.
However, here's where it gets complicated. Some
Smart TV, which often costs a bit more than a
comparable, non-Smart TV, delivers a better streaming picture
than a Smart TV device, such as the Blu-ray player. The theory
is that some Blu-ray manufacturers use secondary servers to
transmit the signals from the streaming service and therefore
the picture may not be quite as sharp or reliable.
Is this true? I have both a Smart TV and a few Smart TV Blu-ray
players and I wouldn't say that the picture is necessarily
better on one or the other. But there are those people who say
the Smart TV does a better job with streaming so keep that in
Bottom line: If you were planning to shop for a new TV anyway --
and streaming is important to you -- go ahead and get a set that
offers Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, etc. But, again, if you like your
current TV, get a Roku set-top or a Blu-ray player with Wi-Fi.
You'll save money and, in my view, be just as happy.