Man watching TV in living room

The Ultimate Guide to choosing the perfect Smart TV (2024)

Televisions have evolved beyond simple displays for broadcast content. Smart TVs have revolutionized how we consume media, offering a wide range of features and capabilities that enhance our viewing experience.

With the increasing popularity of smart TVs in Kenya, its thought to choose a perfect one for your needs.

The smart TV market in Kenya is projected to experience a decline in revenue growth, with a CAGR of -1.87% from 2024 to 2028

However, the Smart Streaming Devices market segment in Kenya is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.59% during the same period.

While the overall TV market may face challenges, there is a growing demand for devices that enable smart features on TVs, possibly driven by:

  • Increasing internet penetration
  • rising disposable incomes
  • growing demand for high-quality home entertainment.

Market dynamics can vary greatly, and specific segments like smart streaming devices might still offer significant growth opportunities within the broader television market.

This guide will provide the essential information to navigate the Kenyan smart TV market and select the best option for your home.

First things first…

So, what is a Smart TV?

A smart TV is a television that has an operating system and can connect to the internet.

This allows users to access online content, including streaming services, social media, and web browsing. Smart TVs also offer the ability to install and run apps, like smartphones and tablets.

Features of smart TVs

Some of the key features of smart TVs include:

  1. Internet connectivity: Smart TVs can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, allowing users to access online content and services.
  2. App support: Smart TVs have built-in app stores that allow users to download and install a variety of apps, including streaming services, games, and social media platforms.
  3. Voice control: Many smart TVs come with voice control functionality, enabling users to navigate menus, search for content, and control playback using voice commands.
  4. Screen mirroring: Smart TVs often support screen mirroring, which allows users to wirelessly display content from their smartphones, tablets, or laptops on the TV screen.

Benefits of owning a smart TV

If you own a smart TV, you will enjoy the following:

  1. Access to a wide range of content: With a smart TV, users can access a vast library of movies, TV shows, music, and other media content from various streaming services and online platforms.
  2. Convenience: Smart TVs provide a centralized hub for entertainment, eliminating the need for multiple devices and remotes.
  3. Improved user experience: Smart TVs often feature intuitive user interfaces and seamless integration with other smart home devices, enhancing the overall user experience.
  4. Future-proofing: As technology continues to evolve, smart TVs are better equipped to keep up with new features and services compared to traditional televisions.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Smart TV in Kenya

Screen Size

When choosing a smart TV in Kenya, one of the first factors to consider is screen size. Smart TVs are available in a wide range of sizes to suit different preferences and room dimensions. Some of the most common screen sizes include:

  • 32 inches: Ideal for small rooms or bedrooms
  • 40-43 inches: Suitable for medium-sized rooms or apartments
  • 50-55 inches: Perfect for larger living rooms or home theaters
  • 65 inches and above: Optimal for spacious rooms or a truly immersive viewing experience

It’s important to note that screen size is measured diagonally from one corner of the screen to the opposite corner.

How to measure the size of smart tv

When deciding on a screen size, consider the dimensions of your room and the viewing distance from the screen to ensure a comfortable viewing experience.

Determining the ideal screen size for your room

To determine the ideal screen size for your room, consider the following factors:

  • Viewing distance: A general rule of thumb is to choose a screen size that allows you to sit at a distance of 1.5 to 2.5 times the screen’s diagonal measurement. For example, if you have a 55-inch TV, the optimal viewing distance would be between 82.5 and 137.5 inches (approximately 2.1 to 3.5 meters).
  • Room size: Consider the overall size of your room and ensure that the TV does not overwhelm the space. A TV that is too large for a small room can be uncomfortable to watch and may dominate the area.
  • Resolution: The screen size should also be considered about the TV’s resolution. Higher resolutions, such as 4K, allow for larger screen sizes without compromising image quality, as the increased pixel density maintains sharpness and clarity even at close viewing distances.

By considering these factors, you can select a screen size that provides an immersive viewing experience while fitting comfortably within your room’s dimensions and layout.

Display Technology

1. LED vs. OLED vs. QLED

When it comes to display technology, there are three main types of panels used in smart TVs: LED, OLED, and QLED.

  • LED (Light-Emitting Diode) TVs are the most common and affordable option. They use a backlight system to illuminate the screen, which allows for good brightness levels and energy efficiency. LED TVs may suffer from inconsistent backlight distribution and limited contrast ratios compared to other display technologies.
  • OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) TVs offer superior picture quality, with each pixel capable of producing its own light. This allows for perfect black levels, wide viewing angles, and excellent contrast ratios. OLED TVs are generally thinner and more expensive than LED TVs, and they may be susceptible to image retention or burn-in if a static image is displayed for extended periods.
  • QLED (Quantum Light-Emitting Diode) TVs are a premium variant of LED TVs that use quantum dots to enhance color reproduction and brightness. QLED TVs offer a wider color gamut and higher peak brightness compared to standard LED TVs, resulting in more vibrant and lifelike images. They still rely on a backlight system and may not achieve the same level of contrast and black levels as OLED TVs.

2. Resolution

Resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up the TV’s display. A higher resolution means more pixels, resulting in sharper and more detailed images. The most common resolutions in the Kenyan smart TV market are:

  • HD (High Definition): 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Full HD: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • 4K Ultra HD: 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • 8K Ultra HD: 7680 x 4320 pixels

Full HD is currently the most popular resolution in Kenya, offering a good balance between image quality and affordability.

4K Ultra HD TVs are becoming increasingly common, providing four times the resolution of Full HD and delivering sharper, more detailed images. 8K Ultra HD is the latest advancement in resolution, offering even higher pixel density, but 8K content is still limited, and these TVs are relatively expensive.

When choosing a resolution, consider factors such as the size of your room, viewing distance, and available content. A higher resolution is more beneficial for larger screen sizes and closer viewing distances, as it maintains image clarity and sharpness.

3. Refresh rate and motion handling

Refresh rate refers to the number of times per second a TV refreshes its image, measured in Hertz (Hz). A higher refresh rate results in smoother motion and reduced motion blur, particularly in fast-paced content such as sports or action movies.

Most smart TVs in Kenya offer a refresh rate of 60Hz, which is suitable for most content. However, some high-end models feature higher refresh rates, such as 120Hz or even 240Hz, which can enhance motion handling and provide a more fluid viewing experience.

Some smart TVs employ advanced motion processing technologies, such as motion interpolation or black frame insertion, to further improve motion clarity and reduce judder. These features can be particularly beneficial for watching sports or gaming, where fast and smooth motion is crucial.

When evaluating a smart TV’s motion handling capabilities, consider the refresh rate, any additional motion processing technologies, and read reviews or watch demo content to assess the TV’s performance in handling fast-moving scenes.

Smart TV Platforms

Popular smart TV platforms

Smart TV platforms are the operating systems that power the TV’s smart features and user interface. The most popular smart TV platforms in Kenya include:

  • Android TV: Developed by Google, Android TV offers a wide range of apps and services through the Google Play Store. It features Google Assistant for voice control and seamless integration with other Google services, such as YouTube and Google Photos.
  • WebOS: LG’s proprietary smart TV platform, WebOS, is known for its intuitive user interface and Magic Remote, which allows for point-and-click navigation. WebOS supports a variety of popular streaming apps and offers features like screen mirroring and multi-tasking.
  • Tizen: Samsung’s smart TV platform, Tizen, provides a sleek and user-friendly interface with a customizable home screen. It offers a wide selection of apps, including popular streaming services, and supports voice control through Samsung’s Bixby virtual assistant.
  • Roku TV: Roku TV is a smart TV platform that focuses on simplicity and ease of use. It offers a comprehensive selection of streaming channels and a straightforward interface. Roku TV is available on select TV brands, such as TCL and Hisense.
  • Fire TV: Developed by Amazon, Fire TV is integrated into some smart TV models. It provides access to a wide range of streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, and supports voice control through Amazon Alexa.

App availability and user experience

When choosing a smart TV platform, consider the availability of apps and the overall user experience. Ensure that the platform offers the streaming services and apps you frequently use, such as Netflix, YouTube, or local streaming providers like Showmax or DStv Now.

Evaluate the platform’s user interface for ease of navigation, customization options, and responsiveness. Some platforms offer unique features, such as LG’s Magic Remote or Samsung’s Bixby, which can enhance the user experience and make it easier to find and access content.

Read reviews and compare the app ecosystems of different platforms to determine which one best suits your needs and preferences. Keep in mind that while most popular apps are available across all major platforms, some niche or region-specific apps may have limited availability on certain platforms.

Connectivity Options

1. HDMI ports

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) ports are essential for connecting external devices, such as gaming consoles, cable or satellite boxes, and streaming devices, to your smart TV. When choosing a smart TV, consider the number and type of HDMI ports available.

Most smart TVs offer at least two HDMI ports, but higher-end models may provide three or more. Look for HDMI 2.0 or later versions, as they support higher bandwidths and can handle 4K content at 60 frames per second. Some TVs also feature HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) ports, which allow you to send audio from the TV to a compatible soundbar or receiver using a single HDMI cable.

2. USB ports

USB ports on smart TVs allow you to connect external storage devices, such as flash drives or hard drives, to play media files directly on the TV. They can also be used to power streaming devices or to connect peripherals like keyboards and mice.

Consider the number and type of USB ports available on the smart TV. Most models offer at least one or two USB ports, with some high-end TVs providing three or more. USB 3.0 ports offer faster data transfer speeds compared to USB 2.0, which can be beneficial when playing high-resolution media files.

3. Wi-Fi and Ethernet

Internet connectivity is crucial for a smart TV to access online content and services. Most smart TVs come with built-in Wi-Fi, allowing you to connect to your home network wirelessly. Look for TVs that support the latest Wi-Fi standards, such as Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) or Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), for faster and more stable connections.

Some smart TVs also feature an Ethernet port, which allows you to connect the TV directly to your router using a wired connection. Ethernet provides a more stable and reliable connection compared to Wi-Fi, which can be advantageous for streaming high-quality content or online gaming.

4. Bluetooth

Bluetooth connectivity on smart TVs enables you to connect wireless peripherals, such as headphones, speakers, or game controllers, to the TV. This can be useful for private listening and wireless audio.

Sound Quality

1. Built-in speakers

While the primary focus of a smart TV is often on picture quality, sound quality should not be overlooked. Most smart TVs come with built-in speakers that provide adequate audio for everyday viewing. However, the quality and performance of built-in speakers can vary significantly between models and brands.

When evaluating a smart TV’s built-in speakers, consider factors such as the number of speakers, their positioning, and the overall sound output. Some higher-end models feature advanced audio technologies, such as Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, which can enhance the spatial audio experience and provide a more immersive sound stage.

Keep in mind that built-in speakers may have limitations in terms of volume, clarity, and bass response, especially in larger rooms or for more demanding audio content. If sound quality is a top priority, consider pairing your smart TV with a dedicated soundbar or home theater system.

     2. Audio output options (optical, HDMI ARC)

In addition to built-in speakers, smart TVs offer various audio output options for connecting external audio devices, such as soundbars or receivers. The most common audio output options include:

  • Optical (Digital Audio): An optical audio output uses a fiber optic cable to transmit digital audio signals from the TV to an external audio device. This connection provides high-quality audio and is suitable for most soundbars and home theater systems.
  • HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel): HDMI ARC allows you to send audio from the TV to a compatible soundbar or receiver using a single HDMI cable. This simplifies the connection process and reduces cable clutter. HDMI ARC supports high-quality audio formats, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, when both the TV and the audio device are compatible.
  • Analog Audio (3.5mm or RCA): Some smart TVs offer analog audio outputs, such as a 3.5mm headphone jack or RCA connectors, for connecting to older audio devices or headphones. While analog connections are less common in modern smart TVs, they can still be useful in certain situations.

When choosing a smart TV, consider the audio output options available and ensure that they are compatible with your existing or planned audio setup.

If you intend to use a soundbar or home theater system, look for a TV with HDMI ARC or optical audio output for the best audio quality and ease of use.

Price and Budget

Smart TV prices in Kenya vary depending on factors such as screen size, display technology, resolution, and brand. As of [placeholder for current year], the price ranges for smart TVs in Kenya are approximately:

  • 32-inch: KES 15,000 to KES 30,000
  • 40-43-inch: KES 25,000 to KES 50,000
  • 50-55-inch: KES 40,000 to KES 100,000
  • 65-inch and above: KES 80,000 to KES 300,000 or more

These price ranges are rough estimates and may vary based on specific models, features, and market fluctuations.

High-end models with advanced features like OLED displays, 8K resolution, or premium audio technologies can cost significantly more than the upper limits mentioned above.

Balancing features and budget

When choosing a smart TV, it’s essential to balance your desired features with your available budget. Determine which features are most important to you, such as screen size, resolution, or specific smart TV platform, and prioritize them accordingly.

Consider your viewing habits and the content you consume most frequently. If you primarily watch streaming services, a 4K TV with HDR support and a reliable Wi-Fi connection may be more important than a larger screen size or advanced audio features.

Keep in mind that while higher-end models offer advanced features and superior performance, mid-range options can still provide excellent value for money. Read reviews, compare specifications, and look for promotions or discounts to find the best balance between features and price.

Remember that your smart TV investment should also account for any additional costs, such as a soundbar, streaming subscriptions, or extended warranties. Factor these into your overall budget to ensure that you can enjoy your new smart TV without financial strain.

Top Smart TV Brands in Kenya

Samsung

Samsung is one of the leading smart TV brands in Kenya, known for its high-quality displays, sleek designs, and innovative features. Samsung offers a wide range of smart TV models, from affordable entry-level options to premium QLED TVs with advanced features like 8K resolution and HDR10+ support.

Samsung smart TVs run on the Tizen operating system, which provides a user-friendly interface and access to a variety of streaming apps and services. The company’s QLED TVs are known for their vibrant colors, deep blacks, and excellent brightness levels, making them ideal for both daylight and darkroom viewing.

LG

LG is another top smart TV brand in Kenya, renowned for its advanced OLED technology and webOS smart TV platform. LG’s OLED TVs offer exceptional picture quality, with perfect black levels, wide viewing angles, and vibrant colors. They are also known for their slim and stylish designs, which can complement any home decor.

LG’s webOS platform is intuitive and user-friendly, with a customizable launcher bar and support for popular streaming apps. LG smart TVs also feature the Magic Remote, which allows for point-and-click navigation and voice control, making it easy to find and access content.

Sony

Sony is a well-established brand in the Kenyan smart TV market, offering a range of LED and OLED models with excellent picture quality and sound performance. Sony’s smart TVs run on the Android TV platform, which provides access to the Google Play Store and a wide selection of apps and services.

Sony’s high-end models, such as the BRAVIA OLED and X95 series, feature advanced technologies like the X1 Ultimate processor, Acoustic Surface Audio, and support for Dolby Vision and Atmos. These technologies enhance picture quality, sound performance, and overall viewing experience.

HiSense

Hisense is a Chinese brand that has gained popularity in the Kenyan smart TV market, offering affordable and feature-rich options. Hisense smart TVs run on various platforms, including Android TV, Roku TV, and VIDAA U, providing access to a wide range of apps and services.

Hisense offers both LED and QLED models, with features like 4K resolution, HDR support, and built-in Dolby Atmos audio. The brand’s QLED models, such as the U8 and U9 series, offer excellent picture quality and value for money, making them a popular choice among Kenyan consumers.

TCL

TCL is another Chinese brand that has made significant inroads in the Kenyan smart TV market, known for its affordable and well-equipped models. TCL smart TVs often run on the Roku TV or Android TV platforms, offering a user-friendly interface and access to a wide range of streaming apps.

TCL’s product lineup includes LED and QLED models, with features like 4K resolution, HDR support, and Dolby Atmos audio. The brand’s P8 and C8 series are popular among Kenyan consumers, offering good picture quality and smart features at competitive prices.

When choosing a smart TV brand in Kenya, consider factors such as the brand’s reputation, after-sales support, and the availability of service centers in your area. Read reviews and compare models across different brands to find the best option that suits your needs and budget.

Where to Buy Smart TVs in Kenya

Online marketplaces

Online marketplaces have become increasingly popular for purchasing smart TVs in Kenya, offering a convenient and often cost-effective way to shop. Some of the leading online marketplaces include:

  1. Jumia: Jumia is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in Africa, offering a wide selection of smart TVs from various brands. Customers can enjoy competitive prices, regular promotions, and the convenience of home delivery.
  2. Kilimall: Kilimall is another popular online marketplace in Kenya, providing a range of smart TVs and electronics. The platform offers competitive prices, secure payment options, and nationwide delivery.
  3. Sky.Garden: Sky.Garden is a rapidly growing e-commerce platform in Kenya, connecting buyers with local sellers. The platform offers a variety of smart TVs and provides a secure payment system and reliable delivery services.

When purchasing a smart TV online, ensure that you buy from a reputable seller with positive reviews and ratings. Check the warranty terms and after-sales support offered by the seller, and compare prices across different platforms to find the best deal.

Electronic stores

Electronic stores are traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that offer a wide range of smart TVs and other electronics. Some popular electronic stores in Kenya include:

  1. Hotpoint: Hotpoint is a leading electronics retailer in Kenya, with multiple stores across the country. They offer a variety of smart TV brands and models, along with competitive prices and financing options.
  2. Naivas: Naivas is a well-known supermarket chain in Kenya that also offers electronics, including smart TVs. With numerous locations throughout the country, Naivas provides convenience and accessibility for customers looking to purchase a smart TV.
  3. Carrefour: Carrefour is an international hypermarket chain with a growing presence in Kenya. Their stores offer a range of smart TVs and electronics, often at competitive prices.

When buying from an electronic store, you have the advantage of seeing the TV in person, comparing models side-by-side, and getting immediate assistance from sales staff.

Note: prices may be slightly higher compared to online marketplaces.

Brand-specific stores

Brand-specific stores are retail outlets dedicated to a single brand, offering a comprehensive range of their products. In Kenya, some popular brand-specific stores for smart TVs include:

  1. Samsung Brand Stores: Samsung operates several brand stores across Kenya, showcasing their latest smart TV models and offering expert advice and support.
  2. LG Brand Shops: LG has dedicated brand shops in Kenya, providing a wide selection of their smart TVs and other electronics. These stores offer personalized assistance and after-sales support.
  3. Sony Centres: Sony Centres are authorized retail outlets that specialize in Sony products, including their range of smart TVs. These stores provide expert advice, demonstrations, and after-sales support.

Brand-specific stores offer the advantage of a wide selection of models from a single brand, knowledgeable sales staff, and direct after-sales support.

Prices may be higher compared to other retail channels, and you may have limited options for comparing with other brands.

When deciding where to buy your smart TV in Kenya, consider factors such as price, convenience, after-sales support, and the availability of financing options.

Compare prices and offers across different retail channels to find the best deal, and ensure that you purchase from a reputable seller with a proven track record of quality products and customer service.

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