The vast majority of modern televisions now have 'smart' capability, and it's getting increasingly hard to buy a non-smart model. You don't need to connect a smart TV up to the internet to just watch television, but if you do go online with it, there are various benefits, including:
Apps: Apps on smart TVs either come pre-loaded, or available to download from an app store. We'll give exact breakdowns of the apps offered by Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic later, but most give you film streaming on services like Netflix and Amazon, catch-up TV on apps such as BBC iPlayer, and social networking on Facebook and Twitter.
Web browsing: Most smart-TV models have built-in web browsers allowing you to surf the internet and view web pages, images and videos on the big screen. However, some are much easier to use than others.
Additional services: Smart-TV brands offer additional services to differentiate their smart TVs from the competition, such as customisable homescreens and recommendations of things to watch based on your personal tastes. Some are useful, others feel like gimmicks.