Do Seniors Need a Special TV or a Smart TV?

I was recently browsing Best Buy TVs and I saw a consultant trying to help an elderly person choosing a new TV. So the salesman was trying to push one of the most expensive models reasoning that it would offer much more entertainment. And I kept thinking to myself if an older person would really use a TV with so many features like the one the salesman was trying to offer his senior customer. Therefore, since I have never heard about a “senior-friendly TV” before, I decided to do my own research to find out if seniors need a special TV or a smart TV and this is what I found. 

Do seniors need a special tv or a smart TV? Seniors don’t need a special TV or a Smart TV, but they usually have some requirements that can help them to choose a better model to suit their needs. Moreover, older adults often prefer to have a TV that satisfies their visual, sound, and menu organization needs. Therefore, Smart TVs can add some nice features but it’s not a must-have for the majority of folks. Moreover, Smart TV requires seniors to be more tech-savvy (which it’s not always the case). 

Still, choosing the best TV for seniors is very important. Studies show that older adults watch more television than younger people do. And that the television has an important role in mental health. So in this post we will not only discuss smart TVs, but mainly let’s take a look at what really matters when choosing a TV that really fits your needs

* Since TV related posts are always so popular on our website, we’ve been writing a lot about this and we even have a whole session dedicated to it. If you want to check our other posts about this subject, click here.

What are the benefits of a smart TV?

The main benefit of a smart TV is access to a large number of channels that offer TV programs, movies, and music without the need to connect a TV antenna or subscribe to a cable/satellite service. Also, some smart TVs provide web browsing, gaming, and access to compatible media content stored on your computer.

Surely, we can all benefit from a smart TV, but if you wonder how to get a smart TV without actually getting one, something along the lines of how to convert your old “dumb” TV into a smart one, check our post “Best Easy-to-Use Streaming Devices for Seniors”.

Main Requirements for a Special TV for Seniors (Senior-friendly TV)

But if you are looking for a new TV, let’s check out what makes TV senior-friendly. So, the list below describes the main requirements a TV should have to enhance seniors’ experience of watching TV:

Main Visual requirements

Screen size is probably the main requirement for the elderly. Besides, most older adults have some vision problems. Therefore, getting a bigger screen can be a big plus.

Therefore, the best-recommended size (considering price) will in 43-65 inch range. Of course, it all depends on the distance the TV will be from the senior viewers, but a bigger screen is easier to see and supports viewing when they forget their glasses or do not wish to wear them.

If you are particularly concerned about the experience of watching tv with a visual impairment, read our post “How Can Seniors With Impaired Vision Watch TV?”.

And if you are simply looking for a smaller portable TV, the one you can carry anywhere, check our post “Do Seniors Need a Small Portable TV?”.

Main Definition requirements (television displays)

The TV market is changing rapidly but OLED TV is the picture quality kings for now for Television display. OLED TV is a television display technology based on the characteristics of organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), it’s a different technology than LED TV. Furthermore, because OLED displays don’t require backlighting, they can be thinner and weigh less than other display technologies. They also have a wide viewing angle – up to 160 degrees.

Full HD (also known as 1080 progressive or 1080p) is a term used to describe television display technology that is a standard for high-definition television in terms of video quality and sharpness.

4K refers to one of two high-definition resolutions: 3840 x 2160 pixels or 4096 x 2160 pixels. So this means that 4K is four times the pixel resolution, or twice the line resolution (2160p), of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels). The previous high-definition resolutions in use are 720p and 1080p (Full HD).

8K refers to the mind-blowing sharpness and depth with 16 times more resolution than HDTV.

Even though the OLED feature seems awesome, it usually comes at a high price, so I would just stick to FullHD or 4K Standards. 4k TV is a standard nowadays. Refresh rate from 60 Hz and preferably 120 Hz. But keep in mind that TV distance matters and can drastically improve the user experience.

Main Sound requirements

Many among the elderly have some hearing problems and good sound quality is very important. Usually, the standard TV sound is quite weak, especially on cheaper models. And most speakers will outclass the built-ins.  

Therefore, having even a cheap external sound system can dramatically increase the user experience. And keep in mind that they don’t really need/want a home theater surround sound type of experience, a cheap model can do just fine.

If you want to learn more about this topic, check our post “How to Improve my TV Sound for Hearing Impaired?”.

Main Menu requirements

The TV menu should be easy to navigate. It should be very straightforward and the main functions should be easily accessible. In this case, less is more.

Moreover, Icons need to be big and easy to understand.

What are the Best Brands?

I would put Sony as the number one and Samsung and LG as very good alternatives. But be aware that many brands outsourced the manufacturing to China and even sold them their TV brand, so the quality became different. 

Furthermore, if you need a simple TV with a good smart system, you should be happy with most of TCL and Insignia‘s offerings. Overall, TCL and Insignia TVs offer good picture quality and great features at a low price. Although they aren’t as feature-packed or as well-built as more expensive models, their TVs typically offer great value.

What is the Average Price?

The average price for 55 inches is around $300 and if you go with 65 inches the price basically doubles. There are different new TV technologies on the market that can significantly increase the price, but most of them are not that important if you just want to watch your favorite TV show.

Best TV for Seniors Available Right Now!

Our list goes from the simplest TV to the one with more features.

Best Value 32′ Smart TV available on the market:

1. SANSUI ES32S1N 32-inch Smart HD TV

This is a small and simple TV for a great price it’s less than $200!

Main features:

  • Insignia HD Smart TV – Fire TV delivers 720p picture quality with deep blacks and rich colors
  • With the Fire TV experience built-in you can enjoy thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills, including Disney+, Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Hulu, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and more
  • Fire TV seamlessly integrates live over-the-air TV and streaming channels on a unified home screen
  • Easily control your TV with the included Voice Remote with Alexa — plus, launch apps, search for titles, play music, switch inputs, control smart home devices, and more, using just your voice.

If you don’t want to spend too much and just want to enjoy a good movie, this TV should work perfectly.

2. SAMSUNG Electronics UN32M4500A 32-Inch 720p Smart LED TV

Because this is a smart device and you can benefit from it by having a pleasant fluid browsing experience and faster control than the Insignia model above. You can easily access your streaming services all in one place using the Samsung Remote Control (switching between apps, streaming content, and other media effortlessly). With this TV, you can enjoy a clear moving picture Resolution at Motion Rate 60 with amazing refresh Rate, processing speed and backlight technology.

3. Samsung 32′ 4K Flat QLED Smart TV

Main features:

  • A powerful processor that optimizes your tv’s performance with 4K picture quality. You can see what you’ve been missing on a crisp, clear picture that’s 4x the resolution of Full HD and shades of color that reveal more detail than HDTV can deliver.
  • 100% Color Volume with Quantum Dot*: Over a billion shades of brilliant color—powered by Quantum Dots—deliver our most realistic picture
  • Smart TV with Universal Guide: a simple on-screen Guide is an easy way to find streaming content and live TV shows
  • Inputs & Outputs: 3 HDMI ports, 1 Ethernet port, 2 USB Ports (v 2.0), 1 Digital Audio Output (Optical), 1 Composite Input (AV),

Best (and cheap!) Bigger Sizes Smart TV available on the market:

4. Amazon Fire TV 65″ Omni Series 4K UHD smart TV 

If you want a cheaper less known brand that offers awesome features, The Amazon is just starting with it TV series and it’s amazing! And what is best: way cheaper than Sony, Samsung or LG.

Main features:

  • Cinematic 4K entertainment – Get true-to-life picture quality and rich, brilliant colors with support for 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG, and Dolby Digital Plus, and control the TV hands-free with Alexa.
  • HDR like you’ve never seen – Dolby Vision brings spectacular color, contrast, clarity, and brightness to your screen.
  • Watch what you want – Stream over 1 million movies and TV episodes. Watch favorites with subscriptions to Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and more.
  • All your entertainment in one place – Watch live and free TV, play video games, and stream music.
  • Hands-free TV with Alexa – With built-in microphones, just ask to turn on the TV, and find, launch, and control content, so you can put down the remote.
  • Smart and always getting smarter – Fire TV adds new Alexa skills, features, smart home capabilities, and voice functionality all the time.
  • Connect all your devices – Use the 3 HDMI inputs to connect to cable or satellite and video game consoles. The HDMI eARC lets you add audio equipment for enhanced sound.
  • Designed to protect your privacy – Built with privacy protections and controls, including a switch that electronically disconnects the microphones.

Get the Amazon Fire TV today on Amazon!

TV for Seniors: Answers to 5 Essential Questions You May Have

1. How much time do seniors spend watching TV?

Nowadays, the average American over 65 spend more than four hours and 20 minutes watching TV every day. This is an increase of almost 30 minutes since 2003, the first year the government started collecting statistics on TV watching. It’s also more than twice as much daily TV time as 15-34 year olds, who spend less time watching TV now than they did in the early 2000s.

The data is based on a Quartz analysis of the American Time Use Survey, a long-running study that tracks what more than 10,000 Americans do every day. The data on TV watching include streaming and shows watched on any device, not just a traditional television. The increase in screen time among the elderly is not a result of the general aging of the population—the average age of Americans over 65 included in study was around 74 throughout the period.

2. Do Seniors Need a Special Remote Control?

Yes, seniors need a special TV remote control if their physical condition doesn’t allow them to use standard ones. Therefore, having big buttons that have contrast colors and which are well-positioned can make a huge difference. Besides, the remote control buttons should be big enough with big letters and numbers. Moreover, the smaller the number of buttons the better.

Seniors can get a very easy-to-use universal remote with just a few buttons. They are cheap (you can find it less than $50) so buy them a few of the same kind, just in case the loose it or if they want to place them in different corners of the room.

For a remote TV to be good, it doesn’t really need to be complicated, a simple easy-to-use remote TV would do. So you basically need just a few buttons: Volume up/down, channel up/down, power on/off or toggle, and for those more capable, arrow keys and enter/ok for the TV menus. Standard remotes have black keys on a black background with impossibly tiny text! 

If you want to know more about special remote control for seniors, check our post “Do Seniors Need a Special TV Remote Control?”.

3. What Else do Seniors Need to Watch TV More Comfortably?

According to Quartz website, in 2017, the average American over 65 spent about four hours and 20 minutes watching TV every day. Therefore, this is an increase of almost 30 minutes since 2003, the first year the government started collecting statistics on TV watching. Moreover, it’s also more than twice as much daily TV time as 15-34 year olds, who spend less time watching TV now than they did in the early 2000s.

You may think, why is this relevant? Well, if seniors over 65 in the United States are spending almost 1/4 of their day in front of the TV and chances are they spend even more time sitting in front of the same TV (with the TV off), reading, drinking a coffee or a tea, whatever activities they do, it’s a lot of time sitting on the same place!

Recliner Chair

So it’s a no-brainer that a good recliner chair should be essential for seniors to watch TV more comfortably. It’s especially important that they find the chair comfortable and also have the support they need for getting up regularly with a minimum of hassle.

If you want to learn more about this topic, check our post “Best Recliners for Seniors to Watch TV More Comfortably”.

Wedge Pillows

It turns out, there is a comfier way to watch TV while laying down, and it involves supportive wedge pillows. While most people have a recliner to watch TV more comfortably, the wedge pillow is becoming increasingly popular. If you’ve never considered one, perhaps you should?

If you would like to check what wedge pillows are available on the market, read our post “Great Comfortable Wedge Pillows for Seniors to Watch TV”.

Sofa Side Table

Also, a sofa side table, where seniors can store the remote control and other essential items should be essential as well. At least, it would make their lives easier by not having to get up from the sofa all the time they need to pick up something. With a side table, everything would be reachable.

If you are interested in getting one, take a look at our post “Do Seniors Need a Multi-Use Sofa Side Table?”.

TV Stand

And having a good TV stand also makes it easier to achieve the optimal viewing distance and reduce the chance of eye or neck strain.

So, if you want some good examples of good easy-to-install and easy-to-use TV stands, check our post “Easy-to-Install and Easy-to-Use TV Stands for Seniors”.

4. Should Seniors Get a Portable TV?

If you are not familiar with the concept of a portable TV, this type of TV contains many of the same features of its large screen cousins, but because they are lightweight and compact in size, it is handheld and it can be carried easily from one place to another.

Why a portable TV should be a great device for seniors? Well, it’s all about the numbers. As mentioned before, research after research shows how much seniors enjoy watching TV, so why not have one around all the time?!

If you want more information about a good value portable TV to get, check our post “Do Seniors Need a Small Portable TV?”

5. What Cool Gadgets Can We Get For Seniors who are TV Lovers?

Last but not least, if you have a senior in your life who absolutely loves watching TV, check this list of Great Tech Gifts for Seniors who are TV Addicts. There are some very cool (and creative) TV gadgets there!

* After reading this post, we would appreciate you sharing your experience with us. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to receive more content from us. We hope you enjoy it!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this! I’m currently looking for a TV for my elderly mom who loves watching tv but gets confused easily. This certainly helps!!

    1. Hi, I am glad the article was helpful. Sorry for the late reply though. This has been a tough year so I had to leave the website for a while. Thanks again for the thumbs up. It means a lot.

  2. I am really grateful to the holder of this web site who has shared this wonderful post at at
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    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Loretta… this kind of message means a lot to us and this is pretty much the reason we keep writing! Cheers!

  3. tHANK YOU SO MUCH. WOULD THE ABOVE HAVE NETFLIX & ROCU IN THEM?

    1. Thank you for reading our article! Yes, these TVs can have both Netflix and Rocu in them. You just need to pay for the subscription.

  4. I like that you said that it would be a great advantage for senior citizens to have a widescreen TV since most of them have problems with their vision. They would be able to see better with a bigger screen even without their glasses. Perhaps I should buy my grandma a supersonic 32-inch wide-screen TV for Christmas so she’ll be able to watch her favorite shows and movies comfortably. Thanks for this!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and reach out to us. We are glad you enjoyed our port. We hope your grandma enjoys her gift (…we are sure she will, actually!). Merry Christmas to both of you! You are a great grandson!

  5. great information for us frustrated old ladies trying to navigate an unfamiliar world. I will be checking out the rest of your website with gratitude and confidence.

    1. Wow… thanks for the kind words. We are glad you enjoy our website. It means a lot to us! We are here to help. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to receive more content from us.

  6. Thank you from an 84 year old man with poor vision yet excellent hearing, for your:
    – good advice
    – great tips
    Now I can buy with confidence, a 58” Samsung 4K Crystal. Later I can opt for a “senior friendly” remote if needed.

    1. We are glad you like our site. Thanks for the thumbs up! It means a lot to us. We are here to help. Enjoy your new TV!

  7. I found this site very useful, thank you. My husband has a disability and I hate TV, so between us both ( you and me) I may be able to find something he can use all by himself, that I dont have to listen to.

    1. Hi Robyn! Thank you so much for your kind comment! I am glad to know our website is being helpful for you and your husband. Between you and me, I totally get you. I happen to know a couple who faces exactly this very same problem (my parents)! Take care!

  8. I am in fact pleased to read this website posts which carries tons of helpful
    information, thanks for providing such statistics.

    1. Hello there Jerell! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

      If you want to keep on reading my new posts, you can always subscribe to our newsletter and I also have a Facebook page 🙂 And please share with your friends who can potentially benefit from this website as well! I hope you have a great day!

  9. Having helped a 96-year-old mother-in-law set up a TV, I can tell you the most important thing is the simplicity of the remote control. It’s not the picture. It’s not the sound. It’s not the size. It’s simplicity… something they can comprehend. She previously had a fire TV and simply could not operate It .could not even turn it on and get it to the next channel no matter how many times I showed her, she could grasp out of the control worked.

    1. Hey Jim, I 100% agree with you about the remote control issue. My mother keeps getting confused with hers, I am planning on creating a guide on “how to use the remote control”. For now, we do have a post about easy-to-use remote controls.

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