Your TV used to be a one-way channel for enjoying TV shows and movies in your living room, but not any more – the internet has changed all that!
Going, going, gone.. are the days when you watch TV eps and movies when the broadcasters want you to (much to their annoyance and loss of advertising revenue!). Smart (also called connected) TV is the latest entertainment device to change the way you get hold of your media.
What’s coming to your living room?
The internet is an awesome source of on-demand video, latest movies, classic movies, speciality news, silly but irresistible user-generated YouTube clips. But until recently, the only way of viewing this amazing repository of media was via your laptop or desktop PC – certainly not streamed onto the big screen TV sitting in the corner of your living room. A smart TV changes all that.
What is the smart TV experience?
Smart TV is what entertainment lovers have always wanted but never had. Through a smart TV, you can now access entire libraries of current and archived TV shows (sites like Hulu in the US) and movie streaming services like Netflix. It was only a matter of time and technology before TV manufacturers jumped on this media bandwagon to supply all this rich content.
Apple TV started the charge over 4 years ago but hasn’t been that successful because their OS restricts content and connections, and they haven’t pursued many deals with online content producers. Google’s Android TV however, may be the one to conquer this emerging market (there are also open-source platforms too), a market that’s set to grow very fast in the next couple of years.
How does a smart TV work?
Think of it as an integrated media offering – everything important to you is connected and searchable on a single screen, from billions of hours of video to your personal content like homemade videos.
Smart TVs differ from your normal TV because they offer advanced computing and connectivity, rather than just the capability to receive a broadcast. The smart TV is using the same technology more usually associated with the smartphone in your pocket or your tablet computer.
Smart TVs run an operating system (nowadays these are purpose built TV operating systems) which provides a platform for pre-loading apps onto, either to be sold built-in to the TV, or to be added afterwards for a customised experience. It’s from this rich, growing gallery of apps that you can access online content.
What extras does a smart TV offer?
Think of a smart TV as your complete information appliance, a new way of using the big screen TV, rather than just watching it. It’s an interactive experience, giving you the normal commercial or free-to-air broadcast programming with the capability to instantly find and watch other TV shows and movies, download internet apps, and easily surf between channels and web sites offering content.
As well as access to on-demand online content, most smart TVs are incorporating connectivity to other tech such as gaming devices, tablets and smartphones, with search functions for online and personal content, and connection to social networks like facebook and twitter while still watching your favorite TV programs or movies.