Introducing the ‘Smart TV’ and the Potential Future of Home Entertainment

Our technology is converging. So much so in fact, that in the very near future, many have said that home entertainment centres won’t own separate boxes, but one ‘all-in-one’ device that does everything. Indeed, Microsoft’s recently released ‘Xbox One’ already professes to do just that.

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With such perpetual access at our fingertips, our professional and personal lives are merging at a frightening pace but our living rooms should always remain ‘sacred’ as the places we retire to at the end of a work day to relax, reflect on the day behind us and the days ahead, and recuperate our weary minds.

Smart TVs are the next logical step in the ‘all-in-one’ entertainment spectrum as they literally are an all-in-one device. An Xbox One might be able to stream movies, record TV and play high definition games but without a TV to play it on it would be no more than an exceedingly expensive paperweight. A Smart TV is basically a television that works like a tablet or smartphone in that is runs on its own operating system and can handle a variety of ‘apps’ (applications).

These TVs run on their own processors that can run everything from Netflix and your Digital television provider’s services to games, web browsers and more besides. Though they are still in their infancy, in the next ten years, I predict that Smart TVs will become the new standard in homes across the developed world.

The History

Even though they might be seen as a resolutely modern invention (and indicative of our times), the patent for the world’s first smart TV was filed in 1994, a time when even having Sky was seen as ‘a little bit middle class’. The patent filed was for an “Intelligent television system with data processing capabilities over a digital network” and whilst it was ropey at best, that effectively sums up exactly what a modern Smart TV is and how it operates.

It’s only now that they are really starting to eke their way into the mainstream due to lower costs and consumers growing infatuation with all things ‘smart’ (smart phone, smart fridges, smart toilets (yes it IS a thing)). Of course, we might be more used to the basic idea of the Smart TV than we think. Many hotels for example, have been using proprietary versions of the tech for years now and if you’ve ever used a tablet, using a Smart TV should come surprisingly natural to you. It’s all incredibly intuitive and incredibly…well…smart.

The Models

All of the major electronics manufacturers have their own range of Smart televisions but Samsung, LG and Sony are currently the most visible. As these brands have a significant amount of experience in the smartphone and tablet market already, they have essentially ported the software used in those products over to their televisions.

The Sony ‘Xperia’ range of products for example includes tablets, phones and televisions, all of which have a similar look, feel and build quality. Many smart televisions are now also being released with touch-screen capabilities, which further bridge the gap between tablets and televisions.

The Future

Whilst 3DTV seemed on the cusp of ‘taking off’ a few years ago; the idea of sitting around in your living room with a pair of ghastly glasses on evidently didn’t appeal to the masses and the technology was just too expensive to make it affordable. As such the 3D market has now essentially been relegated solely to the cinema and handheld gaming markets whilst television has jumped with both feet first onto the ‘smart’ train.

As the televisions begin to become more ingrained in popular culture, expect big names such as ‘Google’ and ‘Apple’ to pipe in with their own proprietary smart TV hardware and software.

The gaming industry too seems like a perfect fit and internet streaming services (which have never been more popular) have been designed from the get-go to work with ‘Smart’ devices. It’s all a case of convenience. As our entertainment gets easier to use people get lazier. I’m completely fine with that though as the whole point of a living room is to give us an area to escape to, and escapism is becoming easier to facilitate by the day.

Digital TV

All smart televisions will come with Freeview tuners built-in, but you will need a digital aerial in order to pick it up. If this is the case, you may need to install it yourself. You can also use satellite dishes or cable connections of course so make sure your home doesn’t have one of these already before you take the plunge. Don’t be afraid ask at your local electronics store or ask an online specialise such as Digital UK or Get Me Digital for help if you’re not sure.

Future proofing

The majority of Smart TVs will have been built with the capability to upgrade the firmware so that any new additions and changes made to the system (new apps, smoother interface integration etc) can be implemented on the fly, some even have potential 4G connectivity built in (it has been said that 4G interference can have a negative impact on a digital TV signal, but there are plenty of workarounds)!

Most of the major electronics companies are also well aware of the burgeoning popularity of ‘cloud’ processing so don’t worry about buying a model today and being left behind when the ‘cloud revolution’ kicks off. You will be covered; you’ll just be enjoying all the benefits of smart TV before the rest of your friends decide to join the party.

There really is no better time to be a television enthusiast and with sites such as www.getmedigital.com offering the best and most reliable service when it comes to guiding you into the future of entertainment, there is no need to hesitate.

Author Bio: 

A copywriter from the UK, Calvin Ford bought his first Smart TV (a Sony ‘Xperia’ model) last year and can’t ever see himself going back.

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