The General Electric Company manufactured one of the first televisions, the Octagon, in 1928. The Octagon displayed tiny images on a 3inch screen and was never mass-produced. Fancy TV sets such as the Emyvisor (1936), the Marconi (1938) and the Motorola (1948) were developed from the Octagon; these products were only available as luxury toys for wealthy families. In spite of there limited production the technology developed would be used to build the modern TV.
Finally, radio was visually coming to life. By the 1950s the “TV” was starting to become a staple of American life with thousands of Americans tuned in to what limited programing that was available. Over the next 50 years television sets evolved from black and white into color, simple walnut cabinet sets morphed into ‘80s style console sets. Fast forward to modern day 21st century, viewers now expect nothing less than high definition flat screens, households seem to be more likely to have a TV set than a dining table. So, what’s happening now? The technology has finally become smart.
What is a smart TV?
If you’re about to start shopping for a new TV, you’ll find that most TVs now have “smart” capabilities. They still have all the basic TV features and you can happily watch television as normal, but the main difference is that a smart TV has built-in technical capabilities such as Internet access, memory card readers and streaming video apps.
What do you need for your smart TV?
If you want to access the bonus features of a smart TV you’ll need an Internet connection. Of course, you can still watch TV without Internet, but why not take advantage of this new smart technology? Most smart TVs can be directly plugged into a home broadband router via an Ethernet port. However, there are plenty of models available that can access Wi-Fi with built-in software or using a USB dongle. You’ll need to check your broadband speed – streaming videos will work best with unlimited broadband packages, and they will help you avoid nasty surprises such as extra charges for exceeding data limits.
What sort of online features do smart TVs have?
As with any technology, the price of the smart TV reflects which online features are available with each model. However, the majority of smart TVs provide quick access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The videos on demand services are available in monthly subscription such as Netflix and Know How Movies. There is also a wonderful selection of catch-up TV services including Channel 4oD and ITV player, as well as all the main players from HBO to Showtime.
Are there apps available for smart TVs?
After some inspiration from the smartphone industry, smart TVs are also starting to feature their own online stores, so that users can download apps straight to their TVs. As well as finding apps for video on-demand services and social networking, different smart TV stores such as Panasonic are now offering games, apps for tracking your weight and fitness and different messenger services. To accompany these apps many manufacturers are also providing accessories such as game controllers, Smart Pens (so you can write directly onto your TV screen, and use it as a notice board), and wrist bands as health monitors.
Can I make my current TV smart?
If you already have a TV and would prefer to not fork out more money for an updated smart TV, you can always use more affordable methods for obtaining Internet services via your TV. For instance, there is a wide range of streaming devices available, streaming players such as Now TV, Google Chromecast and Roku provide access to quality online content.
Finally, you can always use your TV as a computer screen by connecting it to your PC. Most laptops have a video out port via HDMI, VGA or DVI. Check your computer for the appropriate video cable to use.
TVs with access to only four or five channels are truly a thing of the past. From today, it won’t be long before all standard budget TVs have access to the Internet. In a world of smartphones and tablets, it was only a matter of time before TVs followed suit, so keep up with the technology and update your TV. It’s the only smart thing to do.