6 May 2013 by Shifali Rao
The tech genie asked, "If mobile phones can use the internet, why can't TVs?".And then came the advent of the SmartTVs. So what makes a TV smart? While there's no standard definition for that term yet, it's broadly accepted that a television that is capable of accessing online content be termed 'smart'. So today, television sets compete with smartphones and laptops to be some of the most popular means to use Skype or browse the net.
While earlier SmartTVs accessed the internet through an ethernet port or a Wi-Fi dongle almost all the later ones have a built-in wi-fi which is a whole lot more convenient. Some manufacturers give you more than one option and may even include Bluetooth.
Google TV or not?
A smartTV, just like your laptop or smartphone requires a platform for the internet interface, and Google TV is Google's platform for smartTVs and is kindred to the Android OS for tablets. The platform allows you to access Gmail, Gtalk and more through full Chrome browser.
Most of the best SmartTV manufacturers like Panasonic, Sony and Samsung integrate their own platforms on their TVs, like Panasonic's Viera connect. However, since Google TV came out with their grand web browsing experience manufacturers are beginning to integrate Google TV into their products instead. Google's success at trying to monopolizing the television industry with their platform is still up in the air since TV giants are innovating their platforms as we speak.
The number of smartTV apps today are manifold and increasing by the day and might even vary by brand or model so it's hard to pinpoint exactly what applications you're going to get. By and large, with any of the latest smartTVs you will be treated to Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora, Rhapsody and more.
Browsing or just Streaming?
The services that your SmartTV's OS supports might vary from brand to brand, so while some SmartTVs offer full web browsers giving you leverage to view any site you please, others limit your internet usage to certain specific movie streaming apps.
Many Smart TVs like LG and Samsung come with all sorts of recognition features, to recognize your voice and face or hand gestures so you can control your TV by waving your arms or fingers in the air instead of using a remote.
All smartTVs give you the option of dumping your remote and using your smartphone instead to control the TV.
So, what to look for?
Ultimately, your choice of SmartTV depends on the brand of your choice and the type of HDTV panel you prefer, since most SmartTVs come with almost identical services .
Nevertheless, smartTVs are at the moment more of a contemporary whiz than a good investment and manufacturers are still trying to make their smartTVs future-proof by experimenting on online upgrades.