When the Internet started to become part of our daily life just starting the 21st century, it was just a few young members of families using it, and only a couple of hours or even minutes per day.
It’s impossible to forget the sounds of the old 56k modem connecting to the web, Netscape navigator, Windows 95 and 98, and people of the family complaining because it was not possible to make or receive phone calls with the Internet turned on.
A single photograph needed 5 minutes to be in your diskette, and to download the first mp3 files, almost 1 hour. It is not from those years when some people called the TV “the idiot box”?
More than two decades have passed since this moment, and now we can’t imagine our lives without the Internet, and the box has a new nickname. That shy new technology for youngsters changed the world and the communications second only by the invention of the printing press. Mobile phones, game consoles, laptops, tablets, cameras and, of course, the big boss of the 20th century: the TV, that now connected to the Internet connection and it’s not an idiot anymore. Now is called SmartTV.
What exactly is a smart TV?
It is as simple as a modern TV that can connect to the Internet.
Nowadays, streaming services are replacing the old TV cable, and most of our communication and multimedia devices can access the Internet. But it is fair enough if you are reading this lines precisely because you’re not sure about why it is necessary to have a SmartTV, and what’s the difference from that to connect other devices that can also access to the Internet.
Firstly it’s important to understand that a SmartTV like it was with the analogue connections, get the Internet signal from the air with WiFi receptors, to be ready to host your Netflix, Amazon Primer or HBO accounts. But you also can navigate, download app and access to places like Hulu, Flickr, Picassa, Facebook, Twitter, and even on-demand news.
A SmartTV is a device designed for watching it, so you will enjoy the freedom of the Internet but the top screen quality, size, bright and comfort that a SmartTV can give.
If giant screens over 40 or 50-inches were a luxury item not to much time ago, now they are totally affordable. And the internal software that SmartTV features nowadays is more and more sophisticated, with an offer of app and services designed primarily to operate in a TV with the immortal remote control.
There are still several alternative ways to “give the Internet” to your TV, using it as a screen for other devices. But believe us: every year and every new model in the market makes that effort useless.
Nevertheless, we know that maybe you still have a nice TV without Internet that you want to use until its last breath. For these cases, it is a good idea to transform your old buddy into a SmartTV with a media box, like Roku or Chromecast. A Blu-ray player or a video game console system such as Nintendo, Wii, Xbox 360 or Playstation, will allow you to access to web and other on-demand Internet services.
If you can use a TV anyways with these devices, why in the world you should buy a SmartTV? As we said: the development of software, on-demand services and the app is improving faster every year, as well as the user interface. The comfort of having a SmartTV is becoming evident in the last years.
Benefits of a Smart TV and the LG Legacy
Things are designed for a purpose: computers to write and navigate in a click basis; touch screen for soft navigation, and of course, a TV is designed for watching it from your favourite corner of your flat. Every feature of a SmartTV is going to work for a single purpose: give you the best possible experience watching your favourite show. No cables, no extra connections, no delay.
Things started to get better talking about user interface on SmartTV when LG Electronics bought webOS from HP in 2013, an operating system that used to run in old deprecated mobile models like Palm OS. But for LG, the objective was to use webOS to develop a proper technology for their next generation of SmartTV.
LG Electronics introduced the next year, in Las Vegas, a brand new model to the world. As you can imagine, it was the first LG SmartTV with webOS. That model included the hardware with Internet connectivity, and software developed specifically for the television user interface.
This concept was a breakthrough because, in the beginning, there was a multiple windows system very close to what you do in a laptop. That release was the initial milestone for a new era of TV in a world connected through the Internet.
Benefits of owning a Smart TV today
With a SmartTV at home, you will immediately understand what we are talking about in this article. You will be able to have a lot of free space around you without cables and other devices, to have your favourite drinks and snacks in a safe zone. With this, no possible disasters involving spilling a beer over expensive equipment that ruins your perfect evening.
There are several software improvements in the last years for a SmartTV. You will find digital magazines, newspapers, books, and at the same time, you can quickly jump into a streaming service or movies-on-demand. You even can make video calls with an app such as Skype, and see in a huge screen your family and friends.
Control remote is more useful now than it was five years ago. You find some Smart TV manufacturers that designed remote control with two interfaces. In the one hand you have a full standard QWERTY keyboard and on the other hand the classic television buttons. Anyways, with a SmartTV, there is only one control to use, and usually, a Smart TV features a keyboard with an optical mouse to support your navigation when is needed.
If you are not used to SmartTVs, it is not easy to imagine how it is possible to make them interact with platforms such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. The last improvements regarding this topic are that some smart TVs allows you to share video content with friends in different locations, even with attached comments. You can keep that pleasant habits with your favourite people, no matter how far you are from each other.
After some years of DVD, BluRay and streaming, people from the whole world get used to decide when they have time and energy to watch their favourite shows. To schedule a day around a TV show is an old fashion practice that is not necessary anymore. With a SmartTV, you can enjoy the last offers related to on-demand-TV, like exclusive sports shows or early release of a movie.
The last Smart TVs models feature plenty of USB connectivity ports. The most typical family use you can give to this is to connect a mobile phone or a camera and enjoy some pics and videos on the big screen. As you can expect, this feature works with social media to upload and share your photos in your accounts.
Smart TV vs Internet TV
If you heard about Internet TV, it is fair enough that now you’re asking yourself what is the difference of this with Smart TV? Well, the big difference is that Internet TV is a concept that usually refers to the movie streaming industry, with services like Netflix or Amazon Prime.
So these two concepts are not related, and more than a comparison, it is necessary to clarify that in the one hand you talk about a device, and on the other hand, you talk about the film industry.
Is it hard to set-up a Smart TV?
If you’re thinking on buying a Smart TV and is your first experience, it is totally fair that you ask yourself how smooth is the process since the moment you unbox the TV until you are lying in your couch enjoying the next episode of your favourite series.
Well, we have good news for you: SmartTV developers want you more than anyone to be able to set up their products. They want them to be more accessible than any other digital device.
Usually, you will find in your first use something like a guided set up and configure process. Some options will prompt to your screen, and you will have to fill some data straightforwardly and intuitively. Basically your “user” and “pass” for the services and accounts you plan to use in your device.
After ending this first stage, you will face your real first time using the SmartTV. Of course, there are some more steps to do than just push up or down channel buttons like in the old times. But no worries: al these Internet TV services have user interfaces where you do no more than move around some shows titles, film genres, episodes and so on.
Internet TV vs Cable TV
It is fascinating to have this discussion in 2020 because even with the development of Internet TV in the last years, there is still a lot of people keeping their cable service and is maybe too soon have deadly prophecies for that industry.
Not because the Internet showed up with all these fascinating possibilities, people will automatically move to this whole new thing. Cable TV is still a strong industry all over the world, with channels that are trying to find their way and attract an audience that is seduced by the super competitive pricing and possibilities that Internet streams offer.
Nevertheless, there is still a lot of Cable users that keep the love for sitting, taking the remote control and just go around the channels looking for random stuff until the moment they stay in a show.
Even considering the good health of TV Cable, it is unlikely that new audiences, basically kids that born in the Internet era, understand and find something interesting in the idea of being scheduled to see shows in some specific hour. What they do is to choose particular content and to watch it randomly around the day, exactly in the moment they want, not before, not after.
The good news: get your SmartTV and enjoy. With that beauty, it doesn’t matter what is the destiny of the industry of entertainment to you. You’ll be ready to enjoy the old and the best that is up to come.