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Easy Guide to Understanding Smart TV's

by Barry Knightly
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The internet is now revolutionising the traditional TV to incorporate the features we've grown used to on our PC's and mobile phones - apps, unlimited streaming and syncing over multiple devices are the new must-have in home entertainment systems.

Introducing Smart TV's

The new generation term Smart TV, also known as "Connected TV", is the phrase used to describe the current trend of integration of the internet into modern television sets and set-top boxes. These devices focus less on traditional broadcast media, and more on online interactive media, Internet TV and on-demand streaming media. In the same ways as how the internet, web widgets, and software applications are integrated to define modern smartphones over other previous mobiles which were designed primarily for making calls and texts, there is alot more expected from a Smart TV than just sitting back and watching your favourite shows.

In a nutshell, by having your television integrated with the web, you'll end up with a very different experience of finding and consuming content.

Smart TV Technology

The technology that drives Smart TV's is incorporated into devices such as television sets, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other companion gadgets. These devices now allow us to find videos, movies, photos and other content, whether on the web, on a local cable TV channel, on a satellite TV channel, or on a local PC hard drive.

To earn its title, a Smart TV device is either a television set with integrated internet capabilities or a set-top box for television with a 10-foot user interface that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a basic television set. Think of a Smart TV as an information appliance or the computer system from a handheld PC that is integrated within a television set.

While the concept of Smart TV's is still a new one, up and coming software frameworks such as Google TV and the open source XBMC platforms are fast gaining ground in the consumer electronics market.

As with any advanced computing device, there is a range of mobile operating systems now available to choose from. Currently, most Smart TV's are based on Linux, Unix, Android, or other open-source software platforms. As with choosing your mobile phone or PC operating system, the right decision will come down to your individual preferences.

The Main Factors That Make A TV 'Smart'

Web Applications
These days, App stores are all the rage for smartphones, and increasingly the same is true for Smart TV's. Major electronics manufacturers are increasingly making the job easy by packing their Smart TV's with a wealth of useful and fun apps, as well as providing fast access to online stores where you can download more.

Even though they're rather new to the market and still growing in terms of mass consumption, there is currently a range of heavy-weight video streaming apps to choose from for Smart TV's, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube, along with other news and information sources.

DLNA Certified Streaming
The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) has set a standard for sharing media among devices on your home network. Without this integration, all these devices would become more trouble than they're worth in many cases. Thus, it's recommended you choose a Smart TV that is DLNA certified -- this means it will be able to play movies, photos, and music from your PC, smartphone, Xbox and most other devices that connect to your wireless network.


The reliable old TV is currently undergoing a total revamp to bring it up to speed with the rapid advancement in computing and mobile technology. A Smart TV will allow you to take your home entertainment to the next level -- no longer will you sit infront of the box to purely watch broadcasted shows and DVD movies, now you can use your telly to browse the internet, stream content, keep up with your social networking and download useful apps. It's certainly a brave and exciting new world!

Barry Knightly owns a Smart TV and electronics repair business.

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