Only a couple of years ago, the TV used to be a simple box. Today the choices seem dazzling. Like the mobile phone, the TV has transformed into computer-like beast that lets viewers browse the web, watch YouTube, Netflix or iPlayer, connect to social media networks and download apps. Add that to the fact you can still tune into your favorite TV stations, hook up your surround sound, Blu-ray player and videogame console and you can see why, of all the gadgets a house can own, the smart TV has become a must.
Let’s dig a little deeper and see what the bigger brands currently have to offer the discerning TV customer.
Smartening up with Samsung
Samsung’s Smart TVs of 2014 focus mainly on providing a wide range of features. It recommends what you might like to watch based on what is currently popular among viewers and your previously displayed preferences.
Its on-demand hub for movies and TV shows displays a synopsis of the content in question along with viewers’ star rating andLG ts availability. Users can also connect their PCs, smartphones or other devices directly to the TV or use a cloud-based connection.
There’s also a neat feature for sports fans called football mode, where the TV automatically adjusts its settings for optimal sports coverage viewing (hopefully you won’t have to suffer that lousy commentary anymore!).
Panasonic packing a punch
Panasonic’s range is more user-oriented, allowing you to build six different viewer profiles according to each individual’s viewing preferences. They come with a built-in camera and log users in automatically through facial or voice recognition. These TVs track everything the user watches to then make further recommendations. There’s also a social element that allows users to mark dislikes and likes or recommend shows to friends.
Panasonic’s models come with a list of pre-installed apps such as Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, Napster, YouTube and CinemaNow. They also have built-in Wi-Fi and a full browser so if you’re more interested in online functions then you might consider going with a Panasonic.
Living the techie’s life with LG
Something of an all-rounder, LG’s latest Internet TVs have a WebOS interface that integrates the TV with external devices. It features built-in music and video streaming apps and represents all sources in its interface instead of relegating Pandora, Netflix and other services to a different apps menu. Users can also specify favorites, which then appear on the Launcher bar at the bottom of the screen. Apart from the pre-installed apps, these TVs also offer built-in Wi-Fi, a full browser and access to an app store.
Whatever you decide to go with, make sure that you take your time to understand exactly what each brand’s TV can offer you. There’s no point impulse-buying the first shiny box you see only to discover that the next one down the line would have suited your needs much better.