Smart TV – What Is It?
Smart TV is a system that allows you to connect your TV to the Internet and use various multimedia functions. Smart TVs are not only video on demand but a whole lot of other useful functions. Since you already know what Smart TV is, it would be appropriate to learn more details – about them in the text below.
What is Smart TV?
The answer to this question is apparently simple, but there is much more to it than can be implied from a simple definition. A smart TV is otherwise a smart TV, containing all these functions that extend its capabilities beyond what is its basic function – i.e. receiving a signal from linear television. It could mean anything, in fact. However, it has been accepted to say that these are functions that allow the TV to connect to the network and use it to access a wide variety of multimedia functions.
Today, most often, Smart TVs are simply operating systems in televisions, which – like OSs in mobile phones – offer various functions and applications and differ in terms of control methods. In this case, it all depends on the TV manufacturer.
What is Smart TV for?
At a time when streaming services did not dominate the public space, smart TV was usually used to play multimedia content transferred from a desktop computer, turn on YouTube, and so on. However, when Netflix, HBO Max (former HBO GO) and other services offering video content appeared on the market, the ability to connect the TV to the Internet and play streaming content turned out to be worth its weight in gold.
An important element of a Smart TV is also a remote control. On the one hand, this simple device should fulfil the basic functions and be easy to use, and on the other hand, it must be able to perform more complex operations. What? For example, it should make it easier to search for content, type passwords, and sometimes even click the right place on the screen. Some Smart TV systems work, for example, on the principle of gyroscopic mice; others allow you to connect the TV with a mobile phone to facilitate entering passwords and searching – for example, the titles of movies and series.
Smart TV – what to use for?
Smart TV is streaming services, the loudest ones: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Apple TV + or the latest Viaplay novelty. Polish stations also have their own applications, such as TVP (the TVP Sport application seems to be particularly important here, thanks to which you can watch matches), TVN (i.e. Player, as well as the recently debuting TVN24 GO). IPLA is also available for fans of Polsat’s production (but not only). The entire offer is supplemented by various websites that offer the user not subscriptions but the rental of specific films – we are talking here, for example, about Rakuten, Chili TV or even VOD.pl, as well as those related to documentary films and focused on demanding viewers such as Arte TV.
Of course, this is not the end of Smart TV’s possibilities in TV sets. There are applications available that support specific radio stations, music streaming services (such as Spotify or Tidal), as well as programs with the weather and a TV program. Particularly noteworthy are those that provide news from the world, such as HayStack TV. There are also applications that allow you to extend the capabilities of the TV – here, and you definitely need to highlight the VLC application, which helps in managing content (primarily movies) delivered to the TV via external devices. There are also those that allow us to pretend that we use the TV in another region – this allows us to use services that are not available in Poland, such as the Disney + streaming platform.
Smart TV from TV manufacturers
While there are essentially two operating systems in the mobile world, there is a much bigger mess among televisions. A significant number of manufacturers have opted for their own solutions, some of them are based on open-source software, such as Android, and some are closed systems available only for TV sets of a given brand.
It is a system connected to the Smart Hub platform, i.e. a solution from Samsung, which works perfectly with other manufacturers’ devices. This is an introduction to the so-called smart house. Various household appliances will communicate with each other, and most importantly, by using one, you will be able to control the other.
This is a solution that can be found in Sony and Philips TVs, as well as Xiaomi set-top boxes. Its great advantage is openness (many applications are available) and a similar operating philosophy as on mobile devices. One of its advantages is even supported by Google’s voice assistant.
This is a Smart TV system from LG. It is one of the best rated operating systems for TVs, if only for the number of applications and ease of use. All the necessary VOD applications are here, as well as many dedicated solutions. LG, like Samsung, is investing in its platform to make it work with other home devices.
Some Panasonic TVs also have a My Home Screen system, and Philips has been installing Saphi for a while, but these are small pieces of software that offer the most basic functions.
What if I have an old TV and I would like a Smart TV?
This is one of the more serious problems if you’ve ever bought a large TV for years and you find it doesn’t support the latest apps and services. There is one more possibility – the TV has Smart TV, but the manufacturer has stopped supporting updates, and it turns out that half of the programs either do not work or do not play all content properly and in high quality.
There are several solutions to this problem. The first, the most expensive, is to replace the TV with a new one. However, it is worth remembering, before spending a few thousand zlotys, that the software can be settled with external devices.
Console as Smart TV
Consoles can be used as home entertainment centres, which often not only allow you to install popular applications (and, of course, games) but also, if they have an optical drive, allow you to play DVD or Blu-Ray discs. This solution will be perfect for gamers, but it may be too expensive for someone who is not interested in video games at all.
Operator services and Smart TV
Many mobile network operators and Internet providers offer special set-top boxes that allow you to obtain smart functions apart from providing linear TV. For example, UPC offers its own VOD service, and the Play network has its own Play NOW TV. The latter include TV channels, movies and series on-demand, as well as a pause and rewind function. The same applies to the Orange offer. The orange network offers its own VOD service as part of its television, in a way enhancing the TV with smart functions.
Smart adapters will be the perfect solution for people who want to enjoy smart functions on their TV and do not want to spend a fortune on new equipment or a console. These are small devices connected to the TV with an HDMI cable, which become a home entertainment centre or, simply put – they will transmit the image to the TV screen.
Popular devices, such as Xiaomi, often run on Android, adapted to the large screen. Usually, remote control is included with the kit, specially prepared for easy use of simple applications. The Internet sales giant and the owner of the popular VOD website, i.e. Amazon, also has its attachment. Fire Stick TV 4K is a small “stick” with great possibilities – it is worth checking, however, whether it will feature features not available in our country.
Another solution is Chromecast. This device from Google is not entirely a self-contained entity as its purpose is to stream an image from one device to another. In practice, it works in such a way that the set-top box connected to the TV receives the signal from our phone and transmits the information via the Wi-Fi network. If you are concerned about the quality of the displayed image, it is worth remembering that newer generations have more and more possibilities; one of the latest releases allows for 1080p transmission maintaining 60 frames per second.