Recently, what with all the talk of smartphones and tablets and ever-cheaper computers, you might be forgiven for thinking that the humble TV’s heyday was over. But it isn’t.
In fact, if you think about it, the TV is more important than ever. It’s the ‘core display’ for the average house, the place where we consume our highest quality content, share our creativity with the largest number of people, and – not insignificantly – play games.
Your TV is important, but a big dumb display just doesn’t cut it anymore. There’s more to do on a big screen than just sit slack-jawed at the latest sitcom.
Today’s TVs are computers in their own right, super-tablets that can be gesture-controlled, even voice-controlled. They’re a communication hub, a place for sharing memories and connecting families, and they provide an entertainment experience that rivals a commercial cinema.
These new TVs are called smart TVs. And here we count down the 10 top reasons for why you need one.
10. Most new TVs have some kind of smart functionality
This is a slightly trite way to start this list, but the fact is most new TVs you buy today will have some level of ‘smart’ features.
Whether it’s wireless networking so you can play your movie collection off a hard drive attached to your router, or a smattering of basic apps like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
What these more basic TVs might lack though is the ability to install new apps, use a connected camera, or watch a show while tweeting about it on the same screen.
9. It’s the best device for almost every kind of content
A high-end smart TV with a 1920 x 1080 display and the latest in image processing technology is far and away the best environment to experience almost any content you can think of. Pair it up with an AV receiver and a decent set of speakers, and you have a true audiovisual powerhouse.
A smart TV can play Blu-ray movies with a proper 24p refresh rate, smooth live TV with various image interpolation technologies, boost colour and contrast with localised dimming of its LED backlights, and much more.
Beyond the technical stuff, the app-based front-end means you can use the TV to browse music collections both on your home network and on the internet at large, and pipe the music to a high-end AV receiver via HDMI. Since everything is digital, your smart TV can provide a genuine audiophile and videophile experience.
And a smart TV is good at the internet too. Everything is streamlined, and your favourite sites are just a couple of button-presses away.
Even communications work great on a smart TV – Skype moves out from the cramped study and into the comfortable lounge room, where everyone can contrive to look elegant draped across couches, rather than all hunched up on a swivel chair.
8. It puts your content in the cloud
Several smart TV manufacturers have a loud solution for your content, and it usually works in concert with their other devices.
For instance, you might have an option from within your digital camera to save pictures to your cloud account. Then, you can use a smart TV to view those pictures on the big screen – no downloads or transfer, just direct access to storage space online.
It also means that instead of painstakingly loading your multi-gigabyte photo and movie collection onto a new TV or needing to upgrade your external hard drive, everything just goes up on the xloud and you can access it… from any TV, anywhere.
Cloud services are brand specific in some cases now, though, so keep an eye on that: if you want to switch brands later, you might have to upload all your content again.