Alastair Grigg - Education
Alastair Grigg – Videopro Business Centre: Education

End of Human Era

What are Smart TVs?

OK, so perhaps my morbid prediction of our future is a little over the top. But if you’ve come across the term “Smart TV”, you’ve probably thought two things:

1. “What is a Smart TV?”
2. “When will they become smarter than us, and take over the world, and exterminate all of mankind?”

I’ll leave the second question to greater philosophical minds than mine, and will instead focus on the first question.

A Smart TV is also sometimes referred to as a “Connected TV” and is a term that television manufacturers began using towards the end of 2011 and in early 2012. Whilst some of the features that are seen in Smart TVs have existed in previous years, there has been a trend towards making these features more common and more prominently highlighted as a consumer benefit. The extra features that are included in Smart Televisions include:

• The ability to connect televisions directly to the internet and web browser capability
• The ability to network multiple devices (televisions, computers) together
• The ability to stream user selected content “on-demand”
• The ability to install software applications on the television for the purpose of entertainment, productivity, education
and so forth
• The integration of social networking tools
• The ability to manage and/or store content on a television

All of these features are exciting for the consumer and worrying for television networks (on-demand streaming will, no doubt, impact the amount of users they can reach and advertise to). However, whilst every feature I have listed is an exciting benefit, the way those features are implemented are what tend to make or break the end-user experience. The user experience is becoming rapidly better on consumer televisions, but whilst some features of Smart TV are well implemented, most users may find some things are still easier to accomplish by plugging a computer into their TV set. This brings me to my next point (and an important one considering the context of this article, which is aimed at the Education space).

Beware the Lack of Computer Video Connectivity

A lot of new televisions have dropped the VGA (computer video) connectivity on their televisions. For those of you who are using televisions in a school or commercial environment, this is still a very important feature and something that we’d highly recommend having when considering the purchase of a television. The reason why connectivity has been dropped is not entirely clear. There is some speculation that this is due to VGA being phased out over the coming years. If true, the decision is premature because VGA is still, today, by far the most prominent computer video connection in homes and offices. It could also be that TV manufacturers have decided that because their televisions are “smart”, they don’t need a computer to be able to connect to it. Whatever the reason, at this point in time, it is my recommendation that you continue to look for televisions with VGA inputs to suit your solution.

If would like to discuss this topic further or require assistance choosing the right telelvision, please contact one of our friendly team members on 1300 VIDEOPRO.

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