The word Smart TV became fashionable in late 2011 when TV manufacturers began to use it as a commercial claim. It indicates that the television is capable of connecting to the Internet through the home connection and has some applications installed as well as the possibility of installing others, allowing access to Internet content, using social networks and online services or managing a multimedia library.
Most of the televisions that we can find in the market carry a smart TV platform that allows them, thanks to their operating system and the possibility of connecting to the Internet, to expand their range of functionalities.
But for many it can be a real headache to use.
In Your Technology Blog we start a series of articles related to Smart TV, its different systems and connection methods. We will also see the possibilities that external devices, such as Chromecast, Woxter Android TV, Apple TV, etc. They offer to put Internet on our televisions.
In this first article we will review the basic concepts and show the current situation of the main television manufacturers.
How do televisions connect to the Internet?
The televisions can be connected to the Internet through a cable (LAN cable) or through the wireless network (WiFi). In both cases, the entry point is the router that the telephone provider has installed for us.
Since the router can be away from the television it is not always possible to connect it with a cable in a comfortable way. In this case, you can resort to PLC connections or Wifi signal amplifiers, as we discussed in our article ” The router: our home gateway to the Internet “.
Although the printed manuals that manufacturers offer us with the devices are quite sparse, in general more extensive information is available on their web pages in an expanded form. Samsung has a page with all the necessary information and a Chat service from 10:00 to 21:00, which can be very useful. Similar pages with help services are found in Sony , LG or Philips , all manufacturers have this type of service so it will not be difficult for us to find the necessary information.
Once the TV is connected to the Internet, what will I find?
Until now, in the decision to purchase a television, the smart platform that the manufacturer uses was not significant for the consumer, and there were other characteristics that influenced the purchase decision: size, resolution, sound quality, price. However, little by little the different operating systems will begin to gain importance and can become decisive in our choice of a certain device.
The televisions of the Korean manufacturer LG with Smart TV functionalities incorporate the webOS 2.0 operating system based on Linux. It has a menu that appears in the lower area of the screen and for the user it will be the most distinctive element of this system. A series of boxes on which we can move horizontally will offer us television functionalities and allow us to access Internet services, digital television or connected devices.
Android (Philips, Sony, Sharp)
Philips, but also other manufacturers, have decided on Android, the same operating system of smartphones and tablets, at the moment we can find televisions with versions of Android 4 and 5, but soon devices that carry version 6 will appear.
All manufacturers have their own application distribution platforms adapted to each country. In the Phillips store, for example, we will find games, applications for video on demand services, television channels applications for their “television on demand” services and other applications.
Tizen is a based operating system, developed from the Samsung platform, and in which other companies such as Intel, Fujitsu or Vodafone have participated. The current Samsung televisions use it as a platform for Smart TV. Its start menu is very similar to that of WebOS.
Firefox OS (Panasonic)
Since 2015, Panasonic has used Firefox OS as a Smart TV platform in its range of televisions. Although it is a system still under construction that lacks a bit of development, its use is very simple as it is shown to us from the simple initial menu, where access to watch television, to devices connected to the television or to applications it is done very comfortably.
What if my TV is not Smart TV?
In the same way that we can see or hear on our televisions content from devices such as DVD players or sound chains, there are devices that allow us to transfer the content that we are obtaining from the Internet through our mobile phone or our PC and watch them on the television , without the need for this to be a Smart TV .
Multimedia centers, laptops, mobile phones or devices such as Chromecast, Roku , Woxter Android TV , Apple TV , serve to turn our television into a Smart TV, we will talk about all of them in future articles.