AH Tech Talk: Smart TV's and Apps, the Next Big Thing?


When the first few rich people started watching TV in 1928, I doubt that anybody could have seen where the TV was headed.  It was originally a device to watch network television broadcasts of mostly variety shows like Milton Berle, Jack Benny, and Ed Sullivan.  They added westerns, lots of westerns, like Gunsmoke, Rawhide, and Wagon Train.  Then came the Game Show era with To Tell the Truth, What's My Line, Password, and The Price is Right.  Situation Comedies, like I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, and Bob Newhart emerged and now we have "Reality" TV and NFL Football!  TV added movies a while back so we could enjoy watching them from the comfort of our living room…and all of this content was FREE, because the signal was being broadcasted over the airwaves and anybody with an antenna could pull in that free signal out of the sky.

Now we have Cable TV, FIOS, Xfinity, Dish TV, DirecTV, Pay-per-View, Showtime, HBO, etc., that give us a much better picture and sound than shows broadcast over the air, but all of this technology comes with a price of $130-$200 a month!  Let's not forget the gaming revolution that took place when Atari gave us that precious prize for so many; the gaming console back in the mid-70's that evolved into the Play Stations, Wii's, Nintendos, and the X-Box, with brilliant graphics and life-like images.  The modern TV has become more than a device to watch simply a TV program, it has become an entire entertainment package, especially with the advent of cheap flat screens that are much larger than our little tube and cabinet TV's of the past, and the competition is heating up for our time spent interacting with it.


TV Watching

According to the Business Insider's research:

  •  There are some 800 million pay TV households worldwide, according to MRG.
  • In America, the average person still spends more than four hours per day watching TV, and more than five hours per day engaging with all screens, according to Nielsen.
  • TV also still represents the majority of worldwide ad spending: $350 billion last year, or 63% of all ad spending, according to Nielsen.
  • 31-percent of the people are using Apps.

Smart TV menu


Thirty-one percent of the people are using Apps on their TV's – enter the age of a "Smart TV," that can do more than simply pull in a signal from a source and display the results on the big screen.  Smart TV's can actually run some of your favorite applications on them, such as, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Sports, News, Facebook, Twitter, Games, and much, much more, and the nicest thing is you do not have to have a separate box to use these applications because the necessary hardware is built right into the Smart TV.  When connected to your internet, either hardwired or wirelessly, the hardware and Apps are updated as your TV automatically downloads those updates!  The latest Samsung Smart TV's, the pioneer in the field, will even accept voice commands, hand gestures, and even has face recognition that will bring up your favorite shows…a far cry from "rabbit ears!"

Smart TV Watching

This TV and App use is still in its infancy and one of the main issues is, as always, is fragmentation between the TV manufacturers.  Samsung with their Smart Hub and number of available Apps is far ahead of everybody else, as Sony and LG try to develop and expand their own systems. The newest Samsung Phones can even be used as your remote control to manipulate your Smart TV.  There are other vendors that use a separate box to feed content to your TV and they are continuing to improve.  A few months back, Google started to sell its Chromecast dongle for only $35 – it attaches to your HDTV and you can "cast" your Google Chrome browser or smartphone content directly to your big screen.  The ways we use our TV will continue to change and evolve – the people want it, the devices are there and developing, the Apps are ready to go, so there is just no stopping the Smart TV revolution.



Let us know what you think about the new Smart TV's – do you have one and use it or do you plan on getting one.