Now that we are all familiar with Smartphones and Tablets, a new concept is starting get more hype: Smart TV. Many questions start arising about this technology so we have decided to give some answers:
What’s a Smart TV?
A Smart TV or Connected TV is either a television set with integrated Internet capabilities or a set-top box for television that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary basic television set.
They provide high focus on online interactive media, Internet TV, over-the-top content, as well as on-demand streaming media, and less focus on traditional broadcast media like previous generations of television sets and set-top boxes always have had.
What services are available?
Services delivered through Smart TV include traditional broadcast TV channels, catch-up services, video-on-demand, EPG, interactive advertising, personalization, voting, games, social networking, and other multimedia applications like gaming. Many applications can be downloaded through dedicated Application Stores in a similar way as Smartphone app stores.
What are the benefits?
Smart TV devices enable consumers to view all of these advanced services on their flat screen TV, via a single device. In addition to a broader range of content from TV providers – ranging from traditional broadcast TV, video on-demand, live information and catch-up TV –, Smart TVs also provide consumers with access to user-generated content through applications like YouTube or Flickr. In addition, TV widgets can extend the Smart TV functionalities to show real time information like sports results.
What’s the technology behind it?
In general, Smart TVs integrate internet and Web 2.0 features like Flash and HTML5, into modern televisions. Software applications are integrated in Smart TVs like in modern smartphones (iPhone or Android). However, some platforms use their own technologies, for example, Apple TV uses iOS while Google TV uses Android.
The technology that enables Smart TVs is not only incorporated into television sets, but also devices such as set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, game consoles, and other companion devices. These devices allow viewers to search and find videos, movies, photos and other content on the web, on a local cable TV channel, on a satellite TV channel, or stored on a local hard drive.
What’s the current status of the Smart TV market?
The concept of Smart TV is still in its incipient stages. Many Internet and consumer electronics companies are competing to get public attention and an important market share with their proprietary solutions. Currently, Samsung, Sony, LG, Apple, Yahoo-Intel and Google are leading the market but most of them are still only available in some countries. At present, the Smart TV European market, although is just starting to grow, has a clear leader with Samsung making a huge effort to position its Smart TV solution as the most popular platform. In addition a pan-European standard called HbbTV is starting to shine as more and more broadcasters are adopting it to offer interactive services along with their emissions.