Is The New Dr Who Connected To The Old One Internet Connected TVs – The Idiot Box Smartens Up

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Internet Connected TVs – The Idiot Box Smartens Up

The evolution of smart TV

The expectations of our TVs have changed – we now expect our set to do a lot more than just stream broadcast TV channels. Consumers have been given a taste of a wide range of online content available through TVs, allowing viewing of programs they may have missed through apps such as Plus7 and I-View, and “renting” new streaming videos from TV from apps such as Bigpond TV. Content that we traditionally only accessed on our computer is now made available to us through our TVs, Blu-Ray players and home theater systems – closing the gap between the Internet and TV.


One of the most attractive capabilities of smart televisions is the ability to stream movies via the Internet directly to our big screen. This has revolutionized the way many people are accessing their movies, with the video store rental industry starting to really feel the pressure. In fact, Samsung has just announced that they have signed a blockbuster deal to bring more movies to Samsung devices. The new Blockbuster streaming service is expected to launch in the US and Europe in early 2012 and in Australia by September.

Bigpond Movies has been available on Samsung and LG TVs for a few years now, and it represents a collection of thousands of new catalog and catalog titles that are streamed to your TV via the Internet. No more leaving the house to go to the video store, or racking up late fees for that disc you forgot to return.

Quickflix has previously been available on Sony TVs and Blu-Ray players, and thanks to a recent deal, Samsung joins Sony in partnering with the online DVD subscription service and developing an app that will allow Australian users stream video content to their Samsung Smart TVs.

Sony also brings us its own streaming service – Video on Demand, offering late-release movies in an HD option or a cheaper SD version – for those of us who don’t have the fastest internet speeds available or just squeeze wallets.

Customers are also starting to use services such as Telstra’s T-box and Optus’ similar FetchTV service, over traditional cable or satellite connections from Foxtel and Austar. This has developed into a billion dollar industry in Australia – with nothing but growth predicted in the near future.

There is also an abundance of Multimedia devices available in the market, such as Apple TV, Boxee and WD Live, so we now have the widest choice of internet content available for us to watch on our TV screens than ever before. we ever had before. Two of the most powerful media centers have emerged from Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, with the latter also recently able to stream a wide selection of Foxtel channels including movies and sports over the internet. Both also have movie streaming services available.


Smart connection also opens up many options regarding TV channels. Almost every major television manufacturer has ABC’s popular I-View app pre-loaded on their menus. ABC iview is an information service that presents the best of ABC TV. You can watch your favorite programs in full screen at your leisure. Most shows are available to watch for 14 days and new programs are added daily.

Another ever-present application in the arsenal of every Smart TV is PLUS7. Plus7, from Yahoo and Channel 7, offers video streaming of full-length episodes as seen on Seven, 7mate and other content partners. High-quality, full-screen videos are available for instant streaming. New episodes are added daily and are available up to 28 days after airing. You can pause, fast forward and rewind programs and all available to watch on your TV in full screen. PLUS7 also includes an email reminder service so you don’t miss out on watching shows before they expire. There is also the option to share videos with friends via email and Facebook.

The BBC’s iPlayer is another Video On Demand service which offers access to much of the BBC’s massive television archive, with over 1,000 hours available at launch and “hours” of additional footage being added regularly. “. Available content includes BBC News, Documentaries, Entertainment, Drama, Science & Nature, as well as Family & Kids, Music & Culture and Comedy & Lifestyle. There’s also a collection of the BBC’s best exports such as Dr Who, Little Britain, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Absolutely Fabulous and more.

Bigpond TV is available through LG smart TVs and Samsung connected TVs (with internet on TV). This is also the same service available through Telstra’s T-Box. Bigpond TV is a TV channel streaming service which offers us channels such as AFL TV, NRL TV, Bigpond News, Bigpond Sport and Bigpond Music and more. According to a study undertaken by independent telecoms research company Telsyte, one in ten subscription TV services in Australia are delivered via broadband, and they predict that by 2015, a third of all pay TV services will it will be through broadband networks.

This is an obvious concern for cable subscription companies Foxtel and Austar. Austar, in particular, has seen a sharp decline in fortunes as it faces increasing competition from cheaper internet TV rivals such as FetchTV, iiNet and Internode – available from $10 a month. With streaming Internet TV content available from smart TVs like movies and new TV shows, as well as many new digital channels for free – compared to a cable subscription starting at $45 per month plus possible box fees, consumers are voting with their wallets en masse.


TV giants Sony and Samsung will both have music streaming services available on their smart TVs, with Samsung’s soon-to-be-launched Music Hub set to revolutionize the connection between music and our devices like never before first.

Samsung Music Center gives us access to shared music without having to download and transfer content from one device to another, with the service rolling out to Samsung Smart TVs, Samsung Smart Home Cinemas and Smart Blu-rays from mid-December. The music hub offers owners of Smart TVs, Smart Home Theaters and Smart Blu Ray players access to more than 10,000 music videos with the premium subscription.

The technology stores music playlists in a cloud and the music can be accessed from individual devices anywhere in Australia where there is an available internet connection. A neat feature is the “follow me” feature, which allows users to start listening to saved music via a mobile phone, before picking up the same playlist again when they get home via the TV.

Sony’s Music unlimited has been available for several seasons now, on phones, Bravia Smart TVs, PlayStation 3 and Sony PCs and tablets. Over 10 million songs are available on demand, from independent artists to blockbuster superstars. Thousands of new songs are added every week, and you can create and edit an unlimited number of playlists, and listen to any song you want whenever you want. There are internet radio channels categorized by genre, era or mood. You can “Like” or “Dislike” tracks to customize channels to your personal taste, and you also have the option to create new channels based on your favorite artists.

How much smarter will smart TVs be this year?

Viewers will be able to control their TV using facial recognition, plus gestures and voice controls, and move away from the traditional TV remote control – to a slate similar to Microsoft’s XBox Kinect. LG and Samsung demonstrated both voice and gesture controls on their next-generation TVs at CES 2012.

Samsung’s new 8-series TV, the ES8000, has built-in gesture recognition – via a camera that recognizes hand gestures that prompt it to change the channel, adjust the volume, move an on-screen cursor and more.

Samsung and LG both introduce voice control on some models in their 2012 lineup. Current owners of LG smart TVs may be familiar with the Magic Motion Remote, which lets you control an on-screen cursor in a similar way with how a Nintendo Wii controller works. This year we will see an upgrade to the Magic Motion remote which now offers voice recognition functionality. A microphone on the remote sends your voice to your smart TV – allowing the user to search the web, tweet and post on Facebook, all with spoken words.

Panasonic has developed a new ‘flick’ technology and they believe it will open up whole new ways to display content from our mobile devices in picture-perfect quality on a Viera TV. This will revolutionize the connection between our devices, allowing us to simply “whip up” content to remotely stream photos, videos and web pages from Android or Apple products directly to the TV.

Another important feature coming is the ability to upgrade your TV with future functionality without having to buy a new TV. This will basically be in the form of an upgrade slot on the back of the TV and you will be able to purchase upgrade “kits” as they become necessary and available.

Google has announced that LG, Sony and Vizio will be showing off Google TV devices at CES 2012, with Samsung coming out with Google TV later in the year, with Apple also rumored to be making TVs ranging from 37″ – 50″, and reportedly features iTV like Siri-powered controls, iOS app support, AirPlay, iCloud support and deep iTunes integration.

Sony has announced two additional Google TV boxes in the form of a Blu-ray player and a network media player. These will be shipping to America and Europe soon, and other parts of the world can expect them to roll out later. Both boxes have an all-new remote, with a backlit QWERTY keyboard with touchpad. The remote can also function as a universal remote for other devices, while the Blu-ray player also supports voice search.

Death of the idiot box

The intent and vision of TV manufacturers has now progressed far beyond just providing excellent picture quality. The ability to seamlessly connect our media, be it on our phones, tablets or computers, to our home televisions has become of great importance. An abundance of new content, in the form of apps packed with movies, television and music, is taking us away from the traditional way we consume such content – putting huge pressure on industries such as traditional video and music stores, and cable/pay TV. companies like Foxtel and Austar. What we had to leave the house for, we now have at our fingertips. The days of the missing remote control are fast disappearing, in fact the days of using the remote control are disappearing altogether. The idiot box has finally woken up!

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