Smart TVs, which are televisions that are integrated with the Internet, have been steadily integrated into modern lifestyles. At this point, Smart TVs have rapidly increased in popularity and are close to, if not already “standard” in today’s households.
In a world continuously and increasingly becoming connected, it is not surprising smart TVs are making way into consumer households. At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, many big name companies introduced their latest models of Smart TVs and, since that time, these have steadily made their way into the market. In that respect, Smart TVs have arrived.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to owning a Smart TV. Consumers considering purchasing one should be aware of what’s involved before making the hefty investment into the purchase of one.
Integrated TV Viewing Experience
Smart TVs extend far beyond switching on a television, selecting a channel and sitting down to watch. With the Internet component, this generation of TVs are designed for an interactive experience that includes being able to access YouTube videos, play online games, participate in video conferences and even check into what’s happening on one’s social media account. Online streaming of movies from Netflix and Hulu are another option for Smart TV owners.
Making Television “Social”
Manufacturers of Smart TVs have created them to be highly interactive. These high-tech TVs can offer recommendations to the viewer of what shows or movies to watch based on what friends have seen and/or offer suggestions based on what information is stored by the user on a mobile device.
As the line between the “real” and virtual worlds continue to blur, Smart TVs also integrate some augmented reality components that erase the boundaries between the human and the television.
One of the perceived advantages, not unlike other digital devices, is the convenience factor. Owners of Smart TVs can relax from the comforts of their living room and connect to all their online activity from one spot, and also enjoy the convenience of suggestions based on social and behavior rather than having to dig through channel menus to find something to watch.
Much like any other digital device that connects online, Smart TVs also have features that have alerted to privacy and security concerns. In recent years, several concerns have emerged about Smart TVs getting exploited or afflicted with malware or hackers merging porn into children’s programming. Will TVs need to be bundled with anti-virus and firewall software? Time will tell.
Loss of privacy is another potential drawback. Potential problems that have been brought up by privacy advocates include possible spying through cameras included in the TVs, eavesdropping from the TV to the physical room the viewer is in, loss of sensitive data, and access to personal information. There is also the facial recognition technology to consider. As technology progresses, this could lead to serious privacy breaches.
Another thing to consider is, do you truly want to be connected all the time? Even when it comes time to relax and watch enlightening, entertaining or even mindless television programming? Do you want your friends to know what you are watching?
Future of Smart TVs
Samsung Smart TVs on Amazon (click photo to see current prices)
Smart TVs have been on the market for a couple of years now and, as the technology is perfected and consumer demand rises for these products, the prices on these electronics are bound to decrease, meaning the TVs will be more affordable. From what I can tell the prices are already starting to drop compared to a few years ago.
It is possible that Smart TVs will become the norm and replace traditional TVs, as new generations of TVs are steadily upgraded. Although, there are those of the opinion that Smart TVs are stupid.
Flat screen TVs on Amazon. We bought this one with a DVD player built in (click on photo to see on Amazon) and have been happy with it.
There are pros and cons to both types of television sets. It’s a good idea to know what you are buying and understand the pros and cons of smart TVs before investing in one.
Once a new innovation breaks into the market, it is usually only a matter of time before manufacturers stop making the previous models. Will traditional TV go the way of the VCR or other earlier technologies? Time will tell, but the odds are probably pretty good. (So if you don’t want to be “smart” this is something to consider ahead of time).
What do you think about smart TVs? Do you have one or plan to buy one? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.