Ever since 2010, I've had the smartest LG TV ever. How? Simple. Connect a PC to the LG TV. Use a remote mouse, sitting on the couch next to me, to navigate TV sites and launch TV programs (mostly on demand, but some sites also offer some live streams).
What could be easier?
With people so web-savvy these days, with their tablets and smartphones, I continue to be baffled that this smart TV concept is made to sound so intractible. A smart TV should be a "thin client," at least. A web browser. Connected via Ethernet or WiFi, to the home's broadband router. And the TV manufacturers should not feel obliged to also provide the TV web service (in fact, please do not). There are plenty of TV portals out there already.
I hardly ever need to use my PVR anymore, and mostly I watch live TV for newscasts only. So Internet TV works, and it's no more difficult to use than a PC for shopping on the web.
There is defintiely a shift underway these days in the way people consume TV. The days of watching cable with advertisements and all seem to be more or less over. It depednds on what kind of TV viewer you are, I suppose. But the internet, and the range of options--including on Demand and TIvo which have made people used to not getting their television experience the old-fashioned way--have trained us for something else. Now it's only newscasts, as you say, and sporting events which go on live or almost live, so that the timing is important. Otherwise, people prefer to consume their television shows at their own pace and generally don't want to bother with the old ways of watching television.
@Bert, i know this is one of your pet peeves and I do agree when you said: A smart TV should be a "thin client," at least.
But no TV manufacturer that I know of are willing to make that leap of faith -- devaluing their own products (by NOT adding features) and assuming that consumers wil figure it out in connecting a TV to a PC.
Rick, what you and Junko confirmed is that the way to make useful smart TVs is clear to most people, but that the TV manufacturers seem content to stay out of the game. Well, that's up to them, of course.
I would expect that a thin client built into TV sets should be considerably cheaper than having to buy a whole PC (or even tablet) to do the job. That would also provide a path for software upgrades of the TV.
Would be nice to to know, from their point of view, why they seem bent on such complicated yet limited schemes. Such as creating their own TV portals, having to deal with the TV networks to obtain transmission rights, offering a pathetically limited choice of available Internet sites, and so on.
Just on the TV content rights alone. Since when did ANY radio or TV manufacturer have to go begging, hat in hand, for the rights to tune to a radio or TV station? So, why change that just because it's Internet TV?
Hey Rick. I have a blu ray player that connects to netflix and has a web browser on my game room tv. netflix works great. The web browser is too cumbersom to use with the remote, so I don't even try. The WIFI connection was very easy to set up. My son doesn't even watch TV anymore. Everything is on the computer. His monitor is a TV, so he has a good picture. He finds all of his shows on netflix (using my account :() and on the internet.
@daleste, I think you pretty much summed up in a nutshell what kids use for entertainment and how TV hsa become more or less obsolete in their eyes... I don't think such a use-case scenario (bypassing big-screen living TV and focusing on screens provided by computer, tablet and smartphone for entertainment) is something that can be reversed.
Smart TV, which has always sounded a buzz term to me, is really far away from smart. It should have been called Internet TV or Connected TV. There is no question that Internet based streaming service - for example, Netflix, Hulu - will replace cable service. It is just a matter of time. With this trend, an Internet connectivity becomes a key feature of all TV.
The least a smart TV shall deliver is to be able to suggest to viewer shows to watch and channels to have the favorite sport. Netflix is doing part of it by suggesting films. Hulu is doing same thing of TV shows. Effectively, these apps add values to the TV and make it "smart". Not so quick.
I believe what most consumers might be looking for is when a TV can recognize the audiences and switch to the proper channels at a specific time. Sounds cool! There are challenges. Will WebOS be able to deliver? What will LG do with WebOS on TV?
So what is the advantage to owning a TV screen, versus watching everything on a tablet or laptop, which is what some people do who don't want to pay for cable TV, or buy the "extra" screen (the TV), or who just in general hate TV (remember "Kill your television" bumper stickers)? I know a lot of people like this. Seems like people here are saying smart TV is problematic because it competes with PCs now; TV screen and the service have to not be redundant to the PC, laptop, or tablet; tv has to offer an different viewing experience for you to want to buy it.
I've had the same question as you do. Given the variety of content and personal preference, watching favorite shows/ films on a personal device becomes a norm lately. To me, a PC/ laptop will do most of the job.
However, there are family time and there are Super Bowl. The moment is when TV thrives.
PS: Given the popularity of tablet as personal viewer, does TV market shrink?
@kris and chanj, good points. It's something we need to follow up. I don't believe the global TV market is shrinking. But it is expanding leaps and bounds either.
One thing is clear, though. Many traditional TV set manufacturers already know that they can't really make money from selling TVs. Panasonic has already gotten out of the business...but they do offer a 4K tablet. Now, that's interesting...