There was a time when televisions were merely televisions. Unfortunately, chaos has reigned since then. Apart from traditional CCFL backlights, relatively newcomers such as the LED alternative has added a degree of confusion in the realm of LCD displays. And let's not forget about the upcoming OLED species as well. Major TV makers were also bitten by the 3D 'bug' in the wake of Hollywood's attempt at reviving mass interest in 3D films. To complicate things further, even the stereoscopic HDTV faction is divided into passive and active camps of late. In a nutshell, consumers such as you and I have to stomach acronyms such as Full-HD, LED, and 3D in line with modern TV specifications. As if that wasn't enough, we now have the term "Smart TV" to contend with. But what exactly is a Smart TV? Is it the same as an Internet TV? Is it a TV with brains? The definition is fuzzy, but that's where we come in to give you a better understanding on this cliché and often ambiguous term.
A Smart TV is essentially an Internet-enabled television. It enables users to surf the web, view free or pay-per-view video streams, share networked content, as well as engage in interactive media such as social networking applications on a single platform - and that's on the TV itself. Sometimes known as 'Connected TV', these displays are often accompanied by widgets, apps, games, and a web browser, although not all Smart TV models are equipped with the latter. These features are often extended to other AV devices too, such as Blu-ray players for instance. Much like smartphone apps, Smart TV applications are also dependent on the region's availability. Typical Smart TV archetypes include the current HDTV fleet from major brands such as Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, and Philips. However, do not confuse display technologies like LCD or Plasma panels with Smart TV characteristics. They are independent of one another although Smart TV attributes can be integrated with both display types. Examples of typical Smart TV software platforms include Google TV (unavailable here), and open-source applications such as Linux and Google's Android. Some brands also carry an EPG (Electronic Program Guide) which displays a digital channel's schedule and listings.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what a Smart TV is, let's see what is required to get your Smart TV up and running.