Online Primetime: Smart TV makes viewing social

Posted by Simone Redelinghuys
Simone Redelinghuys
A student journalist currently specializing in New Media at Rhodes University. I
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on Monday, 07 May 2012
in Digital Blogs

From interactive advertising to digital migration and internet-connected television sets, the world of broadcast has changed from a passive experience to social interaction. We’ve gone from simple 2D viewing to Full HD screens, PVR recording and 3D display. 2012 is set to see another TV transformation as more consumers opt to buy Smart TVs.

The term 'Smart TV' refers to a device that connects the social features of Web 2.0 with traditional television. While the term was coined by Samsung, it has come to be known as any internet-enabled TV that is able to connect and embed multiple services and applications in one device-all of which can be customised by the user.

Samsung, Apple, Sony and Google have all introduced some sort of Smart TV. The idea of TVs offering internet-connection is not new but recent interactive capabilities and social features have changed the Smart TV into a connected entertainment hub.

The appeal of this interactive entertainment centre seems to have increased. According to IMS Research 25% of the TV sets shipped globally in 2012 were internet-connected. The increase in sales can be attributed to up-dated features and applications which allow the television experience to be customised and interactive.

Before the interactive features of second screen compatibility, gesture and voice control, facial recognition and customized content; the Smart TV was argued to be a merely big monitor display. However the new features companies have introduced have and will continue to change the way consumers watch and engage with media.

What makes it 'smart'?

These features include live programming which allows you to see what is currently playing, second screen compatibility which allows you to interact with content while watching television such as the ability to pull up shopping information about products you like in a TV show and video conferencing and downloads which enable you to share content with friends. These features coupled with services such has streaming media, web browsing, Skype, file-sharing, video-on-demand (VOD) services and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) have made the Smart TV more desirable.

Bizcommunity.com reports that European certification institute, TÜV Rheinland, has awarded Samsung's ES8000 and ES7500 Smart TVs with a certificate for its Smart TV performance. The certificate poses new test criteria for Smart TV’s covering access to internet, social media applications, web browsers and picture quality. Effectively this means consumers now have an easy guide to refer to when buying Smart TV’s.

SA is struggling to get smart

As mentioned in last week’s post, South Africa is only just introducing non-smart set-top boxes. Unfortunately our digital migration does not incorporate the sim-cards and services that enable built-in interactivity and internet connection. However if you have bought a digital TV, you can get the smart TV features without purchasing a new television as several set-top boxes offer smart features onboard. But for now, most South Africans will have to make do with their not-so-smart TVs.

Stay tuned to Online Primetime for more broadcast news and trends.

Related Articles:

Early Trends Say 2012 Will Be the Year of the Social Television

Samsung's Smart Tvs awarded with certificates for performance

Smart TV: Six big features that matter

A student journalist currently specializing in New Media at Rhodes University. I have previously specialised in Radio Production. These views are my own.

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