The word â€˜smartâ€™ seems to be appearing all over the technological world; smartphone, smart refrigerator, smart oven etc.
Smart TVs have recently surfaced, and their capabilities are dramatically improving with each model that is released, keeping them on a path to becoming a type of all in one device. As a result it is quite difficult to keep up with the latest offerings, and here we look at some of these.
LG have been in the smart TV business for a while now and are one of the major competitors in the field. Their latest release, the G2 Smart TV, is their first smart TV that is 3D enabled. It uses the Google TV 2.0 interface and supports a dual core CPU. However the most impressive addition to this model is a gesture-controlled â€œmagicâ€ remote control.
The control has two parts, the right side with normal button functions and the left with an integrated touch area for controlling the set. The control also has a built in microphone, enabling voice commands to be sent to the TV. Similarly to Nintendoâ€™s Wii sensor bar, the TV has an IR sensor.
Samsung have taken a similar route with their latest smart TVs, using the Google TV 2.0 interface. They have also focussed on the remote control, completely stripping back the array of buttons to leave a smooth and sleek design. The remote doesnâ€™t quite have LGâ€™s integrated touch area but more of a laptop track pad. It does however include a built in microphone for voice commands.
But Samsung has taken steps in other areas that really give it an edge. Samsung has aligned itself with Microsoftâ€™s Kinect technology, installing a web cam that tracks and enables a user to move a cursor around the screen, Minority Report Style. A clench of the fist means to select the option. If waving your arms around isnâ€™t quite the look you want, you could always download Samsungâ€™s free SmartView app to your mobile device, turning it into the remote instead.
So you have set all your preferences, and then a family member takes over. Well fear not because Samsungâ€™s latest offerings also entail face-detection. The web cam recognises the person in front of it and opens their Smart Hub account, ready with all their preferred settings and favourites.
Although not released yet, and in fact no mention of a release at all, Appleâ€™s iTV is set to hit retailers at some point in the near future. Even though still rumours, the TV will incorporate a number of Apple technologies such as AirPlay, Siri and a built in iSight camera for making free FaceTime video calls.
With an increasing number of products and appliances becoming Wi-Fi enabled, such as wireless printers, refrigerators and ovens, it is only a matter of time before the TV will become the central control point of the household.