As much as I love home automation anything, I am also always diplomatic. This has lead me to question the cool factor of smart TVs. We all know and love smart technology, so it should only make sense that smart TVs make our lives easier, better, and more futuristic. However, I’m not sure if this is the case. During my recent readings and research regarding smart TVs, I can’t help but wonder, “are they really worth buying or are smart TVs overrated?”
First, let’s start with what a smart TV is and isn’t. A smart TV can connect to the Internet, as opposed to a standard television. Depending on the brand or model, most have access to popular video streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video. Some may even have web browsers as well. A smart TV can’t be voice controlled and doesn’t integrate to your other technology and products. It’s by and large a TV with built-in access to video services you could only previously access via a media player like a Roku, Xbox, Playstation, or other similar device.
Essentially, smart TVs and media streamers do the same thing. How they do it is where they differ. If you are an extreme minimalist, a smart TV is a better option, as you won’t have to connect multiple devices. One smart TV takes the place of a regular TV and a Roku or similar device. And with one device, you only need one remote. I, for one, hate having multiple remotes. Despite having dozens of features, you still seem to need three different remotes simply to turn on the television, change the volume, and scan through options.
On the other hand, these smart functions within smart TVs often run slower than than a stand-alone device and are still working out a number of bugs. One of the reasons why is because these streaming platforms have gone through numerous software updates and tweaks. In fact, regularly these devices have updates to improve previous issues. Smart TVs, on the other hand, can quickly become outdated. If you were to purchase a smart TV this year, there’s a good chance that by 2017 the interface, capabilities, and apps would seem dated. And should a function within a smart TV stop working, you may have to replace the entire television, rather than just a device.
While I’m curious to see the future of smart TVs and how they evolve, I don’t think the current market offerings are worth the investment. Personally, I hope future smart TVs can replace cable television and DVRs, so everything is integrated in one device.
Photo by: ETC@USC