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Old 10-11-2013, 01:58 PM   #21
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Some of the streaming boxes include a generic Web browser (Sony makes one, and probably other brands do too). Of course, that does limit you to the awkward on-screen keyboard with typing via a remote. To reduce the awkward typing, I'd like the remote to come with voice recognition, like smartphones have, but I do not believe such remotes exist yet.
The Samsung has voice recognition but only for a limited set of commands, not as voice input for typing. Some of them have cameras, either built-in or as an add-on, that allow one to use a hand in mid-air as a mouse, clenching a fist to "click," which is a viable alternative to using the remote's cursor for typing. A downside is that DW likes to talk with her hands and often brings up the on-screen cursor.

The AppleTV is integrated with the other iOS devices such that a keyboard pops up on your iPhone or iPad when needed. It even vibrates the phone as it pops up to remind you to look.

If I weren't such a gadget freak I'd probably stick with a good "dumb" TV and use one or more external streaming devices. Actually, though, once you climb the TV picture quality ladder to a certain point you start getting the smart tv features whether you want them or not.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:10 PM   #22
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The spread of voice recognition should soon make the technology cheap enough to package in a remote such that we don't need yet another device (phone or tablet) to make it useful.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:26 PM   #23
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Yes, and I looked at all that it can do but wow, most of it has little appeal to me. The only use I have made of the smart capabilities is the easy connection to Amazon Prime videos.
Connecting to online sources of content is the most important aspect of smart television technology. Most everything else is just window dressing. There's nothing about most of the other features that add hardware requirements to the device.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:55 PM   #24
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While I would normally lean towards the concept of separate boxes, with the idea of 'jack of all trades, master of none', my own experience was just the opposite.

We got a Vizio Smart-TV last year, and we have ROKU boxes on two other TVs. Initially, the Vizio had problems with Netflix, but they finally resolved that (firmware can be upgraded over the 'net). Recently, Netflix finally allowed multiple profiles - this was important as DW did not want my documentaries in her queue and I didn't want her 'dramas' in mine. Surprisingly, Vizio updated and works with the separate profiles, ROKU says sometime next year.

If you get the Smart-TV, you can always add a ROKU box to it. They aren't that much, and I don't think the price difference of smart/dumb TVs is much either.

Though, ROKU does mean one more remote. Oh, that reminds me - the 'instant replay' of the last 10 seconds seems to work better on ROKU, and that is its own button.

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Old 10-11-2013, 07:53 PM   #25
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I guess I have one (didn't know it was called that). It is a Sony and you get Netflix, hulu, and some other stuff (I mostly use the netflix and hulu).
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:24 PM   #26
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Do you have a Smart TV?
It keeps listing shows like Honey Boo Boo and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

So I'd say no. It's not a smart TV at all.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:08 PM   #27
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This thread reminded me that my TV is not smart, but the Sony Blu ray can access the Web.

Neither has been turned on in about 4-5 months.
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:22 PM   #28
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Bundling two devices together is rarely a good idea until the technologies involved are not just mature, but verging on stodgy. It costs a little more to have a separate "tuner" and "display" but in the long run it is a superior option.
A lot of folks on this thread are confusing pairing a Roku box or an external streaming box with a smart T V. None of those things define a smart TV.

A smart TV includes those streaming capabilities merely as a bonus. What you buy a smart TV for is to be able to pull in the World Wide Web through "apps".

I.E. I have TiVo, xboxes and Roku now on various TV sets and all are still dumb until I buy one that can pull in such media as Big10 2 go or ESPN mobile and pull in cable app shows direct to my TV and in theory watching cable sports etc without having cable etc. A smart TV can also instantly connect to Internet sites designed for a dashboard of apps.

Wait for the Apple ITV. It will basically be a 40" retina screen plasma IPad mounted to your wall that can watch TV , browse the Internet , stream movies and shows, program your home appliances and Home theater, etc.....

Or just play a giant game of Candy Crush!

( oh yeah. And it will be "touch display" control too)
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:27 PM   #29
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It keeps listing shows like Honey Boo Boo and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

So I'd say no. It's not a smart TV at all.
This made me bust a gut!
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Old 10-12-2013, 05:06 AM   #30
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A smart TV includes those streaming capabilities merely as a bonus. What you buy a smart TV for is to be able to pull in the World Wide Web through "apps".
I disagree. I haven't met an app of that sort worth a bit. Streaming content is the "killer app" for smart TVs, the only reason why they exist AFAIC. At this time, that's what smart TVs are for most people.
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Old 10-12-2013, 06:38 AM   #31
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I disagree. I haven't met an app of that sort worth a bit. Streaming content is the "killer app" for smart TVs, the only reason why they exist AFAIC. At this time, that's what smart TVs are for most people.
Then it's not really a smart TV . It's a dumb TV masquerading as a smart TV.

Streaming alone is small potatoes compared to what a real smart TV can do.

Just google smart TV wiki. It's defined as a TV integrated with the World Wide Web thru web widgets ( Apps ) and ones home computer system that also incorporates the functions of a set top box. It is a convergence between the capabilities of a computer and a TV set ... Akin to the difference between a smart phone and a dumb phone.
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Old 10-12-2013, 06:47 AM   #32
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I watch so little TV in recent years, hence do not know much about current TV technology, but am curious now.

Are these "apps" reserved specifically for these smart TVs or can an equivalent piece of firmware be downloaded to add-on boxes such as the Roku or other streaming devices? Or perhaps some licensing, trade agreements, or patents prevent the latter from happening?
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:32 AM   #33
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A lot of folks on this thread are confusing pairing a Roku box or an external streaming box with a smart T V. None of those things define a smart TV.

A smart TV includes those streaming capabilities merely as a bonus. What you buy a smart TV for is to be able to pull in the World Wide Web through "apps".
....
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I disagree. I haven't met an app of that sort worth a bit. Streaming content is the "killer app" for smart TVs, the only reason why they exist AFAIC. At this time, that's what smart TVs are for most people.
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Then it's not really a smart TV . It's a dumb TV masquerading as a smart TV. ....
I have to agree with BUU's disagreement. I don't think the definition of 'Smart TV' is that definitive, and I don't think the other posters are confused one bit. I was going to pass on commenting on the first round, but since you are being so insistent, from wiki:

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"Smart TV"s:

1) Deliver content from other computers or network attached storage devices on a network like photos, movies and music using either a Digital Living Network Alliance / Universal Plug and Play media server or similar service program like Windows Media Player or Network-attached storage (NAS), or via iTunes.

2) Provide access to Internet-based services including traditional broadcast TV channels, catch-up services, video-on-demand, Electronic program guide, interactive advertising, personalisation, voting, games, social networking, and other multimedia applications.[21][22][23]
Sure seems to be a lot of emphasis on streaming, and the term 'browser' isn't even in the entry.

For most people, those apps that access streaming, like Netflix, are what people are looking for in a 'Smart-TV'. It's what we were looking for ina Smart-TV, it wasn't a 'bonus'. The other stuff/apps are a bonus, and they suck, I never use them. If it had those apps, and no streaming, it would not be smart to me at all, just useless fluff that I would rather do on a computer/tablet.

The fact that it has built in internet connectivity and can run an app like Netflix to allow streaming certainly makes it a 'Smart-TV' in comparison to my other TVs w/o that capability. If some TVs are smarter yet, with increased functions, that doesn't push my Smart-TV into the same class as a dumb TV, it just means that other one is 'smarter'.

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Old 10-12-2013, 09:38 AM   #34
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I watch so little TV in recent years, hence do not know much about current TV technology, but am curious now.

Are these "apps" reserved specifically for these smart TVs or can an equivalent piece of firmware be downloaded to add-on boxes such as the Roku or other streaming devices? Or perhaps some licensing, trade agreements, or patents prevent the latter from happening?
There are generally licensing issues. From what I have seen (limited experience here, just a ROKU and our Vizio Smart-TV), there will be an 'app store' kind of set up (channels for ROKU), you can load the stuff they offer. If you go to the mfg site, you can probably find the list. There might be ways to hack this, I know you can find 'private channels' on the web for ROKU. I guess the difference is that ROKU does not offer these up in their search, but they are available if you enter their codes direct or something.

One thing I'm disappointed in with the ROKU (older gen) is it has limited memory for channels. The attraction of these devices for me is having a wide variety of stuff available, so I can fit whatever mood I'm in, plus have all the channels my DW would want. Since many of the channels are very narrow focused, I need a lot for my viewing. I don't want to have to decide between WSJ news and live NASA feeds. I'm guessing maybe 20 channels max? The new ones offer more though.

-ERD50
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:58 AM   #35
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One thing I'm disappointed in with the ROKU (older gen) is it has limited memory for channels. The attraction of these devices for me is having a wide variety of stuff available, so I can fit whatever mood I'm in, plus have all the channels my DW would want. Since many of the channels are very narrow focused, I need a lot for my viewing. I don't want to have to decide between WSJ news and live NASA feeds. I'm guessing maybe 20 channels max? The new ones offer more though.

-ERD50
My Roku is 2nd gen and I have about 280 channels set up although it does seem to slow down as more channels are added..
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:33 PM   #36
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"Sure seems to be a lot of emphasis on streaming, and the term 'browser' isn't even in the entry. "


You are not understanding the implications of item #1 and the premise that its first and foremost an integration of your new TV set with your home computer and with the Internet. While you are reading into much of that as simply " streaming video" that is a small aspect of what is stated there. I for one read only a small emphasis on just streaming. Streaming is briefly mentioned in fact, but you are focused on it.

A smart TV when fully utilized can tap into a fully automated home system where the devices are programmed thru software on your PC, but thru the web are accessed and controlled thru your smart TV.

Like I stated previously, a true smart TV is like a giant iPad tablet combined with a TiVo box or apple tv that can display almost all possible entertainment functions and electronic utility functions in your home onscreen.

While some sets coming out now are getting close to that, a non Internet flat screen TV that can simply stream via a Roku box or wii , ain't smart.

Heck I have been streaming on three sets for over five years now ( first one was a Roku , while TV's in other rooms with Xbox and wii followed), but I have been patiently waiting for the fully integrated smart TV's to come out all this time. Now that they are here I'm still waiting for the fully integrated Apple ITV to reach full development before I open my wallet.

Just streaming via roku on huluplus or netflix is so limited to available content. Much more content is available on the Internet with a smart TV.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:46 PM   #37
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.... a non Internet flat screen TV that can simply stream via a Roku box or wii , ain't smart. ...
I agree with that. That is not a 'Smart-TV', as it relies on the external box for the 'smarts'.

What I'm saying is - a TV with an internet connection that can stream from Netflix w/o an external unit is a 'Smart-TV'. It has capabilities that previous generation ('dumb') TVs did not have.

That may be just a small part of what is capable, but it still makes it 'smart'.

Your view is like saying that a 2WD car is not a car because there are 4WD cars available.

-ERD50
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:45 PM   #38
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I bought a Vizio M470NV from Costco early in 2011. It connects easily to the Internet and the apps work sufficiently well. But the Vizio has a problem if I turn it off. When it is turned back on it connects to the Internet but non of the apps can use the Internet connection. In fact, they act as though there is no connection. So every day before I turn it on I have to unplug it and press this button on the side for 30 seconds. It goes through some sort of boot? before I can turn it on. It usually works but not always. I have never been able to fix this with any suggested method that I have found.

I have two other Vizios. One has a Roku and the other I just connect to my portable computer if I want to stream Netflix, Amazon, etc. I find the connection to the portable to be the easiest to manage and use. (For example, the computer does not need special apps so finding movies and shows is much easier since it is just a browser search). But others might not like the connection I use because I do not use HD. Lower resolution keeps the audio sync better.
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:56 PM   #39
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I bought a Vizio M470NV from Costco early in 2011. It connects easily to the Internet and the apps work sufficiently well. But the Vizio has a problem if I turn it off. When it is turned back on it connects to the Internet but non of the apps can use the Internet connection. In fact, they act as though there is no connection. So every day before I turn it on I have to unplug it and press this button on the side for 30 seconds. It goes through some sort of boot? before I can turn it on. It usually works but not always. I have never been able to fix this with any suggested method that I have found.
I've got a different model Vizio, but I did have some problems along the way that were fixed by that 'unplug, hold the power button for 30 seconds, re-plug' routine. For me it worked, the problem (Netflix locks up) has been resolved.


Quote:
... the other I just connect to my portable computer if I want to stream Netflix, Amazon, etc. I find the connection to the portable to be the easiest to manage and use. (For example, the computer does not need special apps so finding movies and shows is much easier since it is just a browser search).
I think this may be the best way to go, though not always convenient for some. DD has more recent version MacBook that does video and audio through the HDMI plug, and we have used that to watch movies. Like you say, having all the normal apps, plus the /speed/mouse/trackpad/keyboard on a computer makes getting to something much easier.


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Old 10-13-2013, 05:47 AM   #40
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Then it's not really a smart TV . It's a dumb TV masquerading as a smart TV. Streaming alone is small potatoes compared to what a real smart TV can do.
You misunderstand. I know very well what a smart TV "can do". I'm saying that it's mostly hype and excessive excitement about capabilities that are marginal in value at best. I'm posting a qualitative, subjective appraisal of the offering.

Let's be clear though: A smart TV is simply one that has the ability to connect to services other than by one's own MVPD (although even with the MVPD there are opportunities to leverage smart TV capabilities someday - an integrated AllVid television would probably be a smart TV of sorts, since it would effectively view the gateway device as a switching system for obtaining content from various sources.)

Regardless, part of the problem here is that a television display is intended for viewing a video presentation. That's what it is for. Anything that distracts from that distracts from the viewing experience. So immediately there's a limit on the utility of interactive features. Indeed, a better solution, which will be the eventual default target for interactive features (if it isn't already), is the second-screen approach, syncing a tablet with a video broadcast so, when you choose to, you can engage with the interactive portion of the presentation, but on your own terms, without compromising the quality of the video presentation itself.

What we're also seeing here is that these interactive features are being "paid for" through "payment" in terms of personal information and/or through additional commercialization. Many of the offerings are currently limited to watching live, the bonus capability therefore only available if you're willing to sit through the commercial advertisements.

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A smart TV when fully utilized can tap into a fully automated home system where the devices are programmed thru software on your PC, but thru the web are accessed and controlled thru your smart TV.
Why do you think that that will ever be a substantive use of smart TVs, when it's already established as a capability well-served by tablets? Why would anyone want to turn on a high wattage television to control devices instead of more conveniently accessing them through a tablet? I am not saying that it cannot be done, or that it won't be done, but in the end it's not where that capability will be offered - they are trying to do a lot of things with televisions that in reality will eventually coalesce and concentrate on the desktop, laptop or tablet.

The one exception I see is the ability to answer the telephone when it rings, or set up a toaster app that displays incoming email. They will be cute "nice to haves" but still the point of smart TVs will remain access to streaming and cloud-stored video.
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