back to article Ten... smart TVs

IPTV Week logo Smart functionality has become the new must-have feature for TV. With hi-def and 3D pretty much taken for granted, it’s now ‘net connectivity, media streaming and IPTV which are driving sales. But with huge differences between proprietary network portals, both in the amount of free and subscription content on …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't help to think that the IP part of these TVs will be obsolete in a couple of years and you'll be stuck with a expansive display with non supported IP bit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Obsolete already

      @AC: " the IP part of these TVs will be obsolete in a couple of years..."

      Agreed - in fact, they're already obsolete. We but a much cheaper TV (fantastic display, but not "smart") and plugged an AppleTV into it. Suddenly the TV is just a bigger display in the household as an extension of anything from our phones to the desktop computers, and we stream media, games, and TV from all these sources as required. There's no need for the TV to be "smart" - it's just a big display for the smart devices we already have.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ralph 5

        I agree with your points, however I do use my TV's 'smart' tv functionalities over the (same)ones supplied by say, my Xbox, simply to save the 5p in energy costs from having it draw 150W over a 2 hour movie.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Lower power options

          @AC: " I do use my TV's 'smart' tv functionalities over the (same)ones supplied by say, my Xbox, simply to save the 5p in energy costs from having it draw 150W over a 2 hour movie"

          Many devices are now dedicated to this purpose and use far less than the XBox. The AppleTV, for example, draws only 6 watts in use, and vastly less on standby. A 'smart' TV could easily use that much more power over a 'dumb' display if it has to support WiFi etc. The software is kept up to date by Apple, and it's no great hassle to replace if it dies (unlike replacing the whole TV set!).

    2. LarsG


      but the stuff that ends up on it is usually crap!

  2. DrXym Silver badge

    Smart TVs are dumb TVs in 2 or 3 years

    Why pay a premium for a TV with baked in functionality which will be obsolete and possibly non functional in a few years? May as well just buy a dumb TV and augment the box with some kind of stb that can be updated as time progresses.

    What is necessary is for TVs to implement a full and complete command and control API so that the native UI can be disabled in the TV and implemented by a stb with an HDMI passthru instead. e.g. you hit volume +/- and it's the stb that puts the volume panel up for you, not the TV. Then the TV can be dumb as a bag of hammers but the user can still enjoy a rich experience.

    1. Grumble

      Yeah, but you forget the needs of the sales and marketing people.

    2. annodomini2


      @CES companies were showing tv's with Android, given HP is open sourcing WebOS one of these will be the new thing next year.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I built a very nice HTPC with dual DVB-S2 tuners for under £400.

      There's a fantastic free program called MediaPortal which I use with a highly illegal Sky cardshare which gives me a TV/PVR/MediaPlayer with amazing capabilities which I can stream to any TV around the home (and theorectically anywhere in the world).

      I would gladly buy a 'dumb' TV with nothing but a screen and a HDMI as it would hopefully save me several hundred pounds in useless never used features.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Which DVB-S2 tuner(s) are you using?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          TBS-6981 Daul DVB-S2 - £85 Amazon

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My telly

      Is as dumb as an ass, but hey I only want to watch it, not talk to it or play with it or discuss current affairs.

  3. kventin

    ... or wait a few weeks and get raspberrypi for $35

  4. cupperty
    Thumb Up

    The post is required and must contain letters

    or you could just buy a network-capable DVD player eg. a Sony for about £100 and connect it to your existing TV?

  5. Michael Kean

    What about the rest of the 'net?

    Hmm :) Interesting bunch of tellies.

    A few days ago a customer asked me about TVs, saying he likes to watch sports shows online, etc. I told him to buy a Netbook with HDMI, and a TV; because as far as I know none of these TVs will be guaranteed to work with websites that stream proprietarily to a web browser.

    The war ain't won yet...

    What would be nice to see is a TV that can mirror a laptop screen, wirelessly. I recently set up a projector with one of these for a customer - - and it worked very well with SD content and more; so it is possible to do it. Why don't they??

  6. King Jack

    Are any of these TVs smart enough to allow the user to sort the channels into a sane order?

    No? All I want is a big screen and that ancient ability that all TVs once were capable of. Nothing more.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any chance we could see what these tv's actually look like, without the Photoshopped in radial fills and spectacularly unrealistic bezel highlights etc? The one of the Sharp Aquos LC-46LE831 is particularly offensive... what light pattern could possible produce those bezel highlights?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      photography issues........

      the thing is, unless yo place the tv in the position you are going to place it in at your home then no matter how it is shown in an illustration you are never going to know exactly how its going to look.

      the photoshopped "fills" on the screens are near enough impossible to do any other way without looking totally ridiculous. taking photographs of the TV is a bit of a nightmare as your going to get all sorts of reflections in the screen itself. Its a choice really of these "radial fills" or some crummy saturated photograph of hot air balloons or something.... I refer the "radial Fills"

      as tvs are near enough mush of muchness, they all look very similar, particularly if you wall mount it and do away with the stand. the options really are gloss, satin or mat finish to the bezel (or a combo) the principle consideration on buying one should be its function and how it fits in with what you want.

      the pictures are plenty good enough and make it clear that the Samsung SyncMaster TA950 27 3D TV/PC Monitor will never have a place in my home bast on aesthetics, but kudos to them for trying something different !

  8. Stuartz

    Look a bit more closely than I did.

    I like the Samsung we bought in December pretty well, but some models let you stream movies from Amazon, others don't. Oopsies, ours doesn't. The built-in web browser is a dog playing piano; if you've ever browsed the web, you'll do it once on the TV and then hook your laptop up, and if you've never browsed the web, this will confirm to you that the web is overhyped and not worth your time. And the Samsung app store doesn't let you search; you have to browse all the pages of apps.

    1. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      This is the problem.

      Panasonic, Sony, Philips all think we will pay a lot for some half-baked subset of what our PCs have done for at least half a decade. Then they imagine we want stereooptics.

      I won't and I don't.

  9. Andy Hards

    I got me a Panasonic 42 incher

    with Smart Vierra connects tuff and it works just fine. The apps update fairly regularly when new ones come out and for the price I paid I cannot complain. Yeah it might be obsolete in a year or two but so is every phone you buy and PC and laptop. Mine has a built in FreeviewHD thing, iPlayer, Youtube and the others mentioned in the Panasonic review and I'd be surprised if it doesn't have YouView when that comes out. If you want a simple big screen with HDMI then there are quite a few out there. This review was 10 SMART TV's though and seems to have done it's job.

    1. Greg 16

      Doubt very much it will have Youview - Youview has a pretty high minimum spec, and thats if it even gets launched. Even if you TV was capabile of supporting it, I doubt that they would do themselves out of the chance to sell you another box.

  10. toffer99

    Way back machine.

    How far back should you sit from a 50" TV?

    1. John Bailey

      Between 6.3 and 12.5 feet.

  11. This Side Up

    3D taken for granted?

    More like taken for an unnecessary and inconvenient gimmick best avoided!

  12. This Side Up

    re. Obsolete already

    Absolutely. It's called "built-in obsolescence" - used to be the hallmark of the US automobile industry. We can't have people keeping their sets for 20 years can we?

  13. Sandtitz Silver badge

    Worthless 'checkbox' round-up

    I hope no-one ends up buying a TV based on this article alone

    The author has just written the manufacturers' specifications for each set and given a "reg rating" verdict based on advertisement material only. If you don't have any access to these units then you should at least drop the "reg rating" factor. The first two LG units get a 90% verdict, yet only the Cinema version gets the thumbs up icon. Why??

    If you actually reviewed these units, just mentioning MKV or AVI support is worthless unless you truly test these features. Does the MKV support include chapter support, or multiple audio/video/subtitle tracks, external subtitles? MKV is still evolving standard you know. I'd also like to know how sluggish the UI is when dealing with USB for example, or can you expect the IT declined people to use the streaming services or USB files easily?

    1. Mark 65

      Not to mention that I've always found LG screens to have a horrid picture, LCD/LED to have garish over processed images and plasmas to be the only realistic watchable images. Given Pioneer's left the game, that leaves a Panasonic plasma as my next purchase. The reviews do indeed smack of a quick feature list rating.

      1. Citizen Kaned


        i read issues on pannys humming and making noise. i cant have that. AV equipment MUST be silent.

  14. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Wot, no Philips?

    From the screens I've seen the Philips are generally among the best. They've got net access and apps so it's strange to see them missing from this lot. Mind you the judging criteria seem a bit confused. For me, image quality must come first then ergonomics and usability - what are the remotes like? - then you can start arguing over things like add-ons and power consumption.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      @Charlie Clark

      It's LG-Philips these days (will that become LuckyGoldstarPhilips, LGP or GP in a few years?)

      Do I buy a 37inch led backlit panel and build a HTPC or do I buy the same with DVB-S2 + DVB-T2 tuners? (Anything larger is too big for my cardboard box.)

      Decisions Decisions.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    A list of smart TV's and no mention of Eddie Izzard - outrage


  16. Trygve Henriksen

    Samsung NotVerySmart TVs...

    I have a 40" Samsung LED 'smart TV'...

    MKV & MP4 play?

    No... Sure, it's listed, but no matter which settings I used in Handbrake or any other ripper/converter, I ended up with a file the TV would either tell me was 'not supported' or it would just hang the TV...

    The .AVIs I managed to get to work were 50% lager, and generally crappy quality.

    I've also gotten a few of the 'apps' to hang the TV, just by doing a selection, then quickly using the 'Return to previous' button, but that may not be Samsung's fault...

    Record to USB storage...

    What the manual doesn't say is that Flash-based storage isn't supported(not fast enough) and that you need to use a fast HDD. Also, it can only record from DIGITAL channels(I have basic cable... ) and any recordings will be DRMed and can only be played on that one set.


    Yes, it's possible... But you don't want to know that the camera costs...

    (No, it can't use a normal webcam)

    And the final insult?

    The VESA-standard mounting points are recessed so that most mounts won't fit unless you use some badly-fitting plastic spacers, in which case the screws that comes with the VESA mount won't be long enough.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd rather get a (much) cheaper TV and plug in a £100 Apple TV box - plus many Blu-Ray players have IP functionality built in. My Apple TV gives me all my iTunes media (which these smart TV's probably would not) plus Netflix streaming and can buy / rent newer movies from Apple.

    If not the Apple TV there are other boxes that are similar from people like Western Digital.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Before I bought any of these I'd wait for the new Apple TV's to be announced and see what they can do - that or buy an Apple TV box and plug it in. I know people who use them who don't even use it to stream from iTunes - you can setup an account and rent movies (from Apple) or stream TV / films from Netflix and a few other sources.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Samsungs are hackable

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