Most Popular Smart TV Platforms and their Apps in 2017
What are Smart TV Apps?
A smart TV is a digital television which is internet enabled and is mainly used for entertainment. Smart TVs are manufactured with inbuilt functionalities, however, normal TVs can also be made smart through the use of set top boxes with advanced features.
For internet connectivity, smart TVs use Ethernet or WiFi. To transfer media to the smart TVs, Bluetooth and memory cards are used.
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For proper and user-enhanced entertainment, smart TVs come with smart TVs apps that offer the user with different possibilities to be able to access different media.Some of the apps that can be accessed by using the smart TVs are Netflix, Pandora, Skype, YouTube, Plex, Spotify and many more.
Popular brands that manufacture smart TVs are LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba and Philips.
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LG – LG Smart TV
The LG smart TV runs on the WebOS technology. The remote offers point and click, making menu navigation easy. The WebOS platform is attractive to the eye and provides an easy user interface.
The TV offers easy USB playback due to the fast operating system it runs on. Opening photos and videos is seamless and they run without delaying or stuttering.
For web browsing, the load speeds are fast and takes a maximum of thirty seconds for the heavy web pages (on fast broadband connections).
The remote control also comes with an internal microphone that makes it possible to use voice-based commands. The smart TV also comes packaged with a remote control system that has the ability to control other systems in the house such as home theatres.
Gesture controls can also be used to operate this smart TV due to the inbuilt cameras.
Samsung – Samsung Smart Hub
Samsung smart TV uses the Tizen OS platform. This OS interface monitors your viewing activity and suggests other stuff that the user might be interested in. The interface provides a shortcut of frequently used services and apps.
The smart hub pages have been arranged in a way that is easy to access. They are grouped into Samsung apps, multimedia, films and TVs show and a games hub page. Each of the hub pages gives further options and subcategories giving the user more content.
With the Tizen operating system, the user can also do some customization on the interface by juggling around with the icons.
The smart TV offers almost all UK TV apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon instant, demand 5, BBC Iplayer, iTV player and 4OD. For a detailed list of the latest apps available and for support, go to Samsung Smart Hub.
For the TV control, Samsung offers Wii-like control which can use gestures. The remote control comes with voice recognition abilities. The Samsung smart TV comes with a built-in camera, that is advanced providing clear images during Skype calls. Samsung smart TVs use the anynet+ technology. Samsung smart TVs come with built-in WiFi allowing you to access the internet with ease.
These TVs also come with mobile high definition link which allows the user to connect HDTVs to tablets and smartphones. For video-on-demand content, Samsung provides a whole range to choose from and comes in HD and 4k/UHD quality.
The inbuilt web browser runs on the HTML5 platform making it easy to load practically all web pages.
Panasonic – Firefox
Panasonic re-designed their online system to Mozilla’s Firefox system particularly designed for TV.
The key features for the new Panasonic smart TV are its intuitive and customizable home screens which allow getting shortcuts to your home screen with off course wide variety of Apps such Netflix, Amazon Instant, Accuweather, FreeviewPlay, etc. Another feature of Firefox TV is the Info Frame (clicking on the Home button) brings up four colour bar and text-based links giving you easy and quick access to the recently used icons.
Panasonic smart TVs also comes with FreeviewPlay offering an ultra-simple EPG-based interface for accessing on-demand content from key broadcasters.
Sony – Sony Entertainment Network
The key features of the Sony smart TV are excellent interaction with Android systems, large volumes of apps, 16GB internal storage and Android apps specifically built for TV.
The functionality of the Sony smart TV combines three major elements, Youview, Android TV and Sony personalised discovery channel.
The Android TV offers the user with a highly efficient way of connecting the TV to their Android devices. The Android TV supports Google cast. If the users’ Android device supports NFC functionality, the user can be logged into to the TV by simply touching the NFC sensor in the remote control.
The TV also works perfectly with the Sideview app from Sony.
Although the Android TV does not come with the UK’s biggest broadcasting platforms such as BBC iplayer, demand 5 and iTV player. These apps can be accessed through the Google cast functionality.
The home-grown ‘discovery’ system in the Sony smart TVs is arguably one of the best of such. It provides a great way to interact with broadcast content. For control, the TV uses a normal remote control.
For users on the Apple technology, they can download the IOS Sideview app and use their phones as a remote control. Voice control is also available on the Sony smart TV. With the voice recognition technology, a user can also use voice search to look up for any content online. The Sony Android TV also offers USB playback.
For web browsing, the default browser on Android TV is opera. Users can also download Google chrome depending on their preferences.
Toshiba – Toshiba Cloud TV
Key features of the Toshiba smart TV are multi-media playback through a USB device or internet, double IOS apps, the interface is multi-hub. The multi-hub allows you to access the home hub, screen for premium apps, screen for video and TV and a screen dedicated to other categories.
The TV offers great picture quality for the price it offers and non-reflectivity thus suitable to be used in a room with a lot of light. The smart TV offers Netflix, YouTube.
The refresh rate of this smart TV is 240hz which offers a good interface for users who want to run high-speed games and live sports viewing.
Philips – Philips Smart TV
The Phillips TV provides support for more than 50 apps, Netflix, BBC Sport, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Blinkbox support.
The menu design is high resolution which is captivating to the user. It comes with four 20 watt speakers which are more than any other speaker system being offered by the other smart TVs.
It comes with a TV on demand feature that extracts news from popular news websites such as fox and
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Netflix provides internet streaming media services/ video on demand to over 190 countries (as of 2016). It offers paid subscription services where users can be provided with disc rental services and get access to streaming of internet videos which are available at its online library.
The disc rental service has more movies titles while the internet library provides more Netflix original content.
BBC iPlayer runs on the html5 platform and offers internet catch up television through live streaming. This service is only available to people in the United Kingdom. Apart from smart televisions, this service is also available on mobile phones, personal computers and tablets.
Services available on the platform have to be paid for through a subscription plan. It offers the user the privilege of watching their favourite content whenever they want.
This is a live music streaming that provides different varieties and genres of music. The music library is arranged in a way that is friendly to the user. The user can search music using any keyword from the genre, the artist and the song title.
This music service is only available in the United States of America and New Zealand. Pandora is powered by the music genome project.
The service offers two distinct subscription plans. One is the free version which features advertisements and a plan with fee which does not feature advertisements.
Listeners can listen to music and then choose to buy it from various libraries all over the world.
Amazon Instant Video
Previously known as Amazon prime videos. It offers users with full access to movies and TV shows free from ads. The service is paid for at a lower price per month.
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Hulu Plus offers online streaming service providing content such as recently aired TV shows, music videos and movies. Hulu provides two plans. One is free but littered with ads.
The paid version does not feature ads. Premium subscribers get a chance to watch full movie seasons and episodes.
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Similar to other internet streaming media service but offer some exclusive movies due to its contract with big Hollywood Studios. This is only available to HBO Subscribers.
This is a digital music streaming service that provides millions of music to listeners.
The company is based in Sweden and content is available for listeners in Americas, Australasia and Western Europe. The content provided is covered by digital rights.
The subscription plans are two-tiered. One is free and offers to stream at 192kbs while the paid or premium plan offers to stream at 392kbs.
This is internet television that offers streaming and on demand content from different sources. These sources include Sky Movies, Skysports, Skysports News, Comedy Central, Disney channel, fox, MTV, on Demand Studios, Discovery Channel and many more.
The content is provided by a subscription service since the user has to purchase the now TV box.
Accuweather provides up to date weather information and forecasting services. Although the online content is free, the services offered to governments and businesses are commercial and paid for.
Blinkbox offers users the opportunity to watch movies and TV shows online. This is a subscription-based service ranging from $1. It offers both purchase and rental of video on demand content.
TuneIn offers users the chance to listen to online radio music and listen to talk shows. It hosts over 100,000 radio stations and more than four million on podcasts and programs on demand. Listening to the music is free.
Users are only charged if they wish to download the music.
Skype is an online calling and messaging service that connects users in different parts of the world. Skype calls are free. The service is available on smartphones, computers and smart TVs.
Youtube is an online service that gives users the opportunity to listen and download videos and music from different types of content. Youtube is free.
Plex fetches music, videos and photos from personal libraries, organizes them and them streams them to smart TVs. The app has to be purchased to be available for use.
Amazon prime is offered by amazon.com. it offers users with full access to movies and TV shows free from ads. The service is paid for at $99 per year.
PowerPoint is provided by Microsoft and comes included in the Microsoft office package. It is mainly used for presentation. It is free.
Google Apps – Chrome, Earth, play Services
Google apps are provided by Google and they are available on different platforms such as smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. These services are free.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does Samsung Smart TV support Adobe flash player?
- What are the most common audio and video file formats that Smart TVs support?
Answer: In the 2016 range of Smart TVs, most support mkv, DivX, AVI, mp4, flash FLV and WMV file formats. In case your Smart TV doesn’t support a particular format, usually, you can find free file converters online which you can use to convert your file into a file format that your TV does support.
- What is a Sonos Playbar and Do Samsung Smart TVs work with it?
Answer: Sonos Playbar is a wireless sound system that offers HD quality music. Yes, it works with the latest Samsung Smart TVs.
- What External Media can I connect to a Smart TV?
Answer: You can connect External Hard Drives, USB and SD cards top most Smart TVs in 2016.
- Do smart TVs have a web browser for internet/surfing the web?
Answer: Yes, Smart TVs come with inbuilt web browsing functionality. Users can access the Internet using WiFi or Ethernet cables.
- Do Smart TVs need an aerial/converter box/cable/cable box?
Answer: Yea and No! Since smart TVs use internet connectivity, they do not necessarily need an aerial or converter box. These are needed for normal TVs using set-top boxes. Having said that, you may have a set-top box connected to your Smart TV to get extra channels (like the Sky box) and that would work fine as well.
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below and we’ll try our best to answer. Stay tuned with Top Upminster Technology Venture on TopUpTV.co.uk.
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