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home : news : business   April 30, 2016

8/12/2014 11:10:00 AM
How smart is your TV?

Dan Balt, electronics sales associate at Sears in Peru, describes features that come with a smart TV. These TVs sport crystal-clear LED screens with hands-on features including apps and Internet browsing.NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
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Dan Balt, electronics sales associate at Sears in Peru, describes features that come with a smart TV. These TVs sport crystal-clear LED screens with hands-on features including apps and Internet browsing.

NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
Get Smart
Make a dumb TV smart
Gadgets — You can buy gadgets to covert your high definition TV to a smart TV. These devices plug into your TV and add features that allow the smart TV experience


Labels — You are unlikely anymore to find a TV labeled “LCD” (liquid crystal display) but you will find “LED,” (light emitting diode). However, an LED TV is really an LCD TV with the light being provided by LEDs. Plasma TVs still provide high-quality imagery except in very bright sunlit rooms.

Your money — Generally, the prices of TVs increase as you go from plasma to LED to smart. Do your research and consider using a consumer guide.

Jeff Dankert
NewsTribune Reporter

How long did you think it would be before your television and Internet service fused into one entertainment source?

It’s here. Smart TVs combine big screen clarity, cable television and Internet service so you can watch, listen and interact with content like on a computer.

“They want to integrate your television into your home network,” said Dan Balt, electronics sales associate at Sears in Peru.

Smart in 2014
Smart TVs entered the market last year but this year they took off.

“Most of the Samsungs hitting the floor this year are smart as a standard feature,” Balt said.

A smart TV has apps for services, games and Internet browsers. In addition to traditional television programming, a smart TV can play movies, shows, music and other content normally accessed on a personal computer.

“Online streaming is becoming more popular, things like Redbox and Netflix,” Balt said.

A Smart TV gives you more control over what and when to watch.

“A big feature of a smart TV is the smart hub,” Balt said. “The smart hub is going to let you control what media you see. It’s going to let you surf your different shows. It will remember what kind of shows you like and it will make suggestions based on your preferences.”

Smart TVs can be integrated with mobile devices, so you can transfer apps and programs back and forth, Balt said. Some smart TVs might allow voice commands or allow you to command the TV with your hand.

High clarity
Wanda Fusinato of Spring Valley has a 60-inch LED smart TV. Her children have taken to the technology quicker, she said.

“I grew up during the age of manual typewriters so my knowledge of today’s technology is zilch,” Fusinato said. “The picture is awesome. The first show I watched was like going to a theater and watching a movie in 3D.”

The clarity of high definition LED screens is shocking, she said.

“I’m really thinking actors and actresses can’t like this LED because it really exposes their less than perfect complexions they had with the old TVs,” Fusinato said.

Internet instead of cable
The emergence of the Internet-connected smart TV is really a computer connected to the Internet transformed into an entertainment center. Given the amount of media, movies, shows, music and news on the Internet, viewers might prefer Internet rather than cable TV.

“These are great options for people who have the Internet and don’t want to pay a (TV) cable bill,” Balt said. At Balt’s home, he and his wife view entertainment from the Internet, not cable TV, he said.

“We’re looking at a smart TV ourselves because we do everything online, we do Hulu and Netflix,” he said.

Cable television, aside from on-demand service, delivers content at a specified time for viewing, he said.

“A lot of people don’t have time to sit down and watch their favorite shows,” Balt said.

Leaving the big screen and couch and going to your computer station is not exactly viewing relaxation, Balt said.

“Don’t get me wrong I love my computer just as much if not more than the next person but a lot of times I’d rather be sitting on the couch watching something,” Balt said.

Because smart TVs are served by the Internet, people have a misconception about their use.

“I think a misconception about Smart TVs is that people are just like, ‘Oh, they hook up to the Internet’ and that’s about as far as the knowledge goes,” Balt said.

However, web browsing is completely within the smart TV realm.

“In the near future I will be purchasing a wireless keyboard and be able to surf the Net and do my banking from the comfort of my recliner,” she said.

Any media you access on the computer can be accessed on a smart TV.

“You could do Netflix, you could do Facebook,” Balt said. “It doesn’t have the capacity of a computer as far as running games or programs or that sort of thing. However, just like any other TV, you could hook it right up to a computer and use it like a monitor.”

Jeff Dankert can be reached at (815) 220-6977 or Follow him on Twitter @NT_Peru.

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