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More Than Just Great TV: it's Smart TV

Posted January 11, 2011 - Features

There is now a huge selection of new ‘Smart TVs’ on the market that offer internet-based content through your television. If you like the idea of Facebook on your Freeview or Twitter on your TV then read on, a new ‘Smart’ Freeview TV may be the perfect solution for your home entertainment needs.

What is it?

Smart TV or  Connected TV simply means a television that offers extra features once you connect it to the internet. When your TV is online, you can install apps (applications) and watch video on demand (VOD) using services such asiPlayer, LoveFilm and YouTube. Sony, Panasonic, LG and Samsung are just a few of the TV manufacturers that offer Smart TV models and each manufacturer will have their own name for the menu area where these apps sit. Samsung use ‘ Smart TV’, LG’s online services are called ‘ Netcast’, Panasonic offer ‘ VIERA Connect’ and Sony simply uses ‘Sony Internet TV’. Some Smart TVs now come with an internet browser for browsing websites directly on your TV set.


Look out for the Smart TV logos on new TVs or check manufacturer websites for the selection of smart models. You will need to connect the television to the internet by using an Ethernet cable to your internet modem or home wireless router. Some Smart TVs come with a built in Wi-Fi connector which means you can connect to the internet wirelessly.

We thought we would cut through the jargon to explain some of the most used terms below and highlight some of the most useful apps for your on a series on new Smart TVs.

Jargon Buster

VOD is ‘video on demand’ and is internet video that you can play when you choose. Simply find what you want to watch and press play. The video is then streamed from the internet and you will need to be connected to play videos.

App is short for application. An app is similar to a computer program that is downloaded and installed, adding a feature to the TV.

Streaming video is when you play video from the Internet. This means that if you are streaming video from apps such as YouTube or iPlayer, it is not downloaded or saved anywhere.

Applications to make you ‘Appy.


iPlayer is the most notable app for UK television on Smart TVs. You can search for BBC series, programmes and radio shows across all BBC services including BBC One, BBC Three and BBC Radio One. Simply find what you want to watch by using the search option and press play to enjoy when you want.

Video website YouTube contains millions of hours of videos with hundreds more being added everyday. From cats playing the piano to historic events around the world, the YouTube archive is as big as it is varied.

LoveFilm has hundred of films to choose from on at the touch of a button. Rent films from £0.99p and browse Lovefilm’s huge selection of movies from comedy to drama, horror and documentary.

Social Networking

Facebook on your TV is great for social networking without using your PC. On a TV, Facebook is perfect for viewing pictures and friend’s activity but unless you have a keyboard for your TV, updating your status or sending messages can be time consuming using the remote control.

Twitter on your TV will show you a continuous feed of Twitter users that you follow. You can Tweet, ReTweet, Follow and Reply direct from living room and from the comfort of your sofa.


Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia that covers everything from A to Z. Type in Freeview and it will tell you everything from the year we launched right the way through to the roll-out of Freeview HD.


Picasa is Google’s online picture service. Once you have uploaded your images to Picasa on your home computer the TV can display them, bright and beautiful, in a slideshow. Your TV can become your very own digital photo frame.

Another great photo app is Flickr. You will need to upload your own photos via a PC to enjoy your own images. You can also browse other users’ photos and pick random shots to enjoy on your TV.

For more information, check out the Samsung , Sony , LG  or Panasonic  website for details of their Smart TVs.

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