What is a Smart TV?

A smart TV is like a smartphone which offers many services that regular televisions cannot offer. It is equivalent to a computer, providing you a variety of services. You can run various types of apps, video streaming, web browsing, games and much more. 

Smart TV

The main thing that separates smart TVs and other regular TVs is an internet connection. All smart TVs are equipped with Ethernet port and built-in Wi-Fi, some old models may require an adapter to enable the Wi-Fi functionality so that they can be connected from anywhere in the house. Fast Wi-Fi must be needed if you plan on streaming games or 4K Ultra HD content.

With internet connection you can stream television shows and movies from a variety of apps and services, like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and YouTube. But sometimes, there will be free stuff available (like on Crackle, Tubi TV, Pluto TV or the Roku Channel for Roku TVs), but for the most part, you have to subscribe to these services to access their content. Some smart TVs also provide web browsers and cameras for use with video-conferencing apps.

What are the features of smart TV?

Apart from email and word processing functions, a smart TV provides computer like facilities. It enables the users to browse the web, use social networking sites and watch youtube. Some of the TVs also support Flash as well by which users get better web browsing experience.

Most exciting feature of smart TV is the ability to watch video on demand. At the moment, you can watch catch-up TV from ABC iView, SBS and Plus 7. Many TV brands also offer surfing, football, music and almost anything else you can imagine.

There are services like Bigpond TV (available on LG and Samsung brands) which offer good entertainment through music and sport channels. This is good when you are free and want to enjoy in front of the TV and relax for every moment. A lot of exercise games will be released by Panasonic shortly. The titles of the upcoming games will include titles by Gameloft, besides  a number of exercise games that utilise an optional monitor wrist band.

With the use of most popular application Skype,  you can talk to your friends, relatives and family members on your TV adding a webcam.

How do smart TV connect to the internet?

With a home network, smart TV  helps us to stream  video and services on  TV.  Using  Wired Ethernet and built-in Wi-Fi is, we can stay connected to TV. Most of the current smart TVs support 802.11ac Wi-Fi.   Older models of smart TV may still use the older 802.11n standard. If we occupy smart TV, there are lot of questions in our mind like  how to optimize  home Wi-Fi for streaming,    adjustment of router placement, tweaking settings or just opting for a wired connection.

If you are occupying larger homes,  Wi-Fi coverage needs to be checked with care. In case your Wi-Fi router is on the second floor and the smart TV is in the basement,  there may be some problem in  streaming video from Netflix or other service providers without facing any interruptions or breaks.  

In case of weak wireless signals to smart TV or it is not  getting a strong  wireless signal, problem can be solved with some options available. A new Wi-Fi router that supports 802.11ac can be used if router is more than 3 years old. You can extend the wi-fi range with extenders which are also available from companies such as Netgear, but these devices require some time and patience to set up and install. Mesh routers also support to extend better coverage  throughout a home. The Netgear Orbi and Linksys Velop provided by companies are good models that  have proved to be excellent solutions for people trying to cover big homes with Wi-Fi.

What are the chances of Smart TV be hacked or contact a virus?

If you are asking some important question about hacking of your Smart TV, answer is yes. Smart TV can be hacked by cyber criminals.

Hackers can not only change your channels, volume, show inappropriate contents but also silently spy you through camera and microphone. Security settings of Smart TV are always risky.  There is a risk from white-hat hackers to the issue who have been demonstrating ways to break into a smart TV connected to the internet.  Hackers can steal passwords and change channels.   Many cyber security experts have said privately for years, Government agencies can and do break into such devices.

Smart TVs come with different operating systems. Due to wide variety of interfaces in Smart TVs and  most run some version of Linux. As Linux is a   popular operating system and hackers are well aware that how to hack and manipulate. The application programming interface (API) that lets your TV interact with apps and mobile devices helps the hackers make mischief on Samsung and Roku sets.

To be safe and keep hackers away, adopt a simple solution: unplug the device from your network, avoid doing anything sensitive on a smart TV, such as online transactions of banking or shopping with a plastic or credit card.

Consumers must promptly install software updates routinely which are pushed out by smart TV manufacturers. This will certainly help the consumers to be safe and secure.

Research reveals that Smart TVs are not safe as compared to computers. So, consumers must educate themselves to know about security settings of Smart TV available on google.

Do Smart TV Spy on everything you do?

If you are having Smart TV, then you must be alert about privacy issues.  When we use Smart TV, we come to know about very attractive features Smart TVs and/or the content app providers can track your viewing habits to provide you with viewing suggestions. Recently, a recent FBI report warned smart TV users that hackers can also take control of your unsecured TV. If you watch Netflix, spotify or similar activities, menu shows previous watched show by you and also updated suggestions list for related movies or programs which you have watched recently.

From the tracking of watched programs or shows, it seems that its good to save time on searching of movies or programs which you want to see. But on the other hand,  a smart TV might be doing more than just track your viewing shows.  Smart TV has a webcam or voice control and there is every apprehension that someone could hack in and see/hear you. Also, any plastic or credit card can be tracked while you make purchases using your TV by some third parties. When your voice control or webcam is on, do not indulge yourself in some activities or say something in front of cam otherwise it can go to public.