Home > HDTV Reviews > Upgrade Your TV to a Smart TV for Year 2013

Upgrade Your TV to a Smart TV for Year 2013

Samsung smart tvWhen new TV’s first began to incorporate high definition displays, it was a landmark moment within the industry. HDTV’s were arguably the most important revolution in the design of TV sets since the transition from black and white to colour TV. However, HD has been around for over a decade and the technology has increasingly been seen as a standard feature. The next revolution in TV’s is the smart TV. Consumers who bought a new TV recently wouldn’t like to make another purchase. For these people and for anyone who want to upgrade without buying a whole new set, a smart TV upgrader is a great way to upgrade to a smart TV. But what is a smart TV?

Like smartphones, a smart television has internet functionality and can perform a broad range of tasks aside from displaying TV and movies. One of the most significant features of a smart TV upgrader is to connect to the internet, and shares that connection with your television. That internet connection can be used to empower a television to perform an endless array of tasks. Using this internet connection, a smart TV can connect to other streaming services which can reduce money spend renting physical movies/Bigpond Movies.

The additional features from internet access don’t stop here. Smart TV upgraders also have web browsing capabilities built into them. Instead of switching between a TV and a laptop, smart Television users can watch television and surf the web at the same time at one screen. Another feature of a smart TV upgrader is the ability to run apps. Depending on the operating system used, there may be dozens of apps that are available for the user to access right from his or her TV. This year has seen the introduction of new terminology from the four major suppliers describing features on their digital TVs.

Labels stating such features as Motionflow XR800, Clear Motion Rate and Moving Picture Resolution have replaced the traditional 50Hz, 100Hz and 200Hz refresh labelling – much the same as when the industry did away with the millisecond response time labelling a few years back.

The introduction of Samsung Smart TV has seen an array of feature descriptions stickered on the screens displayed on the show room floor – from Built in Wi-Fi, Skype, Video on Demand, Viera Connect, Bigpond TV to Your Video and Search All. Other common features include Passive 3D, Active 3D, Opti-Contrast Panel, USB Recording, Time Machine Ready and cornering glass, to name a few.

Features relating to Motion Samsung – Clear Motion Rate Samsung have abandoned the traditional Refresh Rate measurement, and opted instead for a “Clear Motion Rate” label for each of their Series LEDs. Normally, we are used to being given a Refresh Rate, such as 100Hz, which only refers to the Refresh Rate of the screen. Samsung state that the Refresh Rate only forms part of the Picture quality during fast scenes, where as Clear Motion Rate determines the motion of an image by using three factors: chipset, TV Panel and Backlight.

Refresh rates only determine the number or frames drawn on the screen per second, while the clear motion rate refers to the TV’s ability to draw those frames correctly. Example – Samsung Series 8 LED has a Clear Motion 800 Rating, while the Series 7 LED has a Clear Motion 600 Rating. While the Refresh Rate is 200Hz on both models – the Series 8 has a superior chipset and backlight technology which results in fast motion scenes being clearer.

Sony – Motionflow XR Similar to Samsung, Sony has this year provided a motion quality measurement as opposed to just the Refresh Rate. Sony State that their Motionflow technology creates smooth, detailed moving images for sports or action. Motionflow combines Image Blur Reduction, Frame Creation and backlight blinking technologies together. These three technologies combined are how Sony guages Motion performance from model to model.

Example – Sony’s HX820 range of LED have a Motionflow XR400 rating, while the HX925 LEDs have a Motionflow XR800 Rating. While the Refresh Rate is 200Hz on both models – the HX925 combines this with backlight blinking of up to 600 times per second, as opposed to 200 times per second in the HX820, which results in the motion appearing clearer. Basically the Higher the motionflow number, the better the motion enhancement.

Panasonic – Moving Picture Resolution

Panasonic have displayed both the Refresh Rate, and what they class as the Moving Picture Resolution. Just like Sony and Samsung, the Moving Picture Resolution is a metric which basically puts a value on how well a TV Panel deals with motion. The higher the number, the less blur that is added to the signal on the display.

Example – Panasonics ST30 range of Plasma have a Moving Picture Resolution of 1080 lines, and the Panel Speed is 600Hz Subfield Drive. In comparison, the U30 Range of Plasma screens, which also have a 600Hz Subfield Drive, have a lower Moving Picture Resolution of 900 lines, meaning the motion on the U30 won’t be as clear as the ST30.

Samsung and LG – 600Hz Subfield Motion

What 600Hz Sub-Field Driving does, with a 50Hz source like how our Australian TV is broadcast, is split each frame into 12 separate frames or “sub-fields”, and then show them individually on the screen. That means 12 sub-fields per frame in 50Hz (frames per second) creates 600 frames per second (50×12=600). The more sub-fields you have per frame, the more accurate the colour reproduction and less picture noise.

Features relating to Smart TV Samsung – Social TV

Samsung models labelled with Social TV have the ability to connect to Social Network services Facebook, Twitter and Google Talk. Twitter users can keep watching TV while their Tweets display on a separate part of the screen. Facebook users can also keep watching TV while accessing their Facebook page.

Samsung – Your Video

Your Video is a TV program and movie recommendation service – based on movies that you’ve selected in the past. You are served up with a selection of movies or TV shows which you are able to preview clips, synopsis, user ratings and even share your likes and dislikes via Facebook and Twitter.

Samsung – Samsung Apps

Just like today’s smartphones, Samsung have incorporated apps (applications) downloadable via the Samsung App Store. If you have owned an I-Phone you will already be familiar with the endless array of programs you can download and the Samsung App store works in the same manner, albeit on a much smaller scale. There are Video, Game, Sports, Lifestyle, Information and Education apps available.

Samsung – Allshare

Allshare is Samsungs brand name for DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) which is a platform for sharing media between compatible devices. Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Smartphones, Tablets, laptops and home theatre systems which are DLNA certified, are all able to be connected through your Home Network and through to your TV, enabling the sharing of Photos, Movies and music without wires.

Sony – Bravia Internet Video

Bravia Internet Video streams a selection of Internet TV channels, via your Home Network, through to your TV. There are channels such as The Wiggles, ABC I-View, You-Tube, Yahoo Plus 7, SBS and many more.Sony – Video on Demand

Video on Demand is a portal to New Release and back catalogue Movies available for streaming, via your Home Network, through to your TV. You can “hire” movies without having to leave your lounge, and not having to worry about late fees or subscriptions.

Sony – Music Unlimited

Music unlimited is a Music store through your TV – you can search and listen to millions of artists, create playlists via a subscription service from Qriocity.com. Depending on which subscription you choose, you may be able to access features such as Global Top 100 tracks, Music channels compiled from millions of tracks around the world and the ability to create your own playlists and channels. For Subscription prices and further information, visit Qriocity.com.

Panasonic – Easy IPTV

Easy IPTV is Panasonics label for models which provide you with access to Social Networking sites, and have DLNA functionality. Models which have Easy IPTV give you access to You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, Picassa and more, as well as the ability to share Photos, Movies and music with DLNA certified Camcorders, Smartphones, Tablets, laptops and more.Panasonic – Viera Connect

Viera Connect is an extension of Easy IPTV – besides the social network and DLNA connectivity, Viera Connect also offers Internet TV channels from You Tube, Yahoo 7, ABC I-View and Shoutcast Internet Radio. There is also a catalogue of apps from third-party application developers.

LG – Home Dashboard

Pressing the Home button on your remote displays the LGs Home Dashboard, and it is from here that you are able to access all of the TV’s connectivity functions such as the Web Browser, LG Apps, Media Link, Bigpond Movies and many more. The Home Dashboard is the page you go to access almost every feature that LG has to offer.

LG – Smart Share

Smart Share is LGs brand name for DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) which is a platform for sharing media between compatible devices. Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Smartphones, Tablets, laptops and home theatre systems which are DLNA certified, are all able to be connected through your Home Network and through to your TV, enabling the sharing of Photos, Movies and music without wires.

LG – Media Link

LGs Media Link application matches information to video files via an extensive database called PLEX. This feature can provide you with movie information such as synopsis, casts, director, viewer ratings for the media content you are viewing, on a nicely laid out full page display.

LG – Apps

LG have Video, Game, Sports, Lifestyle, Information and Education apps available for use and download via the Home Dashboard. LG have a website – LG Apps TV – where you can download hundreds of apps. Visit LG Apps TV HERE.Features relating to Panel and Contrast Technology

Sony – OptiContrast Panel with Gorilla Glass

Sony’s panels which use Gorilla Glass and Opticontrast have a frameless design with glass that reaches right to the corners of the TV. These sets deliver improved clarity by boosting contrast, and increasing brightness and minimizing unwanted light reflections.

Example – Sony’s HX820 range of LED have OptiContrast Panels with Gorilla Glass, while the EX720 LEDs have the standard panels. If you watch a movie like Batman, which has many dark scenes, you will find there is more detail in the HX820 than on the EX720 – especially in a brighter viewing environment.

Sony – Dynamic Edge LED

With Sony’s Dynamic Edge LED models, the LEDs behind the panel can have their brightness adjusted to deliver optimum contrast. This means that, depending on the picture you are watching, the Dynamic Edge LED system controls individual parts of the screen independently for a wider contrast within each scene – resulting in a stronger colour reproduction as well as brighter whites and greatly improved blacks.

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