It seems like smart TVs are all the rage right now. More and more TV manufacturers are launching these TVs and people are beginning to understand the whole deal. There are plenty of advantages to owning a smart TV, but a lot of them may not apply to us, here in India. While this is unfortunate, there are still a lot of things you can do with one provided you have a decent internet connection.

The main use for a TV has always been to watch broadcast television and movies. Today, the entire concept of using a TV has changed with the arrival of smart TVs. There are so many possibilities with smart TVs, as they offer a better way of viewing online content when compared to doing the same on your portable device or PC.

For those of you who are wondering what a smart TV is, let me explain. It is basically a TV that allows you to access various internet applications such as YouTube, Picasa, etc. Some of them even allow you to browse the internet and do tother stuff such as check the news or see what the weather is like. There are a whole bunch of other applications available in other countries, but a lot of these such as Netflix don’t even seem close to arriving in India.

Samsung's smart TV has its own apps

Samsung's smart TV has its own apps

Of course, there are a lot of people say that smart TV has a long way to go. While this is true, it has also come quite a long way since its inception a few years back. The first few TVs only had connectivity through Ethernet, but now most of them can connect through Wi-Fi either through a built in port or a dongle.

OK, so we don’t have video on demand and a lot of other applications yet, but what about what is available? Some TVs come with built in social networking capabilities and almost very other smart TV can give you updates on the latest news and traffic reports. A lot of you might say that’s boring, but you can also stream games, videos on YouTube as well as surf the web on some of these TVs.

Sony is one company that has constantly been pushing the envelope when it comes to smart TVs. Some of their TVs in their Bravia series come with built in Wi-Fi and allow you to access certain sites online as well as video clips on YouTube. On the other hand, LG has Netcast, which is LG’s proprietary smart TV platform and Panasonic has Vieracast. Most of these have similar functionality, but all of them are yet to develop fully.

Manufacturers like Samsung and Philips are racing against the others by adding integrated browsers into their smart TVs. Opera has also launched a widget that will allow users to browse freely without any restrictions. Even Google’s Android platform is being integrated into smart TVs with special apps being developed specially for the televisions.

Makes your regular TV smart

LG's Smart TV Upgrader makes your regular TV smart

There are even extensions you can buy so that your regular TV can be turned into a smart one. Apple’s Apple TV or LG’s Smart TV upgrader are a couple of affordable examples. These basically allow your TV to do exactly what a Smart TV does. 

Although there is a potentially large market for smart TVs in India, it hasn’t completely opened up yet. The main issue here is a lack of web applications and support for video on demand. These functions have been available in loads of other countries for quite a while now, but there’s no sign of any of the goodness coming to us soon. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before one of the big service providers comes up with a neat plan that allows people to access more than just YouTube and Picasa. And once that happens, the floodgates will surely open and everyone will be able to access their favourite content online.