Our generation has had the privilege to witness life-changing technologies develop almost from scratch.

If you’re in your twenties or older, you probably remember a time when your television set had a robust shape and size and the number of channels you could watch were limited. The advancement of technology has completely revolutionized the experience of watching television.

No longer are you confined to looking at a pixelated TV screen; television manufacturers have caught up with technology and are now offering full-featured smart TVs. The recent developmentsof television has led to the introduction of digital TV, HD televisions, and more recently, 3D televisions. Wikipedia defines smart TVs as a “technological convergence between computers and television sets/set-top boxes and is sometimes also referred to as a “hybrid TV.” Smart TVs often use the same technology as smartphones, hence the name smart TVs.

So what are the requirements for a TV to be considered a smart TV? The core characteristic of a smart TV is its internet integration. Other features may vary from social network syncing, voice controls, gesture controls, face recognition and more. Furthermore, a smart TV can include the following:

–          Interface design: the interface design should optimize a user’s experience in such a way that it’s appealing, yet easy to navigate. A successful interface allows consumers to operate (almost) intuitively.

–          Social networking: You can sync your smart TV to social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In terms of Facebook usage, it provides you access to the network’s options, such as the news feed, status updates, photos etc. This feature isn’t always integrated, but the app is surely available for every smart TV.

–          Operating systems: According to Wikipedia, smart TVs are generally based on Linux, Android and other open-source software platforms.

–          Internet-based television programming: It’s still a TV, so you should be able to watch your favorite channels, however, internet-based television could still use a bit of improvement as not all major channels support the application.

–          Entertainment features: A smart TV often includes entertainment features like games. These games are developed especially for smart TV usage and therefore have a high quality in visuals. Game apps are definitely available for download and this aspect will continue to grow in the future.

At this year’s CES, it was obvious that major manufacturers were pushing smart TVs into the general population. Companies like Samsung, LG, Sony, Lenovo and even Google are currently the top developers of smart TVs. There is no doubt that the apps available for smart TVs will optimize users’ experience, similarly to the apps that smartphones use. This leads me to believe that smart TVs will increase in popularity in the very near future. If the major television networks were to take advantage of  the opportunities that smart TVs have to offer, people would probably be easier to persuade into purchasing one.  A TV should not lose its main functionality, but rather enhance the experience overall.

What do you think? Are you a fan of smart TVs?