You can educate your TV to make it smart [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]
(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Question: My son says my TV is stupid. I thought he was talking about what I was watching. Apparently not. Do I need a new TV?
Answer: First, for every episode of "Two and a Half Men" you watch, you need to spend at least an hour on lumosity.com just to break even.
If your tastes run to "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," I don't think there is much I can do to help.
Seriously, your son probably is talking about "Smart TVs." He is referring to TVs that are connected to the Internet and as a result can access subscription-based streaming content.
Examples include Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu+, Crackle, Vudo and others to watch movies, TV shows and the like. Most people who use Smart TVs end up subscribing to one or more of these services at about $8 per month for on-demand viewing or they purchase content via pay-per-view.
You can read a bit more about streaming sites at bit.ly/WiWsVR.
There is a lot of free content available to Smart TVs, including YouTube, weather, stock quotes, sports feeds and sometimes full browser access.
Smart TVs bring these Internet-based content services to your viewing because they can connect to your home Internet service with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly.
They've been around for about five years or so now. So if your TV is older, it might not be smart.
Also, you can buy TVs today without Smart TV features to save a little money. There are a lot of TVs out there that do not have smart features.
So, what do you do if you have a "dumb TV" and you are not ready to replace it? Fear not, there is an easy fix to improving your TV's IQ.
If you have a fairly new DVD player or Blu-ray DVD player, it might have Smart TV functions built-in. If so, the main menu would likely have an option for online content or Internet access. Check it out before you buy anything.
If that doesn't do it, there are several inexpensive add-on devices that will do a great job.
Basically, these little widgets plug into one of your spare HDMI (HD) TV ports and a power source and connect to the Internet. You simply tune into the selected HDMI port then typically use a remote to control what you view.
You might want to consider Roku (roku.com). They have a number of options that cost from $50 to $100. The more expensive boxes have advanced features.
The Roku boxes are about the size of a pack of cigarettes and are popular because of their easy set-up and ease of use.
Google has introduced ChromeCast (google.com/chromecast). It is a nifty little $35 device that uses your wireless network to allow your PC, iPad or Android device act as its remote control.
If your TV has a USB plug, there is no need for a power outlet. Best of all, the device is about the size of a car key and hides behind your TV easily.
Sony just announced the Bravia Smart Stick (bit.ly/16wh9oR), which looks like it will function much like the ChromeCast with a picture-in-picture feature for Internet browsing while watching TV.
Samsung, one of the leaders in Smart TVs, offers its $299 Evolution device (bit.ly/19538PC), which upgrades its older Smart TVs to Smarter TVs in a fast moving field.
I think that covers this subject pretty well. Just in time for me to watch "Wipe Out." It sure looks like those falls hurt. It's hilarious!
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