Your TV isn't so smart, but your next could be

Will 2014 be the year of the Smart TV at last?




apple-appletv12-channels-lgLast year during CES I made a bold claim; I said that 2013 would be the year of the 4K TV – the year that the industry’s next big leap in resolution would begin to go mainstream. Now, you could make the argument for me being both right and wrong in my prediction. 4K TVs have become mainstream in the sense that people are going into Best Buy and purchasing them, however, adaptation is extremely low and native content is still virtually nonexistent. Fast forward one year from that statement and I’m wondering whether I had the wrong idea. Perhaps the future of televisions has less to do with resolution and more to do with intelligence. Maybe instead of looking for widespread adoption of 4K televisions, it’s time we start looking for the introduction of something far more difficult to achieve. Will 2014 be the year of the Smart TV at last?

Read on after the break to find out.

Many have tried, all have failed. Consumers today use external set top devices to make their otherwise dumb televisions “smart” – Rokus, Apple TVs, and the Xbox are popular options for the modern consumer. All of these devices are being bought and used by thousands of people every day to bring streaming, voice controls, pictures, and more to their boring televisions in a way that would be otherwise impossible.

Roku-interface

But what if that’s about to change? What if 2014 will become the year that Smart TVs – truly smart televisions, not the gimmicks we’ve been forced thus far – become a reality? As I’m writing this article we still don’t have the full details regarding what LG has in store for their LG webOS TV lineup, which they’ll be introducing at CES this week. But if we take previous webOS devices into account, this may be the first truly smart television set. It would also be foolish to forget that many analysts believe this is the year Apple is planning on releasing their rumored, ridiculously overhyped television set. Many hope their attempt will revolutionize the television industry in the same meteoric way that the iPhone did with the cellphone industry.

And make no mistake – if these products do come to pass and they really are as good and smart as we all hope, then more will follow. Samsung of all companies won’t let LG and Apple get away with winning this game without a smart TV of their own (Galaxy TV, anyone?). Logically, the rest of the industry is sure to hop on that train, following LG and Apple’s examples.

Of course, maybe not. We’ve been waiting for truly smart televisions to arrive for almost as long as we’ve had personal computers sitting on our desks, and they have yet to materialize. Maybe instead of 2014 being the year of the Smart TV, it’ll just be another year of some good TVs – excellent pictures, higher resolutions, quicker refresh rates, etc. etc. Or maybe the result will lie somewhere in between, like mainstream adoption of 4K televisions. We’ll see.