This ad­di­tion can make an idiot box ap­pear more ad­vanced than it re­ally is, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Ni­chol­son

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Smarten up your TV

Keep­ing up with smart- tele­vi­sion de­vel­op­ments can be ex­pen­sive. Few view­ers have the means or mo­ti­va­tion to up­grade their tele­vi­sions yearly, mak­ing it hard to use the lat­est apps and ad­di­tions to in­ter­net- savvy tele­vi­sions.

Sam­sung is a lead­ing pro­po­nent of this tech­no­log­i­cal trap, hav­ing in­vested heav­ily in smart TVS and re­cently at­tract­ing more than half a mil­lion TV app clicks.

Mer­ci­fully, the com­pany is go­ing out of its way to help ex­ist­ing TV own­ers catch up.

In ad­di­tion to of­fer­ing new TV up­dates for five years, Sam­sung has launched this smart Blu- ray disc player that can make reg­u­lar TVS ap­pear ‘‘ smart’’.

Plug this de­vice into a stan­dard TV, con­nect it to the in­ter­net and you can pre­tend your screen is one of the lat­est mod­els.

For our test, we laid down a gen­uine chal­lenge for the E5900 by con­nect­ing it to a five- year- old Sam­sung LCD TV.

Set­ting up this sys­tem was sim­ple, with a menu screen ex­plain­ing the steps, in­clud­ing en­abling a wire­less or wired in­ter­net con­nec­tion, and au­to­mat­i­cally down­load­ing up­dates to en­sure fresh con­tent.

Once in­stalled, users can en­ter the Sam­sung TV app store, known as Smart Hub, with a click of the re­mote con­trol.

Smart Hub fea­tures apps in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tional chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties hub Kids, Quick­flix and Big­pond Movies for film stream­ing, iview and Youtube for smaller en­ter­tain­ment pack­ages, Face­book and Twit­ter, plus Fit­ness for on- de­mand ex­er­cise videos.

The lat­ter is a new ad­di­tion that lets you choose work­out videos based on time and types of ac­tiv­ity and, if you sign in with a Sam­sung ac­count, it can even track your progress.

This has the po­ten­tial to re­place sev­eral ex­er­cise DVDS.

Our ex­pe­ri­ence, how­ever, was far from per­fect. Even with a 20Mbps con­nec­tion, videos paused ev­ery 30 sec­onds.

Hope­fully this app’s buf­fer­ing abil­ity will be up­graded.

Plug this de­vice into a stan­dard TV, con­nect it to the in­ter­net and you can pre­tend your screen is one of the lat­est mod­els

It should also be noted that apps can be a lit­tle slug­gish to load com­pared with a fresh com­puter or smart­phone, though that is to be ex­pected from a TV ex­tra.

In ad­di­tion to de­liv­er­ing apps to the big screen, this smart Blu- ray player can also team up with smart­phones, tablets and PCS to share con­tent wire­lessly.

It’s equipped with DLNA and wi- fi Di­rect tech­nol­ogy to stream pho­tos or videos to the big screen with lit­tle fuss with­out wires.

This de­vice, of course, also works as a ca­pa­ble 3D Blu- ray player and one that will up­scale your reg­u­lar DVDS to some­thing ap­proach­ing high- def­i­ni­tion qual­ity.

A USB con­nec­tion en­ables users to plug in their own con­tent, in­clud­ing Divx movies, to screen with­out in­volv­ing a PC.

With so many fea­tures, and a price tag of $ 219, the E5900 makes a com­pelling case for a smart TV up­grade.

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