MULTI-TASKING IN HD
From being what was dismissed as the idiot box, the television has now become a slick, sexy, super intelligent hub of entertainment. It can surf the Net, access apps, check your mail and respond to voice or motion control. Yes, your TV has just become smarter.
T` he story of the transformation of television has started sounding a lot like that of the telephone. From a single-use product, it has now become an entertainment and information hub for which showing programmes or movies is only a secondary duty. Television now can take you online, show videos from YouTube, initiate video calls and play your entire media library, all in three dimension.
This transformation has not been sudden. In the past couple of years there were indications that the idiot box was up to something smart. This year, smart became the buzzword for televisions. And this hasn’t been the only change. Television screens have also changed. So much so that LCD and plasma screens are now looked down upon as technologies of the past. Anything less than LED is sneered at.
Amid all this, it is not exactly a win-win for customers. While they could have taken home a large-screen TV for under 20,000 in the CRT era, a 32-inch LED with smart features will put them back by almost double that amount now. While it is rare to find CRTs on shop shelves now, the LCDs and plasmas— while cheaper—are not future proof, at least not the ones that salesmen badger you to buy. Many models announced this year have not yet made it to dealerships, who are still busy trying to sell the older machines. It is not necessary to buy a 2012 TV set. But going by the way broadcast technology is progressing, it wouldn’t be a great idea to buy a television that is not Full HD with at least a 32-inch acreage.
Smart features are another thing, though. While they are great to have on your TV, it is still a bit early to find them truly effective. Apps on TV, for instance, need at least a 1Mbps Internet connection to work in the way they should. The same is the case with 3D. We still don’t have the content or telecasts to fully capitalise on this facility. Yes, you can upscale 2D content to 3D, but watching this for more than a few minutes could be a literal pain. The London Olympics is the biggest thrust that 3D broadcast has ever got, but we in India are just not running that race.
Meanwhile, there has been spurt of cuttingedge technology. Samsung’s smart televisions can understand voice commands and movements in front of the screen. While both technologies need to be fine-tuned, they give a clear indication of things to come. As of now, however, you have to pay a premium for these capabilties in your unit—and these are technologies that you might not use fully for a few years more.