The tech may be new, but it hasn't helped us very much
Technology certainly has made our lives better in many capacities. Near limitless knowledge and entertainment are at our very fingertips; that said, however, technology has also made our lives worse in a lot of ways.
An all-in-one keyboard with an integrated touchpad
It's been 20 years since Microsoft released its first keyboard. Called the "Microsoft Natural Keyboard," the Redmond outfit went after the ergonomic category with a curved design intended to reduce or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other stress injuries associated with typing at awkward angles. Two decade later, Microsoft is adding to its peripherals line with the All-in-One Media Keyboard (N9Z-00001).
Typically you shop a sound bar to improve to your HDTV's audio without having to invest in a full fledged home theater setup, and Sceptre's SB301524W Speaker Sound Bar 2.1 with built-in subwoofer will certainly do that. However, it will also serve your ordinary TV a slice of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, in effect turning it into a smart TV through plug and play technology without having to invest in a new television.
Is your television smart? If not, chances are your next one will be. According to NPD DisplaySearch's Quarterly Smart TV Shipment and Forecast Report, which tracks connected and smart tv shipments by brand, region, display technology, and screen size, smart TV shipments are surging around the globe, particularly in Japan, where more than a third of all TVs shipped have smart capabilities.
Technology is transforming the humble idiot box into a powerful Internet appliance. Whether you call it “smart TV,” “connected TV,” or “Internet TV,” it has the potential to upend our boob tube experience, letting us watch our favorite shows whenever and wherever we want, and merging TV shows with online content in cunning, clever ways. Smart TV won’t prevent television from rotting your brain (it’s not that smart), but it should empower you to find, and get more from, all the content that’s available.
Hollywood studios and TV networks are finally waking up to the power of the Internet, thanks to pioneering efforts by the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu. And if you can wait for pay-TV services such as HBO and Showtime to release their original programming on DVD, you can seriously consider ditching your expensive cable or satellite subscription services, too.
In the following pages, we’ll solve all the mysteries of smart TV. We’ll explain every important service and device that falls under the smart TV rubric (omitting only the most obvious players, such as YouTube), and tie everything together into a neat and simple package. It’s time to turn on and tune in.
Back in October, Canonical shared its vision for the future of Ubuntu at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando. It’s a strategy that will see Ubuntu venture beyond PCs with a fair amount of abandon. According to Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, the company plans to put Ubuntu on tablets, phones, TVs and other “smart screens” by 14.04 LTS. The Linux distro vendor seems to be on track with those plans, having managed to get an Ubuntu TV prototype ready in time for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Roku on Wednesday rolled out its new Streaming Stick device, essentially a wireless dongle about the size of a standard USB flash drive that you plug into your television for an instant IQ upgrade, transforming your dumb box into a Smart TV. Despite its diminutive size, the Streaming Stick is packed with built-in Wi-Fi, memory, and the same software as found in Roku's set-top box.
Is your smart TV too dumb to recognize a 3TB hard drive? You have three choices: Buy a smarter, um, smart TV, invest in a smaller hard drive that won't confuzzle your TV set, or flip the switch on Buffalo's new HD-ALCTU2/V external hard drive to drop from 3TB to 2TB or 1TB, depending on what your not-so-smarty pants TV can handle. It's a pretty cool concept, and one that's not marred by lost storage space should you have to drop down to a lower capacity. Hit the jump to find out why.
Connected TVs made up 20 percent of all television shipments in 2010, according to market research firm DisplaySearch. But the best is yet to come as it expects their shipments to grow at a 30 percent compound annual rate through 2014 to reach 123 million units.
Word on the Web is that Lenovo is talking with several OEMs, including Wistron and Compal Electronics, in hopes of contracting one to build smart TVs. This is new ground for Lenovo, but not uncharted territory for OEMs who also dabble in notebooks, like Samsung and LG. Lenovo's desire to follow them into the living room underscores the convergence of PC technology with entertainment devices.