Eight Ways to Get the Most out of Your Smart TV

Let me tell you a story about my grandparents. When they were first engaged in 1964, my grandmother was living on her own in an apartment. She didn’t have a television, but she wanted one very badly – and my grandfather knew this. Well, on their first Christmas as an engaged couple, my grandfather sat a very large box in front of her. She was ecstatic and eagerly tore the wrapping paper off the box to see her new television – only to learn that it wasn’t one! It was a Mixmaster, and her face fell. So my grandfather took her by the hands, looked her in the eyes, and gently told her, “My favourite pie is apple.”

I’m sure you can imagine what happened next (needless to say, she’s never used the Mixmaster)! However, in over 50 years one thing hasn’t changed: she still looks forward to getting a new TV for Christmas every so often. She’s not alone; televisions are one of the top electronic gifts that are bought for older Canadians during the holiday season.

Smart TVs are enormously popular in particular. This is because they provide many benefits that regular TVs don’t, and for those wanting to learn how to use the Internet, they can be the perfect two-in-one tech present. Smart TVs don’t just show you your favourite episodes of Downton Abbey or House of Cards; they also act as computers. Instead of learning how to use a computer, you can upgrade your TV and take advantage of many of the benefits of a computer in a simplified way. Smart TVs allow users to set alerts, schedule reminders, connect to Facebook, send photos and videos, video chat, and even set up a profile. If you’re simply looking for a way to join your family and friends on social media but don’t plan to spend a lot of time on the computer, your family might be thinking about getting a Smart TV for you (and hopefully not a Mixmaster)!

  1. Access Internet-Only Shows

 While one of the most obvious benefits of Smart TVs are their sizes – their larger screens means that connecting to the Internet won’t involve squinting at a tiny screen that fits in the palm of your hand – Smart TVs also provide benefits in the form of the applications that are available for them. Some of these apps – such as Hulu and Netflix — allow you to watch exclusive shows that aren’t available on regular cable. Instead of connecting an entirely different device to your television and switching to that to see your favourite show, you can just use your Smart TV, which connects to the Internet. You simply select Hulu or Netflix and then select the show you want to watch. What makes this so appealing to users over simply using a regular television with regular cable is that apps like Netflix often have every season and episode of popular shows. If you want to start watching a new programme but aren’t sure what happened previously, you can open Hulu to watch series one to nine of Doctor Who, for example. All you need is an Internet connection.

  1. Watch On-Demand News

You can also use Smart TVs to watch news. You can do so with regular televisions, of course, but Smart televisions allow users to download news apps produced by top news networks such as CBC and BBC. If you’re busy and unable to catch the 6:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. news, you can open an app to see the latest headlines and watch the broadcast at a later time. This is helpful even if you’ve already seen the news. If a friend or family member is interviewed and you want to watch their moment of fame a few more times, you can view it anytime through the app!

  1. Listen to Your Favourite Music

 In addition to using your Smart TV to, well, watch TV, you can also use it to listen to music. Many smart televisions allow you access to popular music applications. This means that similar to Internet-based television programmes, instead of buying a separate device such as a radio or CD player to listen to music, all you need is a Smart TV. You can connect to iTunes, Pandora, Soundcloud, or any other music application, then pour yourself a glass of wine and relax on your couch with a good book.

  1. Bond With Grandchildren And Play Games

Smart TVs also allow users to play games. They help seniors improve their cognitive functioning by providing puzzles, reflex challenges, and more. Popular games such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush can be played on Smart TVs as they don’t require special controllers or consoles. It’s no surprise, then, that one in five seniors is a potential gamer! You can simply turn on your TV and put your brain to work each evening when you’ve already finished the crossword and Sudoku puzzles in the newspaper. The popular games on Smart TVs are often popular with younger generations, too, so many seniors use the games to bridge generational gaps. They invite grandchildren to play the games with them, and because they’re familiar with the games, it provides a bonding point, bringing them closer to their loved ones.

  1. Take Advantage of Smart Recommendations

If you’re not sure what application might be right for you, your Smart TV can provide you with “smart recommendations.” It will make a suggestion for you based on what’s popular and on what you’ve already watched or accessed on your television. This is very helpful for users who are eager to take full advantage of their smart TVs but aren’t sure of the different options that are available. It makes the choices much less overwhelming, so you can take control of your smart TV experience!

  1. Browse the Internet

In addition to suggesting helpful applications, smart TVs also allow you to browse the Internet to research topics of interest. If you’re watching your favourite show and you want to know what other shows an actor has been in, for example, you can simply connect to the Internet and search for the actor on the Internet Movie Database between episodes, all without leaving your chair. You won’t even have to worry about complicated remotes with what seems like hundreds of tiny, hard
-to-read buttons! Most Smart TVs can be synced to your phone or your tablet, so instead of struggling to see which button to press, you can simply reach for your tablet, enlarge the view, and search the internet with your television.

  1. Use A Second Screen

The ability to use a mobile devices with a Smart TV means that it provides “second screen capability.” That means that tablet or smart phone apps that are synced between a mobile device and a Smart TV may allow users to view two different perspectives at one time or to perform functions that complement what’s happening in the main screen. For example, some games may direct one player to a mobile device and another player to the TV.

  1. Read a Better TV Guide

Finally, Smart TVs provide users with better television guides than the magazines and low-channel guides provided by your cable company. Some smart TVs can streamline lists of programs being shown on satellite, cable, on-demand, and other services in one content box. Instead of checking each different device or even multiple different pages, you can simply take advantage of the provided content guide by doing nothing more than clicking a button.

Are you thinking of asking for a Smart TV for the holidays, or have you already asked for one? What’s stopping you from deciding, or what convinced you? Let us know by leaving a comment below! Feel free to share this post with any friends or family members who are undecided or who have Smart TVs and might be interested in getting the most out of them. And don’t forget — check back later to see our next post!

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