Understanding Connected TVs (CTVs)

Have you heard the term, Connected TV, or CTV, or connected television, and wondered what it meant? Perhaps you wondered if it was a new kind of television set that you might need to consider upgrading to?

Relax. It isn’t a new type of television in the market. It might even turn out that you already have one, or that you have a better type of television set already. Let me break it down to you.

What is a connected TV?

What is a Connected TV?

A connected TV is a television that is connected to the internet and can access online content, such as streaming video and music services, social media, and web browsing.

A connected TV can benefit you in the following ways:

  1. Access to online content: With a connected TV, you can access a wide range of online content, including streaming video and music services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Spotify, as well as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
  2. Convenience: A connected TV can be more convenient than using other devices to access online content, such as a laptop or tablet. You can access all of your favorite content directly from your TV, without needing to switch between devices.
  3. Improved viewing experience: Many connected TVs offer high-quality display technology, such as 4K Ultra HD resolution, HDR, and advanced color processing, which can provide a more immersive viewing experience.
  4. Customization: With a connected TV, you can customize your viewing experience by choosing the apps and services that you want to use, and by creating personalized profiles for different members of your household.
  5. Smart home integration: Some connected TVs can also integrate with other smart home devices, such as voice assistants and smart lighting, to provide a more seamless and integrated experience.
smart TV

Connected TV vs Smart TV: Are they the same?

This is a question that you are already asking; right? It is a logical one, as it sounds like a connected TV is the same thing as a smart TV. But they are not exactly the same thing, though they are similar in results.

A connected TV is a television that has been connected to the Internet for access to online content, such as streaming video and music services, social media, and web browsing, using an external device. A smart TV, on the other hand, is a television that has internet connectivity and an operating system (OS) built in, just like smartphones and laptop personal computers. This allows a smart TV to provide a more advanced and seamless experience, with features like voice control, app stores, and more.

You read that right: smart TVs have an operating system. Did you know that? If you own one, it likely runs one of the following operating systems:

  1. Android TV: This is Google’s operating system for smart TVs, which is based on the Android operating system used in smartphones and tablets.
  2. Tizen: This is Samsung’s operating system for smart TVs. Tizen OS was originally designed for smartphones and Samsung released a few models years ago, but Tizen smartphones never took off. The OS is doing well as a smart TV operating system today. You might be interested in reading about the first Tizen OS phone.
  3. WebOS: This is LG’s operating system for smart TVs. WebOS used to be an operating system for smartphones. I own a Palm Pre smartphone running an early version of WebOS before the HP acquisition. I also owned an HP TouchPad tablet that ran WebOS. LG was to later acquirr the platform and devote it to smart TVs.
  4. Roku TV: This is Roku’s operating system for smart TVs.
  5. Fire TV: This is Amazon’s operating system for smart TVs, which is designed to integrate with Amazon’s other products and services, like Alexa and Prime Video.
  6. SmartCast: This is Vizio’s operating system for smart TVs.
  7. MyHomeScreen: This is Panasonic’s operating system for smart TVs. If you are not familiar with Panasonic, they are a Japanese brand.

Remember: a connected TV relies on external devices (an adapter or dongle) for software, internet connectivity, and additional features, while a smart TV has these capabilities built into the television box itself. That’s the summary.

How to turn your existing television into a connected TV

Mirror Your Phone Using Roku Set-top Box
You can use an adapter to turn your regular TV into a connected TV.

If you have a regular TV with an HDMI port, you can switch it up with a Chromecast, Fire Stick, or Roku dongle and it becomes a connected TV. That is more pocket-friendly than replacing your older TV with a new smart TV. It will do almost everything that a smart TV does; the smart TV would only do them better and more seamlessly.

You can read up more about smart TVs. You can also read up more on how to connect a non-smart TV to the internet here and here.

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