Today’s term Smart TV has replaced the original term “connected TVs” or hybrid TV. But where does the name come from? The TV can be connected to the Internet and various streaming devices . The classic television and the technology of a computer merge together in one device. As a result, apps for streaming videos, TV, films and music, for example, can also be used via the TV set and surfed on the Internet.
In addition, a Smart TV has additional connections such as USB , network, HDMI and space for additional memory cards. In addition, game consoles , set-top boxes and Blu-ray players can be connected. A smart TV is characterized above all by a powerful processor so that it can run various applications.
You don’t need a cable connection (DVB-C) or a satellite system (DVB-S) for a Smart TV . To be able to watch TV with your Smart TV, you can simply use the connected Internet connection – enjoy your TV program directly via TV streaming.
Advantages and functions of a Smart TV
Due to the combination of television and computer technologies, most manufacturers equip their devices with an Internet browser as standard . This allows you to take relaxed web trips on your television – just as you are used to from your computer. Operation without a separate accessory – such as a keyboard – is somewhat more cumbersome, but some manufacturers include a remote control with a keyboard .
You can also access a wide range of video on demand . Tired of the current television program? No problem!
But be careful: not all services are available with every model. iTunes users, for example, need the network player Apple TV to conveniently watch the films and series on the TV.
Another advantage: Several manufacturers deliver their devices directly to the customer with a range of integrated Smart TV apps . No matter whether information, education, games or sports. Apps make it easier to consume certain offers from the Internet because they are optimized for use on the television. You can find additional apps on the websites of the individual manufacturers .
Not convinced yet? Perhaps the last point is of interest to you. The parallel use of smartphone and tablet PC while watching TV gives you a second screen , also known as “social TV”. This allows you to comment on football broadcasts during the broadcast, for example .
But most functions can also be covered by most game consoles, right? Let’s just take a closer look at the three largest game consoles: Xbox, PlayStation and Switch.
The Xbox is so much more than just a game console . You can also use it to watch films and series on Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube. Via the streaming providers, the user can design his own program: Whether historical documentation, conspiracy theories or make-up tutorials. You are the determiner of your own program! It is also possible to play Blu-rays on the device or to browse the television program for special content using an adapter. The manufacturer Microsoft describes its product as not just a game console , but rather as an entertainment center.
Establishment of live TV
Yes, you can access TV services with your console! To enjoy live TV on your Xbox One X, Xbox One S, or Original Xbox One console, you need the following:
- A cable or satellite set-top box with HDMI output or an Xbox One USB TV tuner
- Connect to Xbox Live to download program usage information for OneGuide
- A Kinect sensor or an infrared transmitter cable
If you start the TV app on your console for the first time, the device will guide you through the individual steps. If you want to set up the live TV function later, select the option “Live TV Setup” via the “Entertainment” hub. Do you want to change the hardware settings after the initial setup? No problem: Select TV & OneGuide under System> Settings.
The PlayStation also offers a number of advantages . Enjoy games, films via stream, listen to music – everything can be called up with just one device and with just one click! Via the app icon in the “TV & Video” tab in the main menu of the console you will find the “well known” like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And in 4K quality !
With the PlayStation television
On February 28, 2019, the online TV provider Magine TV completely stopped its service . This particularly affects the users of the PlayStation. Because there are some alternative Internet TV providers, unfortunately not for the PlayStation 4. The Magine TV app was the only application that allowed users to watch TV on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. The competitor Zattoo takes over the Germany business from Magine TV – a replacement app for the Sony console is not planned for the time being .
“In the foreseeable future, an app for PlayStation 4 is not planned for us. Users who want to continue streaming TV with Zattoo can switch to an inexpensive solution such as Amazon Fire TV Stick or Chromecast Stick. In addition, we also support Smart TVs from Samsung and with Android TV, Xbox One, Apple TV, Nvidia Shield, Mi Box, and of course PC / Mac as well as iOS and Android mobile. “
Television on the PS4: the alternatives
Alternatively, PlayStation 4 users can use their console browser to watch the live streams of the stations. The browser is directly in the start menu – the WWW symbol. There you simply have to click in the search field and, for example, enter “ARD Livestream”. Simply select the relevant page from the search results and you can watch TV on your PS4. In this way, you can also call up the media libraries of the other stations and enjoy repetitions from the TV.
However, this type of television is only limited to public service channels such as ARD, ZDF, WDR, etc. Their livestreams and media libraries can be reached directly. Private broadcasters such as RTL or Pro7, on the other hand, have bundled their streams and media libraries on platforms such as TVNow and 7TV. These platforms are accessible to the PlayStation browser, but unfortunately the videos and live streams cannot be played due to the lack of drivers .
Overview of important apps
The question quickly arises here: Why buy a television receiver when you can still receive television via the console? Various apps can help here:
- YouTube Premium
- Amazon Prime
PlayStation, Xbox, Switch
Online video store
Cost per month
from € 9.99
from € 7.99
from € 7.99
* Live streams from events or similar
Let’s get to the Nintendo game console: The Switch. It is actually the perfect console for all streaming providers . After all, you can watch videos on the couch on the TV, but also in bed or when traveling. However, there are hardly any apps for the switch.
Stream Netflix and Amazon Prime on the switch
The manufacturer Nintendo first wanted to establish the Switch as a pure game console . Other uses, such as streaming apps, should only gradually be added later. In the meantime there are already first streaming offers on the hybrid console in the USA (Hulu) and Japan. But there is no trace of Netflix. Both Nintendo and Netflix have expressed interest in an app for the Switch, but previous announcements and leaks turned out to be unreliable. That a Netflix app is currently being tinkered with is largely certain – just the question of “when?” is still completely unclear.
The competitor Amazon Prime can not be operated with the switch either . Amazon Video can be opened in the Switch’s browser, but there is no way to start the video stream (for example using a button) because the Switch does not have the right player.
YouTube on the switch – a glimmer of hope?
But there is hope: since the end of 2018 there is finally an official YouTube app available for download. Unfortunately, you can not save the videos offline on YouTube , so you can only see the clips with an active WiFi connection. YouTube is the first major video platform that German users can use on the Switch. The game console itself is essentially a tablet. Up until now, Nintendo itself has been hesitant to use apps to bring it closer to the range of functions of Android devices or iPads. This gives Nintendo a lot of potential and leaves a lot of users out in the rain.