Every great & successful product or invention starts with being revolutionary. That was the way commercial television was when it first debuted in thousands of homes across the United States in the years immediately after World War II. Television viewing has come a long way since the first successful electronic television prototype designed by Philo Taylor Farnsworth in 1927. From radio show-inspired programs to network programming and cable TV, the most recent innovation in television making waves with a whole new generation is the Internet TV box.
From analog to digital-age TV viewing
For decades, only one type of TV viewing has been available to us, which is analog TV. Analog TV was free and easily available for anyone who had the right equipment: a television and an antenna. These two were the most basic requirements that allowed TV viewing from signals being delivered over the airways and travelling through homes via the antenna. Only a handful of channels were available for free TV viewing, and these were mostly local channels.
Then along came cable TV, which provided more channels and shows with better, more consistent reception, but at a price. For this you need a cable TV service provider. Prices depend on the package you choose, which usually include regular programming and a combination of various and select exclusive channels ranging from news and sports to movies and kid-friendly channels. Cable service providers compete in providing their customers with the best affordable packages and combinations of channels.
Today, the digital age has converted most analog systems to digital, including TV viewing. Digital TV viewing requires buying a Smart TV set or one that’s already HD-ready. A converter box is also an option. Many of these types of TVs already have the technology that makes them compatible for use with Internet TV.
How a Smart TV box works
Basically, Internet TV boxes are streaming media players, which allow you to watch Internet videos on TV. They’re also called Smart TV box. Internet TV is similar to the usability of video on demand, which is a known feature offered by cable service providers. Some cable service providers integrate Internet TV viewing options with cable TV viewing. You only need a set-top box internet-enabled device, your HD-ready TV, reliable internet connection, and you’re good to go. Plug the internet-enabled device to the TV and stream video content from Internet sites providing shows and movies onto the TV. If you have a TV that’s already internet-enabled, you wouldn’t need a separate device for streaming.
Your personal computer can also become an Internet TV box by connecting it to the TV. Many new computers these days are designed to allow for this functionality, and connections can even be made wirelessly through your home’s Wi-fi network.
Types of internet TV boxes
- Internet-enabled TV – They are marketed as SMART Tvs or HD-ready TVs. These types of TVs are ready to connect to the Internet and stream content without the need for a separate device. Because of this, they are the easiest to use. The programming is already included in the set one does not have to hassle with additional connections.
- Set-top box – This is also called an Internet TV media streamer designed solely to connect your TV to the internet and provide your TV with internet access.
- Game console – Most new game consoles now include the functionality of streaming Internet content. This can be used not just for gaming purposes, but for overall entertainment purposes.
- DVD Player, DVR, or Blu Ray – The latest high-end DVD players, DVRs, and Blu Rays now include internet TV functions.
- Computer – If you don’t have any of the above devices but have your own desktop, laptop, or netbook, you can connect your computer to your TV and use it as an internet TV box. You can even use your home’s Wi-fi network to stream videos wirelessly
Next generation TV
A major reason many viewers turn to streaming media players is to access Internet TV shows that are never (or rarely if ever) shown on cable or network TV.
Internet TV boxes offer two major advantages: convenience and selection. You wouldn’t run out of shows to watch any time soon because there’s a wide and diverse selection of them that’s made available every day. There are so many sites that provide programming, and not just the usual network TV sites. There are other sources like Netflix and Youtube, which provides new videos daily. You can access these videos, stream, and watch them any time you want, unlike scheduled TV programming which can be frustrating especially if you miss episodes of your favorite shows.
While internet TV viewing may still be a relatively new concept for most people, a growing number of Internet users are now integrating Internet TV viewing into their daily lives, and are also accessing various internet services via their TV screens. It has the potential to become the next phase or generation of TV viewing.