Best Budget TV Gift for Father’s Day: TCL 6 Series Roku TV

If you are crazy about Netflix, Youtube, and an almost endless array of shows that you can watch till your eyes drop, then you would appreciate a really good-sized TV with crisp images in colors that pop and sound that sounds like the action was live in your living room. But for those who aren’t very techie, shopping for just the right smart TV is not just about selecting a brand – it’s also deciphering the nuances between LCD, LED, OLED, 4K, HDTV, Full HD etc. because of the huge markup with every upgrade. With cameras, I belong to the school of thought that it’s not the number of Megapixels that matter unless your output is large format. It’s also more prudent since the higher the megapixels, the more expensive the camera gets.  In a similar vein, if you get a lot of pleasure from buying more for less (without, the TCL 6 Series Roku TV will absolutely win over your bargain-hunter heart!

Most experts agree that 50″ or 55″ is a good size for the bedroom or living room in an average-sized home, apartment or condominium. Big enough for a comfortable watch without burning a hole in your pocket like theater homes in the past used to. The TCL 6 Series Roku 55″ TV, considered by experts and users alike as best in the budget class because of its high-end picture enhancements is priced at $649 – about half the price of a Samsung TV. Yet, it does not perform shabbily like other mid-priced generic brands do. With its outstanding picture quality, it’s true value for money with its 4K UHD picture and Dolby sound! What it means is you can say goodbye to lack of detail, humdrum colors or muddy black and whites because of its Contrast Control Zone technology and NBP Photon technology produces “produces a vibrant, rich color palette“. On top of that, Dolby Vision ensures “brighter and more accurate colors”.  And did we forget to mention – it’s great for gaming too!

TCL, once an obscure Chinese brand has now gained a foothold in North America because of its reliable performance and is now the 2nd top-selling brand in the U.S. market and 3rd globally. This growth echoes that of the Korean brand Samsung and if TCL continues this trend without hiccups, it might eventually overtake Samsung for the top spot. At its very competitive price, it is shaking up the smart TV market (and budget American competitor Vizio) for all the right reasons.

And if you’ve experienced the paradox of choice and grown impatient at finding the program you want, the Roku TV smart platform with its “simple intuitive interface” brings all your favorite programs at your fingertips.  With TCL’s simple and straightforward Roku software, you can watch thousands of streaming channels beaming all your favorite news, sports, tech, documentaries, lifestyle, fitness, music, kids, and family shows easily. No more wading through the gamut of 500,000 choices in utter frustration because features are well-arranged and streaming options are easy to find. It’s also cable and antenna-ready, just in case you want it that way. The great thing is that it’s voice-activated and can turn your smartphone into your very own remote control.

Perfect for Father’s Day? You betcha!

 

 

 

Google teams up with Samsung, LG, Sony for smart TV

The top three TV makers in the world has just teamed up with Google in a bid to conquer a new and different market after it has successfully barged into the smartphone market with its Android.

With this new development, the Internet giant is going to release a “smart” television set at the CES in Vegas. Dubbed as the Google TV, it will empower its users by letting them connect to the Net and enjoy its services. It is due to be released in the first half or 2012.

Google is planning to use the same strategy for its TV business as what they used with their Android. The TV giants will make the sets based on Google’s Android software.

Market researcher Gartner said that the Android OS ranks first with a 52.5% share in the smartphone market during last year’s third quarter. Apple’s iOS had 15% share.

Google tried the TV market once when it partnered with Logitech and Sony. Unfortunately, this attempt failed as the partnership was not with the top TV developers in the market and American TV stations.

Now, Google’s latest gamble seems like a very sound decision. Not only are they partnering with three top tier companies, but they are also teaming up with Vizio. The company is also partnering with Marvell and Mediatech.

There are already 150 TV applications available and thousands of Android applications as well.

Connected TV

By Tim Jarvis for Style + Tech For Men

Computers and televisions have finally gotten together, and their offspring is just taking their baby steps out into the market.

The big news at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year was Connected TV (aka Smart TV or Internet TV). So what is it, and why should you care?

According to gadget guru Eric Schlissel — owner and CEO of GeekTek.com, an IT services and tech-support company based in Los Angeles — the next generation of TVs will offer the same functionality as the Roku player or Apple TV box, built into the television:

“With these TVs, you also get onscreen widgets, just like those on your PC or phone,” says Schissel. “They can update the local weather, give you baseball scores or serve up the Euro/Dollar exchange rates,” says Schlissel. “In some cases, the television will come with a built-in Web browser and a keyboard.”

The good news is that the next TV you buy will probably already have a lot of these bells and whistles. “It’s going to become standard, because the cost to the manufacturers is next to nothing to build these features in.” The bad news is that you’re going to be paying a premium for them.

If you head down to your local electronics store right now, the kid on the sales floor will be able to show you a bunch of Internet-connectable TVs with the usual major players standing out from the crowd. LG and Samsung are offering their own versions of Smart TV, and the Sony product has Google TV integrated directly into the unit.

To Buy or Not to Buy
At last year’s CES, 3-D TV was the buzz phrase of Sin City. More than a year of hype and hundreds of headlines later, consumers are still not buying into it. So should you be one of the first to jump on the Connected TV bandwagon? How quickly will everybody else follow?

“The problem is that watching television is essentially a passive activity,” says Schlissel. “I don’t know how much people will really want to surf the Web on their TV, or deal with a keyboard.” As he sees it, consumers aren’t going to base their choice of TV on its ability to connect to the Internet, or on the platform or widgets it comes with. Their decision will largely be based on what it has always been based on: the quality of the picture.

So if you can wait for the dust to settle and the prices to come down, most Internet-enabled televisions are going to be offering the same smart features and similar content. And your choice will likely be shaped by variables that include picture quality, ease of setup and customer support.

Best of What’s out There Now

Sony Internet TV
І $499 to $1,199

Sony’s Internet TV currently comes in four screen sizes that range from 24 to 46 inches. It’s a fully functional HD-TV with Google TV built in, and it comes with a full QWERTY keypad remote. According to Sony, you can surf the Web and enjoy both the Internet and television shows at the same time with inset screens. You can also download thousands of applications from the Android Market.

LG Smart TV
І $1,300

LG is offering its Smart TVs with screen sizes from 32 to 55 inches, some of which come with 3-D capability. Other features include full 1080p resolution, Web-browsing capabilities, a motion-sensitive remote control (for select models), a customizable dashboard, and the ability to download apps from the LG app store. Plus, they’re Wi-Fi-ready.

Samsung Smart TV
І $1,600

Samsung’s Smart TVs are both 2-D and 3-D capable and come with screens ranging from 32 to 55 inches. The company’s Smart Hub interface connects you to proprietary Samsung apps, a search feature that allows you to find videos on your system, and recommendation functionality that auto-suggests movies you might enjoy through your on-demand services.

When Do You Need To Get Smart?
“I am a big fan of this technology,” says Schlissel. “Everyone will eventually have access to it, but I’m not convinced they will care about it or make full use of all the features right now. At the moment, most of the content offered by the various manufacturers is basically the same. If you wait a bit, they will create new points of difference among themselves. Eventually, consumers will be swayed to a particular brand by good, original content that introduces them to the full range of what these televisions can do.”

Photo Credits:
Getty Images
Samsung Smart TV
Sony Internet TV

Tim Jarvis is a freelance health, technology and entertainment writer who contributes to O, The Oprah Magazine and the men’s grooming and lifestyle site Men’s Life Today. He is also currently working on a book about the mysteries of quantum mechanics.



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