December 09, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
Smart TVs—the kind that connect to the Internet and come with preloaded apps and widgets—are in vogue, and those features will continue to be refined and enhanced in the coming years. “We expect connectivity and apps to increase in our 2012 line of TVs,” says Tony Favia, senior manager of product planning at Sharp. That’s a good thing, though Samsung believes that the TVs of our future should also help us decide what to watch. TVs of tomorrow will allow you to streamline your search by simply typing in the name of a movie, an actor or a type of show—yes, these TVs can connect to wireless keyboards—and the TV will find it for you. For example, a request for Tron might pull a list that includes Netflix and pay-per-view options, with their prices. The choice is then yours.
After watching the movie you can rate it. The TV will learn the types of movies you enjoy the most and will begin to recommend shows. Of course, as TVs get smarter, you can also expect them to get larger, which has inspired a growing number of consumers to explore projection systems. Manufacturers are ready to exploit the trend of projector popularity by incorporating a slew of new technologies into their machines. These new features will make projectors more versatile, energy-efficient and intelligent, says George Walter, vice president of home cinema for Digital Projection International. One technology that will be a huge game-changer is wireless HDMI, he predicts. When wireless HDMI takes hold, a projector will no longer be physically connected to a Blu-ray player and other components. This will simplify the installation and allow homeowners to use projectors in areas like the outdoors that may have been previously impossible.
A new emphasis on optics, like shorter throw distances and greater lens shift, will also simplify installation. Then there’s content. Currently, projectors are fed video signals from components inside equipment racks. In the future, says Walter, they’ll stream video from the Internet all by themselves. “There will be a time when projectors will have mini computers built inside so they can function as their own self-contained entertainment components.”
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.