$700 Smart TV set-up puts you in control of what you watch
THERE'S nothing worse than getting home after a long, hard day and finding there's absolutely nothing to watch on TV.
Despite the proliferation of free-to-air and pay-for-view stations, you can find yourself surfing the channels more than watching great content.
Smart TVs offer to change all that - putting you - not the TV networks - in control of what is available to watch.
We picked up a 3D TV for just over $550 on the weekend and added a WIFI Samsung Smart blu-ray disc player for $150.
It was surprisingly easy to connect up to our wireless internet at home - in fact I had more trouble assembling the TV stand!
We can now watch sport from around the world, including replays of AFL and rugby games, YouTube videos, thousands of movies (for rent or purchase), ABC iView programs, BBC news, or just check out the local weather.
With so many of us now accustomed with using apps on our phones, Samsung and other TV makers have taken the same approach to the TV screen.
There are numerous apps, for example, to watch movies, documentaries or music video clips. There are also games, access to Facebook, YouTube and Skype for connecting with overseas family and friends.
The sort of content out there is endless - great wildlife videos, comedy clips, inspirational talks, NASA space shows, surfing and fishing programs and photography classes.
There are also apps to allow you to share your own media - photos and videos - from your phone or computer straight to your computer.
YouTube, for example, allows you to "pair" your smart phone or tablet, so you can find the video on the smaller device - and then watch it on the big screen.
Install Google's Picasa and you can show off your family photos from your Picasa albums on the big screen. Photos on TV will allow you to show photos straight from your iPhone to your TV.
There are even apps which will turn your smart phone or tablet into a remote control device for your smart TV.
And if you're feeling a little guilty about sitting too long in front of the box, stand up and do some exercise.
Samsung's Smart Hub, for example, comes with an exercise program which allows you to set exercise goals, access instructional videos and even hook up with a WIFI scale to monitor your efforts.
SOME OF THE BEST SMART TV APPS FOR AUSTRALIA
Catch up with the best of ABC TV, including the news, current affairs shows, dramas, music videos, children's TV.
Up-to-date weather forecasts up to the following week as well as hourly variations.
Match replays, highlights, player interviews. The game analyser app allows you to watch replays of games displaying key data such as goal scored etc. Similar apps are available for rugby.
See the top stories of the day, updated 24 hours a day. Fairfax News and Fairfax TV are expected to offer similar content soon.
Frequency gives you a single place to watch all the video you care about. Instead of going to all your favourite websites, social networks, blogs and apps to watch internet videos, it finds and organises tens of millions of videos from across the internet into a few personalised channels.
Golfing fanatics can now access the latest golf news, world rankings, interviews, documentaries, tournament updates
3D VIDEOS ON DEMAND
Enjoy free 3D content on a 3D capable Samsung Smart TV ranging from music videos, kids classic cartoons, and movie/game trailers.
PLUS 7 BY YAHOO 7
Streaming of full length episodes as seen on Seven, 7mate and other content partners.
Video on Demand (VOD) available as both a subscription and/or transactional service.
TED's app presents talks from some of the world's most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus and music legends.
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