New TVs For 2012: OLED, Smart TVs, Off-Screen Viewing, Digital Switchover
2012 is a very TV year. The massive 55 inch OLED LG TV was a star at the CES global gadget show, and this April, we'll all be asked to pay attention to the box for the digital switchover.
And then there's some kind of big sporting event to watch in June. Some sports on a large scale perhaps? Based around London, I believe.
TVs are getting smarter, with more ways to watch the box both in and out of the loungeroom. Plus they can now be used for much more than just watching TV.
The choice, and the new options can be overwhelming. So we're here to drill down through the sales hype and gadget geekery to look at what you really need to know about TVs in 2012.
Connecting to the internet via the TV is a logical step, and smart TVs that do just that are available everywhere. Tesco sells one for £199.
A smart TV also means you can watch missed episodes on BBC iPlayer, or share watch you're watching on Facebook, or turn your TV into a giant Skype service.
Turn a normal TV into a smart TV with a Sony net box, Google TV box or Apple TV.
TV off the box
Multi-screen fiddling (using your phone or tablet while you're watching TV) is hugely popular, and it's now been harnessed by apps like Zeebox.
Zeebox is the natural evolution of tweeting your friends while you're watching Eastenders, or checking Time Team facts on your laptop while the latest weird discovery is dug up.
The free social TV app delivers live information based on keywords mentioned in the show, shows you which Facebook friends are watching.
You can use it to invite others to watch with you - say, your mum or friend from another area of the country. Eventually you should be able to buy straight from the screen with this app.
Netflix, which has just launched in the UK with a month's free trial, can stream TV anywhere on a portable device using WiFi or 3G. Start watching on the TV and you can pick up your viewing on your smart phone or tablet when you're on the move.
LoveFilm now also offers a 30 day free trial, and the two services should be keen to win your custom with good offers through the year.
LED made our screen nice and thin, now OLED is making them thinner. OLED TV is much more energy efficient than LCD, LED and Plasma.
The models demonstrated at CES 2012 were a massive 55 inches, slightly impractical for your average loungeroom. They will shrink as they come into production.
New On-TV experiences.
You can now control your TV with your voice or movement. This initially could sound gimmicky, but it's genuinely handy for some people who have a hard time using, or even finding, the remote.
Xbox 360 Kinect allows you to do so much more than watch Downton Abbey on the box. With one of these plugged in, you can watch streamed shows via the internet with LoveFilm, 4OD and Demand 5.
3D is something of a gimmick in film, making up a very small percentage of ticket sales, according the the BFI. But 3Ds are proving popular with families, and more makers are turning them out.
Sales at retailers like PC World and Currys say that the Joneses, the Jameses and potentially even the Johanesses are snapping them up for family homes across the country.
Check our digital switchover big news page for more TV and switchover news.
The UK digital switchover occurs in London on April 4. Check Digital Switchover for information on your area's switch to digital TV.