From dumb to smart, T.V.s are growing up

Chromecast, Apple T.V., what happened to my old flatscreen ?

The holidays are over, phew! We’ve all gotten our share of knick knacks and cute gadgets. We’ve all had the time to prop up behind the screen and watch some Netflix, listen to some music and just spend some quality time laying back and taking it easy for a few weeks. That being said, we’re usually locked in front of our tiny laptop screens, or in the middle of our office with a big whirring computer to get access to any of that stuff. Kind of a bummer sometimes, yes?

The tech market’s getting lucky: we’ve gotten smartphones, smart tablets and smart watches, it’s only logical to tackle the topic of smart T.V.s. If you’ve been out of the loop, smart T.V.s allow you to use applications directly from your remote, kind of like having Netflix installed without running it through your game console (if you own any), or hooking up your laptop to the television. But honestly, smart T.V.s are pretty pricey given what they offer, and if you already own a decent T.V., it honestly isn’t really worth getting your hands on a new T.V. just for that level of convenience.

Thankfully the options exist for people who just want to use their regular T.V. to run these applications with relatively little problems, and without splurging upwards of $1000 on a new piece of hardware. Apple fans get access to Apple T.V., which runs for about $109 and gives you access to your iTunes library, Netflix, Youtube, and all sorts of other internet geekery using the convenient little remote that apple ships with it. If you aren’t big into Apple, don’t you worry; Google’s got your covered with the Chromecast, which, while not as open-ended as coming with its stand-alone applications, does allow you to control it using an Android Phone, Tablet or Chromebook without any wires. Best part ? It runs for about $50! Not keen on the idea of owning either of these devices? Some Blu-Ray players also have smart options now too !

These cute devices hook up via HDMI and run their own little standalone operating systems. The apple T.V. is a relatively small box, while the Chromecast is about as big as about two USB thumb drives. If you’re having company over, it’s easier than hooking up a laptop to some speakers, or running a bunch of cabling from your device to the T.V., worrying about your battery life. In all cases, you don’t need to have your friends or family wade through your personal computer history and files to show you their favorite song on Spotify, or a cute cat video on youtube. The Apple T.V.’s remote is easy to handle and can be passed around and the Chromecast allows you to control it with any android phone in the vicinity, so your friends who may also be using Android can do all of those things from their own phone without touching yours.

So if you’re still hung up on returning some gifts from christmas for an exchange, or not sure what to do with that gift card or prepaid VISA, give these little babies a thought. The convenience is a great bonus, and a lot cheaper than a brand new T.V..

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