What Year Did the Smart TV Come Out? (the FULL Story)

David Hughes
By David Hughes 10 Min Read

Can you believe that the first-ever patent for what we now know as a Smart TV was filed way back in 1994? It’s true! A French company called France Advanced Systems took the lead in this tech revolution. However, it took a bit longer for the idea to become a reality. It wasn’t until 2007 that we saw the first Smart TV, the HP MediaSmart TV (SL3760), come to life.

Now, picture this: your great-grandma’s bulky, 80-pound cathode ray tube TV from the 1920s. It’s hard to imagine that these massive boxes have evolved into today’s ultra-light, super-thin, and incredibly capable smart TVs. This transformation story is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s a tale of technology leaping forward, bringing us from a hefty, simple box to a sleek device that does so much more than just show pictures on a screen. Let’s dive into this amazing journey and see how far we’ve come!

Your Grandma’s cathode ray tube TV

Remember when TVs were just a simple combination of a tuner, a monitor, and speakers? That was the essence of television sets back in the day. The purpose? To let us watch and listen to broadcasts sent from satellites or cables.

This journey began in the late 1920s with a technology called CRT, short for Cathode Ray Tube. Imagine an outdoor antenna reaching out to catch signals from nearby TV stations. That was the norm!

The Colorful Revolution of the 1960s

Fast forward to the 1960s, and TVs underwent a huge change. They started showing broadcasts in color. This was a game-changer, making TV shows and movies more realistic and enjoyable. It was like stepping from a black-and-white world into one bursting with color!

The 1970s: A New Era of Recorded Media

The 1970s brought another big leap. TVs weren’t just for watching live broadcasts anymore. They became display devices for recorded media. Think Betamax, VHS, and DVDs. This was a time when families gathered around the TV for movie nights, watching their favorite films on tapes and discs.

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1980s: Gaming and Home Computers Join the Scene

The 1980s saw TVs getting even more versatile. With the rise of video games and home computers, TVs found a new role. They became alternative display devices for gaming consoles and early computers. Imagine playing your favorite video games on the same screen you watched cartoons!

The LCD Revolution of the 2010s

Jump to the early 2010s, and there was a major shift in technology. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TVs, which were sleeker, lighter, and more capable, became affordable. This marked the beginning of the end for those bulky cathode ray tube TVs.

Internet Era: The Dawn of Smart TVs

With the internet becoming a household necessity in the 2000s, TV manufacturers sensed a big change coming. They knew it was time to innovate. Just like cell phones were becoming ‘smart’, TVs were about to take a giant leap into the future. The era of smart TVs was about to begin, marking a new chapter in the history of television. Let’s see how this new era of smart technology revolutionized the TV industry!

What makes a Smart TV, smart?

Have you ever wondered what makes a Smart TV, well, smart? It’s like a mash-up of a computer and a regular TV, but with some cool extra features. These TVs have built-in internet (yes, WiFi!) and web capabilities. You can do a bunch of neat things with them, like watching shows from different apps, surfing the web, streaming videos and music, and a lot more.

The Power of Internet and Advanced Computing

Smart TVs are smart because they combine internet access, advanced computing abilities, and connectivity. This means you can enjoy the vast world of the internet right on your TV screen. It’s like having the flexibility and power of the internet in your living room!

Apps, Streaming, and Smart Home Control

These nifty TVs let you download and run apps from your favorite sites or platforms. Think of all the entertainment options this opens up: streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, checking out what’s happening on social media, playing games, or even managing a bunch of interconnected home gadgets.

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A Convergence of Technologies

A Smart TV is more than just a TV. It’s a blend of TV, computer, and what used to be set-top boxes (those devices that converted video content for analog TVs). Developers use special toolkits, like the Software Development Kit (SDK) or Native Development Kit (NDK), to create apps for these TVs. These apps are then available in an app store, just like on your phone.

User-Friendly and Ever-Evolving

Once connected to the internet, you can install or uninstall apps on a Smart TV just like you would on a smartphone or tablet. And get this: many Smart TVs now have voice recognition. That means you can switch channels, search for shows, or even control smart home devices just by speaking!

Continuous Innovation and Open-Source Frameworks

Despite all these awesome features, Smart TV technology keeps evolving. There are proprietary and open-source frameworks that allow these TVs to run various applications, offer media services, personalize communications, and connect to social networking. It’s like having a mini-computer that’s always getting smarter, right in your TV!

The Evolution of The Smart TV

Let’s take a time machine back to the early 1980s in Japan, where something called an “intelligent television receiver” was making waves. This wasn’t just any TV. It had a special character generator and an LSI chip with memory, letting Japanese viewers get additional information through broadcast signals. Imagine getting extra data alongside your regular TV shows!

Japan Leads the Way in Connected TV Systems

Japan was ahead of its time with these intelligent TV systems. They were connected to data networks, allowing viewers to download software. It was like a sneak peek into the future of television.

The First Smart TV Patent and Early Models

Jump to 1994, and the first patent for a Smart TV was filed by a French firm. But it wasn’t until 2007 that we saw the first real Smart TV, the HP MediaSmart TV (SL3760). This was a high-definition LCD TV that could stream audio and video files from your PC.

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Samsung Enters the Scene

In 2008, Samsung introduced the PAVV Bordeaux TV 750, a full HD Smart TV with 1GB of built-in memory for preloaded content, games, and browsing capabilities. It was a hit in Korea, offering access to news and YouTube videos. But Samsung didn’t stop there. In 2011, they released the Smart TV D8000 with a smart hub and social networking features. Then came the ES8000 in 2012, adding voice and motion control, along with cloud storage capabilities.

The Race Among TV Giants

This sparked a race among TV manufacturers. Companies like Sony, LG, and Panasonic joined in, each trying to outdo the others with innovative Smart TVs.

Samsung’s Continuous Innovation

Samsung continued to lead with features like an upgraded Smart Hub, the Evolution Kit for easy upgrades, and Advanced Control for better voice recognition.

Sony’s Android TV

In 2015, Sony launched its first Android TV under the Bravia brand, allowing users to access internet content and install apps and games from the Google Play Store. It was a first in the market and even included Google Assistant for voice commands and home automation control.

LG and Panasonic’s Contributions

LG wasn’t far behind, introducing the first HDR-capable 4K OLED TV in 2015, followed by their flagship LG Signature OLED TV, focusing on image quality. Meanwhile, Panasonic collaborated with Mozilla Firefox to create a user-friendly and customizable TV interface, enhancing the connected experience.

The Rise of Voice Assistants

The latest trend in Smart TV development is the integration of voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This turns Smart TVs into central hubs for controlling all smart home devices.

The Future of Smart TVs

With continuous evolution and a wide range of internet offerings, it’s exciting to think about what Smart TVs will bring us next. They’ve become more than just TVs; they’re an integral part of our connected lives, constantly adapting and improving to offer new and innovative ways to enjoy entertainment and manage our homes.

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