A new survey finds that most people with smart TVs aren't using the majority of the smart features. TV manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Sony stick all kinds of internet-connected features into their mid- and high-end TVs, but the interfaces are generally confusing and not optimized for sitting on a couch 10 feet away from a screen, and this survey confirms that nobody really wants to browse Twitter on a TV. But the silver lining is that a high percentage of users--more than half--are using the video-related apps, like Netflix and Hulu Plus. That's great! [via The Daily Mail]
Living in the Future is a new column about those rare moments, as we go about our daily lives, when we realize that what we're doing is amazing. We have a tendency to assimilate new tech into our lives without giving it much thought, or even without much gratitude, as Louis C.K. reminds us. But every once in awhile, we get that visceral "whoomph" while doing something as mundane as listening to music or playing a video game, and think: "Holy shit. I can't believe this is possible."
My favorite thing about AirPlay, Apple's wireless streaming protocol, is that it works so well and so simply that I never have to think about it. This scene has happened more than once: A group of friends sit around a living room, talking, drinking, laughing. Somebody wants to share a song with the group, or a YouTube video of tiny houses, or of a cat that figured out how to get more food from its automatic feeder, or the music video du jour.
In some way or another, I've been taking music and video from my computer and playing it on my TV for years, and it's always been awkward, ungainly, and unreliable. But these days, when I want to do that, my mental image is this: A video plays on my phone. I look down. I wrap my fist around the video. While the video struggles against my palm, cats meowing or singers cavorting, I wind up like a pitcher and heave it at my TV. It flies through the air in bits, like that Wonkavision scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, before slamming into the TV and reassembling itself, large and cinematic.
OLED TVs are as much a tradition at the annual CES electronics conference as anything else: you see, you drool, you shake your head and remember that OLEDs are still several years away. But CES 2012 seems to have broken the curse: Samsung promised to release their 55-inch OLED "this year," and LG, according to a "respected Korean business daily," will release theirs in May, after a big to-do at the Cannes Film Festival. They've even got a price: 9 million Korean won, about $7,900 USD. That sounds like a ton for a TV, but remember that just a few years ago, an 11-inch OLED TV sold for $2,500--I'm actually impressed by the $7,900 number, if it's true. We'll keep you guys updated if we learn more. [via The Verge]
The overwhelming success of Microsoft's Kinect sensor is just now showing up in grainy photocopied forms--meaning, the ripoffs are emerging. But that's actually okay with us. Some of them work really well, and do things the Kinect, due to it being a third-party accessory, won't ever be able to do. We played with new gesture experiments from LG and Samsung, and we're kind of looking forward to the next year, when we can heave our remote controls out the window forever.