3.4 Smart TV and voice assistants

Smart TV

A smart TV is also known as a connected TV, because it is connected to the internet. An older TV that is not connected to the internet is sometimes called a ‘dumb TV’. Smart TVs are Wi-Fi enabled, but you still need a home internet connection. We covered this in Lesson 1 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Smart TVs come with interactive features that allow you to stream music or films, watch videos, browse the internet, check social media, and access a range of apps. The channels available on a smart TV depend on the make of your TV and your TV provider. Your TV provider is usually the same as your internet provider, such as Virgin Media, BT or Sky. You can get many standard channels through Freeview, which you can access free without a subscription. All major smart platforms will support the Netflix app and some remote controls may have a dedicated ‘Netflix’ button. You will also need to subscribe to Netflix to access the content.

Voice assistants

Your smart TV can be controlled using a voice assistant. Voice assistants are embedded in smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo (Alexa), Google Assistant or the Apple HomePod (Siri).

These devices are artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that understand voice commands and can complete tasks. They can find information from the internet, deliver news and sports scores, tell you the weather, play music, make phone or video calls, take notes, keep a shopping list and, in the case of Alexa, accept orders on Amazon Prime. They can also be used to control a wide range of connected ‘smart home’ gadgets, such as lights, central heating, kettles, fridges and software. They are called ‘smart speakers’ as they can listen to your commands and then speak to you to confirm them.

Each device has a range of useful accessibility features for people with vision, hearing, mobility and speech impairments. For example, they can help you navigate and interact with your devices. Accessibility features offered by Alexa include:

  • Compatibility with assistive software such as screen readers.

  • Adjustable speed of speech.

  • Functionality to pair with Bluetooth speakers for increased volume.

  • Visible light indicators.

  • Far-field speech recognition (you can interact from a distance of up to 10 meters)

  • Customisable wake up and end words.

(List adapted from Amazon.com, ‘Accessibility features for Alexa’).

How to retrieve your bookmarks in Google Chrome

3.5 Storing your data