Can New Company Values Save Riot Games Culture?

The maker of one of the world’s most popular online battle arenas is taking a proactive step to address so-called “bro” culture in the gaming industry. Riot Games has published a set of company values that will govern its operations moving forward. The move comes after the company was accused in 2018 by some employees of advancing a sexist agenda.

Riot Games is best known for developing the popular League of Legends game platform. When the company was formed in 2012 it produced a manifesto which was meant to set forth the Riot Games philosophy. Gaming has undergone many changes since then, one of them being a greater willingness on the part of gamers and gaming companies to confront a negative culture.

The Riot Games culture is part of a larger problem in the gaming community. Many feel that the prevailing culture subjugates women in a sexist way. From the way women are depicted in video games to the way they are treated in chats during streaming, misogynistic attitudes in gaming seem to have reached a peak in the past ten years.

A controversy known as Gamergate occurred in 2014. Females in the gaming industry were targeted for harassment and abuse by other players, mostly male. The worst offenses were death threats against game developer Zoe Quinn. The entire spectacle gave gaming a black eye that the industry has yet to heal.

Last year allegations of sexism were raised by employees of Riot Games. There were no immediate measures to counteract the accusations, but the company began quietly revamping its policies regarding Riot Games culture.

According to Riot Games, more than 1,700 Rioters were directly involved in discussions about the company’s new direction. What emerged from the discussions was a new manifesto, a set of values that the company sees as a stepping stone to transformation. A statement from the company indicates that Riot Games seeks to be a role model for more progressive attitudes in the industry.

While the new values are a step in the right direction, Riot Games may not be out of the woods just yet. Some employees have filed a lawsuit in response to last year’s revelations. Those employees are accusing Riot Games of gender discrimination in court. Some even believe that the promotion of the new company values is a ploy to convince the courts that Riot Games is contrite about its past behavior.

Another measure that was taken by Riot Games was the appointment of Angela Roseboro as Chief Diversity Officer for the company. Roseboro has stated that her initial goal was to speak with the company’s employees about their vision for the company. It took her 90 days to complete those assessments which led to the creation of new values for Riot Games culture.

It is encouraging to see one of the world’s leading gaming companies address the issue of gaming culture. Hopes are high that a new culture of inclusion and diversity is something all who love games can get behind.

To read more on topics like this, check out the gadgets & technology category.

8 of the Best Wireframe Tools For 2019

 

With so many wireframe tools out there, it can be difficult to narrow down the right one for your specific needs and budget. Each tool has its own unique set of features, integrations, and price range. So which ones are the best? For 2019, we’ve chosen these eight wireframe tools that we think stand out among the competition. We’ve based our criteria on functionality, compatibility, price, integration, and sharing/collaboration. Keep reading to learn about eight of the best wireframe tools for 2019.

1. Wireframe.CC

This web-based wireframe tool is easy to use, functions well, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, it’s free to use for a single user; though there are features that are only available with the paid version.

Wireframe.cc is the epitome of simplicity in wireframe design. With limited color options and toolbars, you can stay more focused on the simple aspects of wireframing (which is the whole point of creating a wireframe to begin with). Since the tool is web-based, it doesn’t matter which platform you’re working from. Wireframe.cc ranges from $16-$99/month based on which package and features you want.

2. Axure RP

Axure is one of the most trusted and widely-used wireframe and prototyping platforms available. It’s intuitive interface and gentle price tag make it effective and affordable; a favorite among both small and large businesses alike. The company boasts some high-profile clients, from Amazon to Verizon, and even Microsoft.

At just $29 per user per month, you can have access to some of the most powerful tools in UI/UX design available. The program is compatible with all platforms, and even offers cloud storage and collaboration tools for greater communication and synchronicity among your design and development teams.

3. Sketch

If you’re looking to create stunning visual elements for your design projects, Sketch is the way to go. This simple yet powerful tool lets you create effective wireframes from scratch, and integrate them with other design programs like Axure for further improvement.

Sketch is also quite affordable, with a $99, one-year personal license available. After the year is up, you can continue to use Sketch, but you won’t get access to software updates until you resubscribe for another year. You can also opt for a Volume License for $89/year for two devices.

4. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the industry heavyweight when it comes to wireframe design. The software has remained one of the most widely used and effective tools, and along with Adobe’s impressive lineup of design tools, is easily integrated with other programs.

Adobe offers its software on a single-program basis for just $20.99/month, or you can have full access to the Adobe Creative Cloud for $52.99/month without the stock images, icons, and videos that come with each program. If you want the stock included, your price will be $82.98/month. The stock that Adobe provides is one of its best features, so you’ll definitely want to include this option with your monthly plan.

5. UXPin

An incredibly compatible software service, UXPin is available to Mac, Windows, and Linux users via download or in the browser. Bring your wireframes to life with UXPins, where static images and features become interactive designs; so you can get a true idea of what your projects will look and feel like.

UXPin is free for basic prototyping, or you can choose one of three paid options: Basic, Advanced, and Enterprise; which are $12 per editor per month, $20 per editor per month, and custom priced respectively. Each comes with a free trial, so you can get a feel for the software before you decide to make the purchase.

6. Visio

Creating flowcharts and vector images is simple with Microsoft’s Visio. This lightweight, intuitive software is simple to use and can be applied to a variety of tasks, including flow charts and wireframing. Users can work together within the same flowchart, making collaboration and sharing that much simpler.

This Windows-based software can be obtained for just $5 per month for the basic package and around $15 per month for the Pro version.

7. MockPlus

Mockplus’ company phrase says it all: “Prototype faster. Smarter. Easier.” Prototyping for web, mobile, and desktop designs just got easier with MockPlus. Focused on streamlining the design process for better prototypes, the software’s wireframing and prototype tools are something of wonder.

With nearly 200 components and 3,000 icons at your fingerprints, you can save countless hours searching for the right icon and stay focused on completing your designs. MockPlus does offer a free trial, and you can obtain the software for just $199/user per year for individuals and $1,999 per team per year for larger teams. An unlimited, perpetual license will set you back around $6,000.

8. JustinMind

JustinMind is compatible with both Windows and Mac users, being web-based software. With a huge library of UI elements available, you can save time on your designs and cut right to the meat of the project instead of worrying about the smaller details.

For both web and mobile design, JustinMind is one of the best tools available. Your prototypes can be exported in HTML format, making your developer’s lives that much easier. For just $19/month, you can have access to this impressive software for you and your team.

To read more on topics like this, check out the gadgets & technology category.

How Casinos Can Use Social Media To Attract More Customers

The trick most often missed in the online gambling industry, is the smart use of social media management. With social media boasting the ability to attract more customers, interact with an audience and optimize customer service – you would think this would be the first thing on the to-do list for any casino – but it just doesn’t seem to be the case.

A look at any online casino followed by a short trip around their social media accounts nicely emphasizes my point . Where you would expect high engagement, huge likes and regular, high-quality content you’ll find, well, the exact opposite.

Across the board, casinos’ social media accounts are full to the brim with poorly managed content, sales-pitch-based offers and inconsistent posting. In fact, it’s a struggle to find a single casino, affiliate or bookie that manages to push the boundaries and attract more customers through social media (bar the highly controversial PaddyPower, that is).

I’m a firm believer that all casinos can use social media to attract more customers providing they take the time to experiment and put the correct team with the correct budget in place. Here’s how to do it:

1. Build a brand by posting consistently

Perhaps the most important task any casino can do to build brand awareness and, ultimately, attract more customers, is to create social media accounts and to consistently post on them .

This should be the first step for any modern business that wants to target more customers. Unfortunately, the majority of the gambling industry doesn’t seem to have received the memo.

High-quality brand oriented content should be posted daily across various social media channels to ensure the maximum number of potential customers see the content. That means Facebook, Instagram and Twitter should all be consistently updated with original content for each one.

There needs to be value for the audience in everything posted, whether the posting provides entertainment, information or just about anything other possible factor that draws interest. This is the karma philosophy in marketing form.

Be good to the consumers and they’ll be good to you.

2. Encourage sharability and tagging

One of the most effective ways social media can be used to increase the number of customers flocking to a casino is with organic sharing and tagging.

By creating entertaining, shocking or informative content that adds value to the audience, the sharability and ‘tagability’ of content go through the roof.

There are plenty of ways to do this in the gambling industry: from humorous images and video to incredible offers that hook the audience, grab attention and then are shared with friends. The sky’s the limit and by using social media analytics to keep an eye on the engagement from different forms of content, companies will be able to tell what is doing well and what should be improved or scrapped.

Time to get creative and come up with the next best viral video of 2019.

3. Run social-specific offers

People love to feel included, special and part of a unique group. With social media-specific offers, they can have just that.

Giving social media-specific offers is almost like getting rewarded for following the casino on social accounts. It doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking, maybe a few free spins here and there, a scratchcard every month or a unique bonus for several followers on occasion.

The point is not the scale of the reward, but the guarantee or the chance to win that’s great in gambling industry posts. However, it is important to check the terms and conditions of specific social media sites to ensure that no infringements are made – there’s nothing worse than incorrectly advertising gambling.

Give, give, give. That’s the idea of the business model behind social media and if you’re not giving more than you’re taking, your audience will know about it, feel used and you’ll see engagement start to drop. It’s the karma effect in full swing once again.

4. Use gambling affiliate sites and social profiles to promote

One of the unique areas of the online gambling industry is the presence that gambling affiliate sites have in both the sheer number of sites and the power that they wield.

Gambling affiliate sites are often seen as independent, meaning they have an almost unwarranted level of trust over casinos from the customer’s viewpoint. This is good news for affiliates, but bad news for casinos, that is, if you don’t utilize their position.

Affiliates only make money if casinos do, so it’s best for affiliates and casinos to be involved with each other so that a unified front is presented and everyone is making money. By using sites and social profiles like OnlineCasinoGems, casinos can post new sign-up offers via a trustworthy ‘independent’ party.

Casinos get new customers, affiliates earn a commission and new players gain great offers – everyone is a winner.

5. Offer customer service through numerous social channels

The biggest criticism throughout the whole of the gambling industry are related to customer service, the lack thereof for the majority of online casinos.

Customer service should be about making it as easy as possible for disgruntled, confused or curious customers to be helped, informed and pointed back into the right direction with the sense of having been heard and understood. So what is the easiest way for customers to get in touch with issues? Via social media.

Countless companies are using social media accounts as their source for customer service with a focus on Facebook Chat and Twitter DM to find solutions to problems customers experience when using or considering using a certain site. This form is no longer cutting-edge either, with more consumers than ever assuming it should be possible to contact customer service via social media with a response in as little as 4 hours.

It’s not just something to consider, but a necessity if businesses are serious about looking after their customers.

To read more on topics like this, check out the gadgets & technology category.

Building An Effective Business Website: Design Tips For Beginners

No matter what kind of business you’re running today, you need a website. Your web presence will make a dramatic impact on the efficiency of your business, especially if it’s done right. Don’t simply rely on a prefabbed template to get you through.

Put in a little more effort, and consider some of the most impactful design elements of a successful business website. Here is a brief look at some specific design elements your website needs to make its mark on the digital community.

Simple navigation features

It’s important that web users can easily figure out how to move around your website and explore what you have to offer. Start with a stationary navigation bar, like this legal website shows, and expand branches of information from there.

Don’t force visitors to sit staring at their screens trying to figure out how to find the information they’re seeking. You’ll lose traffic by overcomplicating your design, so keep it simple.

Integrated social media features

Social media is at the pique of popularity online, and your business can’t afford to ignore such a large community of consumers. Invest in social media PPC ads.

Setup social media business profiles on the most popular platforms, and don’t forget to incorporate social media sharing buttons within the design of your official business website.

Communication elements are essential

Communication is essential to great business, and your digital presence should encourage visitors to communicate whenever possible.

Use your website to collect valuable information from your target audience, and refine your approach to marketing based on the feedback you receive. Add contact forms and opt-in opportunities for email communications, and get the most out of your business website.

High-quality media features

Don’t settle for less when it comes to quality on your website. High-quality images and fast streaming videos will make your site more interesting and effective. Convenience is key in modern culture.

Don’t let your visitors sit waiting for images or videos to load, and make certain that your website isn’t super “heavy” with content. Condense files for faster loading speeds, and constantly seek out ways to improve your site’s efficiency.

Mobile optimization is vital

Mobile optimization simply can’t be ignored in this digital era. People don’t sit at home on their computers much anymore. They use various mobile devices to do whatever you can imagine at all hours of the day and night.

Mobile access is the most popular way to surf the web, and your business website should be built in such a way that mobile users have no issue viewing the content you create. Don’t be that annoying website that makes people pinch, swipe, and squint to view your content.

To read more on topics like this, check out the gadgets & technology category.

Five Appliances You Need In Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of your home, and having the right appliances in it is essential if you’re going to get the most out of your space. Gone are the days when housewives had to wash their clothing by hand in the sink or keep their milk on a marble shelf. Appliances are now king and no kitchen would be complete without a fridge freezer, oven, washing machine or dishwasher. While we all know that these appliances are absolutely essential for modern living, there are also lots of smaller appliances which you really should consider having in your kitchen too. Here are five of the best that you should definitely invest in.

A Food Processor

Is there any kitchen appliance more versatile than a food processor? This one handy gadget can do pretty much anything. It can dice, slice and whip, preparing sauces and dips in seconds. What could be easier? It’s also a very small appliance, so you can store it away in a cabinet with ease, or even keep it out on your countertop ready to be used at a moment’s notice.

A Slow Cooker

If you’re out at work all day, the last thing you need in your life is to get home in the evening and have to prepare a complex dinner. The good news is that if you invest in a slow cooker you won’t have to do that ever again. All you need to do is throw your ingredients into the pot, turn the gadget on before you head out of the door in the morning and you’ll return home to the smell of delicious cooking and a dinner all ready to serve. You can prepare a huge range of meals in a slow cooker too. You can cook whole joints of meat, stews, soups, chilis, curries and even desserts like cakes, custards and puddings – making this a truly multifunctional purchase.

The Kettle Tap

Don’t use a standard kettle! Instead, invest in a kettle tap. This modern kitchen appliance gives you instantly boiled water on demand so you’ll never need to wait for the kettle to boil again. They’re also a more energy-efficient alternative to using a regular kettle so you can do your bit for the planet too.

A Coffee Machine

Although you might have a French press in your kitchen cabinets, sometimes you just want a latte or cappuccino without having to go to your local coffee shop and pay a fortune. Coffee machines have a small footprint and can easily sit on your counter top without taking up too much on it. There are several different types, but a pod coffee machine is one of the best options since it allows you to make all kinds of coffee in just a couple of minutes. They’re also incredibly low maintenance and simple to use since all you’ll need to do is open a box of pods, pop one into the machine and you’ll be good to go in seconds. Pod coffee machines aren’t just for coffee lovers either! You can make regular or fruit teas, hot chocolate and chai beverages too, so there’s something for everyone!

A Water Softener

If you live in a hard water area, you might want to consider investing in a water softener. Hard water can cause a whole host of problems. Not only can it cause scale to build up on your appliances and faucets, but it can also cause your water to taste unpleasant. You may also find it hard to get a lather when using soap when you have hard water coming from your shower heads and faucets. A water softener resolves all these problems. It helps to make your water more tasty and it will also guard against that unwanted scale build up that can be so difficult to clean away. Visit this link now to find out more about how to choose the best water softener to suit your needs on the market today since there are several different types available to choose from.

These five items are absolute musts for any home. Invest in all of them and enjoy all the benefits of a newly revamped kitchen!

Chrome, Plastic, or Steel: Which Lug Nut Cover is Best for Your Semi?

Trucking can be a job or a way of life for some. It’s not uncommon for truckers to spend most of their time on the road.  As a semi truck driver, you are practically living in your semi-truck. As a job, you’ll need lots of experience and seat time. You’ll have to be mindful to check your tire pressure, fuel, trailer alignment, wheels and find the right chrome lug nut covers for your truck before taking off onto the road.

As you are spending all your time on the road on your semi-truck, why not add a bit more style to him?  The best way to add a bit more character to your bestie without it becoming a costly endeavor is through lug nut covers.

Lug nut covers can serve your truck in several ways. They act as a deterrent against people driving too close to your semi-truck. It can endanger you and the other if they are not mindful to keep a good distance from your truck. Motorists tend to drive more carefully around big rigs with lug nut covers, especially spikes, which look intimidating. The more careful others are around you, the more comfortable and safer your drive becomes.

Lug nut covers can serve another purpose. A lot of semi-truck drivers check their mirrors to ensure the wheels are turning. It can also help make sure the brakes hadn’t frozen up in winter conditions.

When it comes to materials for your lug nut covers, you can choose from chrome, plastic, stainless steel and colored vinyl. The most common ones you’ll see are the chrome plastic ones.  If you are concerned about your lug nut covers rusting, choosing those made of plastic is the best option for you. Chrome steel ones are likely to rust more frequently than stainless steel ones. Higher quality lug nut covers will last longer in rough driving conditions on a daily basis.

Have you decided on what type of lug nut covers you want to get for your truck? Head over to Iowa80.com to choose from a massive collection of lug nut covers from Iowa 80 semi truck chrome plastic to stainless steel lug nut covers that includes hundreds of options like: bullet, spike, spike hex, top hat, reflective, standard dome, razor, twister, v spike, full moon, pointed top hat and so many more!

Computer Myths You Have To Stop Believing

Computers are all around us but most people do not really know much about them. We tend to use gadgets, technology and computers on a daily basis and believe what others tell us about them. Unfortunately, since most people talking about them are not professionals, various myths and misconceptions appeared in the past. We are going to talk about the most common ones so that you can stop thinking that they are correct.

Drives Have To Be Frequently Defragmented

You do not really have to defragment the modern computer. This is because they include defragmentation utilities that will automatically run on a schedule that is pre-defined. That is basically true for both Macs and PCs. We also have different devices that include flash storage or SSDs. These do not have to be defragmented since that can actually ruin them. Solid state drives are more common every day so defragmenting is not something you should worry about.

Spyware And Viruses Will Slow Down The Computer

Most computer users believe that when the PC slows down it is because of malware. The computer may be infected but the modern malware is now profit-driven. Creators are mainly interested in running stealthily without leaving traces. Performance decreases are rarely noticed these days when viruses and spyware appear. However, this does not mean that you do not need to be protected. Having all the software you need is definitely something of necessity.

Proxies Are Used By Hackers

There are many regular users that can take advantages of the numerous advantages associated with proxy use. For instance, the Netflix proxy error fix is a great example of something that gained a lot of popularity in the recent past. Using proxies is highly beneficial because you gain an extra level of security to your computer. That is something many do not actually know about. Hackers nowadays use much more than just a proxy. Basically, using proxies can be highly beneficial.

Cleaner Software Will Improve Computer Performance

Every single computer user out there saw ads for cleaner software that guarantees the fact that cleaning registry errors will make the units work faster. According to Louis Hernandez Jr, who tested numerous such software, many interesting programs are beneficial for the computer but the truth is that such heavily advertised software is not on the list. What you need to do is to basically learn all that you can about the programs that are actually beneficial for the computer and that would bring in speed updates.

Data Is Erased When Deleted From The Hard Drive

When pressing the delete button you tend to think that the data is erased forever. This is not actually the case. Only visible existence traces disappear. All the data remains on the hard drive until it will be overwritten. When you tell your computer to delete a file, it is actually marked as space that is available. In the future, new data will be put over it. That is something that is going to happen in the future but you never actually know when that is the case. It is even possible that data on your computer is still there from the first day you bought it, even years after.

5 Simple Ways You Can Maintain the Value of Your Car

Outside of a house, a vehicle is typically the biggest financial investment a person makes. And as with any investment, you want to be sure that you protect its financial value. But unlike a house, a car depreciates in value (and quite rapidly at that). So you’ll need a plan for helping your vehicle maintain value over time.

5 Ways to Retain Value

Every vehicle is unique in the sense that it requires different investments to keep it going. But for the most part, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to maintain the value of your car. It simply requires a little bit of time and effort.

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few simple, yet effective tips:

 

  • Perform Preventive Maintenance

 

To keep your body functioning in tip-top shape, you know that it’s important to make healthy decisions all of the time (not just after you experience a health crisis). So you try to eat well, exercise, drink plenty of water, and reduce stress. But did you know that preventative maintenance is just as important for your vehicle?

As Sears Auto explains, “Preventive maintenance is without question the most effective and least expensive way to keep your car running for a decade or longer. Regular automotive checks can help prevent costly repairs in the future and keep your car and its passengers safe.”

For best results, regularly inspect your tires, lights, wiper blades, batteries, air filters, belts, hoses, and fluids. If you find something wrong, deal with it right away – rather than letting it get worse. Small issues are usually simple and inexpensive to fix. Left untreated, though, small issues become much more expensive.

 

  • Keep the Vehicle Covered

 

Appearance plays a significant role in the value of a car. Even if the engine is in pristine condition, it’ll be tough to get maximum value for a vehicle with chipping paint, dents, and scratches. And while some basic wear and tear is to be expected, you can do yourself a favor by keeping the vehicle covered as much as possible.

If you don’t have access to a permanent garage, do the next best thing and buy a portable garage or shelter. It’ll cost you a few hundred dollars for a quality shelter, but it’s better than having to drop a few thousand dollars on a new paint job down the road.

 

  • Regularly Change Oil

 

One of the best things you can do for your engine is to change the oil on a regular basis. While a mechanic will tell you to change it every 3,000 miles, you can probably get away with more like 5,000 to 7,000 miles (assuming you aren’t putting a ton of stress on your engine). Regardless, be sure to do it once or twice per year. It’ll cost you $30 or $40 and 30 minutes of your time to have a professional take care of it. You can do it on your own for even less money (though it might take a few minutes longer).

 

  • Swap Out Air Filters

 

Just as important as changing your engine’s oil is swapping out the air filter. And considering that it’s so cheap ($10-$20) and easy (just remove a few screws), there isn’t any excuse for ignoring it.

 

  • Keep the Interior Clean

 

Finally, be sure to care for your vehicle’s interior. Whether leather or cloth, keeping the seats, dashboard, and floor clean will make you feel better about your vehicle and communicate to future buyers that you took care of it. It just takes five minutes every week or two – so do it!

Take Care of Your Car

The way in which you treat your car says a lot about who you are as a person. People who neglect or mistreat their vehicles tend to act similarly in other areas of their lives. People who keep their vehicles clean and proactively care for all of the major systems are generally more focused, appreciative, and attentive.

Don’t neglect your car. Not only is it bad for your vehicle’s value, but it also allows poor habits to take root inside of you. Take the time to invest in your vehicle, and you’ll be rewarded in more ways than one.

Overview of the Best Motorcycle Clothing

Motorcycle clothing is so vital term for all bikers as it plays key role to safe biker from any incident on road. Among the important parts of planning to ride a motorcycle is making sure you have the appropriate motorcycle riding jackets available. These types of items of clothing are something that, every motorcyclist has to invest some time and cash in getting to be able to secure themselves on the highway; despite the things you might have believed, it is not just for looks.

Leather motorbikes apparel is designed to secure riders from injury when they fall into an accident. Real leather is a great deal tougher than other materials and definitely tougher than skin, which could protect “road rash” as well as disfiguring injury in case of an accident.

A jacket is a crucial item of motorcycle leather apparel and offers safety to much of your whole body. Covering the back, the upper body, hands and midriff, a jacket may reduce lots of injury to your skin. Even if this is easily the most costly part of a couple of motorbikes clothing, no motorcyclist are able to be without a great leather-based motorcycle jacket.

After that most crucial is a good pair of leather-based gloves. All these, undoubtedly will keep your own arms protected from injury although also assisting you to get a strong grip on the handlebars of your motorbike (they are going to also hold your arms pleasant and comfortable on your rides). Having your arms and hands covered also protects damage from any debris which can fly up from the street.

Leather chaps are usually a part of an outfit of motorcycle leather clothes. Just like your jacket can defend your chest, chaps guard your ankles in the event of an accident, and offering safety from flying debris. Driving a motorcycle is not the most secure activity on the planet, therefore it is vital that you wear the perfect gear and secure yourself and possible.

Security is the most essential thing to consider regarding riding a motorcycle. You will require a jacket as well as gloves at least and chaps are extremely a sensible purchase as well. While you are in any sort of accident, you won’t care the way you look – hence ensure that you are properly protected with cheap motorcycle jackets before you decide to get out on the open highway and ride.

Your Essential Guide to Smart TVs: What They are, What They Can Do, and More

Most everyone has heard of smart TVs, but if you’re thinking of upgrading your current TV to a smart TV, it does pay to learn as much as you can about it. First of all, are smart televisions really ‘smart’? If you’re planning to get a television upgrade and are seriously considering getting a smart TV, here’s your essential guide to smart TVs: what they are, what they can do, what you can expect from your smart TV, and more.

What is it?

The original term for smart televisions was ‘connected televisions’ but they were later called smart televisions by brands such as LG and Samsung. The term refers to any TV which you can connect to the Internet so that you can access services for streaming as well as apps for entertainment, such as video rental on-demand, web browsers, and Internet music. Today, some models even feature voice-recognition capabilities, such as Alexa, and there are also other models which can now find films and shows across apps and live programmes from satellite or cable using voice-driven search. Many smart TVs today are also compatible with various other devices in the modern household such as door locks, sensors, and lights.

How it connects to the Internet

Smart televisions make use of either built-in WiFi or a wired connection (Ethernet) to connect to a home’s Internet network. Most smart TV models now have built-in WiFi, but you should check the Standard WiFi connection which comes with the TV if you are planning to stream films. Also, if you have a large home, you should check the coverage of your WiFi – for instance, if your router is in the cellar and your smart TV is on the 2nd floor, your unit may not be capable of smoothly streaming video from providers such as Netflix. You need to check that your smart TV gets a strong signal from your wireless connection, although you can remedy a weak signal by getting a good router which can support 802.11ac.

The services you can expect from a smart TV

There isn’t any standard OS (operating system) for smart televisions. Each manufacturer uses various software and different graphics. But most smart televisions can support services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Pandora, and Hulu. Bear in mind, though, that some units can only offer several apps which hardly ever change, while other units can provide different screen offerings. The app arrangement per smart TV can also vary depending on the manufacturer, with some TVs featuring a single row of app icons and others displaying a full-screen app menu.

Other considerations

While smart televisions are becoming more advanced, be aware that they can still hang or crash, much like a computer. Smart TVs use computer chips for processing videos and multiple screens as well as accessing the Internet, and units also make use of memory for buffering music and video. Some apps can freeze or crash the TV, and upgrades have resulted in a loss of power as well. But the units are changing and becoming better, and often, all you have to do is turn it off and turn it back on after a few minutes.

Of course, whether you go for a smart TV or a regular TV, you should also consider its placement and your viewing comfort. For this, you can go for a TV wall mount or a display stand, although most people go for wall mounts since they can be tilted and angled for optimum viewing.