OUT OF THE BOX: Samsung’s latest TV comes with a voice recognition feature.
OUT OF THE BOX: Samsung’s latest TV comes with a voice recognition feature. THINKSTOCK

Smart TVs not such a smart idea

I STILL fondly remember the day my father bought me my first little portable television set.

It was a little black, second-hand job from one of those blokes who fixes up old, unwanted electrical goods and sells them on.

Although it was probably only a bit over 20 years ago, bringing home a new TV in those years was a much different experience to what it is today.

First of all, you had to arrange a set of those damned bunny ears in such a way as to get a decent reception - which was difficult to work out before you'd even tuned any of the channels in.

Then came the laborious task of manually tuning in each of the channels - an extremely frustrating and fiddly process that could often soak up a good hour.

The effort was worth the trouble, however, even if we only had five stations to choose from and the screen was about 30cm across.

Televisions were a big investment when I was younger - a luxury item to be cherished and looked after for many years, and apart from the odd busted tube, many of those old TVs lasted for decades. Unfortunately, things have changed rapidly.

For one, is it any coincidence that the size of TV screens has grown in proportion to the size of the obesity epidemic?

The act of sitting on one's own backside and watching television has become so taken for granted that the search for ways to make it less mundane has seen manufacturers introduce all manner of meaningless technology.

In less than 20 years, we've gone from screens that are curved outwards, to flat screens, to screens that are curved inward in such a way as to surround the viewer.

Perhaps contributing to that sense of being a prisoner of your own gadgetry, they are now making TVs that are watching you.

The new Samsung Smart TV comes with a voice recognition feature (because buttons are too much effort for some people) in which your living room conversations are stored and possibly sent - via the internet - to an un-named third party.

The reason? Samsung says that it is for the purpose of improving the appliance's features, but the fact that your voice can be saved and sent to a complete stranger has sent the conspiracy theorists into a spin.

Whichever way you look at it, there is one simple solution to this problem, and that is to just buy an ordinary old TV - you know, the type where you, the viewer, gets to do all the lookin' and listenin'.

Call me old-fashioned, but I didn't think there was anything wrong with the old way.

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