What’s new for Toshiba smart TV?
Smart TV wasn’t smart enough. That’s the message from Toshiba at the CES this year as it launches a completely new web-enabled user interface called Cloud TV.
Following in the wake of the brand’s much-criticised Toshiba Places smart TV interface, the all-new Cloud TV adorns this slim-bezelled 65-inch from the upcoming L7350 Cinema Series.
It’s a massive improvement. Cloud TV’s home screen contains a live TV thumbnail, a daily schedule based on calendar entries, personal emails, and recommended news videos (which change based on usage) presented as picture icons.
The latter is a style that clearly takes its inspiration from tablet-centric websites, though the look as a whole is similar to LG or Samsung’s recent attempts at smart TV.
Meanwhile, Content Page contains apps including Skype, Netflix and YouTube. Along the bottom of all screen are quick links to to Skype (though there’s still no built-in camera), a web browser, MediaGuide (a web-enabled EPG provided by Rovi that looks better than ever) and photo albums.
As well as apps, a central tenet of Cloud TV is how it integrates with smartphones and tablets. The 65L7350, which also sports passive Natural 3D, has MiraCast, a wireless P2P technology similar to Apple’s AirPlay. It bypasses Wi-Fi networks and relies on a direct link between a TV and a phone or tablet.
Dig a little deeper and the ‘cloud’ aspect appears to be nothing more than hot air. Despite the cloud storage being completely free, it’s severely limited; users will be able to upload just 50 digital photographs to Toshiba’s server, although they can be of any size.
The US model shown above has a decent array of TV and film suppliers: Toshiba typically announces the UK versions of its product range in March and we’ll bring you the details.
January 7, 2013 (additional reporting by Jamie Carter)
- CES 2013 Toshiba 65L7350 Cloud TV hands-on
- 7digital music app launching next month
- iPlayer, Twitter live sports and free films join Toshiba Places
What is Toshiba smart TV?
Toshiba’s 2012 smart TV offering is called Toshiba Places, a combination of TV guide and a portal for different on-demand entertainment services.
The TV guide, or Mediaguide, is supplied by Rovi and can be used as an alternative to the Freeview HD EPG, with more information provided over broadband, and recording to USB storage, but it does carry adverts.
Free apps include BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Cartoon Network, Viewster for films from the silver screen era, 1950s and 1960s, Livesport.tv, Euronews, DailyMotion video clips, and the Aupeo internet radio station.
Pay-per-view on-demand services include Acetrax and Box Office 365 for films, and live concert footage from iConcert.
Online music store/cloud locker 7digital is coming to the Toshiba Places app store on Toshiba Smart TVs.
Coming in September, 7digital’s ‘Toshiba Edition’ app will let viewers browse and stream tracks from a 20 million strong library. You’ll also be able to create playlists, purchase songs and access any music you’ve previously bought from 7digital’s online store and mobile apps.
You can sign in with your existing 7digital details to access all of your 7digital music – so if you’ve bought tracks on Android phones or tablets or your BlackBerry you should be able to get everything you’ve bought previously blasting out of your TV’s speakers.
All Toshiba TVs with Places launched since May 2011 will have access to the 7digital Toshiba app. Using the Places hotkey on your Toshiba remote you can access Music Place and pick 7digital from there.
August 30, 2012
Toshiba has boosted its Toshiba Places smart TV platform with Twitter, live sports, internet radio, free classic films, live music and a special BBC iPlayer.
Toshiba Places reaches into all of its Freeview HD TVs, with prices from £529, to its very high-end 3D models at around £1,000.
They also come equipped with an internet-based programme guide from Rovi, which provides extra listings information and can be used to set up recordings to hard discs connected via USB. Remote control duties can be handed to a WiFi app for both Apple iOS and Android handheld devices.
The Rovi Mediaguide covers all Freeview HD channels, but it won’t provide extra information if you have a Sky, Virgin or Freesat set-top box attached.
It downloads eight days of TV listings via your broadband connection, but unfortunately it’s supported by advertising.
It launches with the new TVs in April, but will be upgraded through the year with extra features including picture-in-picture so you can watch while you browse.
Toshiba Places is the portal which you can use to access extra services via broadband, and already includes BBC iPlayer and YouTube, both of which have been upgraded for 2012, including a dedicated version of iPlayer and a lean-back interface for YouTube.
New arrivals include:
- iConcert: a pay-per-view library of live concerts from numerous contemporary and popular artists
- Aupeo: a collection of free internet radio stations
- Viewster: free movies from the silver screen, 50s and 60s
- Livesport.tv: sports news and coverage from a huge range of sports, although it doesn’t include the premium sports found on Sky Sports
- Euronews: a big screen edition of the popular online video news service
March 12, 2012