This post contributed by guest blogger, Stewart Wolpin.
There are all sorts of tempting technologies to contemplate when shopping for a new 2016 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV:
- 4 times as many pixels as a standard high-definition TV, which means you can sit much closer to a larger-screen set
- High Dynamic Range (HDR), which dramatically increases color contrast
- Wide Color Gamut (WCG), which expands the number of subtle hues a UHD can display from millions to billions
But did you also know that the new 4K TVs are smart enough to protect your home?
If you’re in the market to upgrade your TV, check out these 4 unexpected things to consider before you go shopping.
1. You can use your TV as a video camera …
Both Samsung and LG, the leading sellers of 4K sets, are linking smart home ecosystems to their new higher-resolution TV wares –– especially video monitoring to let you spy on what’s happening around your castle.
All of Samsung’s 2016 UHD sets, for instance, allow you to control up to 200 SmartThings, ZigBee, and Z-Wave smart home products. All you need to do is jack in a free SmartThings Extend USB stick adapter into the TV.
With this Samsung SmartThings system, you’ll be able to monitor and control lights, thermostats, locks, speakers, and appliances, as well as footage from connected cameras placed around your home, such as a front-door camera to see who’s ringing your bell or a baby monitor to check on your prodigy.
LG is looking to duplicate the SmartThings TV-smart home control capabilities using its nearly duplicate-monikered smartThinQ system. (Unfortunately, smartThinQ’s TV capabilities are found only on LG’s limited number of 2016 UHD Signature OLED models equipped with the company’s WebOS 3.0 smart TV operating system. The company says more smartThinQ-enabled WebOS 3.0 4K sets are on their way, though.)
2. … or use it as a security system
What if you want a safer smart TV, but you don’t want to buy a pricey new 4K set? Hughes, the DISH Network people, has the answer: its SAGE smart home system.
SAGE™ by Hughes™, its official name, is a new ecosystem of familiar smart devices that can be controlled not only through your smartphone, but by any standard HD or 4K TV, smart or not.
The SAGE starts with a Wi-Fi hub that you connect to your cable/satellite box and then to your TV via HDMI. You can use the included remote control to monitor and manipulate all the SAGE-specific security devices, including viewing live camera footage, right from the TV screen.
What separates SAGE from other smart systems is its MyLocal911 feature. If you’re on the road and you get a smartphone alert about a problem at home, you can press the prominent MyLocal911 icon within the SAGE app. Instead of connecting you to the emergency response folks nearest you, SAGE’s MyLocal911 puts you in contact with your home police precinct.
You can supplement the varying sensors, smart plugs, and smart LED bulbs found in one of SAGE’s 3 starter kits ($200–$350) with a wide variety of smarter SAGE security gadgets, including both indoor ($140) and outdoor ($250) cameras and a smart front door bolt lock made by Yale ($240).
3. Your TV should be safely secured
These smart 4K TV solutions may help make you and your home safer and more secure. But the bigger these new TVs are, the harder –– and more often –– they fall. So how safe and secure is the screen itself?
Well, just like you keep your young’uns away from inappropriate shows and movies, you may want to secure the TV itself to keep rambunctious toddlers from toppling it.
“Injuries to children caused by falling televisions have become more frequent during the last decade,” reports The Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. “…Very minimal force is required to tip the [flat screen] television forward.”
Keeping your TV — flat screen or tube — where it’s supposed to be can be easy and cheap, (and far less expensive than replacing a toppled set lying shattered in a thousand pieces on the floor).
A common approach is to mount your new 4K set on a wall. Most VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association)-compliant TV wall mounts, which easily attach to most flat-panel TVs, cost less than $100, many less than $25. Consider it a cheap insurance policy against a potentially tragic accident. You’ll just have to apply a bit of elbow grease (or hire someone) to hang your set.
Or, if you want to sit your 4K flat screen on its stand, secure the set to the back wall with the sub-$20 OmniMount OESK Safety Cable Kit or the Monoprice Universal Safety TV Lock ($6.31). You can also secure the stand itself to a counter or tabletop with this Universal Television Safety Cable Kit ($2.99).
4. Be careful moving your old TV
Old tube TVs aren’t safer. In fact, these heavier CRTs (cathode ray tubes) have more forward-shifted centers of gravity and tip over more easily than you might think. And after you buy a new 4K UHD TV, you’ll likely move that old, heavy CRT from its sturdy living room locale to a less suitable stand in another room.
“The most commonly reported event leading to television toppling was a child climbing onto often unstable furniture to reach the TV or an object on top of the TV,” the journal authors report.
So if you have curious kids climbing around, either find a sturdier or enclosed piece of furniture to park your old TV on or in, or use picture-hanging wire and some wall screws to keep it tethered.
4K TVs may be more expensive, but the safety and security they can provide with added smart security gear is priceless. And for a few dollars more, you can make sure your new 4K UHD is safely secured against damage to itself or, more importantly, your loved ones.