Samsung has shown that monitors need to be smarter
REVIEW: I’ve been testing the Samsung M8 smart monitor for the past few weeks and have been really impressed with its ability to function as a smart TV, providing access to multiple streaming apps without the need for an external PC.
Of course, you could argue that this is a useless feature given that you’ll most likely be using the monitor paired with a PC anyway, but there are plenty of advantages to having a monitor that works independently.
The Samsung M8 can power up and switch to Netflix in seconds, much faster than it takes to boot up any PC and since you can use a remote control or voice command function, there’s no need to walk around with a keyboard and mouse. .
The Samsung M8 is all about convenience, just like a smart TV. Even with various streaming devices now available, such as Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, and Apple TV, we all appreciate the convenience that smart TV functionality brings. This way we can switch to Netflix without having to start a second device.
So why can’t we have the same experience with an instructor? To my knowledge, Samsung is currently the only company that sells smart monitors. I think Apple missed one trick in particular, as the new Studio Display apparently has the equivalent specs of an iPad inside, but still needs to be connected to a Mac for it to work.
Imagine an Apple display that can independently access Apple TV+ and Apple Music, or even use Siri to control the smart home devices around it. Giving it support for AirDrop, it could work in tandem with your iPhone and iPad. These clever features would make the Studio Display that much more attractive, becoming the centerpiece of your bedroom or office rather than just an accessory for your Mac.
Apple Studio Display needs a Mac (or PC) to work
Personally, I would like a smart monitor in my bedroom. Sometimes I like to watch TV from the comfort of my bed, especially in winter when I want to wrap myself in the duvet, but my gaming PC doesn’t work well in this situation because I can’t switch between apps or change the volume without getting out of bed. That’s why I use Nvidia’s Shield TV, which allows me to stream all my favorite apps and use a remote like I would a smart TV.
But at almost £130, the Nvidia Shield TV is a hefty outlay – it makes sense to cut out the middleman and have all those features packed into one default monitor. There would still be a use for the likes of the Shield TV, as it offers high-end features like AI enhancement, but that wouldn’t be essential to turning your monitor into an entertainment hub.
I can think of many different people who would also benefit from a smart monitor. College students come to mind, as they typically live in small, cramped rooms where there’s no room for a huge TV. A smart monitor would not only replace a standard television, but could also serve as a second screen for studying.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor can access a wide range of applications
A smart TV would also come in handy for those who don’t want a huge TV taking up a lot of space in their living room. The smallest 4K TV you can typically buy these days will have a 43-inch screen; that’s not exactly small in my opinion. By comparison, 4K monitors are typically between 28-32 inches and therefore take up much less space. By adding smart features, it would allow more people to consider opting for a monitor instead of a huge widescreen TV.
In fact, I can’t think of a downside to making monitors smarter. The extra cost is obvious, but the Samsung M7 Smart Monitor is currently available for just £399, which is exceptional value for a 4K monitor. Therefore, it is obviously possible to sell a smart monitor at a reasonable price.
The second hurdle could be making sure you have a quality operating system. Samsung has been using Tizen for their TVs since 2015, so adding support for their monitor was pretty easy. Companies like Acer, Asus, Dell, and HP, however, don’t have much (or any) experience selling TVs, and therefore would have to either design their own operating system or partner with another company like Google. It is a complicated problem, although it can be solved with enough investment, but I think it is worth tackling.
After using the Samsung M8 smart monitor, I am convinced that smart monitors are the future and any business that refuses to embrace the new trend risks being left behind.
Ctrl + Alt + Delete is our weekly IT-focused opinion column where we delve into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it at ComoHow every Saturday afternoon.
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