Let's face it: there's one key reason that this year's most recent televisions have been dubbed "Smart TVs"; they run apps. Following the massive success of mobile app stores, the major television manufacturers are now calling out to developers to convert the humble flat panel into a world class, customisable entertainment hub.
It's still early days for apps in televisions. Quality and quantity vary greatly across the different brands — and while games are potentially a big selling point, there isn't anything currently on offer that wouldn't be better experienced on a smartphone or a PC.
Still, there are some useful applications hidden within the hundreds of rubbish ones on the various TV app stores. Here are the best of the bunch.
LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony
The world's most popular video platform has made its way to televisions across the country, offering the full level of search, playback and playlist controls. The best part is that most clips look pretty good on a big screen.
If poking people across the internet is your thing, you'll be happy to know that you can now access Facebook from your TV. It's especially useful for accessing photo galleries and cyber-stalking on a big screen.
Sharing your thoughts in 160 characters or less may not make sense to everyone. But if it makes sense to you, Twitter is available on all 2011 Smart TVs. Typing out your 160 characters using a traditional remote isn't exactly fun, though.
If you're looking for a place to go, Google Maps can probably show it to you. With a customised UI that lets you navigate and zoom in with your remote control, this is just another convenient way of accessing Google's mapping service.
Google's online photo sharing and storage service keeps getting stronger, and by letting users sign in and share photos on the television, you can now enjoy an old-fashioned family slideshow night, 21st century-style.
The first thing any self-respecting person should do in the morning is check the weather for the day ahead. AccuWeather now lets you do this directly from your TV, as well as check weather reports from around the world.
Samsung TVs may have dedicated Twitter and Facebook apps, but it has also merged the two services to create a hybrid format called SocialTV. It lets you watch your feeds at the same time as you watch TV. It makes tweeting about your favourite shows a tiny bit simpler.
Skype for the TV is a glorious way of communicating with people all around the world. It requires a dedicated camera unique to your brand of television, but HD-quality video on the big screen is simply one of the best ways to Skype.
Finance can be the definition of excitement or the personification of boredom, depending on your way of looking at the world. The NineMSN Finance app will keep the former group happy, with the latest news on what's happening in the world of finance.
Using the Sony-owned Gracenote database, this generation of Sony TVs lets you search for all kinds of video-related information from the comfort of your lounge, from cast and crew to movies and TV shows. Great for finding out the names of familiar faces.
Like the Video Search app, Sony's Music Search app lets you trawl through the massive Gracenote database for information on songs and music artists. Alternatively, you can use a dedicated button on the remote to identify a song being played on the TV in real time.
The latest news from the world of autos, Autocar offers the latest content from UK cars site Autocar.co.uk. If you were after a review on the latest luxury Ferrari from the comfort of your own home, this is your ticket.