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There’s so much more you can do with your Smart TV than simply live-stream the latest HBO special at 3AM or link your Spotify playlist to the surround sound to get you through the Saturday spring cleaning.

Smart TVs have evolved so quickly that it’s difficult to believe they only arrived on the scene a few years ago.  They continue to develop, with manufacturers continually looking to outdo one another with everything from functionality to sound and image quality.

Here are five things you might not know you can do with the smart TVs of today:

1.       Simplify your mess of remotes. Remember when you needed a remote for your TV, one for the blue-ray DVD player / sound system, and another one for the satellite channels? Newer smart TVs have smart remotes that you can customise to easily access your most-used channels, settings, apps and streaming services. Others allow you to use your smartphone as a remote. “Many remotes now have integrated motion control and hot keys to access popular services,” says Matthew Louw, Corporate Marketing Supervisor at LG Electronics South Africa. “For example, LG’s Magic Remote, which comes with webOS TVS, has hot keys that take you directly to Netflix and Amazon. The Magic Wheel also lets you quickly scroll or zoom. Used with the Motion Control, it lets you use hand gestures to quickly manage your viewing choices.”

2.       Share on a big screen. Sharing your best photos and videos is far more impressive on a big TV screen than on your phone. With a webOS-enabled TV, you can even pick out music and go through your photos with the soundtrack of your choice.

3.       Use your TV as a speaker. Newer smart TVs offer the option of playing music with the screen turned off. This is great if you’re entertaining – you can use your TV to channel background music, without needing a sound system, and without the distraction of the bright screen.

4.       Play games… without a console. You no longer need to buy an expensive gaming console because you can simply stream and play games live on the internet, directly through your TV. All you need is a compatible controller (although the smart remote may be adequate for very simple games), and an internet connection.

5.       Stay safe online. One of the big concerns with smart TVs is that they’ve previously been easy to hack, which means your personal data is at risk. But manufacturers have stepped up their security. “The security manager in webOS 3.5 is certified by the UL Cybersecurity Assurance Program,” says Louw. “This ensures your smart TV experience is one you can trust, as it prevents the installation of unauthorised applications, combats hacking and protects your privacy.”

No matter what you choose to do with your Smart TV remember there’s so much more you have available to you than just watching it.