Web Videos on TV

March 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
There's a new addition to consider for your home computer network, your TV! More and more companies are designing products that will make it possible for you to watch on your big-screen what used to be confined to your computer screen.

For Ingrid Kirkland, the internet is a great resource for TV programs.

"Everything that I watch I get on my computer. It's in my hard drive. So if I wanted to watch it on a big screen, which would be a lot more fun, I think it would be wonderful," says Kirkland.

And if Ingrid had a networked TV, watching videos or photos she has on her computer would be simple.

Consumer Reports' Rich Fisco just tested two TV internet links, one from HP and one from Sony. They're quite different.

HP's $2,200 Mediasmart TV has networking capability built right in. The 47-inch HDTV connects to windows PC's. You can access Snapfish photo sharing and sign up for cinema now for feature-length movies.

The downside is that you can't download movies in high definition.

"So even though you're watching it on an HDTV, the programming looks like you're watching a VHS tape," says Fisco.

Consumer Reports also evaluated a much less expensive option, Sony's $300 Bravia internet video link. But this small box has limitations.

Fisco says "It's only able to connect to the web. It cannot connect to any of the PC's that are in your house."

It does allow you to access video-sharing networks like AOL and Yahoo video, as well as internet video programming.

But Fisco says, "The quality of the video on these channels is not very good. They display it in low resolution and if you blow it up to fill more of the screen, you'll see that the resolution degrades."

Consumer Reports says, all-in-all, these products are not quite ready for prime time.

Consumer Reports says there is an alternative way of creating a networked TV using an X-Box 360.

Simply connect the X-Box between your PC and TV and you can view videos from your hard drive on your TV.


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