Internet-Ready TV Sets

December 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Flat screen TV's are hot sellers during the holidays. And more manufacturers are making TV's that can stream movies, and share photos on-line. All you need is an internet connection - and you may not even need cable!Take the internet and some of the newest TVs. Now you can marry the two at the click of a button.

Jim Willcox with Consumer Reports said, "Most of the major TV brands now have at least a couple of models that can access the Internet through a broadband connection. Those sets tend to be a little bit more expensive though."

Consumer Reports just checked out several online services, including Viera Cast from Panasonic, Samsung's Media-2.0, and lg's Netcast. You can access most of these services by connecting a TV to the internet via an Ethernet connection and then pushing a button on your remote.

Icons called widgets appear on the TV screen. A couple of clicks start the program.

Depending on your set, you can also stream movies from companies like Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix, or Vudu.

"Overall, we found the quality of the streaming video to be good, about the quality of a DVD," said Willcox.

And Vudu's HDX format is even better. Its real HD quality, but you do need a faster internet connection. Also on internet-enabled TVs, you can access weather and stock updates and share photos.

Willcox said, "We found all the online services relatively easy to use."

Be aware, while these new TVs are able to access the internet, you can't surf the net like you can on your computer. As for cost, except for the streaming movies, the services are free.


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