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Video: Internet-ready Smart TVs


Steve Kindig

Steve Kindig has been an electronics enthusiast for over 30 years. He has written extensively about home and car A/V gear for Crutchfield since 1985. Steve is also a volunteer DJ at community radio station WTJU, where he is a regular host of the American folk show "Atlantic Weekly," as well as the world music program "Radio Tropicale."

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Tara W.

Tara W. has worked for Crutchfield since 2004. She writes about whole-house music and video gear, and works on Crutchfield's video team.

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More and more HDTVs can access online content, like Netflix® movies and Internet radio stations, and some even have a built-in web browser. Learn about what you need to get connected, as well as what you can expect from today's Internet-ready Smart TVs.

Video Transcript

Tara: Something we've heard a lot about in the past couple of years now with TVs is Internet-ready, or Smart TV. And so in this video we're gonna break down kind of what's new with Internet-ready, or Smart TV, what you can expect, and why you'll want the Internet on the biggest screen in your house.

Steve: And it's really all about the apps with these TVs. And different TV makers use different apps, or include different apps. This is a Samsung, and you can see on the screen here some of the apps that are included. There's Hulu Plus and Netflix and Yahoo. So for instance, if you have an account with Netflix you can watch your instant queue on the set, you know, just queue it up with your remote, which is really easy and convenient.

Tara: Yeah. And I just got Hulu Plus on my TV at home and signed up for that as well, and I'm really thinking about getting rid of cable service now because all the shows I like to watch are on Hulu Plus and available instantly, you know, with just a click of the remote. And another thing is Skype, so if you get an optional camera to go with some TVs then you can log on to Skype and video chat with people all around the world.

Steve: And one thing that's pretty new this year is a lot of your especially higher end models have a built-in browser so you're not just limited to the apps that come with the TV. You can actually, you know, type in a URL and go to websites and navigate on your TV screens. It's pretty slick.

Tara: Yeah. And we tested that out earlier with our website and we were able to, on the Samsung, navigate to and move around to all sorts of different pages — pretty easily, too.

Steve: Yup. So how do these things work? Well, you have to have high-speed Internet service in your home and all of these Internet-ready sets have an Ethernet connection so you can just run an Ethernet cable to your router. But a lot of the higher end TVs also have built-in Wi-Fi, and it's either built straight into the set or it comes with a little wireless dongle that plugs into one of the USB connections. And that makes it super easy to connect, you know, if you have a home wireless network.

Tara: Yeah. And that way you don't have to run wires across the floor from your router or even through multiple rooms. Once you get your TV connected to the Internet, and you can do that in the network settings of the TV, too, if you're going wireless, then from there it took me, this morning, about ten, maybe fifteen minutes to search through with the Samsung TV and find all the different apps that I wanted to download and get them here on the Smart Hub, which is Samsung's interface for this year, and you just hit one button on the remote to get to this screen here. And then it's really easy to choose the different services you want to use, whether it's Hulu Plus or Netflix, ESPN, or even go to that web browser that we were talking about before and pull up a web address.

Steve: So once you've got it set up then you can experience the pretty cool benefits of having TV and Internet in one component. You know, rather than having to keep a laptop handy so that you can do web searches, you can actually, in the case of this TV that has Picture-in-Picture, you can keep watching your show in one little window and then search the web with the main window.

Tara: Yeah. And my favorite thing about Internet-ready TV, or Smart TV, is just that everything is available on demand when you want to watch it. So with me, I can sit down and pull up my favorite show, the latest episode, or a movie that's on Netflix, and watch it immediately, no matter what time of the day or night it is. And some of this Internet capability is actually built into Blu-ray players and even home theater systems that are available this year.

If you have questions on Smart TV, internet ready TV, or really any TV, just give us a call.