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Hardware Needed to Watch Internet TV in a Home Theater Setting

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 1/31/2011

If you’re interested in viewing Internet TV via your home theater system, you would want to know what Internet TV hardware is necessary to make your wish come true. Find out what options are available to you and whether you are one of the licky ones who could do with an existing hardware setup.

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    Before you consider purchasing the necessary Internet TV hardware, you would want to determine whether you already have the necessary hardware setup.

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    Game Consoles

    If you own a gaming device like Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii, you would not need additional hardware setup, especially if you’ve connected your console to your home theater system. For one, all three devices support Netflix. Talking about Internet TV services, the one that would fit in ideally with these gaming consoles is Netflix.

    A disc is required for Wii and PS3 to stream Netflix video content to your home theater system TV. The disc is supplied by Netflix. On the other hand, Xbox 360 does not require a disc, but you would need to purchase an Xbox Live Gold membership which will set you back by $60 a year.

    Xbox 360 owners could also avail themselves of the video streaming services offered at Microsoft Zune Marketplace Center. Also, if you’re already subscribing to ESPN, you can view ESPN 3 via your Xbox 360.

    PS3 owners will be able to stream Full HD 1080p movies complete with 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus Sound via the VUDU application on Playstation Network. It’s an on-demand service with over 4000 HD movies and you pay only for the movies you watch. The service is available only in the United States though. You could also watch MLB (Major League Baseball) TV, also available through Playstation Network if you’re in Canada or the United States.

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    Blu-Ray Players

    Apart from playing your favorite movie discs, some Blu-ray players double as Internet TV receivers. Depending on the model, you can avail yourself of services like Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, VUDU, Hulu Plus or Google TV. An example is Sony BDP-S570 3D Blu-ray Disc Player which supports Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand and other free online video services like YouTube. The model comes with built-in Wi-Fi for easy connection to these Internet TV services.

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    TV Sets

    If you’re in the market for a HDTV, you would want to consider a model with Internet connectivity to avail yourself of Internet TV services like Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu Plus and Vudu. Read this Brighthub article on Internet-ready HDTVs to get an idea of what to expect from such TV sets. Then you can hop over to Amazon to check out these hot-selling Internet-ready HDTVs.

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    Internet TV Streaming Boxes

    Boxee Internet TV Streaming Box 

    If for some reason, the above options don’t suit you, you can opt for a dedicated Internet TV hardware solution in the form of streaming boxes. Most of these devices could he had for around $100 to $200.

    A solution that stands out here is Roku, which offers Internet TV streaming options like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus and some niche video content, among others.

    Apple TV is another option which allows for video rentals from the iTunes store and there’s also support for Netflix.

    Boxee Box, priced at $199, allows you to watch Internet TV via an Ethernet or wireless connection. A QWERTY remote control allows you to execute text search and enter web addresses.

    Apart from allowing you to watch TV shows online, Boxee also supports VUDU, Netflix and MLB, among others. The Watch Later feature enables you to send your favourite web videos to your Boxee from an Internet browser for future viewing.

    As can be seen from the above, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Internet TV hardware. Hopefully, you would make a wise choice based to your budget and requirements to realise your wish of streaming Internet TV to your living room via your home theatre system.