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Internet-Ready Television Buying Guide

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 10/28/2010

Would you like to bring the online video content you’re enjoying over your computer to the living room? If you do, you would need a TV set that's Internet-ready? What can you expect from an Internet-ready TV set? What are its limitations?

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    If you’re getting tired of the content offered by your regular television station, you may want to turn to the Internet for variety and viewing flexibility. As you may know, video content over the Internet, discounting the free services, is offered for mouth-watering subscription fees and the best part is you get to pick what you want to watch.

    Watching all this content over your laptop or your computer LCD monitor is no big deal. The real deal is bringing the video content to your living room and viewing it on your television screen with a home theater setup. But in order to avail yourself of the variety of video content available over the Internet, you need an Internet-ready TV.

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    How is an Internet-Ready Television Set Different?

    What’s the difference between a regular TV set and an Internet-ready television set? The major difference is an Internet-ready television set comes equipped with an Ethernet port and/or wireless connectivity. The wireless option, in most cases, will need you to buy a dongle or adapter separately. An Internet-ready television is also going to cost you more than a TV with similar specs.

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    Internet Connection

    Before you think of buying an Internet-ready television, make sure you have your Internet setup ready. Firstly, you need a high-speed broadband connection and the necessary router setup so that you can use the broadband service with your computer and your television set.

    What Internet connection speed would you need to make viewing Internet video content possible? Some video streaming providers say that you need a minimum of 1Mbps connection to view streaming video on your television. However, we know this is not really sufficient from our experience with YouTube videos. You don’t want to sit down in front of our TV and wait for the video to buffer.

    In short, you want a connection of at least 3Mbps if you want to watch standard definition video and at least 10Mbps if you plan on watching 1080p videos like the ones offered by VUDU.

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    Internet-Ready TV Functionality

    What does having an Internet-ready TV mean? Does it mean you can surf the Internet with it, just like you can with a computer?

    Internet-ready television does not allow you the same interactivity as a computer would over the Internet. However, with the help of the widgets that come with the television sets, you can access social networking tools that allows you to keep in touch with updates. At the time of writing, you could also get to access Internet services like Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix, Pandora (Internet radio), YouTube and Picasa, among others.

    Remember, you’ll have no browser to surf the Internet though, and in any case, you don’t get a mouse or a keyboard with your television purchase.

    Internet-ready TV is not a replacement for a computer with an Internet connection. However, rest assured that television manufacturers are focused on adding more applications and widgets over time through firmware upgrades to satisfy their customers.

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    TV Models

    The Internet-ready TV model you choose will depend on the type of Internet content you would want to avail yourself of. If you’re a movie buff, make sure Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand and Vudu (1080p content) can be accessed.

    If you would want to keep in touch with news updates, stocks and sports results while viewing movies, then you would also want something like Yahoo! TV Widgets.

    You can get a better idea of what different Internet-ready TV sets offer in terms of online content here at Amazon.