The Best Internet Ready TV in 2012?

by WillApse

Over a quarter of the TV's sold this year will be Internet ready. Even if the Internet function is not be the most important factor in your choice it is worth considering.

What's on Offer?

The big things an Internet ready TV can offer are streaming of movies, music, games and access to social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

One thing 'Internet ready' does not mean is a PC-like, browser experience. Most internet ready TV's will not let you surf the entire web. Recently, however, Sony started offering a service that comes very close to this by integrating its offerings with Google TV and offering Google's Chrome browser in its set up. Sony Internet TV lets you visit any site.

Samsung Screen
Samsung Screen

If you don't want a Sony TV but want to access the entire web through your TV you could think about the Logitech Revue Box. Hook it up to any compatible TV and surf!

I should also point out that all these services require a broadband connection to your TV by WiFi or a USB cable.

Which Features Matter in an Internet Ready TV?

Apps

For many people. apps are the most important issue. Sony are ahead of the pack here because their partnership with Google allows you use the Android Market place to source apps. Other manufacturers have been obliged to create their own apps and the numbers are more limited.

Having said that, the big brands like Panasonic, Samsung and LG all offer enough to cover most needs.

The apps and widgets that almost all internet TV's come with:

Yahoo TV Widgets

Yahoo TV Widgets is one of the most comprehensive packages with thousands of widgets including such things as:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pandora
  • CNBC
  • Fandango
  • Ebay
  • USA Today
  • NewsRallyCast
  • Showtime
  • You Tube
  • Blockbuster
  • Yahoo weather and news services

Yahoo widgets is a service that most people expect will be expanded hugely in the future. Yahoo have made it plain they want to be a big player in Internet ready TV


Yahoo Widgets
Yahoo Widgets

Content- Movies, TV, Radio

These services are widely built in to internet ready TV's:

  • Amazon Video on Demand
  • Netfix
  • Hulu
  • VUDU
  • You Tube
  • Pandora
  • Rhapsody

Pictures

You can view your pictures online at

  • Flickr
  • Picassa

And many other places with the right apps.

What do Individual Makers Offer?

Below is a flavor of the kind of apps the main players are offering with links to their apps stores.

Panasonic Apps and Vierra Cast

Panasonic cover most of the bases simply by offering Yahoo widgets. They also have some neat little apps of their own including:

  • Social TV app: run Twitter and Facebook streams alongside the TV program you are watching. Great for big sports events.
Asphalt 5
Asphalt 5
  • Nordic Treadmills App: work out in conjunction with Google Maps and get HD views of the terrain you could run across in person, if you happen to be Nordic!
  • Asphalt 5 : one of many 3D games on Viera Connect
  • MLS and NHL applications

Popular Samsung Internet TV Apps

Samsung have one of the better range of apps.

Just to give a flavor of what they are offering in 2012:

  • Art4HD: Aquariums, Waterfalls,Fireplaces, Sunsets, on your TV
  • The Broadway Channel: what's hot on Broadway
  • HuluPlus: your favorite shows anytime
  • MTB MusicMeter: trending artists and songs, with trivia, tweets, pics, reports
  • ToyWorld: kids game 

App store: samsung.com/us/appstore

Samsung's Broadway App
Samsung's Broadway App
MTV MusicMeter
MTV MusicMeter

LG TV Apps

LG are expecting to launch their first products with Google TV (and full web browsing capability) this year.

These are a few of the best apps they are offering at the moment:

  • MUSEUM: choose from over 60 thousand artworks and display them on your TV
  • Workouts on Demand: fitness community
  • Yoga Trainer: relax and clear the mind
  • Crunchy Roll: anime movies and TV

LG recently launched a paid apps service to tempt developers to produce more.

Delve deeper here: .lgappstv.com/appspc/main/main/main.lge

Art App from LG
Art App from LG
Crunchy Roll Anime App
Crunchy Roll Anime App

Vizio TV Apps

Vizeo have most of the big apps for online content and are pushing hard for gamers attention with the Onlive app. This is an online gaming app that can be used on tablets as well as TVs. Vizio will have their own tablet PC to complement their very successful internet ready TV's.

A few of their other apps:

  • Namco Bandai: buy the latest games
  • iMemories: convert non-digital photos and movies to digital and store online.
  • Vimeo
  • Skype
  • Blockbuster

Their web app store is not especially comprehensive or well laid out but you can see it here: vizio.com/discover/via

Which is Best?

If you want full web surfing on your TV, Sony offer the best option with their Sony internet TV products. LG will launching a similar service this year.

For gamers, Vizio are a great choice and the Onlive app will reinforce Vizio's dominance in this area. Vizio also offer a full range of their best selling LCD's. You can get most sizes of screen where other makers tend to offer internet ready only on the big models.

Samsung are one of my favorite makers of tech. They are savvy at working out what people most need and delivering it. They don't offer the biggest range of apps but they offer some of the best.

If you really need the best plasma TV for those gorgeous colors, you can hook up a Logitech Revue box to a Panasonic and surf away. Panasonic also offer comprehensive social apps.

Updated: 01/03/2012, WillApse
 
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