Black Friday is here, and Christmas is right around the corner. This means we’ve entered the biggest shopping season of the year. Woo Hoo, let the games begin!
Of course if you are not waiting in long lines at the store or looking for a parking space at the mall, it’s probably a good idea to moderate the shopping by spending time with friends and family. No need to feel too guilty about shopping, because much of the shopping will be for gifts that help make our relationships stronger, or just take a friend with you on the next shopping trip.
Today I want to go shopping for an Internet TV. This post is partly inspired by the start of the Christmas shopping season, but also because of feedback I received on my last two posts. Thank you for the comments. Please keep them coming.
I guess the best place to start is to consider what options you have when buying an Internet TV. Here are a few things for you to think about …
Factors to Consider:
Content: TV, Movies, Netflix, YouTube, Home Videos, Music, Photos, etc.
Content Source: TV signal (Broadcast, Cable or Satellite), Internet Connection (WiFi or Ethernet), Home Photos/Video (Bluetooth or WiFi to Home PC Storage). etc.
Display: Screen Size, Pixel Density & Refresh Rate
Controllers: TV Remote Control, Keyboard/Mouse, Audio Control, Gesture Control
TV Applications: Web Browser, Netflix, YouTube, etc.
It’s sometimes easier to understand what you’re buying when you know a little bit about the technology used inside a product. One way to think about an Internet TV is to imagine a PC built inside the TV. It’s not quite the same, because you don’t have access to the PC’s Operation System (e.g. Windows) and desktop user interface. However, an Internet TV is different from a traditional TV because you do have an internet connection (WiFi or Ethernet) and access to content from the Internet (e.g. Netflix, YouTube, etc.) just like you do on a standalone PC.
I strongly recommend you visit a local electronics store and see how the Internet user interface works on the TV works before you make a purchase. Don’t make the mistake I made a few years ago when I bought an “Internet” TV on sale after Christmas, and I did not find out that the TV did not include a general web browser application until after I got it home. I think most new Internet TVs now have the web browser application. Also note: during the research on an earlier post, I read that Panasonic Viera TVs (past models?) did not include the Netflix app. Double check that the Internet TV you intend to buy supports the applications you expect before buying. This might save you from the dreaded “Buyers Remorse”.
I took the following picture at a local Future Shop store (owned by Best Buy) to show you an example of applications found on an Internet TV. This is for a Samsung Internet TV in this case you were wondering.
The last last thing you may want to think about is whether you really need a PC tightly coupled inside your TV, at all. An alternative configuration is to simply connect your standard HDTV to a laptop PC using a HDMI cable (your laptop must have an HDMI interface for you to get the true value of the High Definition visuals). When you want Internet connectivity on your TV screen, plug in the the laptop with the HDMI cable. When you don’t need it, disconnect the cable and use your laptop as a regular laptop. Your controller will now be the laptop, of course. You won’t have the other controller options mentioned above, but this may or may not be important to you.
If you want to add something to the topic or if you have any other questions, please write a comment. Otherwise …
Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping Everyone!
Sorry for sending you around the world to get more information on Internet TVs. I got these links from a quick Google search. You’d think that the international TV manufacturers would make it easier for us shoppers to understand what we’re buying at a generic level. Once we’re ready to buy, they could THEN send us down to country specific purchase points. Ugh.