What Is an Internet-Enabled TV?

Panasonic's Internet-enabled Viera Cast televisions can stream content from YouTube, Amazon Video On Demand and other Web outlets. Panasonic

What Is an Internet-Enabled TV?

An Internet-enabled TV is a set that is factory designed to connect directly to the Web and display content such as YouTube videos, weather reports and streaming movies or television shows.

These sets differ from televisions that double as computer monitors -- although many can do that as well -- because no computer or outside equipment is required to display the Web-based content.

It is important to note, however, that viewable Internet content varies by manufacturer.

For instance, Panasonic’s Internet-enabled TVs can stream material from YouTube and Amazon Video On Demand, plus material from Picasa Web Albums, Bloomberg News, and a weather channel. Samsung’s Internet-enabled TVs can do some of the same, plus display material from eBay and ​​Twitter. LG's Internet-enabled sets have a variety of Web content available as well, and they include access to Netflix's vast library of films and TV shows.

Different Names From Different Manufacturers

Different manufacturers also have different names for their Internet-enabled products. With Panasonic, it’s Viera Cast and with LG it’s NetCast, for example. Because the offerings vary by manufacturer, it behooves you to check exactly what’s available in terms of online content before making a purchase. Only that way will you be able to minimize the chance of buyer’s remorse.

To use the Internet-enabled functions on any set, you must connect the television to the Internet. In some cases, this can be done wirelessly, but most televisions require a wired Ethernet connection. There is no charge for basic Internet functionality, but some services, like Netflix movie streaming and Amazon Video On Demand, have content charges.

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