LG’s 2009 range didn’t include any connected sets though some, like the SL9000 that we looked at around Christmas do have media playback from USB, with reasonable format support. We’ll look in more detail at the NetCast options on the 2010 range along with the updates to the other manufacturers’ connected sets later on in the year.
YouTube on LG's NetCast
What to buy?
It’s quite clear from looking at the sets that connected TVs are still in their infancy. There are some common niggles: you ought to be able to view 4oD content from YouTube on devices that claim to have YouTube built in, for example. Lovefilm's TV VoD selection should match that offered to PC users.
With the honourable exception of Samsung, the range of supported formats is often quite poor.
For some folk, that’s not an issue. If you’re a big YouTube fan, for instance, you might prefer the ability of Panasonic’s VieraCast to sign in with your user name and access favourites. Other users might appreciate the EuroSports headline clips, in preference to the ability to call up a horoscope widget and play back MKV files.
Crucially, most of the vendors seem committed to extending and evolving the internet experience their TVs offer. As manufacterers' review units become available, Reg Hardware will be looking at their internet offerings in more detail than this simple survey can. ®
Get ready for the revolution: internet TVs
Just give me a dumb display...
... that allows me to connect, through a standardised port, the newest low-powered tech which comes along, that will do all the processing and content delivery, and can be replaced with the next, better thing, without disposing of my perfectly good dumb display, as and when I see fit.
Let us be absolutely honest......
....this is crap. Connect a bloody pc to the thing for crying out loud, then you have proper internet TV. Most of the modern flat screens come with three or four HDMI ports or (if you absolutely insist on connecting that way) a VGA port. This is a very poor facility which smells strongly of trying to lock you into something which they can use to seperate from even more money than the frakking TV cost you in the first place. The only thing I intend to use the ethernet port on our new Sammy for is firmware upgrades when/if necessary. TV@internet my arse!
Reliance on 'standardised' DLNA
I own a Sony KDL40W5500 and trying to get the DLNA to work is certainly not for the technologically challenged. I have finally settled on a solution that works great for me and my (not so technical) wife, but it's taken a while. Though I run an all Linux shop at home, the forums show problems for people on all platforms and this seems to recur for TVs with DLNA from all manufacturers.
For the record, the W5500 (and their siblings) support MPEG2 PS with AC3 audio and AVCHD video (MPEG2 TS with H264 video and AC3 audio) without transcoding, and also MP3, uncompressed PCM (i.e. WAV) and JPEG files.
My biggest niggle now is that you can't browse music for the next track to play while currently playing a track - something my Netgear MP101 was able to do via UPnP 7-8 years ago!
To those stating that they want TVs with a MCE extender built in... why would anyone want to be more tied to MS technology in their display device?? At least DLNA is supposed to be a standard, MCE extenders certainly are not.
Why on earth would anyone buy this?
Built-in means lock-in. A cheap external Internet thin client STB that can be thrown away when the next technology wunder comes along will be a much better bet. Pile in a hefty network disk store and scoff at Internet TV.
And BTW why are TV with analogue receivers still sold when soon there will be nothing for them to receive? Is this not as suspect as selling a 405-line set of a betamax video recorder?
Looking at that motley lot, it's not hard too look wistfully at Project Canvas and the treasures it might unleash. Why the disbelief that allowing access to a tiny, pre-selected section of the internet is going to be a successful selling point?