Connected TV

Today Large TV Screen producers are running big ads telling consumers that they can have internet access  on their flatscreen TV´s .

Box or TV

If you are in the market for a new flat screen TV and want to have one with internet capabilities, you have the choice between many TV but actually very little differentiation between the TV brands. You will want to look after if the TV offers your favorites picture viewer, mail app, Facebook and Twitter access.

If you have just recently bought a TV you might not buy a new one with internet capabilities. Instead you can opt for some of the alternatives for internet surfing that some of the little media players or game consoles offer.


Internet TV is what WAP was for mobile phones some time back, you only get what the producer put in the device for you, not the full Internet experience. For example Sony and Samsung only offers you access to Youtube, Facebook and a few other sites made for their  TV interface. If you want to join you favorite forum homepage or news site, you are out of luck.


It is still difficult to navigate the web with a remote control. The best option for user navigation is still a mini size keyboard like Logitech Dinovo mini or an alternative is the Wii motion controller . More apps and a better user interface is needed before real Internet couch surfing will be enjoyed. For now users are best served by having a separate computer or tablet nearby when then want to surf the net and watch TV at the same time.

Let’s look at the current offerings and see what is in the store for the next 2 years. 

Internet TV from  Sony, Samsung and Vizio

Common for most Internet platforms on Flat screen TV is that the they all rely on a CPU from Intel the CE3100 or CE 4100. Their operating system is based on the Yahoo Widget engine, which  allows you to navigate your internet like it was a TV channel. The implementation is however not always as desired.

Samsung Medi@ 2.0 is based upon Yahoo Widget TV engine, and Samsung have not added much to the interface. You can watch pictures on Flickr but not from i.e Picasa. You can check your Yahoo mail but not your Gmail etc. The interface and the responsiveness is often lagging and the time to load the interface is too slow . It is however a nice idea Yahoo implemented on how to control your content with your remote. As long as you don’t want to type anything back in that is. 

Vizio Internet services also add Internet channels like Vudu for renting movies  and Twitter is also found in their engine. Sony has support for IBBC player in the UK.

Flickr on the Yahoo Widget engine

Facebook on the Yahoo Widget engine

Netflix on the Yahoo Widget engine

Internet on the Wii

If you already own an flatscreen TV and want to surf the full  Internet from your TV, the Wii might be your best choice. Wii is actually a pioneer on the TV at Internet front. Already in 2006 were the so-called  Internet Channel launched. Since then the Program have become free for Wii users to download and it also support flash and flash video  although somewhat limited by the memory of the Wii box itself.  The interface is really a nice experience. You can surf with the Wii remote by just pointing at the screen. You can bookmark your favorite web sites so that you don’t have to type them in again. Typing on the Wii is of course more difficult than with a keyboard , but in comparison to a remote control, where you have to go up and down and to the side, to choose letter, the Wii remote is much faster at picking out letters. The Wii is a nice surf machine for the net. You only get composite access and no HDMI however so screen resolution is  bit low. There is also a max memory you can use in the Wii with the Opera browser which sometimes result in an out of memory error, when loading very media heavy pages.

Internet on Digital media Boxes

As mentioned in the beginning of the article. There are alternatives to built in Internet TV´s. A lot of black boxes are available that can connect to the internet and offer a interface like the Yahoo TV adapted Internet apps that display nicely on a big TV screen. At the moment the most popular media boxes come from Popcorn Syabas, Western Digital,  Xtreamer and Asus.

WD TV live Plus

WDTV live Plus is one of the best devices today if you want access to a wide range an internet pages and want to watch Movies from Netflix on you big screen TV.  You get access to Flickr, Youtube, but not Picasa.

Youtube interface on the WDTV

Asus Air

Is another contender although is doesn’t have Netflix access  is does have a  good choice of internet pages  pages you can visit.  It offers Also in has a large selection of free radio and TV channels you can stream for free on the internet.


This media player is properly the one that offers the most internet sites to access from the device itself.

The list includes Picasa and Flickr and many other sites such as Youtube and many European channels for direct access.


Just on the horizon

Asus HD2

The coming model of the new Asus promises a fast Samsung ARM processor and a built in Opera browser. Whether it will look like the one we know form Wii is yet unknown.

Google TV

Google announced in may 2010 that they are working on what the they call Google TV, Basically it is a App more than an Operating system to have on your TV. IT will properly run on the Intel CE4100 platform. But at this point it is still vaporware.  See concept here in this video

Dont forget flash

Many of the device do not support flash, but some of them do. Flash is very important for a web experience where you can watch online video and rich content. at the moment do check up with your dealer and ask if the prodcut supports flash or flash lite. 

Flash and Flash Lite

Based on the Adobe® Flash® Platform, Adobe Flash Lite® 3 is a highly optimized implementation of the Flash runtime for mobile phones, consumer electronic devices, and Internet-connected digital home devices. Flash Lite enables OEMs and service providers to differentiate their devices via customized applications and user interfaces, a more complete web experience, and the ability to access video and rich content across devices. Flash Lite for the digital home enables the delivery of high-definition content and rich applications to Internet-connected TVs and TV-connected consumer electronic devices in the digital living room. Additionally, Flash Lite 3 allows developers to quickly create engaging applications, accelerate time to market, and increase customer adoption.