In the home theater world, there are now many options for getting Internet content onto your HDTV. This is an exciting development, but it means the world of TV is getting more complicated. Which product is the right one for you to buy? How do you connect your system to the Internet?
With the introduction of Google TV, there might also be confusion between "smart TV" and "Internet Connectable" products. This FAQ will help address the basic differences.
What do smart TV and Internet Connectable products have in common?
Is a Web browser included? Can I search the Internet?
Smart TV: In most cases, this will probably be the biggest difference between the two categories. Smart TV products like Google TV include a web browser and keyboard, so you can browse, search and type in content online using your HDTV, just as you do with your computer. They also feature significant processing power, which allows them to perform integrated searches across both Web and TV (see the next question for more info).
Internet Connectable: Most of these products do not come with a Web browser, so you cannot search the Internet. Instead, online content is accessed via a set of apps that are included with the product. In the near future, a small number of Internet Connectable products will include a Web browser with limited functionality.
Can I search for specific video content?
Smart TV: Yes, there is a robust and cleverly integrated search capability. Type in the name of a favorite program, hit Search and quickly see the time and channel the program is on, any DVR recordings*, plus any video content that's available on the Internet. You can then select any available program right from your search results.
Internet Connectable: There is a limited ability to search for video content within some specific apps. For example, within the YouTube app, you can use your remote to type in a search term and relevant videos will be returned.
What kinds of smart TV and Internet Connectable products can I purchase?
Smart TV: Google TV is the only smart TV product that is currently available. Sony has released HDTVs and a Blu-ray player that have Google TV built in. Additionally, Logitech has released a stand-alone Google TV box that can work with any HDTV.
Internet Connectable: There is a wide range of products that have this capability, including HDTVs, Blu-ray players, home theater systems, gaming systems and TiVo.