Web connectivity a bigger deal for HDTV than 3D

Sure, 3D is splashy, flashy and fun — but it will take a back seat to Web services in the HDTV features war.

Is 3D television the next big thing in consumer tech? Splashy, flashy, and (virtually) in your face, 3D TV is getting a mega-promotional boost by its backers, including Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony, all of whom hope you'll be so bowled over by 3D's visual splendor that you won't mind paying a few thousand bucks for the 3D-at-home experience.

Well, 3D is pretty cool, I must admit. But its charm is limited to certain types of programming, and the unresolved problem of pricey, non-standardized 3D glasses will turn off a lot of potential buyers. And that's why 3D TV will take a back seat to Web services in the HDTV features war.

Web TV Arrives

Televisions with built-in Internet connections, typically an Ethernet port and/or Wi-Fi, are becoming increasingly common as manufacturers roll out their 2010 models. These HDTVs, such as LG's Web-ready lineup priced from $1,300 to $2,700, make it easy to access a rapidly expanding universe of Internet-based services, including movie-streaming services like Netflix and Vudu, as well as TV widgets that bring online content such as news, weather, traffic, stock quotes, and social networks (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) to the living room.

Even better, a Web-enabled TV can save you money. Do you need a Roku Digital Video Player if your TV is Internet-ready? A Blu-ray player? I'm guessing "no" to both. Vudu already offers 1080p movie streaming--provided your broadband connection is fast enough--and competing video services will soon follow. (Note: Not all Web-enabled TVs support Vudu, and I suspect many more will now that Wal-Mart has bought the company.) Bottom line: Web-connected TVs allow you to avoid additional set-top boxes, movie players, and shiny discs.

Glitches Abound

Internet-ready TVs are still in their infancy, and they're far from perfect. I've tested a few set-top boxes and Blu-ray players, and found them a bit flaky at times. They might, for instance, drop a Wi-Fi connection in the middle of movie and not be able to reconnect without a reboot. And in residences where the broadband router is far from the living room--perhaps in an upstairs home office--users may find it difficult to bring the Web to the TV.

Over time, however, these glitches will be resolved, and the Internet-TV relationship will bloom. So the next time you're shopping for a new HDTV, remember that Web connectivity is far more important than eye-popping 3D graphics.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?