If you've bought a television in the last year from a big brand like LG, Panasonic, Samsung or Sony, it's likely that it will be able to connect to the Internet and access online services like IPTV, video-on-demand movies, weather information and news updates. Some TVs can even access social-networking services like Twitter and Facebook. If you've got one of these TVs, there are a few ways you can connect it to the Internet to unlock these features. You'll need to havea broadband Internet connection in your home that's distributed through a wired or wireless router. If you're picking out a new television and want to work out what's best for you, read through our LCD vs LED vs plasma TV buying guide. Want to learn about 3D TV? Take a look at our 3D TV buying guide. Confused about the difference between HDMI and DVI, component and composite? Our giant cable buying guide will set you straight. Have a look at what we thought were the best TVs of 2010.
To start, work out whether your television has a wired Ethernet port on the back — it looks like an oversized phone jack. This port can be connected to your router using an Ethernet cable (not a phone cable!), plugging one end into a free LAN port on the router and the other end into the TV. After that, enter your TV's settings menu and find the networking options. If you've got a standard network setup it should be as simple as selecting the setting to enable wired networking — everything will sort itself out automatically through your router.
You can also connect your TV to the Internet using a wireless network connection, which is usually built in on premium models. Many televisions can also use wireless networking via an optional wireless USB adapter, and these generally cost upwards of $100. Setting up wireless networking is a little more complicated — for a start, your home's router will need to be set up and broadcasting wirelessly. If you've got a wireless network already set up in your house and you've confirmed your television supports wireless networking, the next step is to enter your television's settings menu and find the option for wireless networking setup. After finding your network in the list of available access points, you'll have to enter your network password — if you don't have this already, ask the person that set up your wireless network. Some newer routers and TVs also support WPS (Wireless Protected Setup) — so instead of entering a password, all you have to do is press the button on your router when prompted by the TV. When you've entered a password or hit the WPS button, you should receive a prompt that wireless setup is complete.
Once you've set up Internet access on your television, you should be able to access Web services directly — on most televisions there's a menu that allows you to choose and configure services as you want. Connecting your TV to your router and the Internet should also give it access to your computer, allowing it share media files via DLNA.