TV Meets the Internet: Internet TV and TV on the Internet

By Kimberly Bowen
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An internet TV is one on which you can access internet sites. Some internet TVs have more internet access than others do. Those with the most access are smart TVs that give you the ability to browse many sites. Other TVs allow you to access some of your favorite sites, such as Netflix, Facebook, Pandora, HuluPlus and YouTube. While smart TVs and internet-connectible TVs a essentially put the internet on your TV, watching TV on the internet is completely opposite. There are a few ways you can get your TV and internet on the same page, whether the connection comes through your TV or your computer.

Internet TVs

An internet TV can run without an internet connection. When it does, it functions simply as a TV without any apps or browsing abilities. When you have it connected to the internet, it uses the same internet connection as the rest of your house. Your Wi-Fi router has a firewall to protect your internet TV, but you’ll want to make sure you have your Wi-Fi network password protected so others can’t access your wireless connection. Internet TVs come in a couple of different, but similar, packages:

Smart TVs
If you’re looking for the most high-tech internet TV out there, you’re going to want to look at smart TVs. These internet TVs have a built-in internet connection that allows you to go online through an Ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi. Internet TVs give you the ability to browse many websites on the internet. They also allow you to add apps to your TV similar to those on a smartphone, so you can check the weather, read up on your friend’s latest Facebook status or watch a Netflix movie. Even with all the convenience of a full internet browser, you’re going to see some differences from a computer in the way you view and interact on websites. While smart TVs give you webpage text, they may not have all the capabilities of computers. For instance, you may find that they don’t allow you to view images, videos and audio if the smart TV platform doesn’t support them.

Internet-Connectible TVs
Internet-connectible TVs come in two types: those with built-in internet access, and those that use your existing HDTV but need an additional box to provide the internet capabilities. Either way, they allow you to access some internet sites and web apps on an HDTV. While you may have some browsing ability, it’s limited to those sites that have an agreement with your hardware manufacturer. It’s also more likely with these TVs to have only a traditional TV remote instead of a made-for-internet TV remote.

  • HDTVs With Built-in Internet Access – These TVs connect to the internet through an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi connection. Some TVs may need a dongle for their Wi-Fi connection.
  • HDTVs That Require a Box – Another choice you have is to use your existing HDTV and connect it with hardware to the internet.

This can save you money if you want internet access but don’t want to buy one of the new internet TVs.

Watching TV on the Internet

Watching TV on the internet is completely different from accessing the internet on your TV. In fact, it's the complete opposite. Instead of using your TV to access internet sites, you use your computer to access TV shows. This is great if you want to watch a Saved by the Bell rerun or catch up on the SNL skit from this weekend that your whole office is quoting. Hulu, Fancast, Clicker, Veoh and Comedy Central are just a few of the websites that allow you to watch TV shows online.

Turn Your HDTV Into a Monitor
If you want to watch TV on your computer but loathe using your small computer screen, you may want to consider connecting your HDTV screen to your computer. In doing this, you’ll want to make sure you make all the correct connections with your PC input and audio. If your computer or TV is missing the ports you need for proper connection, you can use an adapter box as a go-between. Be sure to match the audio and resolution of your computer with your HDTV once you connect it.

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