Make your dumb TV smart: use your laptop to get it online

Just like 3D, the TV industry is hoping that smart TVs — that is, TVs that can connect to the internet — will halt the price slide and reinvigorate the flat panel market.

The future!
(Credit: Apple; fedek6, royalty free; CBS Interactive)
Difficulty

Just like 3D, the TV industry is hoping that smart TVs — that is, TVs that can connect to the internet — will halt the price slide and reinvigorate the flat panel market.

Unlike the 3D push, which had a lot of money behind it but was always doomed to draw a "meh" from the crowd, smart TV has a chance of seriously altering the industry.

While being able to browse the internet and stream video through your TV (otherwise known as IPTV) is certainly a step forward, it runs a few dangers, most notably that of fragmentation.

Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG — no matter which manufacturer you go to you'll find a different execution, different interface, different feature-set and even different content for your television. There's a long way to go in presentation too, with interfaces proving clunky at best.

There's also a trap for newcomers: since you'll be connecting to the internet to get some of your TV content, this will affect the download/upload quotas of your internet account. Heavy watching could see your quota disappear rather quickly, unless your ISP has signed a peering deal for the content in question.

Still, it's a glimpse at the future, but it's very early stages, and if you already have a large screen TV you're better off looking into other ways to get the internet on your TV.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 for one is making a huge push, with Foxtel, movies and TV series available for purchase. Sadly, only BigPond offers Foxtel content quota free.

There's also FetchTV from iiNet, Westnet and Internode, which are quota free from those ISPs. Adam Internet and Optus are expected to get FetchTV soon too.

They would all like to drink your digital milkshake. (Credit: Microsoft, Apple, FetchTV)

Then you've got the likes of AppleTV, even if the local catalogue is decimated compared to the US one. The options aren't limited for getting IPTV on the box.

But what if you wanted a better, more flexible experience? What if you just wanted to use the humble PC?

Tags:
Laptops
About the author

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

 

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