Mid-Week Poll: Do You Want or Need a Web-Enabled TV?

In addition to 3-D, the other big initiative from television manufacturers over the past year has been the push for web-enabled TVs with various widgets that allow access to internet features. I have to ask: Does anyone use these things?

According to a recent report from media research publisher Futurescape, it’s expected that in the next five years almost 40% of televisions produced for the U.S. market will have internet connections and services. Samsung claims that 70% of all its TV sets will be internet-connected by 2014. The percentages may be even higher in other countries.

I can see the benefit in having Netflix, VUDU, or other media-streaming services embedded in an HDTV, if the viewer doesn’t already have those features in a Blu-ray player or other device. Those seem like a natural fit. However, Futurescape says that this drive for internet-connected TVs is really pushed by the growth of social media. Does this mean that people are connecting to Facebook or Twitter to share their viewing habits with friends? Maybe I’m just too old (I’ll admit that I’m woefully delinquent in updating my Facebook status and refuse to use Twitter), but I can’t imagine using a TV for this sort of thing. Wouldn’t a computer or phone make a more convenient portal?

What about you? Do you use (or want to use) internet features in a TV?

Do You Want or Need a Web-Enabled TV?

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  1. Alex

    Out of curiosity, what kind of features do people use on web-enabled tvs that aren’t provided by another device in their home theater setups? For instance, I use my XBox for Netflix Streaming, my Blu-Ray player has YouTube, there’s a Roku on my bedroom TV that has Hulu, Amazon, and a dozen other channels. Is there something that the web-enabled TV provides that can’t be found on another device? In my mind a TV is essentially a monitor, and so having functionality above and beyond showing pretty pictures prettily seems superfluous to me.

  2. that1guypictures

    I have a Mac mini and a Ps3 connected to my TV, and therefore have no need for the streaming features offered on the TV. It just ends up being redundant.

  3. HuskerGuy

    My Samsung has internet capabilities but no Netflix or other cool stuff as far as I know. Either way, I’d never use it on our main TVs as we have web enabled game consoles that provide everything we’d ever need and smart phones for anything else (like social media).

    I’d only use it in our bedroom where the TV does not have any web enabled devices attached to it. Even then, it’d be used very sparingly. Bottom line, it isn’t much of a selling point for me.

  4. The social network feature that I have seen on the Roku and the PS3 and other devices are normally limited to viewing your friend’s pictures on your TV. Its a good idea, and it would be nice if they added video capabilities to facebook.

    Other than that, my TV is used for viewing content. I don’t really care much if it even has a tuner (well, do right now, satelite is temporaraly off – stupid being-in-the-hole-after-the-holidays). I got a PC hooked up to it, now with a Multimedia remote, thanks to tips from people on these boards. I got an XBox 360 and a PS3, got a Wii hooked up in the first bedroom and a Roku in the second bedroom. Why would I need a TV that offered streaming services?

    I can see two advantages to this.

    1) Hanging tv on wall, and don’t want a ton of components hooked up to it. The viewer wants a video-picture frame. Limitation of wires and lack of space prevent hiding of components in cabinet. REAL niche market there.

    2) Firmware updates. My parents HDTV has a bug in the HDMI ports that prevent it from displaying in 16×9 at a resolution over 480p. There are no communication ports on the tv. We can’t take the tv back – its now over two years old. We never noticed the bug until this year, as before this, all HD was running to the TV via component. But I bought my parents an HD Roku for Christmas, and it doesn’t have component. So sadly, this HD Roku is now set to deliver content at 480p to display the proper aspect ratio, rather than 4×3 squished.

    Other than those two reasons, I really see no reason for a TV with internet connections. I would say it would be great to replace the Rokus, but, once again, niche markets. Most blu-ray players and game consoles offer internet connection anyways, and chances are, I will have some component that offers streaming services.

  5. Tony

    I use the Netflix, Vudu, Picasa and Youtube apps on my LG TV. I gave the to my parents when I got this new TV. There’s not a big benefit to getting rid of the separate Roku box, but the built in apps work well.

  6. RedVIII

    I use the BBC iPlayer app on my Sony TV which is in the Kids play room, which is particular handy as I don’t currently have an (working) aerial running to that room.

    I cant imagine ever using the TV to browse social websites however.

  7. I don’t need a Web-enabled TV beacuase I’m already using Roku, a PS3, and a Samsung Blu-ray player for those features. However, I probably would look for this option when it comes to buy a TV again. I’m closing in on about 50% of my TV viewing coming from the Net rather than traditional network/cable. It’s not hard to forsee a future (10 to 15 years) where we watch EVERYTHING via the Net.

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