Web connected HDTVs might be the future

LG has launched two new broadband-equipped HDTVs, the 47-inch 47LH50 and the 50-inch 50PS80. Both the televisions boast of a unique feature, NetCast Entertainment Access, which provides the consumers the access to more than 12000 movies and TV episodes on Netflix.

hdtv-webThe HDTV’s requires a broadband connection to work with the NetCast Entertainment Access service. To choose a film, users just need only to surf through the items and make selections on the right of the screen. Also, they can read movie synopsis and rate films.

Before one jumps to conclusion let it be known that LG isn’t the only company bringing connected HDTVs to the shelf space. Toshiba is well on its way to bringing its Regza line of HDTVs into the streaming realm. Toshiba plans to give consumers access to a variety of content, including local weather, top news stores, sports scores, videos, and more by the end of this year. The HDTVs will also be able to access multimedia content stored on a connected PC’s hard drive.

Don’t be surprised by the sudden uptick in connected HDTVs coming to store shelves, this is the future.
It cannot be a coincidence that two prominent companies in the HDTV business are moving to the Web with their products.

The initial demand is expected to come from 2.5 million households. Although these numbers might not seem like the kind of demand for which companies would continue producing Web-enabled HDTVs. It’s a strong number, but not one that probably won’t drastically change the business anytime soon. But most companies believe consumer demand will increase dramatically over the next few years. And in that time, more connected HDTVs will hit store shelves.

Market analyst The Yankee Group said it expects 50 million connected HDTVs to be purchased by 2013. Ironically, the analysts predict that just 30 million connected Blu-ray players will be in the wild. It expects 11 million digital-media adapters to be in homes.

It’s an interesting study that deserves some attention. In essence, a technology that is just in its infancy is expected to beat out two technologies that have a footing in the space. That’s no small feat. And it speaks to the allure of connecting to the Web on your HDTV.

The technology is not perfect at this moment as the LG and Toshiba HDTVs won’t provide a “true” Web experience. One won’t be able to do much more than watch Netflix movies, see YouTube videos, and check your stocks. It’s not like hooking a Mac Mini up to your HDTV and enjoying a full online experience.

One also can’t forget that the current HDTV isn’t obsolete just because it can’t connect to the Web. If you want to stream Web content to your HDTV, there are a variety of tools to help you do it like Xbox 360, Roku Digital Video Player, TiVo, and PlayStation 3 will do just that. Plus, it’s cheaper to simply buy one of those products than to junk your current HDTV for a built-in Web connection.

But in the end, LG and Toshiba are responding to demand. Web-enabled HDTVs are the future because they’re convenient, useful, and offered at a fair price.