back to article Get ready for the revolution: internet TVs

Not so long ago, a TV was just something for presenting broadcast programmes or content from devices like DVD players. If you wanted anything more exotic, you had to hook up a media player or perhaps a PC. More and more sets sprouted DVI or VGA ports to make that easier. But that’s now started to change. The 2009 models from the …

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Stop

Not going to happen...

"It’s quite clear from looking at the sets that connected TVs are still in their infancy. There are some common niggles: you ought to be able to view 4oD content from YouTube on devices that claim to have YouTube built in"

Hard to see that you will ever be able to do that. Channel 4 and 5 (as with many other content providers like MGM in the US) are licencing content to YouTube on the basis that it appears on PC platforms only and uses RTMPE in Flash as a transfer protocol.

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Anonymous Coward

What about the UI ?!

I spent a fair bit of time experimenting with various players/servers/encoders over the bank holiday.

The thing I found most frustrating was the 10 foot UI's inability to deal with a large number of files on screen at one time. Or to make navigationthrought them easy. Scrolling through a page at a time when you have hundreds is painful.

In the end I resorted to a netbook as an uber remote control. Any better suggestions ?

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Alert

Last year's Sony you should try the new ones

You've tested a 1 year old Sony. The new ones have completely different network functionality. W5500 is basically at the end of it's life. Replacement models are on sale. Nearest equivalent is EX503. YouTube, Lovefilm and other services now. More coming soon.

Also better DLNA support I think.

NX703 has even more network features.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Last year's Sony you should try the new ones

As it says in the piece, the new Sony TVs' Lovefilm link as a shadow of the real thing. I know, I've tried it. Nothing else on there worth viewing yet, apart from YouTube.

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Bronze badge

New models

We do plan to look at newer models - I think it says that in the intro - and will look at all of those together, rather than comparing one brands latest model with the older ones from another.

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Rubbish

Got a Sony Bravia last year and started playing with the connected features. I don't even have it connected anymore - no point.

Got a xbox 360 attached to the Bravia that has a wireless connection to my Win7 PC. The Xbox will stream content beautifully. Bravia over DLNA seems to have a hell of a lot of artifacts in same video...?! Other than crap DLNA local streaming the only "online" offerings are things like a calculator, world clock, picture frame etc...! WTF?! Great for developers beta testing, not so useful in the real world.

Personally I'd rather all TV's simply have the ability to be a Windows Media Centre Extender built into it, YouTube and access to the main 5 VoD players (iPlayer, iTV Player, C5 On Demand, 4oD and SkyPlayer).

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FAIL

Samsung is poor too

I have a 7000 series Samsung, and its connected features such as Internet@TV and its DNLA support are crap to say the least. It doesn't even support fast forward or rewind as this manual page shows.

http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp60/samsung_hd_tech/DLNANotSupport.jpg

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-13973_102-0.html?threadID=352934

Its clear that accessing remote content other than broadcast television on your home TV is definitely going to become more popular, but we need to wait for a particular platform to win. I don't think these features are of a primary concern when buying a set, so watching the STB space (e.g Boxee box, Pop box, Apple TV) might be a better idea. As other posters have pointed out, currently games console appear to do some of this stuff better, plus are more suited to offer more features in the future as most TV manufactures do not offer much in the way of firmware upgrades, plus flashing your TV's firmware is a strange concept to most people.

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Rob

Sounds like...

... their Blu-ray players fair a little better at doing DLNA. Mine connects flawlessly to my Netgear Duo NAS and streams video extremely well. I can also fast forward but that does depend on the format being streamed.

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DLNA !

DLNA Ha,

don't make me laugh,

it's not a standard, it's a wrapper for standards,

two devices can both be quite rightly DLNA badged, and not work together.

DLNA is a waste of time, we need a spec that says things will work together.

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Stop

Just give me a dumb display...

... that allows me to connect, through a standardised port, the newest low-powered tech which comes along, that will do all the processing and content delivery, and can be replaced with the next, better thing, without disposing of my perfectly good dumb display, as and when I see fit.

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Silver badge

Bush IBX-100

Might have been a mostly failed project, but this idea has been around for ages. Just waiting for the technology to catch up and make it viable for the masses, I guess...

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FAIL

walled gardens

Looking at that motley lot, it's not hard too look wistfully at Project Canvas and the treasures it might unleash. Why the disbelief that allowing access to a tiny, pre-selected section of the internet is going to be a successful selling point?

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WTF?

Why on earth would anyone buy this?

Built-in means lock-in. A cheap external Internet thin client STB that can be thrown away when the next technology wunder comes along will be a much better bet. Pile in a hefty network disk store and scoff at Internet TV.

And BTW why are TV with analogue receivers still sold when soon there will be nothing for them to receive? Is this not as suspect as selling a 405-line set of a betamax video recorder?

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Bronze badge

Ease of use

Many RegHardware readers will probably find the features in these sets far too restricted for them, but some people might find a niche. For example, if the other half doesn't want the bedroom cluttered up with gadgets, a DLNA-compatible set means you could still have easy access to the porn collection. Pressing a button and selecting 'media server' to view the photos your clever partner's popped on the NAS is pretty simple to get to grips with.

Just as some people prefer a built in Freeview or Freesat tuner to what they feel as unnecessary wrestling with AV inputs and multiple remotes, even when that makes recording simple, so some will find even a limited built in set of functions simpler to get to grips with.

I would imagine that's a scenario familiar to any RegHardware reader who's tried to explain over the telephone to a less technically aware relative how to get the picture from their digibox to appear. Of course these aren't perfect, but there may well be some people for whom they'll do the job.

Analogue receivers are dirt cheap; it's probably easier to leave them in pan-european models, and some people out there will still be using devices connected via RF.

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FAIL

WinMC

Just give me a dumb display that I can connect a Windows Media Center PC to and that will keep me happy.

The problem with putting PC-like functions into a TV (especially with this sort of tech that's just appering) is that it will be outdated within a year, maybe months, and can't be fixed or tweaked as it's all locked in.

Buy a normal display and use the money saved to buy a cheap PC with Windows 7 on it and fire up Media Centre. Once the major internet TV players like BBC and 4OD etc it will be damn near perfect for viewing TV on and it's a PC so it has millions of possible features rather then these locked in TVs.

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Silver badge
Flame

Let us be absolutely honest......

....this is crap. Connect a bloody pc to the thing for crying out loud, then you have proper internet TV. Most of the modern flat screens come with three or four HDMI ports or (if you absolutely insist on connecting that way) a VGA port. This is a very poor facility which smells strongly of trying to lock you into something which they can use to seperate from even more money than the frakking TV cost you in the first place. The only thing I intend to use the ethernet port on our new Sammy for is firmware upgrades when/if necessary. TV@internet my arse!

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Is it me?

When I read Internet TV I think of TV distribution over the internet NOT the internet on the telly which is quite easily done anyway.

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Bronze badge

Not the way to go...

All-in-one units of this type and size are surely dead ends. For most people it surely makes sense for the display unit to be dumb and put the clever stuff in in a separate box (or boxes). Start putting all the gubbins you need for decoding from many source (streaming, Internet, Freeview, Freeview HD, Freesat etc.) into the display device and you will find yourself high-and-dry as technology changes.

I suppose all-in-one units might make sense for the technologically challenged, but even then I think a separate set top box which can be software updated makes more sense. Keep integrated unti9s for mobile use where it does make sense.

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Gates Horns

Reliance on 'standardised' DLNA

I own a Sony KDL40W5500 and trying to get the DLNA to work is certainly not for the technologically challenged. I have finally settled on a solution that works great for me and my (not so technical) wife, but it's taken a while. Though I run an all Linux shop at home, the forums show problems for people on all platforms and this seems to recur for TVs with DLNA from all manufacturers.

For the record, the W5500 (and their siblings) support MPEG2 PS with AC3 audio and AVCHD video (MPEG2 TS with H264 video and AC3 audio) without transcoding, and also MP3, uncompressed PCM (i.e. WAV) and JPEG files.

My biggest niggle now is that you can't browse music for the next track to play while currently playing a track - something my Netgear MP101 was able to do via UPnP 7-8 years ago!

To those stating that they want TVs with a MCE extender built in... why would anyone want to be more tied to MS technology in their display device?? At least DLNA is supposed to be a standard, MCE extenders certainly are not.

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Anyone remember the Bush Internet TV?

From around 2001?

http://www.v3.co.uk/vnunet/hardware/2129242/bush-internet-tv

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Unhappy

bygone days

Yup, I bought one to test at work, I recall watching the twin towers disaster on it as it unfolded.

the tv was crap, so are all these.

connect a PC FFS !, don;t get locked in

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Meh!

These things strike me as similar to those crappy eighties all-in-one stereos. If one component goes, it compromises the whole thing. Also, until they offer an unrestricted browsing experience, I can't see them having much pull, e.g. browse to iPlayer Web site or 4OD and stream from there. Still reckon dumb screen is the way to go and plug in whatever box you have on the go.

I'm still using a Sony Trinitron 28" with an Asus O!Play plugged into the back - great picture, if a little bowed these days. Will make the HD upgrade soon though, keeping an eye on the local Richer Sounds.

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Linux

Don't know about the others, but the Samsung TV's run Linux + Busybox, so at least in theory you can skip all the manufacturers crap and just use VLC/mplayer or something.

See http://samygo.sourceforge.net/

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Bronze badge

Not for me

Got myself a Samsung LED TV without DLNA, attached a WDTV to it, since replaced with a WDTV-Live. I have access to all of that and can stream video from my UPnP server in the other room without a problem.

As for YouTube et al, it probably works well in areas where you have access to high-speed broadband - but I can tell you it's not worth trying to watch on a 512 ADLS line.

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