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Web-ifying the TV

LAS VEGAS--For all the people who like to watch television with a laptop open on the coffee table [raises hand], your next TV set may be waiting on the show floor here. A few different manufacturers are demonstrating sets that can link to a home network and display Web content.

Yesterday, I looked at Sony sets that accept a "Bravia Internet Link" add-on to download and play videos from a variety of sites, plus a Panasonic set that doubles as a YouTube browser. Some Samsung LCD and plasma sets, due in the spring, include RSS readers that display news feeds from (ahem) USA Today.

And today I checked out a Sharp set featuring what the company calls "Aquos Link"--a wired network connection that puts simple Web widgets on this LCD's screen. Sharp marketing vice president Bob Scaglione suggested that users could do their morning Web data consumption on the big screen this way, checking the weather forecast with the set's Weatherbug widget, then pulling up a map showing the congestion on their commute.

Scaglione also said this Internet connection could be helpful when people had trouble with their TVs -- they could let tech support log on to the TV and adjust settings for them. Somehow, the need for that last feature leaves me feeling a little discouraged.

You'll also pay quite a bit for Aquos Net. The "Special Edition" line of LCD TVs with this feature starts at $3,199.99 for a 46-inch model.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 8, 2008; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  CES 2008 , Video  
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Why not just watch TV on your computer, by using a TV tuner card? I've had a TV in the corner of my monitor for over a decade now; used to use an old full-size ISA Intel Video capture card, a VCR and a bunch of coax, now I just plug the feed from the satellite box into the tuner card. So I can check the weather sites or the traffic sites or whatever for about $3100 less than what Sharp wants. I've never understood why this hasn't caught on more!

Posted by: cotm | January 8, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

What I'm really looking for is a combination TV/internet access point, something that lets me watch OTA/cable/satellite television on a regular-TV-sized screen in my living room but also lets me watch any web content I want, not just what's available on the sites the manufacturers want to let me watch.

But maybe I'm being unreasonable.

Posted by: jp | January 8, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the previous comments, I have no interest in being delivered (at great expense) to some manufacturer's selection of sites.

Posted by: Robert17 | January 9, 2008 6:11 AM | Report abuse

TV and the internet are a great mix. As an old WebTV user and a current MSNTV2 user, I think it's the best of both worlds. I've hooked up my laptop to the TV through VGA and it works great. Next year, I'll get a better computer and hook it up to the big screen permanently. I'm just waiting to see how the whole Hi-Def thing pans out.

Posted by: JohnHH3 | January 9, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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