More and more people are streaming Internet television into their homes. With little effort and little money, you can get services like Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube from the comfort of your living room through simple navigation on your remote control. Get current and classic TV shows and movies in addition to or in place of your cable or satellite subscription.
What Is Internet TV?
Internet TV (also referred to as Web-enabled, over-the-top content, and Web-connected TV) is a way to access Internet content on a television set. This gives you enormous amounts of video at low cost–or even free!
Devices that Connect to Internet TV
In the past few years, it has become much easier and less expensive to connect your TV to the Internet. Here are the most common options:
- Popular set-top boxes a devices, such as Roku, Boxee, Google TV, Western Digital TV Live Hub, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, and even gaming systems such as the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, make it easy to watch Internet content. You can buy some of these boxes for as little as $50.
- Web-enabled televisions, such as Sony, Samsung, and Toshiba, have the connection built inside the TV.
- Blu-Ray players are also often capable of connecting to the Internet (either wired or with built-in Wi-Fi). Popular brands include Sony BD players and LG BD players.
Each device listed above provides different channels of content because each company has associations with different broadcasters or independent content creators.
- Netflix, Hulu, VUDU, and Amazon Instant Video are major content providers found on many set-top devices. Some of their content is free, and plans with more content begin at $7.99 a month.
- YouTube is also available on many devices.
You can check out many of these devices at local electronics stores to see which one has the features and content you like. You can also click on the links above to view the websites for each device and channel to learn more about what you’ll get with each. You’ll find both current and classic TV shows and movies. You’ll also find unique content not available on broadcast or cable TV. For example, Roku offers Pandora radio, independent films, games like Angry Birds, and even inspirational religious channels.
What do you do?
Some people have cancelled their regular cable or satellite TV subscriptions ($100 or more a month) in favor of a Roku box ($50) and Netflix ($8/month). You should also try Amazon Instant Video, which has over 140,000 movies and TV shows to rent or buy. Get a free 30-day trial to Amazon Prime. Others get Internet TV in addition to their cable TV because of its unique content.
When moving to Internet TV, please be aware that it is different from traditional broadcast in that the content is unregulated and parental controls are sparse.