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Looking to add an internet connection to your HDTV? New HDTV's now come with built-in ethernet and wi-fi internet connectivity which will allow you access to stream movies, tv shows, music, social networking accounts, Yahoo Sports, Netflix, Hulu, weather and lots of additional internet content directly on your High Definition Television.

How to Connect and Watch Internet Content on Your TV

Vizio TVA number of HDTV's are now available with a built-in internet connection, either an ethernet port or wi-fi connectivity or both. This review will refer to a Vizio 37-inch LCD HDTV which I recently bought but other manufacturers also offer the internet feature in several different sized TV's, generally starting with the 19-inch color televisions.

Briefly, why I bought the Vizio 37" LED LCD HDTV (Model XVT373SV, which has since been discontinued) and things you might consider when looking for the right tv for you:
  1. It was the exact size I needed for my bedroom.
  2. It was the only 120Hz HDTV in it's price class. All the others were only 60Hz. This is very important. In fact, the larger your TV, the more important this becomes. The higher this number (60 - 120 - 240 - 480) the less motion blur you should experience. So an upgrade from 60 to 120 is a great start.
  3. Wireless internet (wifi) connection built-in.
  4. The sound is very good for my purposes. What do you expect? It's not close to what a Bose 5+1 sound system will get you (which by the way is really nice), but for a TV speaker it's still very good.
  5. I later added a Vizio Sound Bar. This horizonal speaker significantly improved the sound!
  6. Remote has a slideout keyboard for internet use.
  7. A wide viewing angle (almost 180 degrees).
  8. Nice HD picture when connected to a cable box and viewing HD channels.
To be fair, what I don't like is: 1. No "Sleep timer" button on the remote. You have to work your way into a menu system to activate it. 2. Menus are not optimized to make searching for internet content as easy as you would like.

While a 37-inch set was perfect for me, Vizio, Sony, Samsung and LG also make numerous other TV set sizes. Hint: check out DisplayWars to compare relative TV sizes].

Why It's Cool To Have An Internet Connection On Your TV

VIZIO Smart TVs let you stream all your favorite shows, movies, music and more and watch from thousands of Chromecast-enabled apps. I most enjoy the ability to stream movies and TV shows. If your TV doesn't have a built in channel streaming app, consider picking up a Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire Stick device.

RokuChromecastAmazon Fire Stick

Replace Your Cable Boxes

One major advantage of buying a Smart TV or one of these streaming devices is that they can replace your cable boxes that you are currently renting for $6 to $10/month! We used to have one DVR/Cable box and two additional regular cable boxes. We now save $12/month rental on the two regular cable boxes and just rent the one DVR/Cable box. Why? My wife can't live without the DVR and as long as you pay for one box, you can stream your entire cable service (complete with TV guide) on a streaming app using the Smart TV or streaming device. So we use the DVR/Cable box on the largest screen TV in the house and use Roku devices on the others. I've purchased two different Roku devices and like them both, but neither is perfect.

The wireless internet wi-fi connection works great. It was easy to set up simply by following the built-in Setup App. I am using an ASUS RT-AC68U wi-fi router running with encryption. It's connected to a SurfBoard SB6141 cable modem with Charter Spectrum internet service via a Zyxel AV2000 Powerline adaptor. If you get good wi-fi reception in the room, then the tv's internet connection will work just fine. I've run my desk computer's internet connection via wi-fi so I knew I already had a good wi-fi connection. You can also connect the TV directly to the internet via an ethernet cord which would be your best-case scenario.

Set-up the HDTV on Your Home Network

When you first turned on your HDTV you can set up your network connection using the "Setup App". If you did not do this or if your setup has changed, you can set up your connection from the "Network menu". The Ethernet function on your HDTV is used to access the Internet. The HDTV also has 802.11n wireless, so you can connect your TV to the Internet through your wireless home network. A wired connection may deliver a more consistent connection depending on the conditions in your home environment. When you enter the "Network Menu" you will see your current connection method.

Wired Connection: View that your wired connection is set to "Connected". This is not an option that you can adjust. It is for information only. "Manual setup" is available. Select to view and/or manually change your network settings, and then click on "Test Connection" to make sure your wired ethernet connection is working.

Wireless Connection: If there is no wired connection, the wireless menu will be displayed and you will see a list of available wireless networks. You will also see that your Wired Connection is set to "Disconnected". 1. Press the down arrow to select your wireless network, and then press OK. If you do not see your wireless network in the list, select "More Access Points" and then press OK. 2. If the network is password protected, enter the secure access code you created when setting up your wireless router. Slide the remote control open and begin typing in the code. You can also select "Show Keyboard" and use the on-screen keyboard instead of the remote control. When you are finished entering the code, select "Connect". Click on "Test Connection" to make sure your wired ethernet connection is working. (Courtesy: Vizio Product Guide)

Widgets: Widgets are direct links to internet content which appear at the bottom of your screen after you hit a button on your remote. You can set up widgets for Yahoo Sports (like Fantasy Football, but not Fantasy Baseball yet), weather, Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Blockbuster, and about 100 others. If you want to delete any internet widgets that appear on the bottom of the screen (after you activate them), highlight the widget in question, click the "yellow" bar button, then "red", then "red" again to delete the widget.

Channel Apps: Channel Apps are also direct links to internet content which appear on a menu when you turn on your Roku or other streaming device. A number of default channels will be preloaded. You can delete what you're not interested in and choose from hundreds of others to add. Standards include: Amazon Prime, HBO GO, Showtime Anytime, Smithsonian, Food Network, Fandor, Roku Channel, YouTube, Tubi, Nat Geo TV, PBS, Crackle, Sling, Netflix, Hulu, Pluto, XUMO, Stirr, SiriusXM, and you can find channel apps for almost all of your favorite cable channels.

If you belong to Amazon Prime, you can currently stream over 2,200 movies and TV shows for free off the internet. (40,000 more are available on a pay-per-view basis). I have not experienced ANY delay and the picture quality has been excellent. You can also easily set up access to Hulu Plus, Netflix, and other content you paid for on a subscription or single-use basis.

Firmware Updates: The second time I turned on the TV (after setting up the wi-fi link), the tv automatically downloaded a firmware update. Firmware is the software which is stored on a memory chip. It's what runs the internet application and other features on your HDTV. As long as they don't release a bad firmware update, it's nice that the updates are automatically downloaded and installed.

Here are three related links which you may find helpful:
Expanding Reliable WiFi Internet Access Throughout Your Home
Setting up a high power WiFi repeater to boost and expand your WiFi signal to cover your entire home.

Setting Up A Moderately Priced Home Theater Experience
Assistance in selecting and setting up a great moderately-priced home entertainment system.

Eliminate Your Landline Phone Carrier
Detailed information on how to replace your landline service with cell phone service and keep your home phone number.

Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. The information presented is an opinion intended to assist site visitors on the how and why of setting up an internet connection through their HDTV.

Since we do not have complete control over the "Ads by Google" appearing on this page, we do not directly endorse their sites or products. Please notify us if you find any of the advertisers to be misleading. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through Amazon links. Enjoy.
© 2011 Topher
Updated 2019

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