While televisions have long been able to be hooked up to the internet, the advent of internet ready TV is relatively new. For years, consumers have been able to buy special cables to hook up a television set to a computer. While this would allow internet access, the television is simply being used as a monitor for the computer. More recently, secondary equipment has become available in the form of video game consoles and online boxes like the Roku that hook up to the TV. These devices are hooked up to the television via an HDMI cable and allow limited internet access. The newest iteration in these internet ready devices is in TVs. These televisions are developed to allow internet access, either through an internet cable or wirelessly, directly through the TV itself.
An internet ready TV works much like a game system or other internet enabled device. The TV is connected to an internet capable modem either through an Ethernet cable or through a wireless network. With this access, the internet enabled TV can then run various applications that add additional functionality to the television. The apps provide the majority of content for an internet ready TV. These internet enabled televisions do not access the internet in the same way as a computer or smart phone. Usually, there is no web browser and users cannot visit webpages. Instead, the TV uses downloadable apps to provide the user with the content they want from the internet.
Applications available on internet enabled TVs are the main draw to these systems. Internet apps provide functionality that is similar to webpages the user would access on their computer. These apps can offer access to video streaming, news, shopping, and social networking sites on the television. Users who have online accounts with video streaming sites such as Netflix or Vudu are able to stream movies directly through their TV using these apps. Internet ready TVs typically come with an advanced remote, complete with keyboard, which allows the user to control these applications. These applications offer a great deal of customization to the user. Choosing which applications to install on the TV and the ability to access online accounts gives the owner a greater amount of control over their viewing experience then is available through older televisions.