Watching the internet on your big TV
How to supersize your internet experience
The current trend in viewing media seems to be smaller: iPods, netbooks, even tablets. But what about that marvelous 1080p flatscreen monitor? Why not experience the Internet on your giant television? Here are a few different ways I have done just that.
Connect a laptop
One of the common features found on modern laptops is an HDMI output. When I purchased my 52" Samsung TV, I knew that my laptop was just begging to be connected. The connection simply couldn't be easier: just get a decent HDMI cable and plug your laptop into an open slot on your television. Done and done. The benefits are astounding. Not only can you surf the web, but you can also watch Netflix, YouTube, your photos...anything you can view on your computer alone. Many laptops also have a digital audio output, so you can plug right into your home theater system (or, just use the HDMI cable, as that also carries an audio track).
I also have an external terabyte harddrive connected to my laptop, containing digital copies of films, TV shows and home videos. Obviously, the possibilities are many. The laptop sits just behind my television, out of sight (much to my wife's delight). This setup also came in handy when video conferencing with my parents on Skype. I positioned my USB camera on top of the television and my children were able to converse with their grandparents life-size.
Next page: Wireless keyboard
"But hold on one second", I hear you say. "How can you operate your laptop when it's connected to your television?" I'm glad you asked. I was faced with the same dilemma. So I did a little research and found some great deals on radio frequency wireless keyboards with the touchpad built in. You can find the one I bought on Amazon.com. I can tell you that it works flawlessly and has turned me into a bigger couch potato than I already was.
Next page: The TiVo factor
The TiVo factor
TiVo's ability to get you onto the internet is fairly limited. But what it does offer, it does a good job with. Netflix streaming, YouTube streaming and various internet media are available for your perusal through the TiVo's menu.
Next page: Wii Internet
Nintendo's Wii is another easy method of getting an internet connection on your big TV. The Wii comes with the ability to download "channels". One such channel is the "Internet Channel". The channel is essentially an Opera browser custom built to interface with the Wii's remote. Honestly, the navigation takes quite a bit of getting used to. For most people, the task of typing by pointing a Wii remote one letter at a time is enough to take a pass. But there are times when I was just curious enough about the news that I took a break from playing tennis and popped on over to the Internet Channel to see what was going on in the world.
Next page: PS3
You can, indeed, connect to the internet on your PS3. The PS3 is a remarkable device, capable of being a Blu-ray player, compatible with forthcoming 3D videogames, and, yes, it has a browser. But this is possibly the least useful feature of the PS3 and is even more difficult to use than Wii's browser. The interface is clumsy and tedious, but it will do in a pinch... a big pinch.