One of the greatest improvements in internet technology over recent years has been in streaming video content. Video streaming services such as YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix, to name a few, are bringing content that was once only available through a traditional cable or satellite subscription or a DVD rental, directly to a variety of internet-connected devices from laptops to smartphones to game consoles. The question then became, how do we bring online video content to our living room? Enter “internet tv.” Many companies have recognized the explosion of streaming video on the web and have created products to allow you to watch videos, as you demand them, on the best screen possible… your high-definition flat screen television.
Probably the most simple option for connecting your television to the internet is the Roku player. An extremely popular little box that, once connected to your television and your home network, Roku enables you to watch video from dozens of streaming resources including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video (some services may require a subscription fee).
For those that don’t wish to add another device to their already cluttered media cabinet, Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony, among others, provide video streaming capability within their blu-ray players via built-in WiFi, so you have one less device to connect to your television. The Samsung Blu-ray Disc™ Player (BD-C6500), connects users to services such as Blockbuster On-Demand for instant streaming video content, as well as to the Samsung App Store where users can download even more third-party video streaming applications, as well as games, news, and weather resources (fees may apply).
And of course Google chimed in with Google TV, a product that brings “TV, apps, search, and the entire web… together at last,” and touts that, with Google TV, “your TV just got smarter.” Essentially turning your television into a computer monitor, combined with the keyboard-like controller called the “keypad,” you have the ability to search the web, your channel lineup, and your DVR device for any TV show, movie, or video you desire. You can even use your Android phone or iPhone as a remote control. And content isn’t limited to video. Like the Samsung App Store, Google TV provides access to apps for social networking, news, weather, music and more.
Clearly, the stage has been set for the video streaming gadget market. Companies are creating internet-connected devices to empower users to control their own media content… perhaps even in ways we didn’t know we wanted to control it. As Google says, “the web is now a channel.” I say, “turn it on.”