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Smart TV vs. Internet Connectable. What's the difference?
In the home theater world, there are now many options for getting Internet content onto your HDTV. This is an exciting development, but it means the world of TV is getting more complicated. Which product is the right one for you to buy? How do you connect your system to the Internet?

With the introduction of Google TV, there might also be confusion between "smart TV" and "Internet Connectable" products. This FAQ will help address the basic differences.

What do smart TV and Internet Connectable products have in common?

Smart TV and Internet Connectable products both allow you to view content from the Internet on your HDTV through specialized apps (Netflix*, Napster, Facebook, etc.). Usually, you will access them through a menu page of icons.

These apps are designed to work specifically and very smoothly with the television experience. Each product has its own specialized list of available apps. While some may offer access to Facebook, for example, others may not.

*Subscription required.

Is a Web browser included? Can I search the Internet?

Smart TV: In most cases, this will probably be the biggest difference between the two categories. Smart TV products like Google TV include a web browser and keyboard, so you can browse, search and type in content online using your HDTV, just as you do with your computer. They also feature significant processing power, which allows them to perform integrated searches across both Web and TV (see the next question for more info).

Internet Connectable: Most of these products do not come with a Web browser, so you cannot search the Internet. Instead, online content is accessed via a set of apps that are included with the product. In the near future, a small number of Internet Connectable products will include a Web browser with limited functionality.

Can I search for specific video content?

Smart TV: Yes, there is a robust and cleverly integrated search capability. Type in the name of a favorite program, hit Search and quickly see the time and channel the program is on, any DVR recordings*, plus any video content that's available on the Internet. You can then select any available program right from your search results.

Internet Connectable: There is a limited ability to search for video content within some specific apps. For example, within the YouTube app, you can use your remote to type in a search term and relevant videos will be returned.

*Note: DVR search capability is currently only available with DISH Network, but there's a good chance it will be available with select cable and satellite providers in the future.

What kinds of smart TV and Internet Connectable products can I purchase?

Smart TV: Google TV is the only smart TV product that is currently available. Sony has released HDTVs and a Blu-ray player that have Google TV built in. Additionally, Logitech has released a stand-alone Google TV box that can work with any HDTV.

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Internet Connectable: There is a wide range of products that have this capability, including HDTVs, Blu-ray players, home theater systems, gaming systems and TiVo.

How do I connect my product to the Internet?

You'll need an Internet connection with a minimum speed of 5Mbps–10Mbps (or higher for optimal performance). In addition, we strongly recommend a wireless-N router.

Use this Geek Squad® tool to test your current speed.

For convenient, wireless connection to the Internet, many Smart TV and Internet Connectable products have built-in Wi-Fi or allow for a Wi-Fi adapter to be connected (Google TV, for example, can make its own wireless network connection with your router).

In general, the simplest and most reliable connection between your product and router will be with an Ethernet cable. Other networking accessories like Powerline adapters are also available.

Read more about connecting your product to the Internet.

Have other questions? Get them answered here.


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