(1) Watching TV programs and movies from the Internet on a PC or on a TV. People have watched video clips on the Web for years; however, increasingly, on-demand movies are heading to the living room TV over the home network via Internet-based services such as Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu and VUDU. Unlike watching movies on a personal computer, TVs require a set-top box that converts the network packets to TV video signals.|
Newer "smart TVs" have built-in Internet movie access; for example, LG added Netflix on-demand to some of its TVs, and others followed. Various Blu-ray players have built-in Netflix access. In 2010, Google announced a full-blown, integrated Internet TV platform (see Google TV). See smart TV.
Also called "IPTV" because the Internet uses the IP protocol, the movie services are in their early stages and quality comparisons by home users are difficult unless the TV supports multiple service providers. Otherwise, a set-top box must be installed for each one.
(2) Surfing the Web with the TV as the monitor. A computer connected both to the TV and the Internet enables all Web content to be viewed on the TV's screen. Located in the TV area, "home theater PCs" are computers dedicated to this purpose (see HTPC).
A similar approach dates back to WebTV in 1996. WebTV delivered the Web to a TV set via a set-top box with a keyboard and mouse that connected to a dial-up or broadband line (see MSN TV). Introduced in 2010, Google TV is the 21st century version of WebTV plus a lot more (see Google TV). See Yahoo! Connected TV and video portal.
Zinc (www.zinc.tv) is a Firefox browser application for viewing videos on a PC or Mac, or a TV connected to the computer. Providing a 10-foot user interface for large TV screens, Zinc enables access to a host of free and paid movies, TV shows and other video content. See