Consumer Reports Gives Seal of Approval to "Connected TVs"

Consumer Reports, the popular
magazine of consumer advocacy group Consumers Union, has addressed the growing
interest in bringing Internet video to the TV by testing new Internet-capable
TVs and Blu-ray players and rating them in its March issue in a "TV meets Web"

The magazine has rated over 20 TV
sets starting at a list price of $1,000 that can stream online movies, as well
as four broadband-capable Blu-ray players starting at $150. It said that lab
tests showed that setting up the devices and using them to access online
content was easy, and that "picture quality was decent if not quite up to the
claimed resolution."

Consumer Reports also tested
another dozen or so TVs that can display other types of online content besides
movies, such as YouTube videos or digital photos stored on Picasa and Flickr,
but noted that "Internet browser capabilities on Web-enabled TVs and Blu-ray
players are limited." The magazine also rated online-capable devices such as
TiVo's HD DVR and Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console.

In advising consumers on adopting
the new Internet-capable devices, the magazine noted that buying an
Internet-enabled Blu-ray player or a dedicated streaming box like Roku was a
more cost-effective way to get the new online movie services than buying a
connected TV. It also warned customers to check which movie services were available
before buying a device, noting that certain brands were aligned with different
services like Netflix or Amazon Video On Demand.

As for picture quality, the
magazine claimed that Vudu's HDX movie format was the "only movie stream that
looked like real HD" but pointed out that it required a high-speed broadband
connection of 4.5 to 9 megabits per second.