TV Makers Push Internet Connections


LCD and plasma display manufacturers are seeking to differentiate their products by offering thinner and lighter sets with colored frames and additional features, including Ethernet ports that allow the sets to display Internet-based content as well as high-definition pictures. At CES, several set manufacturers touted those new bells and whistles.

Samsung's InfoLink service uses Really Simple Syndication feed technology to grab content. The company has struck a partnership with Gannett's USA Today to provide breaking news and weather, which is displayed as a graphic overlay on top of HD video. Sharp's new Aquos Net service will configure personalized widgets that display news and information from WeatherBug, NASDAQ and YouClick. The Aquos Net service will also help customers troubleshoot their HD sets, as it will allow Sharp technicians to remotely access the Aquos and adjust the settings.

Sony said that CBS will provide online content to its LCD displays through the Bravia Internet Video Link, which was introduced at last year's CES and is now selling at retail for $299. The module attaches to a Sony Bravia LCD display and features an Ethernet connection on one side and an HDMI connection on the other, as well as Sony-written software that allows consumers to access streaming content through a standard Sony TV interface. Sony has partnered with about 20 content providers to date for the service, including Web-specific content from Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Condé Nast. CBS will provide primetime content like CSI as well as CBS daytime and sports fare.