YAHOO-CONNECTED TV

Some of us are waiting to buy a new computer until Windows 7 is out. Others are more excited about Internet TV.

Yahoo Connected TV

The first “Yahoo-Connected TVs” are out from Sony and Samsung and they let us see what the future of TV entertainment is going to be.  Unfortunately, the first retail prices have been running around $3,000. But those prices are already dropping; we found a Samsung LED in the UNB8000 series for around $2,000 and a Sony Bravia for around $1,500. Vizio will soon come out with slightly cheaper sets using the Yahoo system.

What you get for your money is some good Internet services in addition to whatever TV channels you normally get. A list of choices   appears at the bottom of the screen. Using your TV remote control, you can go to Twitter, eBay, the New York Times, Flickr, Yahoo Finance, Weather and News, CBS online, Showtime and Slacker radio.

Since the cost of the sets make this an expensive way to go for Internet services, we suggest using a laptop or netbook and connecting it to any of the newer HDTVs. We used a four-year-old Sony Vaio laptop and a Vizio LCD HDTV and that worked fine. You need a TV that accepts RGB input. In this situation you are simply using the television set as an extra monitor for the laptop computer.

RGB port

RGB port

There’s an “RGB” port on the back of the TV and on our laptop. After connecting, we just click “RGB” on our TV remote.

The advantages are considerable: You can go to all the Internet connections and services provided by the expensive Yahoo-enabled TVs listed above, and anywhere else on the web as well. In addition you can play computer games, which was what spurred us to do this in the first place.

We connected our tiny laptop to play “Peggle Nights” on the big TV in our living room. There are “RGB” ports on the back of our TV and on the Sony laptop. After plugging in the laptop, we just clicked “RGB” on the TV remote and Windows came up on the screen. We liked it better than using a Microsoft Xbox to play games because the computer mouse gave us tighter cursor control than an Xbox game controller.

We also ordered and tried a “Loop Pointer In-Air Mouse” from Hillcrest Laboratories, for the real laid-back living room experience. This cost us $99 from Amazon.com and we had high hopes for it. The loop mouse fits in your hand like grabbing onto a luggage handle and your thumb is in the right position to work the mouse buttons and scroll wheel. This seemed like a neat way to control the cursor, but in practice the Loop Pointer turned out to be a little loopy. Control was difficult and we went back to the standard mouse.

looppointer Vizio 26" HDTV

The sound quality on the Vizio TV is excellent and the picture quality is good, if not great. The quality would be better if we had a set top box, rather than a cable coming in  from the wall, but that’s the way it’s done at our apartment building. Overall, we’re very happy with it.

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