6 TVs with YouTube – making the TV social again

2 September 2010 No Comment Ian McGurren

If you’ve never thought of a TV with YouTube, it might be time to give it some thought.

TV is going through a transformation the likes of which it’s not seen since the birth of Satellite TV.

New Internet TVs don’t just give you a TV with YouTube – they give you a whole new viewing experience that’ll transform your living room.

To guide you through the minefield of the different technologies available, we’ll take a look at 5 televisions that let you connect to that most social of video sites, YouTube.

TVs with YouTube – making the TV social again

Here at MediaMentalism, we’re all about the social. We’re also about the smart technology, but what really gets the MediaMentalism boat afloat is when the smart technology gets with the social.

Everything’s getting in on the act, from cameras that are Flickr friendly to blasting out your favourite tunes with a HiFi and Last.FM. Now even the TV is getting in on the social action, growing network interfaces and talking to the Internet.

Every TV manufacturer is doing things slightly differently though. To help you choose the best way of watching YouTube on your TV, we’ve looked at different models from different manufacturers, grouped according to the main TV tech being used.

Internet-equipped LED TV

Panasonic D25 LED LCD


While Samsung and LG have cornered the public’s eye with catchy adverts, Panasonic have quietly released their own LED LCD screen, the Panasonic D25 series. Keen AV followers will know that any Panasonic TV comes with an impressive heritage and the D25 is no exception.

Using a top-end LED backlit IPS panel, the D25 comes packed with Freesat HD to flex those HD pixels, 4 HDMI sockets, a very cool USB “HDD PVR” function which allows you to record onto a USB hard drive, and finally the all important Ethernet socket. Through this you have access to Viera Link, Panasonic’s web portal, which includes the usual news and weather, and also social elements like YouTube and even Twitter.

Now you can watch dancing mongoose and tell the world without touching a phone or PC!

The Top End 3DTV

Samsung UE40C8000 3D LED TV

Samsung 8000 series 3DTV
Maybe LED is not enough for you, and you crave something that little bit more. Ok, how about the very cutting edge of television technology from one of the world’s biggest names in TVs?

Samsung’s 8000 series sets are not only the de rigeur LED LCD flavour but these uber-TVs have that trick up their sleeve that everyone wants – 3D. Looking stunning in brushed titanium, the 8000 is loaded with a full HD VA LCD screen (better than monitor-type TN LCD), Freeview HD, 4 HDMI sockets, 200hz motionplus and the all important network connection (WiFi optional).

Samsung’s web service is the very-90′s-named internet@tv and it offers an original take on the whole idea with widgets. You can add new widgets to the taskbar on the screen, from BBC iPlayer to Flickr and from Twitter to YouTube. The 8000 even has a Skype widget for video calls on the big screen, very 21st century.

If you are looking for possibly the most Web-aware and technologically advanced TV, the Samsung 8000 series must be at the top of that list.

The 3D LCD Bargain

Samsung LE40C750 3D LCD TV

Samsung LE40C750 3D TV
While Samsung’s 8000 series is at the high end of today’s TVs, it also has a price to match, so in these somewhat frugal days it’s always worth keeping one eye on the cheaper option. Though it may not have the ultra sleek titanium frame and LED technology of its fancy brother, the latest Samsung 7 series LCD TV (the C750) is still getting plenty of praise for its deep black levels, impressive 2D to 3D conversion and great viewing angle.

Still equipped with a raft of socketry (including the now standard 4 HDMI) and Freeview HD, the C750 runs the same internet@tv as it’s bigger brother, so you still get access to cool widgets like YouTube, Lovefilm, Twitter and more, but big screen Skype is kept back for the big boys toys only.

The C750 offers a taste of the big time for small potatoes, so if you’re on a budget, go check it out.

The Refined Plasma TV

Panasonic G20 Plasma

Panasonic G20 Plasma
The Plasma vs LCD/LED debate has been going for some time now and shows no sign of stopping. Both have their advantages and their disadvantages – LED TVs are razor thin with a sharp picture, but plasma sets have better black levels and motion handling. Horses, courses!

Panasonic’s G20 series are plasma-based TVs and are one of the best options if you want both plasma technology and YouTube in your new TV with Panasonic Viera Cast. Using Panasonic’s NeoPDP panels (the closest any panel has come to Pioneer Kuro black levels), the G20 packs in a whole lot of tech for a fantastic, lifelike and vibrant image.

A full 1080p display, 4 HDMI inputs, 600hz motion, intelligent frame creation, Freeview HD AND Freesat HD, the G20 has optional WiFi and it’s THX certified so you know it’s been calibrated to motion picture standards.

Another distinct advantage plasma holds over LCD is how well it handles SD video, with LCD tending to be very matter-of-fact and showing all blemishes and noise. Plasma on the other hand will gloss over much of the issues in a similar way to CRT TVs did with video files, smoothing them out and making them look more like regular film.

With YouTube generally being at a lower resolution, plasma may well be the best way to view it on a 42″ screen. Plasma is often (incorrectly) assumed to be old technology, but visit any decent TV showroom or audio visual forum, and you’ll see the enthusiast’s TV of choice will have a plasma screen.

The Cracking Budget Choice

LG 42LD690 LCD TV

LG LD690 TV
LG’s sets have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, with excellent budget plasma panels, highly reviewed LCD set and revered top end LED model all doing well. Even though it is the cheapest option here, the LG LD690 is still an excellent HD TV for the money and carries on LG’s good name.

Coming packed with Freeview HD, the LD690 can also boast 3 HDMI inputs, 100hz TruMotion and network connectivity. LG have used that inconspicuous little ethernet socket to give the LD690 DLNA capabilites, allowing you to stream videos from any computers or network drives that are sitting on your home network – no boxes needed.

They’ve also used it for NetCast, LG’s answer to Panasonic’s Viera Cast and Samsung’s internet@tv. Netcast offers the viewer weather reports, photoshare, Skype video calls (soon) and YouTube, all on a 42″ full 1080p high-definition screen.

Significantly, as a majority of Channel 4′s demand service, 4OD, is on YouTube, you can now watch it on demand and in your front room. While LCD may not handle YouTube as gracefully as Plasma, it’s a sharper image with HD sources like consoles and Blu Ray players, and in the LD690′s case, it’s a few hundred pounds cheaper too!

The Clever Box of Tricks

WDTV Live

Western Digitial WDTV Live
What if you’ve got a great TV already? Let’s say you’ve spent a few thousand on a 60″ Pioneer Kuro and nothing bests it in your eyes, but you still want to dabble in social media and the web on a big screen, so what’s the answer?

Western Digital’s WDTV Live.

Western Digital’s little box of tricks is not only an excellent networked high definition media player, capable of playing back AVI, WMV and MKV up to 1080p, but it also has the all-important on-line action.

The WDTV Live allows you to access YouTube, Flickr and internet radio from Live365, all up on your big screen. It also has HDMI out and optical digital out to get the best sound out of the little box into your hifi or surround system. The WDTV Live is a great YouTube player with a simple but powerful media player in the package too, and makes a great media hub at a fantastic price.

Summary

Ok, so there you have six ways to get the power of the internet into your front room – and this is just the beginning. The internet and our front rooms are merging, with services like Google TV, Zune Videos on the 360, Apple TV and many more aiming to stream not only YouTube but high definition films into our living rooms over the internet.

Even YouTube itself is going high definition and even 3D, so it’s a very exciting time. The Web can be at your fingertips if you want it – enjoy yourself!

 

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