Last updated on 01/18/2013
Cut the cord and still satisfy your video-streaming needs.
By Liam McCabe
Connected TVs are all everywhere these days. For some folks, that means running an extra ethernet cable across the room from your router to the back of the TV. But there’s a more elegant way to hook your television up to the internet: WiFi. Many connected sets, particularly higher-end models, are WiFi-capable, though you may need a dongle to make it work. Let’s take a look at three new TVs that are not only ready to get content free from the confines of cables, but happen to look amazing as well.
We first profiled the Vizio VF552XVT more than a year ago, if memory serves me, but it was delayed time and time again. It’s out now, and the wait is totally worth it. Not only is it a great TV picture-wise (55 inches, 240 Hz refresh rate, LED-backlit) for an excellent price, but it’s also home to the most seamless internet TV experience that money can buy. The Vizio Internet Apps (VIA) interface is the smoothest, most user-friendly of any out there, extremely well-integrated into the TV-watching experience. And it’s one of the few sets out there with built-in WiFi -- no dongles required.
Like the egg salad sandwiches at 7-11, LG LED TVs often get overlooked for no good reason at all. The 55LE8500 is a beautiful TV with all the trappings: a 55-inch screen, 240 Hz, LED backlighting, and none of that silly 3D stuff. LG’s awkwardly named NetCast Entertainment Access service is well-rounded; not as robust as VIA, but quite easy to use, and it touches all the video-streaming bases. An extra dongle is required for WiFi ($80), but this TV is also wireless HD capable. The wireless media kit will cost you $400, but hey -- Blu-ray quality video through the ether? That’s magic.
The gorgeous UN55C8000 is a perfect 10: a beautiful face (the 55-inch, 240 Hz, LED-backlit, 3D-ready screen) and a bangin’ body to match (classy brushed titanium, less than an inch thick). Samsung’s connected service doesn’t stack up to Vizio’s industry-leading interface, but it does include all the must-haves, like Yahoo! Widgets, Netflix, its own Samsung Apps store, and soon, Skype. A wireless dongle is required, and will run you $80. Not the best wireless option, but one of the best TVs for sure.