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Apps, Video Chat and 3-D in a TV?

Your TV viewing experience may never be the same

Ditch your cable provider

If surfing the Web gets boring, press the "Internet Video" button on the remote and you can have your pick of video and audio services that stream content on-demand to your set. If you are a Netflix subscriber, you can get access to and watch movies in your Instant Streaming queue by selecting the Netflix option. If you'd rather listen to streaming audio, you can create your personalized radio station for free with the Pandora option. Hulu Plus, Amazon Video On Demand and YouTube are just a few of the growing list of Internet content programs available to use.

The TV is social

Several applications and "widgets" (small computer programs that play well with content from third-party websites) allow you to consume different types of content.

For example, if getting social is more your bag, there are Facebook and Twitter widgets that connect to your accounts and display content from each service's feed. You can also post status updates to each social network. But without a wireless keyboard attached to the TV, pecking a 140 character Twitter update with the remote may become a bit mundane.

If you would like to have a video chat with a friend or far-flung family member, the Skype application allows you to do so from the comfort of your sofa. You will need to connect a microphone and webcam (both not included) to one of the USB ports on the side of the TV, but once you do, you may wonder why you're still paying for a landline to make long-distance calls.

Pros

  • Excellent picture
  • Easy setup
  • Availability of free Web content and services

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not all peripherals to use apps/widgets are included
  • 3-D glasses are expensive to equip the whole family ($49.99 each)

 

Sony's KDL-55HX820 television is used exclusively to test and review all video peripherals on AARP Technology.

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