These sets differ from televisions that double as computer monitors -- although many can do that as well -- because no computer or outside equipment is required to display the Web-based content. It is important to note, however, that viewable Internet content varies by manufacturer.
For instance, Panasonic’s Internet-enabled TVs can stream material from YouTube and Amazon Video On Demand, plus material from Picasa Web Albums, Bloomberg News and a weather channel. Samsung’s Internet-enabled TVs can do some of the same, plus display material from eBay and Twitter. LG's Internet-enabled sets have a variety of Web content available as well, and they include access to Netflix's vast library of films and TV shows.
Different manufacturers also have different names for their Internet-enabled products. With Panasonic it’s Viera Cast, with Samsung it's Internet@TV and with LG it’s NetCast. Because the offerings vary by manufacturer, it behooves you to check exactly what’s available in terms of online content before making a purchase. Only that way will you be able to minimize the chance of buyer’s remorse.
To use the Internet-enabled functions on any set, you must connect the television to the Internet. In some cases, this can be done wirelessly, but most televisions require a wired Ethernet connection. There is no charge for basic Internet functionality, but some services, like Netflix movie streaming and Amazon Video On Demand, have content charges.