With movies and TV shows available online and on demand, buying a TV with internet connectivity is a smart move. Samsung, LG and Sony have all launched their own versions of a smart TV, with Sony boldly declaring 2011 to be the 'year of the smart TV'.
Smart TVs offer plenty of apps, such as Skype, Facebook, Google Maps and general web surfing. But the best use for a TV is watching great TV shows and movies, and this is a smart TVs biggest selling point: the ability to access content on demand without having to subscribe to pay TV or venture out to rent a DVD.
Instead, you can rent movies and TV shows from BigPond (no need to be a BigPond customer if you have a compatible Samsung or LG TV), Qriocity if you have a Sony internet-enabled TV, or enjoy free catch-up TV with ABC's iVew.
If you don't have any plans to upgrade your TV just yet, a cheaper alternative is to buy a set-top box and subscribe to an IPTV service such as FetchTV from iiNet or Internode.
You will need a stable, fast connection for streaming video. BigPond suggests a connection speed of at least 3.5Mbps for its on demand service, while ABC iView suggests 1.1Mbps or above. In other words, you will need an ADSL2+ or cable plan ideally, or an 8,000kbps speed ADSL1 plan if you can't access ADSL2+ or cable in your area. Mobile wireless will not cut it.
If you are looking forward to streaming lots of content on your new TV, you will need a broadband plan with plenty of data. There are several providers in Australia who offer unlimited plans, and others who offer an entire terabyte a month (about 200 high definition movies or 4,000 hours of ABC iView shows).
Club Telco offers an unlimited ADSL2+ plan for $50 a month. There is no set-up fee or long contract on this plan, as customers can cancel with just one month's notice. There is a $50 annual fee but members get access to discounts for a range of retailers and services, including 5% off Coles gift cards, and 35% off Hoyts and Village Cinemas.
Give Club Telco a call on 1300 138 155 or take a look at some of their plans here.
TPG also offers an ADSL2+ unlimited plan, for $29.99 when bundled with a $30 home phone line ($59.99 per month in total). TPG customers have to sign up to a contract, but can choose a shorter six-month contract if they don't want to be tied in for long. This is a great value plan, although it is not available everywhere. Give us a call on 1300 106 571 and we can see if it is available in your area.
iiNet and Internode both have terabyte plans, starting from $99.95 a month plus a $29.95 home phone line with iiNet and and $119.95 plus $29.95 home phone line from Internode.
However, if you go for a FetchTV service from either of these providers, all your FetchTV content is unmetered, which means it will not count toward your download limits. In other words, you won't need a large plan and can opt for a smaller, cheaper plan instead.