Wireless Networked HDTVs

The Danish TV-maker Zepto has reportedly released a new line of LCD HDTVs that can connect wirelessly to Windows Media Center computers on a local network. The Helios LCD line includes a 720p 32″ model and a 1080p 40″ model. They are only available in Europe, with ticker-stopping stickers of more than $3,000 each.

For that price, you could buy a 1080p 42″ LCD HDTV and a Media Center PC and all the trimmings, but this isn’t about the money. It’s about connecting to sources other than the Big Three — over the air, cable, and satellite — to get content. You can access locally developed and stored content, such as your photos, digital music collection, or movies. You can also access content streamed over the Internet.

Is this a bellwether or a dead branch on the home technology tree? Only time will tell, but I believe that consumers want a greater variety of choices. And adding these features should cost less than a couple hundred dollars, so they shouldn’t have to pay a big premium to get them. Once they discover the breadth and depth of programming available on the Internet and the convenience of accessing locally stored content, I expect that wireless network connections will become standard features on most HDTVs.