Adding to an already impressive list of services available on their web-connected HDTVs, LG has yanked Vudu into the fold. What this means: instant 1080p movie streaming. Also, that standalone set-top streaming boxes might finally die, as they should.
So what gets this? It's a decent spread of 42-inch-and-up plasma and LCD TVs, including the 47-inch LCD 47LH50 and 50-inch plasma 50PS80, available now for $1,699 and $1,799, respectively, and the forthcoming 42-inch LCD 42LH50, and the 60-inch plasma 60PS80, which should land outside the price spread of the current sets on both ends.
Vudu has promised a smattering of improvements on their side of things, from video quality tweaks to a snappier user interface—mostly due to these HDTVs' more substantial hardware, I'd assume. But the most important part of this announcement isn't even about Vudu:
With LG's NetCast Entertainment Access, consumers have instant access to millions of streaming movies, TV shows and web videos through an Ethernet connection. These models, ranging in screen size from 42- to 60-inch class sizes*, also include access to content from Netflix, Yahoo! Widgets, YouTube and more
This "choose your widget" scenario is an increasingly common scenario for new HDTVs right now, which is fantastic news for customers, and not so fantastic news for whatever poor companies got roped into manufacturing the various standalone streaming set-top boxes we'd just started to get used to. (Sorry, Roku!) Without the hardware entry cost, these video services can fight it out with the features that really matter: Netflix's monthly subscription vs. Roku's per-movie rentals and purchases; Vudu's 1080p HDX streaming vs. Netflix's 720p VC1AP video; etc. Open platform TVs and Blu-ray players are the new battlefield, and they won't be a forgiving one. [LG, Vudu]