The first thing to say about the Philips Net TV online platform is that at the moment it represents the only system offering open access to the Internet. Its online-capable models ship with a built-in browser, with the facility to enter Internet addresses, and remote cursor controls that let you navigate through the 'click through' tiles and text options on most web pages.
We say most web pages because the Opera browser Philips has used isn’t as fully featured as a typical PC browser, and so may fail to run some pages. But we haven’t run across many problems during our time with the system, and have actually really appreciated having unfettered access to the World Wide Web at large.
It’s nice, too, that the TV keeps a history of pages you have visited to streamline your surfing, and that the text input system works more efficiently than you might expect. Though we still wish the brand would sell an optional keyboard as well.
The inability of brands to control content if they provide open Internet access makes it unlikely other brands will follow Philips down the open Web road, but if the whole idea of having limits placed on what you can see online on your TV upsets you, then the Philips system is by default the only place to go.
If the slightly long-winded full Internet access feels too much of a hassle for you, then Philips also has a ring-fenced content section more in keeping with the approach adopted by its rivals.
This content isn’t as extensive as it is on some rival platforms, but it does help Philips present everything very simply, on a single, icon-driven screen. Just select the icon for the service you want, and you’re whisked straight off there.
The services available start, inevitably, with YouTube. The interface for this isn’t as effective and streamlined as Panasonic’s, but it does the job. Next up is Box Office 365 which, as its name suggests, offers Video On Demand content. This offers - and we quote – '100’s of hours of music, comedy and film streamed straight to your TV - no need to download'. Subscriptions start from £2.99 a month, though there’s no contract, so you can cancel at any time. Content providers available through this platform include ITV Drama, ITV Film, ITV Comedy, ITV Childrens, the audiolounge, and the Cartoon Network. There’s a small section of content you can access without subscription too, though this is mostly just music videos.
The quality and stability of the feeds from this platform is excellent, though sadly there’s no HD material.
Philips’ ring-fenced area also carries the DailyMotion platform carried on Viera Cast, with presumably the same level of content. We say presumably, though, because the new Philips TV we used for this feature stubbornly refused to load the DailyMotion page. A problem that we’d hope will be sorted out very soon!