As I stated earlier, it’s been evident for some time now that a large portion of television audiences are watching their favorite shows on the Internet. In response, a new wave of HDTVs are hitting the market that allows viewers to reach sites such as YouTube and Picasa, but also video-on-demand services from Netflix, Blockbuster, and Amazon.

So new is this feature that some electronics stores aren’t even aware of it yet. (A random check of stores around the country found retailers in New York and Los Angeles to be the least informed.) Yet Internet-enabled HDTVs are expected to quickly add an Internet wave for couch-based channel surfers. Market researcher the Yankee Group predicts 50 million people will have such setsby 2013.

Another 30 million, it says, will have Web-connected Blu Ray players — and 11 million will have purchased media adaptors, giving nearly 100 million people Web video on their TVs without hooking up a PC.

The sets will come pre-installed with targeted applications for specific websites, somewhat like iPhone apps.

The new technology also could add power to an advertiser’s message, with consumers able to click a link and instantly learn more about a product — and with ads being better targeted based on a person’s viewing and browsing history.

And while, like Hulu, no network or production house has signed with a manufacturer to put an app on new TVsets, it may not be long before programmers line up to get their apps included.

When it comes down to it, computers, TVs, and cell phones are quickly melding into the same device. They each continue to serve their primary functions: computers to access the Internet, TVs to watch shows and movies, and cell phones to make calls. Nevertheless, the goal for the manufacturers is to combine their products with multiple forms of media.

People have been able to access the Internet on their TVs in the past, but it was always in a primitive form and never took off. More importantly, streamlined applications weren’t available. Still, it’s interesting to note if this new and integrated content is better than what’s been available. I’ve just gotten used to having DVR on my cable box, and that works flawlessly. However, the idea of pulling up Hulu on my TV screen is enticing. A DVR box can only hold so much content, after all. Hulu contains hundreds of shows on their site. The customer who has HDTV with Internet is then provided with many more options. Pretty cool.