Recent studies suggest that there are 25 million homes in the U.S with a TV connected to the Web, a figure that could quadruple by 2016. And a security expert says that those Web-connected TVs and other home entertainment gear could be tempting and easy targets for computer hackers.

Targeting a crowd not willing or able to spring for its more expensive—though more extensive—Boxee Box, D-Link has just released the MovieNite, a new $60 streaming-media player.

Following up on its earlier announcement of some of its 2012 HDTV lineup, Panasonic has released details on its other sets, such as its flagship VT-series plasmas, as well as new larger-sized LCD TVs. More TVs this year get its Viera Connect Internet service, which includes an open apps market, access to cloud-based content, and a full Web browser. All new LCD TVs offer edge LED backlights, and for the first some, some LCD 3D sets will use passive 3D technology .

As we saw at CES , Sharp is looking to differentiate its 2012 TV lineup by focusing on larger-size sets: 20 Aquos-brand LCD TVs will have screens at least 60 inches. Sharp’s emphasize on ever-larger screen sizes is something of a gamble, especially in this economy.

At a press conference today, Walmart announced a new disc-to-digital service that will let customers bring in their physical DVD and Blu-ray libraries and convert them to digital movies that can be accessed via Vudu, the online video service now owned by Walmart.

The new Apple TV: An in-depth look

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While support for 1080p video and a new, streamlined interface were the highlights of Apple’s revamped Apple TV , we have a few additional details beyond what was included in our initial post yesterday. Overall, while the changes in Apple’s streaming media player aren’t revolutionary, they do make it more competitive with other streaming set-top boxes , such as those from Roku and the Boxee Box

During its press conference this afternoon, Apple announced a new Apple TV set-top box that sports a new, streamlined user interface and the ability to transmit 1080p movies and TV shows from the Apples iTunes store. The new box will sell for $99—the same as the current version, which is limited to 720p video—and it will be available starting next week. Here are some basic Apple TV details: The device will support iTunes Match, and you can get cloud-based iTunes playlists directly on the device.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a new HDTV but have been putting off your purchase, now might be the best time to get a great deal on a new set, especially one with step-up features. And you might not want to think about it for too long. One reason is that this is normally the time of year (March and early April) when the new 2012 models start to arrive in stores, so many retailers may be looking to sell off any inventory of older 2011 sets to make room for the newer models.

DirecTV, which has partnered on and off with TiVo for more than a decade, is hoping that this time the relationship will stick, with an expansion of a recent 10-market trial that offered its customers the option of a TiVo HD DVR that integrates with the DirecTV service.

When watching the Big Game—or anything else on your TV, for that matter—you’ll want to optimize the TV’s settings: fix the color, contrast, brightness, and so on, to make your picture as realistic as possible. With today’s televisions, that can be an intimidating prospect! In this video, our lab expert Chris Andrade goes through the steps to make it easy for you to set up your TV yourself