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While others talk about just how and when the television and the Internet will converge, television shopping channels have made their move. In an efficient and effective way, they have seamlessly married these two mediums.

A quick look at the online versions of HSN.com (Home Shopping Network), Shop atHomeTV, QVC.com, and Shop NBC.com, the top four television home shopping networks, reveals an extensive Internet presence for each.

 

All of these television merchants allow you to watch their live television programming through the Internet. On a dial-up connection, this type of television viewing is choppy and slow, but on a high-speed cable or DSL connection you can watch just as you would watch television. Not only do you get to see live TV, but the screen also shows information about the current item and, of course, provides a hot link to allow ordering the item. Each station approaches their Internet television slightly differently, so you may want to look at all of them. ShopatHomeTV even has online broadcasts of six different archived programs so you can see what you may have missed on television. For the clearest transmission and the best on screen information, check out QVC.

Believe it or not, on my cable Internet connection, I was able to resize the windows and watch all four of the above live shopping shows on my computer at the same time. Interestingly, the audio of all four came through the same speakers, so I actually heard all four at the same time. Since I have two monitors hooked up to my computer, as I write this, I am working on my word processing program on one screen while watching all four television networks at one time on the other monitor.

Impressive Web Sites

Not only has television shopping embraced live Internet transmissions, but these shopping stations all have impressive Web sites. QVC.com features over 800,000 products, and the others are not far behind. The quality of these Web sites is remarkable. HSN and QVC are especially well designed and constructed. Each has unique features, like online assistance, one-click purchasing and online only specials. All are continually improving. QVC.comhas recently revamped their entire site with a clean new look.

The shopping channels have not only made it easy to purchase online, their Web sites have become community centers for their customers. There are online pictures and information on the show hosts, chat rooms, blogs, and bulletin boards. If you have a smart phone, you can even order right from your phone.

I have ordered from all four networks and currently QVC is my favorite. They carry a lot of stock compared to the others, so when you want something, they usually have it. Their prices are always good, and best of all, they have never given me any trouble on any returned product.

One thing that I really like is that these networks all allow the customer to rate and comment about the products that they've purchased. It makes shopping much easier when I can quickly see what others have said about the products.

Wouldn’t you know that shopping would be at the forefront in bringing television and the Internet together? Even if you don’t want to buy anything, you may want to check out these online shopping meccas. They have done wonders with shopping so far, and I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.

This fall, don't just shop - Q.