Are you considering signing up for Netflix or another streaming account, but confused about how to make it work with your TV? There are now more ways than ever to enjoy streaming content right in your living room, and it's easier than you might think. Don't settle for huddling around your your laptop or smartphone anymore... here are some of the best ways to get Netflix and other online streaming content directly into your television:
1. A Wi-Fi Enabled TV
The latest TVs are already plugged in, and some of them allow users to stream content while also browsing the web. The best internet-enabled TVs already have an internet connection via wireless Wi-Fi or a cable ethernet port built right in, so there's no need to add an exterior connecting box to your TV.
To choose the best smart TV for you, make sure it has the apps and options that will fit your needs. In terms of web access, be sure it is ready to access your existing Wi-Fi and has the apps you would like to use regularly already installed. Ideally, the TV will also be connected with an app store to allow you to purchase any additional apps you may desire down the road.
As of this writing, the Sony TVs are leading the pack in terms of overall customer satisfaction. The top 3 models are the LED EX620, LG 42LV5500 and the LG 42LV3700, ranked as having the best overall internet options as well as picture quality.
2. An Internet-Connected BluRay Player
Companies like LG, Philips and Sony all offer BluRay players that are pre-configured to work with Netflix and other streaming content right out of the box. Setup is simple -- all you need is a Wi-Fi connection or an internet cable to be plugged into the BluRay device.
3. Your Computer or Home Theater PC
You can easily stream Netflix, your own videos or any other content via your laptop or home theater PC outfitted with an HDMI
cable or video output. Simply pick up the proper cable and choose the correct input setting in your TV, and you'll be streaming the content of your choice onto your television in seconds.
4. A Roku Set Top Box
A Roku is a small external device that connects to your home network and can stream video to your TV directly from the internet. The device costs anywhere between $50 to $100 depending on the amount of features and HD
resolution you want.
Connecting a Roku to your TV is just as simple as hooking up a BluRay or DVD player. You'll get immediate access to hundreds of videos and free entertainment channels. (With the Roku 2 XS, you'll even be able to play Angry Birds on your TV with their special remote control device!)
For setup, you'll need an internet connection that is at least 1.2 Mb ps, plus a wireless router. (Another option for Roku 2XS is connecting via Ethernet connection.)
After the initial device purchase, there is no ongoing subscription to use Roku. There's loads of free content available; however, some channels are subscription-based. The top subscriptions include Netflix, Amazon Instant (included with membership to Amazon Prime), and Hulu Plus.
5. Apple TV
For Mac lovers, Apple TV offers movies, TV shows, sports as well as your own music and personal photos and videos, all playing wirelessly on your HDTV
via the Apple TV set top box. You'll also be able to buy or rent thousands of movies and TV episodes from the iTunes store, all in top quality 1080p HD
The device also allows you to easily play content from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It's fully compatible with Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, NBA, MLB, NHL and more.
6. More Set Top Boxes
Beyond Roku and Apple TV, there are lesser-known set top boxes available that offer the same effect. Boxee Box is a social web video player from D-Link. Within the interface, Netflix is offered as an application allowing you to easily browse and watch movies and other content. Other similar media players include Popbox, FreeAgent Theater+ from Seagate and Western Digital WD Live.
7. Streaming Via Your Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii Player
This is a handy option if you happen to have any of these devices already. Hey, even the most hardcore gamers have to take a break sometime! What better way to do so than by catching a movie or a favorite TV show. Depending on make and model, some players will require installation of an app in order to stream Netflix or other specific content sources, but many users find this is an awesome way to access streaming content via their TV.
8. Mobile Devices
As if streaming to your TV weren't already easy enough -- now you can do it via your phone! The iPhone, Windows Phone, iPad or other tablet can now stream directly to your TV. All it takes is W-Fi and the right app, and your smart device can work in tandem with your TV. There's even an app that turns your smartphone into a remote control device!
So there you have it -- a variety of ways to connect your TV with all that the internet has to offer. With so many cost effective choices available, getting TV shows and movies from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube has never been easier. So go ahead, start enjoying the best of what technology is bringing to entertainment -- right in your living room!
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