How to connect a laptop to TV for Netflix

I decided the other day that I would like to have Netflix streamed to a TV in our house that isn't often used. Rather than collect dust, because there is no antenna or cable of any kind attached (aside from the power cable), I figured I should re-fire up the Netflix account to get a taste of Netflix's "House of Cards." As you could see in the picture though my kids got first crack at the new media library :)

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At any rate, I hadn't done this sooner because I just didn't want to take the time. But the truth is, it was a lot simpler to setup than I anticipated and I didn't need a manual of any kind.

The TV may be "non-Smart" but it has an HDMI port (actually two), which is required when following this approach. And of course, an HDMI cable is needed. Fortunately they are available dirt cheap on eBay. Sometimes you can get one for about $2 but you have to wait a few weeks for it to arrive.

Well, with cable in hand, I just fire up Netflix on a laptop. I attach one end of the HDMI port to the laptop and the other to the TV. I choose the proper HDMI port as the "source" on my TV with a few clicks of the remote and voila, my TV becomes my computer screen!

The only drawback that I found was the remote became only useful for volume. Movie selection, rewinding, pausing, etc. had to be done from the computer. But that's OK, I don't want to be a lazy couch potato, I want to be forced off the couch on occasion.

Another quick tip for when using a laptop is to manage the Power Options. In Windows (at least the latest version) you right click the battery or plug icon in the tray (bottom right corner) and select "Power Options."

Modify the settings for "Dim the display," "Turn off the display," and "Put the computer to sleep" under the "Plugged in" section.

This way the laptop won't stop pushing video through the HDMI cable when it has a nap after 15 minutes. I changed my dim to "Never" and the other settings to an hour. I set limits to TV watching so this is a good way to keep track (however I did watch "House of Cards" binge-style spanning just two days!)

Netflix setup on other devices

I proceeded to setup Netlfix on my smartphone as well and that took all of 45 seconds and about 2 minutes to get used to the interface (if that).

What took the longest was setting it up on the Smart Samsung TV. It was all rather simple after getting into the "Smart HUB" but the bottleneck was using the remote and on-screen keyword to enter the login details.

Maybe I'm just clumsy at it but the entire process took about 10 minutes. Add another 5 for updating the TV software. Plus, there seemed to be a bit of a lag for setup and authentication. I'm not sure if it had anything to do with being connected to the network wirelessly that caused the lag. Strangely the video playback has been fine despite that.

Exciting to me was stopping my show on one device, and literally launching it on another device in seconds barely skipping a beat. Incredible technology. And I like that I can pause the Netflix service at any time when I fall out favor of TV watching again as the weather continues to warm.