How to: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video on your television


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From time to time, we see questions pop up our streaming TV forum on how to get Netflix or similar streaming services to an HDTV or older TV set. It might sound like a daunting task, probably because until a year or two ago, the only options were to use an HTPC or DVD player with wi-fi and app integration. But these days, there are a plethora of cheap set-top boxes, new HDTVs, and streaming devices that offer an easy way to get streaming television shows and movies to your TV set without a lot of cost or hassle.

Cheapest Most Easiest Way to Access Streaming TV on your Television

View attachment 2051 My first suggestion, would be to use a Roku set-top box. All newer Roku boxes have built-in wi-fi so that they can connect to your home network router and access the internet for streaming. The entry level LT is priced at $49.99, and though it only offers viewing resolution up to 720P, it does meets the demand of getting streaming TV to your older television set.

The ease of installing the Roku box is another reason why it is recommended a lot on forums and tech websites. A typical installation should take less than five minutes.

Another advantage with the Roku is that it offers not only Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, but also a ton of other free content and private channels to access. The real beauty of this box lies with the Roku community, because users can create channels and serve up content.

Additionally, Roku users may want to consider using the PlayOn service add-on to really amp up user experience and receive much more television and movie content. The PlayOn service is a one time fee, see this post for more info.

What about Apple TV?

Yes, at $99 the Apple TV offers a great means for getting streaming services on your TV. But why isn't it the top recommendation in this post? Simply put, it's more expensive than most Roku boxes, offers less free content, and is less tweakable.

Gaming Consoles Can Access Streaming Content Too

Thinking of buying an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or Nintendo Wii? All three consoles offer downloadable apps for Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services.

Though all of these consoles can be connected to your router, some of the older Xbox 360s and the 20GB version of the Playstation 3 will require the purchase of a separate wi-fi adapter to get internet.

It should be noted that the Nintendo Wii does not have a Amazon Instant Video app available for download.

Need a new Blu-ray Player? Buy one with wi-fi connectivity and apps

Many Blu-ray players manufactured after 2010 offer wi-fi connectivity and access to streaming apps. Some only offer wired connections via a Cat 5 port which you can use to connect to your router for internet.

The main thing to look for if purchasing new is integrated Wi-fi. If you're looking for access to more than just Netflix and like services, manufactures like LG offer "Smart TV" apps, which will give you access to things like the latest news, weather, and YouTube. Sony offers a similar type of service on some of their Blu-ray players called, "Sony Entertainment Network". Same with Vizio and their "Vizio Internet Apps".

What Else Can Be Used to Access Streaming TV on Your Television?

Several other set-top boxes and manufactures exist, and may provide benefits over the Roku box given a users situation. They include the Western Digital TV Media Player, RCA Media Player, Netgear Media Player, and Boxee Box.

Sony started producing a few A/V receivers last year under the STR designation that can be used to access streaming services.

Another option for receiving streaming TV would be to purchase a brand new HDTV with wi-fi integration. Most manufactures these days offer wired and wireless options for users to connect to the internet with.

Helpful Links for streaming TV: - A list of devices that can access Hulu, straight from - A list of devices including TVs, smartphones, and blu-ray players from - A list of devices which can access Netflix from