Netflix began as a postal service available to deliver DVDs directly to your front door, but now the company has expanded into instant streaming. By setting up a Netflix account and connecting an Internet-capable device, you can watch a wide variety titles streamed directly to your television at no additional price.
There are several different methods to stream Netflix directly to your TV:
1. Streaming video players – Several streaming video players are now available, all of which are capable of streaming Netflix, including the most popular Roku and Apple TV. All you need to do is to connect your video player to your television, and then connect the player to your wired or wireless router for Internet service. Once the equipment is established, simply log on to the Netflix website to activate your player. Because these devices are designed specifically for streaming content, they are especially adept at doing it. Many of these devices also offer component video output, a feature useful and necessary if all of your television’s HDMI inputs are already in use.
2. Gaming consoles – All the major gaming consoles, including the Sony Playstation 3, the Nintendo Wii, and the Microsoft Xbox 360, offer instant video streaming through Netflix. When this service first began, it was necessary to run a disc of Netflix software in the console while streaming the video, but the PS3 and Wii no longer require this software. The output of the PS3 is slightly more high definition than the other gaming consoles, while the Wii does not support high definition at all. In addition, the Xbox requires an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership in order to access a Netflix subscription. Once the gaming console is connected, you need to activate the device through the Netflix website.
3. HDTVs – Many HDTVs on the market today include Internet-connection packages as part of the televisions. Companies such as Sony, Samsung, LG, and Vizio all offer these televisions in a variety of sizes. If you have one of these televisions, simply connect your wireless or wired router, and access your Netflix account. Although these televisions are created with the ability to stream Netflix, using this site is not the primary goal, so it may be slightly more difficult to browse than it is through other devices.
4. Blu-ray players – Much like the HDTVs, many Blu-ray players operate using the same internal software. However, also like HDTVs, streaming from Netflix is not the main goal of the Blu-ray interface. As the price of Blu-ray players continues to decrease, this is quickly becoming one of the most economical options for instant video streaming.
5. iOS devices – Netflix is currently available for video streaming on portable iOS devices, but sometimes it becomes more desirable to watch video on a bigger screen away from home, such as in a hotel room. In these cases, all that is really necessary is a video-out cable, and then you can connect your iPhone, iPod, or iPad to a television. Although this is a very convenient option for video streaming, the biggest drawback is the resolution of the videos. While the images may look good on a device the size of your hand, outputting that video to the size of a television will likely affect the image quality.
6. Computers – You can also connect your computer to your television and stream Netflix video from the computer. Newer computers will only require an HDMI cable in order to make this connection, while some older ones may need additional cables to make the connection work. By connecting your computer to your television, you will deal with the interface of the website when making selections, which may be less convenient than using a remote. Additionally, the output resolution from your computer may not match your television, so you may lose some edges of the video in the transition.