Setting up a home entertainment system that includes a streaming service isn't a difficult endeavor, and you might be surprised at the number of options that you have available to make it happen.
Several of the available services support a number of devices, like gaming consoles (e.g. Wii, PS3, or Xbox 360, as well as others), blu-ray players, internet-enabled television sets, and mobile devices like iPhones, tablets, notebooks, etc. You will need to check the providers' individual list of supported devices before deciding on a subscription.
If you don't have one of the options listed above, and simply want to be able to stream on your television set, there are several devices that will facilitate that as well. Some of the best streaming devices include Roku and Boxee Box. Roku is very cost-effective and particularly popular for many people. Besides being able to access online content through various services, you can also access Facebook, various news networks, and Crackle, a free movie provider. Apple TV is another option available in media players, but it only supports a high definition television set. You can also read our article that compares streaming media players.
Setup is similar for most of the devices, but may require a specific step or two in order to get connected to your desired service. For example, if you visit Netflix.com's How It Works page, you can click on one of the frequently asked questions under "how to watch instantly" to get specific instructions on how to access Netflix on your TV through your gaming console, blu-ray player your mobile device, or your computer. Mobile devices require that you download the Netflix App from the Apple app store. You will need to download any software or app necessary to access the specific content provider, and you will need to activate that particular device for your account so that the service recognizes you. If you have already established an account with one of the content services online, you will simply need to log in after selecting the application. You can also subscribe directly through your home entertainment system in some cases.
To set up a Roku player, you will require:
The Roku player is connected to your TV set by a supplied cable. After you power the Roku up with a power adapter, you will connect your Roku to your WiFi network through a series of on-screen dialogue boxes you access with your remote, which also comes with Roku. You can also connect the player directly to your router with an ethernet cable if you have difficulty connecting to your wireless home network. Roku has assembled a step-by-step video to help walk you through the installation.
Once you have established your internet connection and can view it on your television set, you can access Roku's "channels store" where you can purchase your subscriptions to over 400 channels, like Netflix, Hulu Plus and more.
Understand your available options is easy with our comprehensive comparison guide.
Check out the available Resources page for comprehensive broadband requirements as well as a speed test, information on recommended download speeds, and helpful articles like understanding the difference between stream and download technology.