Set-top players are a popular and simple way of viewing streamed content on any television set. Many people are interested in this technology, but are concerned that the setup might be overwhelming or require expensive professional installation.
In reality, it's a fairly easy job to take on. Check out this video to see how easy it is to set up a Roku player. Most set-top boxes require similar instructions/steps to set up at home. We've also included a video at the bottom of this page that will help you troubleshoot any problems you might run into when setting up your home streaming system.
Below are non-technical instructions for setting up your set-top box such as Roku or Apple TV to give you an idea of how simple the job is. The individual devices will come with specific and detailed instructions, however, the instructions below should get you up and running in no time.
Find out the available audio/video connection on your TV set. If HDMI is available for high definition, it is recommended for Roku, but you can also set up your device through a composite connection. With Apple TV, you must have a tv set with an HDMI input.
Using an HDMI port for high definition video playback up to 1080p? Make sure you have a six foot HDMI cable. Most devices do not come packaged with it.
Determine whether you are going to connect your device to a wired or a wireless internet connection. Roku allows both configurations. Apple TV is strictly wireless. A wired connection will require an Ethernet cable that connects the media player to your router. For wireless, you will need your wireless network name and security password in order to connect to your Wifi network.
Connect the TV to the media player. The Roku player has both an HDMi and a composite port. If you are not setting up high definition, use the composite audio/visual analog cable that comes with the device. You will need to match the colors in the ports on your television set. Otherwise, connect the set-top box and television set with the HDMI cable.
Once you are connected to the internet, it's time to connect to a subscription service like Netflix or Hulu Plus, or an online rental store like iTunes, VUDU or Amazon Instant Video. With Roku you can select several different services and either set up an account through the interface, or enter information for an existing account. With Apple TV, you will need to have a current version of the iTunes player on your MAC or PC. Turn on Home Sharing, type in your Apple ID and password, and you will then be able to access any of your purchased or stored media through the iTunes player.
Determining your best fit for a streaming media player begins by assessing your television set and your intended experience. If you wish to watch movies in high definition, make sure you you have an HDMI cable, and that your television has the right port.