The Basics – Streaming Video, Music and Photos

It’s never been easier to stream a movie or TV show from online or view a slideshow of your photos on your TV, or to tap you toes listening to music on your home theater speakers. If you haven’t tried Netflix, or even if you have, here are some basics that may clear up some questions you have about streaming media to your TV.

streaming-video

Video Streaming Services or Home Network Streaming:

There are two sources of streaming videos and other content.  Online streaming includes services like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Cinema Now, Amazon Instant Video, and a number of other services.  While these services require either a monthly fee for unlimited movie viewing, or a pay-as-you-watch rental, or titles can be bought for unlimited viewing, other services like Crackle offer free online streaming of popular films and TV shows.

The other type of streaming is LAN (local area network) or streaming from computers, servers and hard drives that are connected to your home network.  Movies and music saved on your computer can be streamed to a media player or smart TV. Devices that are digital living network alliance (DLNA) certified can find each other on your home network and connect. A DLNA certified media player will show a list of computers and media servers on your home network and allow you to choose a video, music file, or photos and immediately play them on your TV.

Your Home Network – Routers and Modems:

If you are on the Sears community website, I can assume that you have an Internet service provider (“ISP”) at home from your cable company, a satellite Internet service, DSL from the phone company, or a Telco (ATT U-verse or FiOS).  Your ISP installed a modem to connect to the Internet. You also have a router that communicates and brings the Internet to each computer and streaming media device. The router connects to the modem to get the Internet stream then distributes it to all the connected devices via WiFi or Ethernet cable. Some ISPs provide a modem that is combined with a router. While the combo is easy to use because the ISP installed the network, it can limit your streaming abilities in the future.

internet-streaming

When you manually connect a device to a WiFi network, you need to know the name of the router (the “SSID”) and the password. While not all routers have a password set up automatically, you do want your home network to be password protected so passersby or neighbors can’t use your network. NETGEAR, D-Link and other router manufacturers will have a sticker on the router with the SSID and password.  Many devices can also connect using a WPS push-to-connect button. When you set up a device, choose this option, and then run to press the WPS button on the router within 2 minutes.  When you use the WPS method, you do not need to remember a password as the device will automatically connect when it detects the router.

Streaming Devices:

There are so many ways to stream media to a TV, AV receiver, or mobile device that it could make your head spin.  You can use media player devices, Smart TVs, a Google TV, a NETGEAR “Play2TV” wireless PC mirroring device, Chromecast, or Video Game Consoles–Xbox 360, PlayStation, WiiU.  We’ll explore the difference in devices in future blogs. Until then I invite you to go to the Sears Community Q&A to ask any questions about streaming media either for clarification or to find out more about what is right for your streaming needs. - Barb Gonzalez ~ The Simple Tech Guru

Read Barb’s Recent Blogs & Guides

° What is the Best Camera to Buy? ~ Barb Gonzalez – NEW & HOT!
° What is the Best TV to Buy – Plasma or LED LCD?
° Save Your Life – How to Back Up & Sync Your Smartphone
° What Smartphone Should I Buy?
° The Basics – Streaming Video, Music and Photos
° Preparing for College: Tech Essentials for Freshman Year
° What is a Smart TV?

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  1. Thanks for the post Barb, glad you brought up this topic. I have the Xfinity Live app on my iPad. Was leaving the house last weekend and knew I would be in the car for a couple of hours with the family, so I decided to use the app and download a movie for my child. You have 2 options, Download or Play. Figured Play is for an active wifi connection. I downloaded the movie for playback in the car. Playback didn't last the entire movie. A 1/4 way through, the movie/app would check if the tablet was online. Since it wasn't, it stopped playing.
    Contrast to this scenario I have the XBox Music on my windows 8 phone. Through this service at $9.99 per month, I can listen to just about anything, and again have the option to download everything i'm listening too. This came in handy while on the plane, was able to listen to my downloaded tracks without connecting to wifi.

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