How To Stream From Phones And Tablets To TV

Setting up streaming

Once you’re sure your internet is up to snuff, you have to figure out how to funnel the signal to the device you want to use to watch videos. 

Your internet-delivered video experience on any device — phone, tablet or TV — will revolve around apps, not channels. You are probably already comfortable using apps on your smartphone and tablet, which are built for them. Computer browsers also can handle video streams. (Forget about trying to convert a device not designed for video, such as a basic Kindle book reader, into a viewer. It won’t work.)

But the TV might take a little more effort. Your television set needs a device that can connect to the internet, probably via an ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, and store the apps you want. 

Those capabilities might already be built in to your set if you have a smart TV. Or you may be able to handle the video streaming chores with a Blu-ray player or a gaming console attached to your set because they can do more than play discs and games.

If you have none of the above, then you can pay anywhere from $35 to more than $100 for a small smart device to make your TV internet-ready. Amazon, Apple, Google, Roku and others offer sticks similar to thumb drives, dongles or boxes that typically plug into the HDMI port on your TV. 

Be sure that your smart device works with the service you want. Some are incompatible. Livestreaming services are especially picky. For example, Google’s YouTube TV doesn’t yet support smart TVs, gaming platforms or devices from Apple, Amazon and Roku. And Hulu Live just recently added Roku access. 

Once you’re set up with a smart device, make sure it is connected to your TV and use the input function on your remote control to navigate to the streaming service. Instructions on the screen will take you from there.

Don’t be intimidated. It really isn’t that hard. And if you miss the experience of calling for support from your cable company — and having an automated service put you on hold — you can always go back.

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