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Smart TV Training: A Guide To Streaming Movies And Music To Any TV
by Steve Hartfelder

Pioneer Elite TV Mounted in a Phoenix TV Lift Cabinet by Diamond CaseDesigns, Inc.

This is an example of a Smart TV menu on an LG television. Each manufacturer has their own unique menu system and Smart TV features. Most manufacturers offer access to popular streaming services such as Netflix, Pandora, and Vudu.

What is a Smart TV?

Smart TV is a term used to describe a TV that is connected to the internet. By connecting your TV to the internet you will have access to a wide array of movies, music, and television shows that may not be available from your cable or satellite provider. In short, it is a way to get get more content to your TV.

Do I need to purchase a new TV?

No. Any TV, old or new, can be connected to the internet to enjoy Smart features. Older TVs can be connected by adding an Internet-enabled blu-ray player, while many newer TVs already have the features built-in.

How do I connect my TV to the internet?

Powerline Ethernet adapters are one way to expand your internet connection

One great way to provide an internet connection to your television is through the use of a powerline internet carrier. These carries are great solutions for houses that are not pre-wired and offer poor wireless coverage.

There are three primary ways to connect your TV to the internet; wired, wireless, and via adapters.

Whenever possible, a wired connection is recommended because it offers the best speed and stability. If your home is not pre-wired, many TVs and blu-ray players can be connected wirelessly (aka wi-fi). Wireless connections are convenient if you have a high-speed, stable signal in your TV room. However, if your wi-fi coverage is spotty or inconsistent you will not be able to stream properly.

In homes where wired connections do not exist and wireless coverage is inconsistent, powerline adapters are often the perfect solution. These cost-effective kits are able to "expand" your internet coverage into the TV room by using the homes existing electrical wiring. One adapter is simply plugged in by your modem while the other is plugged in next to the TV. The adapters communicate with each other to create a wired internet connection at the TV location.

 

 

How fast should my internet connection be?

In short your connection should be 5Mbps or faster. To learn more about internet connections and to find out how you can test the speed at your home click here.

What streaming video services do you recommend?

Netflix User Interface Example on Smart TV

Netflix is an inexpensive way to access thousands of television programs and movies. It currently costs $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming.

Most newer Smart TVs and blu-ray players offer two great streaming video services; Netflix and Vudu.

You may know Netflix as the company that sends DVDs back and forth in the mail. While they still offer their mail-order DVD service they have become a major player in video streaming. They are a subscription based service that currently charges $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming (note: there is an additional charge if you want both the streaming and the mail order DVD service).

Phoenix TV Lift Cabinet Natural Finish, By Diamond Case Designs, Inc.

Vudu has a huge library of current movies, many available in 1080p quality. It is not subscription based you simply pay if you choose to watch a movie. Rental prices typically range from $0.99 - $6.99 per movie.

Netflix offers a vast library of both movies and television shows. A major benefit of Netflix is the low-cost and shear volume of content. The criticism is their movie library is not as current. and their selection of high-definition content is not as vast as their competitors (see Vudu below).

Vudu is not as well known as Netflix, but their HD movie library is enormous and current. In fact, Vudu often gets new movies the same day they come out on DVD. Almost every movie is available in high-definition and many in 1080p quality (which is the same as blu-ray). Vudu is not subscription based, it is pay as you go. You pay for each movie you rent. The prices of the rentals vary based on the movie title and whether you choose to rent it in standard definition or high-definition. Typical rental prices range from $0.99 - $6.99 per movie. The TV content on Vudu is limited.

What streaming music services do you recommend?

Netflix User Interface Example on Smart TV

Pandora creates a customized selection of songs suited to your preferences. The standard services is free with commercials.

Many Smart TVs offer a couple of great music options; Pandora and Internet Radio (aka vTuner).

My personal favorite music application is Pandora. Pandora is a very unique service that learns your musical preferences and provides a customized selection of songs to suit your taste. Basically you tell Pandora the types of music you like and it will magically play selections you are likely to enjoy. You will certainly recognize most of the songs Pandora plays, however it is also a great way to discover new songs and artists you may not otherwise be exposed to.

Pandora's standard service is completely free. They do offer a subscription based option that does not have commercials and offers higher resolution streaming.

One music service that is becoming more popular is internet radio, sometimes known as vTuner. Have you ever wanted to listen to the radio at your house but the reception is terrible? Internet radio solves the problem as the stations are streamed over your internet connection (not through an antenna), thus avoiding interference issues.

You will find that many of your local radio stations are available on-line. For example at my house AM radio reception is very poor so I am not able to listen to the Angel Baseball games over "regular" radio. However, I am able to pickup the exact same station using internet radio to enjoy the games.

Phoenix TV Lift Cabinet Natural Finish, By Diamond Case Designs, Inc.

Internet radio is a cool way to listen to radio stations from all over the world without the restrictions of poor reception.

One of the coolest benefits of internet radio is you are not limited to listening to local radio stations. You are able to search for radio stations all over the country or even the world! This opens up some really cool possibilities, such as:

• Finding that favorite radio station you used to enjoy when you lived out of state
• Reliving your vacation by listening to live radio broadcasts from out of the country
• Listening to your son or daughters college sporting event even though they are out of state

Once you have found your favorite internet radio stations you are able to bookmark them, creating simple presets just like on your car radio.

Need more information? Want to enjoy Smart TV features?

Whether you are local or out of state we can help you enjoy Smart TV features. Call Dave or I (Dave Hartfelder or Steve Hartfelder) at 714-630-8100 or 800-616-5354. We will help you select the appropriate electronics you will need to enjoy Smart TV features!

 


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