One of the easiest ways to stream content from the Internet on your television, such as Netflix Instant or Hulu+, is with a Roku Box.
With the advice from a few friends, I also figured out how, using a few standard wires (less than $20 total), to watch anything on your laptop screen on your television. You’ll have to change the input on your TV to receive from the proper inputs. And, of course, all this set-up is easiest on newer TVs that have more input options.
For the video, I used a High-Speed HDMI Cable,” ($5.49 at Amazon), although I’m sure there are other places you can get similar cables, probably even cheaper.
If you have a Mac, you’ll also need a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Female Adapter ($3.84), so that the HDMI cable will fit into your Mac.
For the Audio, you’ll need a “Stereo Male to 2RCA Male Cable” ($3.58). Plug one end in your audio jack, and make sure you change the audio settings for your TV to receive the input from this external cable.
Also, the quality of the video that you are streaming matters. What looks good on the small screen of your laptop, may be blurry on a large TV screen. But a lot of streaming features increasingly offer HD, not just SD (“Standard Definition”) options, although it takes longer to download.
Magin and I haven’t had cable for years, but between Netflix, Hulu+, and projecting our laptop screen onto the TV, we don’t miss much that we want to see (keep in mind that we don’t follow sports), although we’re a season behind on a few shows. And there are increasing numbers of alternative options to cable for even the best shows. For example, we recently kept up with the latest season of Mad Men for $35 in iTunes for HD, and were able to download each episode the next morning.
The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary, and the pastor of Broadview Church in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. On July 9, 2012, he will start as the Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook (facebook.com/carlgregg) and Twitter (@carlgregg).