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How to Add Your Family TV Sets to Your Home Network

By Edited Feb 13, 2014 0 0

The How To Guide To Saving Everything to Your Home Network

 

Most people now have a home network in their houses. This is usually a wireless router that is connected to an internet connection and then broadcasts a signal that covers your home and allows you to connect all your gadgets wirelessly to that network. Computers and printers are connected in this way, maybe some gaming consoles as well, or your smart phone so that you can use your wireless connection rather than 3G. But you can also connect your TV into your home network, using one of a variety of methods. Why would you want to do this? Well, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, this would mean that you can access your internet from your TV, particularly for watching films, for example. But also it would mean that TV signals can go through to the internet. This is a less common use, but can be useful for things like catch up TV, or even so that you can watch what's playing on TV in another room of the house from your lap top. Today we're talking about how you can add family TV sets to your home network, and what some of the issues are.

A Direct Connection...

Some modern TVs, sometimes called Smart TVs, are capable of connecting to the internet directly. These sets will have built in WiFi or Ethernet support that allow you to simply connect them into your network. Just as when you connect any other device to your network you'll have to connect the TV to your router and then put in the appropriate passwords. Specific instructions for how to connect will vary a little by model, but a direct connection is usually easy to set up and shouldn't take you more than a few minutes. If you're looking at buying a new TV, you might want to look for direct WiFi or Ethernet connections on your new model, since it will make your life easier and mean that you don't have to buy any other hardware.

An Indirect Connection...

Even if you don't have a Smart TV you can still connect your set to your network, but you'll need some hardware. You'll need something called a digital media player, also known as a Set Top Box, the most popular one being Apple TV. You'll need to connect this set top box to your network, again in the same way that you'd add any other device by finding and connecting to the network and entering the appropriate password. The set top box then connects to your TV using normal AV (audio-video) cables that you can buy from any electronics shop. Set up is pretty easy, but remember to connect the set top box to the TV first, and the set up menu will then appear on your TV screen and you can simply follow the instructions.

Streamed TV and Movies...

The majority of people connect their TVs to their home networks in order to watch internet streamed programmes on the larger screen of their TV, rather than on a small computer screen. There are plenty of different providers for these kinds of services in the UK, from the traditional TV channels like the BBC iPlayer to specialised services like Netflix. You may or may not need to pay for a subscription to these services. Although, do remember that illegal streaming is piracy, and should you be caught there could be repercussions. The setup to stream is again relatively simple. You'll need to make sure that your Smart TV or set top box and your computer are all connected to your home network.  You'll then need to subscribe to the service that you're interested in, if necessary. Sites like the BBC iPlayer won't require a subscription, whilst those like Netflix will. You'll also need to make payment first, if payment is required. In some instances you will now be able to stream to your TV and everything will be fine. However, many of these providers will require that you use additional software in order to access programmes. This software should be a quick and easy download, and you'll then be given simple instructions for how to configure the programme yourself for however you want to use it.

Streaming Back Again...

Some devices will let you reverse stream, that is, to watch TV programmes on other devices. DVRs, for example, will often let you stream pre-recorded content wirelessly to your smart phone or lap top so you can watch your programme wherever you like. You'll need to check your device manual for information on whether or not your device will support this and for set up instructions. Devices like Slingbox will let you access your home TVs content wherever you are in the world. Set up of these devices is a lot more complicated though, but you will be able to watch your home TV through your lap top even while you're on holiday in Spain...

Data Plan Issues

If you're going to start streaming TV and films around your home network, then you are going to have to take this into account when looking at broadband plans. The regular Post Office Home Phone and Broadband plan with its 5 GB download limit just isn't going to cut it. You will need unlimited data plans in order to take full advantage of streamed media. You'll also need some decent broadband speeds. In general, internet TV will need around 3 Mbps of speed in order to perform well, so you'll need to check which speeds different providers are getting in your area to choose the fastest. You might even want to consider a faster fibre optic broadband connection, which should give you no problems at all with speed. Streamed media will lag and buffer when the network is busy. Remembering to shut down any other internet tasks on other devices should help to limit this problem. However, if your connection speeds are too slow you will have consistent issues with videos stalling and freezing. 

Move Up to a Smart TV

Samsung UN32EH5300 32-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LED HDTV (Black)
Amazon Price: $499.99 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Jul 27, 2013)
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