Thursday, May 06, 2010

Get your Netflix (and more) instantly to your TV in a number of ways

It seems many of my friends are huge fans of the Netflix movie service. A while ago, Netflix started offer and “instant play” option which allowed you to watch movies on your computer without waiting for the DVD to arrive.

While watching on your computer is ok, most people would like to get the movie up on their big screen TVs. I have been recommending and advising people on how to plug their laptop into their televisions, but for many there are simply too many technological hurdles. Now, though, if you own any number of other devices from a Tivo DVR to a Nintendo Wii, you really don’t have an excuse anymore. Netflix can use these devices already connected to your television to put your movies back where they belong – on your (big screen) TV!

I knew that Netflix supported a wide variety of systems, but it was only when a friend brought over his recently released software for the Wii that is was brought home to me. I have a Wii connected to an older 40” projection HD Monitor. Since the Wii is already in place, all it took was loading the Netflix software CD into the Wii and verifying the Netflix account to get us started. Within minutes we were browsing his Netflix collection using out Wii remote.

While the Netflix software for the Nintendo Wii doesn’t support full HD, the picture and sound was excellent. I am using the component cable to connect my Wii to the television, so that gives you the best picture possible. This might be an excuse to upgrade your Wii connection cables if you are currently using the composite connectors. Don’t let this stop you, though. The Netflix software is free and if you are a current member, you might have already received it in the mail.

(Netflix supports a wide variety of other devices beyond the Ninendo Wii. See a complete list at this page – “TV episodes & movies — instantly to your TV” – on the Netflix site.)

There are other ways of connection your computer to your television. Most HD televisions now include HDMI and VGA connections which allow you to display anything from your computer directly on the screen. This can be a bit more difficult to set up, but nothing that a half hour of my consulting couldn’t solve. While Hulu doesn’t really want you displaying it on your television, it is very easy to do when your computer is connected.

Looking to connect your game console or computer to your big screen TV? Drop me at line in the comments here or at me@douglasewelch.com and we can discuss what it might take. You might have a device connected to your television that can already do the job.