So you’d like to see some big-screen cat videos. We’ve all been there. Sometimes, whether you’re trying to share, or just trying to enjoy something on a non-tiny screen, it just makes more sense to use a television.
But while we’re all well-versed in finding TV content on a TV (www.tvproviders.com if you’re having trouble with that), how exactly do we go about getting internet videos up there? Luckily enough, there are several answers. A bevy of different devices can have you enjoying theater-quality Youtube in no time.
By far the simplest option. HDMI cables connect to ports found on your computer and on your TV. Link the two together, and your TV will reproduce everything happening on a laptop. Navigate over to whatever you’re interested in watching, and you’ll be able to enjoy it on a larger screen.
This blunt-force connection has its merits. Videos reproduced by an HDMI link will play with few hesitations, and are obviously easy to control via a laptop. However, quality can suffer. On top of that, not all computers (or TVs, if they’re older) have HDMI ports. Mac owners in particular may have to purchase adapters before they can hook things up.
One final shopping tip: when shopping for HDMI cables, there’s rarely any need to spend extra. Expensive cables have long been a running joke, as they add little value in terms of performance, and certainly not enough to justify their bloated costs.
Google’s minimalist streaming TV device is a handy solution to cast internet videos from enabled devices. Unlike HDMI cabling, nothing physically connects your television with another device. Instead, after inserting the Chromecast dongle into your TV’s HDMI port, it’s possible to digitally play internet videos off of laptops, tablets, and phones.
While that plug-and-play capability is convenient, it’s not always high-quality. In order to stream internet content to your TV this way, you’ll first have to play it on a mobile device, then send it to its final destination. All this is done via internet, and takes a heavy toll on bandwidth. If you’re using a more sluggish connection, the result will likely be grainy, halting video.
On the other hand, Chromecasts are cheap ($35) and come with a range of other benefits. If you find yourself disappointed by direct internet streaming, then consider accessing the Chromecast’s range of supported channels, including giants like HBO.
Got an Xbox One? How about a PS4? Either one will allow you to watch internet content at will. Youtube compatibility is obviously the quickest path to the biggest source of online video, and both major gaming systems have appropriate apps.
In fact, to all intents and purposes, they’re on par with other streaming services, and come with a plethora of available channels and features. Of course, the one big problem here is cost. Current-gen gaming systems don’t come cheap, and unless you’re able to pick one up used, or if you’ve purchased one simply because you like video games and want to branch out, they’re not the most practical solution to the internet video problem.
Whatever you do decide to go with, keep a couple things in mind. First, what are actually looking to watch? If you’re just after basic Youtube capability, then the sky’s the limit in terms of what might actually work. If you’re more interested in catching live video, things can get more complicated. Only a few existing devices can adequately stream live programs, and many of them require some blazingly quick internet to do so well.