Tired of picking up rental movies and the hassle to get them back on time? Maybe it’s time to switch to streaming movies directly to your TV. The technology has been developing for several years and even though it is still evolving, this may be a good time to take the plunge. Basically what you need is a TV, a high speed Internet connection (no dial-ups) and some way to connect those two together so that you can get movies from the Internet to your TV screen. It’s easier also if your Internet has wireless access so that you don’t have to wire your TV to a computer or router that you’re streaming from. In the future, most TVs may have built in wireless connections and you’ll be able to connect directly to a movie streamer like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video. LG, Sony, Samsung and Vizio already models with this feature.
If your TV does not have direct wireless access you can still stream video using a device from TiVo or Roku. Roku has three levels of solutions starting at about $60 up to $100. Roku devices already have installed the apps that you’ll need to connect to your account at Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora (for Radio) and others. For TVs that don’t have built in wireless, Roku presents a reasonable and not too difficult solution. According to a recent CNET review, “…the Roku Player’s simplicity, affordable price, and superior programming selection make it the go-to choice…”.
Beware of product descriptions that include the words “easy setup”; compared to what? Brain surgery? When buying products that connect together it is often easier to buy the same brand and always look before purchasing to see if the same kinds of cable inputs are available on both devices. Your old DVD player had an S Video connection for example: your new one sports HDMI. If I had an old TV today, I would buy a new one with wireless Internet capability. If I owned a perfectly good, HD and HDTV capable TV, I’d buy a Roku box and stream movies from my Netflix account; maybe use Pandora to allow access to a million radio stations.
You can also stream direct from your cable box using the Mediacom On demand package which allows you access to some free movies and to their premium pay-per-view products (about $4.99 per day at this time).
The future is streaming ahead of us. Picking up DVDs, even receiving them by mail is dated and will one day disappear. Take the plunge now and enjoy instant movies at your fingertips or remote tips.
While we’re talking about evolving technologies, let me remind you of the importance of recycling obsolete electronic devices. Any device that contains heavy metals should be recycled instead of dumped. Recycle Albany, a project of the City of Albany and Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful has a little-publicized electronics recycling capability at their 2106 Habersham Road facility. The cost is free except for a $10 charge for TV sets. They take old PCs, printers, batteries, phones, etc for free. Call ahead at 430-5257 to let them know you are bringing recyclables to them (9 to 5 weekdays).