This tutorial explains how to watch Netflix Instantly on your HDTV by connecting your computer to your TV.
I subscribe to Netflix online movie rental service and mostly watch DVDs on the plasma HDTV. There are times when I’d like to take advantage of Netflix’s “watch instantly” streaming internet video service to view a movie now without waiting for a DVD to arrive in the mail. It’s simple to watch a Netflix movie on a computer screen, but I wanted to watch from the comfort of the couch with the family on the 40-inch plasma HDTV. I wanted a way to hookup the computer to the TV without buying a lot of new equipment.
How to Watch Netflix Instantly on your HDTV
There are many Netflix Ready Devices on the market that make it easy to connect to the Internet and watch Netflix movies on your TV, the Roku player being one of the most popular. I do have an Xbox 360 that is Netflix ready, but it’s connected to another TV downstairs in the game room.
Update: See this Roku Netflix player review for a low-cost and user-friendly way to watch Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Pandora radio and more instantly on your TV that will change your TV viewing experience!
Connect a PC to a HDTV
Here’s the computer to HDTV connection diagram to watch Netflix, YouTube, Hulu or any streaming Internet video on the TV. If you’re like me, you already have a:
- Netflix subscription
- broadband connection
- WiFi router
- computer with a HDMI port
The the only thing I needed buy was a 6-foot HDMI cable.
Choosing an HDMI Cable
I bought the cheapest HDMI cable I could find locally, a Dynex 6.5 foot HDMI cable with gold plated connectors from Best Buy for $39.99 over the objections of the sales staff who insisted that only the much more expensive Monster or Rocketfish cables would do. (At $39.99 the cables were way overpriced and 5 times too much!) The Monster and Rocketfish cables are prominently displayed and I had to ask where the Dynex cables could be found – way off to the side at end of an isle.
HDMI signals are digital – zeros and ones, similar in concept to the Ethernet technology, carry very little power and are less subject to interference. The Best Buy salesman was thinking (or hoping I would) about analog audio signals and speaker hookups that need hundreds of watts and big, expensive cables for the best sound. This is not the case with digital.
Try the cheapest HDMI cable first. If it doesn’t work, return it. In the digital world there’s usually no difference in picture/sound quality between the low cost generic and the expensive cable brand.
HDMI Cable to Laptop Connection
The HDMI port and cable are shown here:
Insert the HDMI cable fully into the computer’s HDMI port.
HDMI Cable to TV Connection
This is the audio/video connections summary from the User’s Guide for my Philips plasma HDTV. It has two HDMI ports labeled HDMI 1 and HDMI 2. Either HDMI port can be used, I choose HDMI 1 for the cable hookup.
The HDMI cable from the computer is plugged into HDMI port #1 on the back of the TV. (The other cables at the upper right are my existing DirecTV connections for S-Video and analog sound.)
The Windows Vista and Windows 7 configuration steps are explained in Part 2.
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