Now that you have an antenna or a local network Internet TV provider lined up, we’ll talk about rounding out you’re your Internet TV options with the sports and other premium channels that cable used to provide. But before we do, we should be clear on the differences between Internet Connectable and Smart TVs and what your options are if you have neither.
Simply put, an Internet Connectable TV can access the Internet via your home wi-fi or a network Ethernet cable. Access to content comes in the form of apps, and your TV remote control navigates through the options. A Smart TV can actually surf the Internet, comes with a keyboard, and is therefore easier to navigate. As far as viewing options, they are quite similar, but as far as navigation, Smart TVs excel.
From TV to Internet TV
As far as your regular TV, there are several ways to adapt it to the Internet. The most basic, but clunkiest method is to use a PC and an application like PlayOn as the interface to the Internet. The benefit here is cost: you probably already have a PC and basic PlayOn is free. The drawback is that you need to have the computer near the TV in order to make the connection with HDMI cables.
Another Internet TV option is a digital media adapter. These devices connect via existing cable ports to provide access to content from different media sources. Apple, Amazon and Netflix offer proprietary devices to access their content, while other high-end devices provide access to most of the Internet rather than specific servers. There are even third party options that allow access to files on your own computers and network.
Internet embedded Blu-ray Players can also access the Internet for streaming content on your TV. Not unlike some of the proprietary devices, many Blu-ray devices only provide access to the most popular servers rather than the entire Internet, so if you’re happy with Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube, this can be an inexpensive solution.
Finally, next gen video game consoles can also provide access to on-line content. Again, depending on the brand, Play Station 3, X Box 360, or Nintendo Wi the content differs as each provides access to different streaming content providers.
Now that your TV is Internet Connectable, Smart, or device adapted for streaming, you can begin to develop an a la carte selection of the content that you watch. Even with some of the paid subscription-based streaming options, you can save money over a premium cable plan, since you only pay for what you want to watch.
Internet TV Options for Viewing
We mentioned Amazon Prime, Netflix and others for movies, some network television series, and original productions. For sports fans, Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA all offer live game streaming options, but be careful, most black-out local games. From the Discovery Channel to the History Channel to Food Network, all are available streaming and some are free. Sling and Hulu also offer multiple viewing options. If your clear set motivation is cost, there’s is a great calculator that will give you an idea of what you can save with a la carte selections over cable packages.
There are numerous Internet TV options to enhance your current TV AND to customize your home entertainment. No matter what your motivation is, with the right equipment and a clear set of viewing goals, you can cut the cable, and it doesn’t have to be painful.