Netflix has pretty much taken over the home video industry, and their current big push is in the area of streaming movies and TV shows. Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” is currently available for all Netflix subscribers. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, there’s a good chance you’ve already experimented with the on-demand feature, or perhaps you use it regularly on your computer.
However, watching movies on a laptop screen isn’t that much fun, not when you need a big screen to see cool special effects and big explosions. But don’t fret, many people aren’t aware of a few relatively simple ways to put Netflix on their HDTV.
If you own a Playstation 3, XBox 360, or Wii game console, then you’ve already won this battle, as all three systems have a Netflix app built into their operating system. For parents that don’t know too much about their kids’ gaming consoles, yes, you can use it to watch Netflix online — just select the app and log in with your account username. Note that the Wii doesn’t output in HD for either games or video, so you’re stuck with standard definition there. And if you’ve been considering getting a Blu-ray player, the Playstation 3 has one built-in, so that’s two ways to watch movies in one device.
The best method is to use a streaming player, such as a Roku or AppleTV. These offer a much more fluid user interface and less cluttered than the game consoles and cost under $100. If you’re a heavy iTunes and Mac user, than go with the AppleTV. You’ll be able to stream your music and videos to any connected TV or home theater system. The Roku is a great alternative if you use streaming music services like Pandora or Rdio. In addition to Netflix, there are numerous free channels with ad sponsored movies and TV shows. In addition, you’ll get access to Hulu Plus and be one step closer to pulling the plug on your cable company.
The other route requires a little more legwork but can work as an effective alternative for those on a tight budget. Most laptops come with either a VGA (computer monitor) or HDMI (HD connection) output to use another screen as its display. Every HDTV uses an HDMI input and most have VGA inputs as well. Simply connect your laptop to your TV, select the output, then you’ll have to configure your laptop to use the external display (read your laptop’s manual, it’s literally just a few button presses). If using the VGA output, you’ll need to
When that’s all set up, the next step is easiest — go to Netflix and fill up your queue or browse the catalog directly from your device. Presto… watch instantly with Netflix.