Maxine from Muskegon Mi writes “Is there a way to hook up my computer to TVusing my WiFi modem, about 18 feet away?”

Hi, Maxine.  Thanks for the great question!

First off, let me say that it doesn’t really matter if your WiFi is five or twenty-five feet away, as long as it isn’t separated from what you want to connect it to by a bunch of brick or metal.

In this day and age there are more and more people who are pulling the plug on their cable or satellite.  Between Hulu, Netflix, network websites offering on-demand services, and Showtime and HBO each offering stand-alone services, it seems less and less necessary every day to pay the extra fees for cable channels that you don’t watch.

There are also a variety of ways to watch shows now, including your computer, your tablet and your smart devices.  Probably the most difficult way to watch TV without cable or satellite is… well… your TV.

tv1

This is where things get a little more complex.  If you want to watch your TV without a cable or satellite connection, your options are to A) hook your computer to your TV, B) play the program through another device to your TV, C) hard-wire your TV to your modem, or D) connect your TV to WiFi.  In order to do either of these last two, you’ll need a “smart” or internet-connected TV.

A

I’m going to proceed from the assumption here that your TV doesn’t look like the one above.  If it does, you can still move on to B, but I would recommend upgrading your set instead.  If you have one of these old analog TV’s, you aren’t going to get the most out of any of these options.

But if you DO have an HDTV, odds are that it has an HDMI input.  Looks like this:

12630HDMI_port

This is the best connection for video or audio.  If your TV has one and your computer has one, get an HDMI cable, hook your computer to your TV, set it to the right input and go to town.

B

There are a number of stand-alone devices that you can hook up to your TV, regardless of if you have an old analog or new digital set.  If you have a Playstation or Xbox, you can stream any number of video services including Hulu and Netflix to your TV.  Playstation now even offers a service called Playstation VUE that offers different channels in different markets, including a stand-alone Showtime service.  You can also buy a device like Amazon Fire Stick or Roku, hook the device to your TV, set it up and go to town.

2

C requires you to have an ethernet connector on your TV, and D requires you to have a WiFi capable TV.  Some manufacturers, such as Sony, offer add-ons that will give their TV’s wifi capability.

For my money, I have a “smart” TV which includes Wifi, and I think that’s the way to go, if you can get a new TV.  That way you can just configure your TV to hook directly to your WiFi and use the included apps to stream.  Many of these smart TV’s offer apps for Amazon, Netflix and Hulu among others.

I hope that this helps!

~  Randal Schaffer