The days of on-demand, pay per view and movie store rentals are in deep decline. Now, it’s easier than ever to stream movies from the Internet directly to one of your various screens—be it a TV, computer or smartphone. Streaming movies online not only widens your realm of choice and availability, it can also be more affordable and more convenient. Check out some of these ways that you can begin beaming movies from the Internet directly into your home.
Watch on Your Computer
The computer remains the most direct avenue for reaching the Internet, and is thus the easiest route for accessing online movies. Virtually all computers have the hardware and processing power to deliver satisfactory movie viewing experiences (even netbooks) and the only thing that you’ll need to add is a broadband Internet connection. You can find streaming movies online at sites such as Netflix and Hulu. You can also purchase or rent movies through iTunes.
To improve your viewing experience, you can invest in a better video card with an HDMI out port, a widescreen LED backlit monitor with an HDMI port and surround sound computer speakers. Dim the lights and pull up a comfy chair, and you’ve got one primo Internet movie theater.
Connect Your Computer to your TV
As a sort of hybrid solution, you can use your computer to download and play the movies but use your TV and home entertainment system to playback the audio and video. Many laptops come with S-video out cables, but you can also get video cards that include HDMI outputs for high definition viewing. You can even integrate a tower PC right into your home entertainment system. To get the most mileage out of a living room PC, you’ll need a wireless keyboard and mouse, a high end video card (possibly with a TV tuner), a high end sound card (with surround sound) and an HDMI cable. If your TV doesn’t take HDMI, you can often get adapters that allow your TV to interface with your computer.
Get a Streaming Media Device
In lieu of incorporating a full fledged computer into your home entertainment system, you can opt to buy a dedicated streaming media device. Apple TV works as a bridge between your desktop computer and your TV and is as easy to set up as a VCR. The Roku Digital Video Player connects to the Internet via WiFi and gives you access to streaming movies on Netflix, Amazon and other Internet movie services. Lastly, many gaming systems now also support streaming movie services, such as the Wii, the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360. For example, Netflix users can order a Wii disc that allows you to access Netflix from the Wii. Meanwhile, the Playstation Store has its own collection of movies available to purchase or rent directly from the device.
Stream on your Smartphone
Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm and other smartphones can be used to access online movies as well. For example, Netflix and Hulu Plus both feature smartphone apps that let you watch movies right on your phone. Watch your bandwidth though—if you don’t have an unlimited data plan, you could rack up massive overage charges when watching movies over your carrier’s data network. But if your phone supports WiFi, then you can watch to your heart’s content.
All in all, it’s getting easier and easier to find and watch movies online. Most of these methods require a monthly membership or a per movie rental fee, but the beauty of streaming movies is that you can typically get access across all your devices. You can watch movies on your TV, your gaming system, your phone or your computer—all at the click of the mouse, the press of the button or the touch of a screen.
Streaming movies online not only widens your realm of choice and availability, it can also be more affordable and more convenient. Check out some of these ways that you can begin beaming movies from the Internet directly into your home.
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