DECEMBER 2014 ;e Costco Connection 49
By Erik J. Martin
FOR ROBERTA SILVERSTEIN, traditional television
wasn’t cutting it anymore. So she cut back on her cable
TV package, bought a streaming player, subscribed to
Netflix and Amazon Prime, and hasn’t looked back.
“Streaming to my TV has allowed a cornucopia of
content to be available at any given point in time,” says
Silverstein, a Marin County, California–based Costco
member, who found that connecting the equipment
was easier than expected. “Now, I can explore a lot
more programming and even binge-watch multiple
episodes of my favorite shows in one sitting.”
On demand and on the rise
Silverstein is in strong company. Consider that
75 percent of consumers watch any type of streamed
video several times a week or more, per fresh data by
Ericsson. And a recent study by the Council for
Research Excellence found that the most important
determining factor among consumers in purchasing
a new TV or video device is its ability to connect to
the Internet and stream content.
“The rules of watching television are being blown
up and re-created before our eyes,” says Jeff Kagan, a
technology analyst in Atlanta and a Costco member.
Jim Willcox, senior electronics editor with
Consumer Reports in Yonkers, New York, says
today’s streaming equipment is better and more
affordable than past models.
“Some of the newer models load up faster, so
there’s less wait when you press a button,” says
Willcox. Additionally, “many have unique features—
for example, Amazon Fire TV offers voice searching
capabilities, and two of Roku’s models have headphone jacks in the remote for private listening.”
To bring streaming to your TV, you need the
right hardware and services, including:
• A healthy Internet connection (minimum
3.0 Mbps broadband speed recommended)
• A smart TV with streaming capabilities
• For older TVs, a separate streaming device.
Numerous options are available, from set-top boxes
such as Roku and Apple TV to compact sticks such
as Chromecast. Also, game consoles such as Xbox,
PS3 or PS4, or Wii U serve as streaming devices, as
do Blu-ray players with built-in streaming.
• A cable or DSL Internet modem (supplied by
your Internet provider), or a router (wireless or wired) if
you want to connect multiple devices to your network
• A subscription to your chosen streaming
channels, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and
HuluPlus, which offer access to thousands of movies, TV shows and even original series like House of
Cards and Deadbeat. There are also many free channels such as Crackle and You Tube.
Experts recommend opting for a streaming
device that offers the channels you desire, wired as
well as wireless connectivity, and Web-browsing
capability to view programs available via the websites of networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS.
Once you’re set up, there’s a whole wide world of
options available for viewing on your TV. C
Erik J. Martin is a Chicago-area freelance writer
SETTING UP streaming
doesn’t have to be challenging,
“but novice users should
recruit a tech-savvy friend
to help out,” advises Costco
member Andrea Eldridge, CEO
of Nerds on Call, a Redding,
repair company. Here’s what’s
Connect your streaming
device to your older television’s
HDMI, USB, component or composite video port (instructions
vary by model).
Link to the Internet.
Hardwire a cable from your
set-top streaming device to the
Ethernet port on your router or
modem for the best signal. Or,
if your smart TV or streaming
device has built-in Wi-Fi, con-
nect wirelessly. Be sure the
device connects to your net-
work or Internet signal.
Pair/register your device.
The unit may require you to
enter a code (displayed on the
TV screen) on the device manu-
Subscribe/log in to your
desired subscription chan-
nels, such as Netflix, HuluPlus
and You Tube.—EJM
Turn your TV into a stream
The Costco Connection
Costco offers everything you need to stream
content, including smart TVs, streaming devices
and routers, in the warehouses and on Costco.com.
You can get setup assistance through Costco
Concierge Services, which is Costco’s free tech-support program that comes with your purchase
of many electronics at Costco. See our story on
page 43 for an example of the latest in streaming possibilities from Costco and HBO.
SERGEY NIVENS / SHUTTERSTOCK
special section electronics