How to Stream to TV | Stream up to 4KMay 27, 2019
If you live in 2019, chances are you have tried to stream media in some way, shape, or form. Internet speeds are getting faster, and the available content it getting crispier (Higher Resolutions). So I thought it was about time to create a quick article on the easiest way to stream media, especially on how to stream to TV.
Disclaimer – If you know how to stream effectively already, skip to the end of the article, that is where I will be going through a few products that will improve your overall TV streaming experience.
What is Video Streaming?
Video streaming is when a video media file is viewed by a remote user. It is received through the internet as small chunks of data and viewed by the user. You aren’t technically downloading the media, just viewing it remotely. Even though you aren’t downloading the media, it will still use up bandwidth and data as if you were.
How to Stream to TV
1. Decent Internet Speed
In order to stream media of any sort, you will need an internet connection. Your internet speed will determine what quality of media you can stream effectively. Through personal experience and a bit of research, I have found that if you want to stream video in Standard Definition you need at least a 3 Megabits per second download speed. If you want to stream at High Definition you will need at least 5 Megabits per second, and if you want to stream 4K video or Ultra HD you will need at least a 25 Megabit per second connection.
Audio streaming it less intensive, and for someone streaming from a service like Spotify or Apple Music, all you need it 1.5 – 3 Megabits per second.
If you don’t know what internet speed you currently have, there is an easy to use Speed Test that I use. Head to www.speedtest.net
2. Compatible TV
There are 2 options when it comes to TVs. You can purchase a new Smart TV today that has the capability to stream from the factory, or you can upgrade your “Dumb” TV with plug and play hardware. There are Pros and Cons to both options.
New Smart TV
- No additional hardware needed
- High Resolution
- TV life cycles are very short and tech advances
- Can’t upgrade streaming hardware
Upgrade Dumb TV
- Don’t have to buy a new TV
- You can upgrade the Stream Hardware whenever you want
- Usually lower Resolution than newer TVs
- Older Tech 9/10
- Additional Hardware Needed
3. You are Ready to Stream… Maybe
If you have a Smart TV and a decent internet connection you are pretty much ready to go. If you don’t have either, then you have some work to do. Never fear, I am here to help.
There are a few options for people with “Dumb” TVs. You may have everything you need already if you don’t want to purchase any additional hardware. The most basic streaming setup can be an HDMI cable from your laptop to your TV. All you have to do is launch any streaming service on your Laptop and it will also be on your TV, pretty straight forward.
If you don’t want to get your laptop out every time you want to stream, then you will need some additional hardware.
4. 4K Streaming Hardware
Purchase any one of the devices mentioned below to be able to stream almost anything and essentially make a “Dumb TV” “Smart”.
Roku Streaming Stick+
The Roku Streaming Stick+ has 4K streaming and HDR in a slim compact package. It’s one of the most affordable streaming options on the market, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t capable. You will be able to access a plethora of 4K content, if your favorite streaming service has a 4K option you will find it here.
The only negative is a not so competent voice assistant, but the interface is easy to navigate and find what you want quickly. The Roku Streaming Stick has a simple design without the clutter of other systems, it’s easy to recommend and an affordable 4K streamer.
Fire TV Cube
The Fire TV Cube is easily Amazons the best Media Streaming Player. It expands on the capabilities of the Fire TV stick and adds a couple of industry leading features. You can stream 4K Ultra HD content at 60 fps with HDR10 support and has Dolby Atmos support.
The standout feature of the Cube it the hands-free controls. You can use Alexa to control your entire home entertainment system better than any other hands-free controls I have come across. Alexa does struggle with some basic language and the way we humans talk naturally, this is its only negative.
As far as Amazons Streaming Media Players go, the Fire TV Cube it easily the best. If you can look past the small bugs on the hands-free side of things, you will find a highly competent media player.
Apple TV 4K
If you are deeply ingrained in the Apple Ecosystem, the Apple TV 4K is your best option. It has taken a few years for Apple to upgrade the Apple TV, but they have finally come to the party. Apple TVs tvOS has the best user interface of any streaming device on this list. It is extremely well optimized and runs great, as to be expected from Apple products.
Now to the things that I don’t like. Siri isn’t as good as Alexa and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the functionality is limited. The Apple TV 4K is also the most pricey streaming device on this list.
If you are an Apple aficionado, the Apple TV 4K it the way to go. If the price scares you off and you just want something that streams 4K, any one of the other devices mentioned today would work just as well.
Do I need a 4K TV to stream media in 4K?
Short Answer, Yes.
Long Answer, without a 4K TV you won’t be able to view 4K media but the streaming devices will still work, they will output at a lower resolution. If that is the case then you could just pick up a streaming player that doesn’t stream 4K and save money
Summing it Up
If you are new to Streaming, hopefully, this article helps you understand what it is and How to Stream to TV at the best resolution available. Keep in mind, everything I have discussed is my opinion and based on countless hours of research, and testing of a few products that I currently own. Streaming isn’t rocket science, but it can be complicated if you don’t know what you are doing.
If you have any questions or opinions on How to Stream to TV, comment below and let me know 🙂