If you are one of the many Aussies who haven't got themselves a SMART TV (or not every TV in the house is SMART)... You can still get your fave shows via Netflix - here's how.
Using a smart TV is just one of the many ways you can stream services like Netflix and Stan. There’s a number of options that you can use, to get your Netflix fix.
Using Apple TV
Apple TV is a relatively cheap (currently around $239 - $299) way to watch a variety of media from any television with an HDMI port (most from the last 10 years). What I love about using Apple TV to watch Netflix (and other streaming services) is that the navigation through your Apple TV remote is so easy. The app is right there on the home screen and you can browse through the many shows and movies so easily. Plus you get the other benefits that come with Apple TV, such as easy ways to enjoy photos, music and iTunes content on your TV.
Through Google Chromecast
Google's Chromecast option is a cheaper way to access your Netflix (or other content) to your TV (currently around $59). Chromecast is basically a simple way to stream content from a smartphone or tablet to a TV. To stream Netflix through Chromecast, simply plug the Chromecast dongle into the HDMI port in the back of your television and change your TV’s input to HDMI. Then you can "cast" content from your smartphone or tablet to the TV wirelessly. So once you've found your show in Netflix on your smartphone or tablet, simply click on the "cast" icon and the content will show up on your TV.
In my view, the setup of Chromecast is a little more involved and less obvious for the non-techy folks. But once you are up and running its pretty easy to use.
Using a compatible gaming console (Xbox, PlayStation and Wii U)
If you own either an Xbox (360 or One), Playstation (3 or 4) or Wii U, you can already access Netflix. Each of these consoles has an online store where you can download games and applications, including Netflix Australia. Simply download the application from the appropriate store (it’s always free to download), log in with your Netflix account details and you’ll be watching Netflix in no time. The only tricky part here is learning to use your gaming controls, to navigate your Netflix menu's. That can take some getting used to, but this is an otherwise easy way to enjoy Netflix.
Through a tablet or computer
Using the appropriate HDMI cable, (can vary depending on your available ports on your tablet or computer) connect your computer or tablet to your TV with an adapter, change your television to the relevant HDMI input and you should see the screen from your tablet or computer mirrored on the television. Then all you have to do is access Netflix via your web browser or mobile app and you’ll be watching Netflix on the big screen in no time.
There are a number of Netflix compatible devices now being developed such as Blu-ray players and Fetch TV, Netflix have kindly detailed these devices on their website to keep us all in the loop.
Here is the link to find out if your device is Netflix compatible. devices.netflix.com/en/
If you'd like some help getting your Netflix ready devices connected or would like to ask us about our Apple TV + Install Bundle, get in touch with us today.
There is quite a lot to consider when you are looking at installing a TV antenna. If you google it, I’m certain you will find instructions or video’s on how to install an antenna. If you are quite handy, have the right tools at your disposal, have plenty of spare time for research and doing the work – maybe you could give it a go. HOWEVER, this comes with a huge caution, because it’s not always as simple as it’s made out to be.
Here are a few other considerations before you even begin spending time or money on a self-installation:
The right tools
Professional TV antenna installers will have particular tools and equipment to ensure excellent digital reception to all TV points. The most important of these elements is the digital signal meter, which will detail the exact strength of signal for each TV channel at each TV point in the home. This equipment is worth thousands of dollars and isn’t accessible to the average home installer. As such you may be relying on a simple “point & shoot” method to get good reception, which is not reliable and doesn’t guarantee good quality signal across all channels.
Distance between the TV and antenna.
Digital TV signals can deteriorate through coaxial cables over longer distances. We recommend your antenna is placed within about 20 metres of your TV. If the antenna needs to be positioned at a further distance than this, then it’s important that the antenna is powerful enough to mitigate any loss of signal. Alternatively, you could install an amplifier to boost the signal.
Where to mount and point the antenna
You will need to start by finding out where your local TV station transmitters are. You can usually google this information or contact one of your local TV stations and ask them. Best signals will be gained when the antenna is directed at your nearest TV transmission station. This part can be trickier than it may seem at first;
Cable and wall plates
Of course if you are installing a new antenna or new TV points, you will need to factor in the cost and skills required to run the cable from the antenna, through the wall/ceiling cavities, to the TV point/s in the home. This can be tricky business for the home installer and can take an understanding of the structure of the home and how to safely get cable through the cavities. Please ensure that you have checked the relevant building and electrical codes prior to running cable, to ensure that you are installing safely. Be sure that you stay a safe distance from power cables (min distances vary by state depending on building codes).
So, whilst it is possible to install your own TV antenna, it is highly recommended to get a professional installer. The use of professional signal meters alone, will save possible hours in trying to find signal and align the antenna, and get the best possible reception on each TV channel. Experience also affords professional installers plenty of tips and tricks to antenna placement and installation that might just make the difference between OK TV signals and fantastic TV signals. Of course the other major factor in considering a professional installation is safety. Professional installers are trained to work at heights, trained to run cable safely within the cavities of the home and are insured in case anything goes wrong.
If you want to save yourself, time, stress and money, get a professional to help you install your TV Antenna. You won’t regret it.
If you are anything like me, you probably walk into your local electronics retailer and are totally baffled at the sheer volume of TV’s in there. Why are there so many to choose from? What can we possibly need from a TV that warrants this huge selection and variety?
Well, truth be told, you aren’t just buying a TV anymore. You are buying a device that is capable of delivering a variety of media and entertainment to your home. A device that is connected to the internet and is capable of far more than the old screen that has a few TV channels on it. You are now buying a SMART TV, and they’ve come a long way from the first release of smart TV’s, that to be honest, weren’t that smart.
So how do you choose a TV that is right for you when there is so much variety?
Here are my top 3 tips to selecting a TV that is right for you and your family.
1. It’s still all about picture quality
I’ve listed this as the first point, because despite what the new model TV’s are capable of doing, for most people the thing you will be doing the most with the TV is watching television… Shocking I know but it’s still the overwhelming number 1 use of the TV. Perhaps gaming is a close 2nd but even if you are racing a virtual Ferrari around some mountainous track in the Himalayas, you are still going to want excellent, crisp, quality picture from your TV.
So what do you need to consider with picture quality?
My advice, ignore the specs sheets for the most part. You will be confounded with stats for each TV such as refresh rate (120Hz, 240Hz, 600Hz etc), CRM, TruMotion, MotionFlow, SPS, display resolution (1080p, 1080i and 720p) and so on. Whilst some of this information is relevant and useful, all you need to do is take a really good look at the TV’s on display to understand the picture quality. So here are some hints to help you choose the TV with the best picture quality when shopping.
2. Bigger is better
It’s an age old argument, not just for TV’s, but it is an important one. In my view, with TV’s bigger is always better. There is simply nothing better than being totally immersed in your movie or TV show and with a bigger TV, this feeling just comes so much more easily. I would recommend a size of at least 32 inches for a bedroom TV and at least 50 inches for a living room TV (or your main TV), although 60 inch plus is even better.
Of course, you must first consider the space that you have to put the TV in and the seating arrangement. Second you must consider your budget, like most things, the bigger it is the more expensive it’s going to be.
So here’s how I’d sort through my choices:
3. Now what about all the other stuff…
In my view we’ve covered off the 2 most important factors of buying your new TV, but there is still so much more to consider to really cement the decision. I recommend covering all of the following off with your salesperson before you make your final decision.
Ok so it’s now almost impossible to buy a TV that doesn’t have some SMART functionality, so it’s part of your buying decision whether you like it or not. Now you may choose not to use the SMART functions on your TV, but you should still have a fair idea of how it works because a) one day you might find yourself accidentally inside the SMART menu and need to navigate your way out and b) in the majority of homes, there will be at least 1 person who will want to use the SMART features (particularly if you have kids in the home).
SMART technology and the apps available through SMART TV’s has come quite a way since the first released TV’s. In my opinion the new SMART features are getting better all the time, but still have a way to go to achieve excellent useability and customer friendliness. Some of the leading brands are doing this better than others, for example Samsung seem to be leading the pack at the moment as far as I’m concerned when it comes to the TV’s SMART functionality and user friendliness.
In my experience (and to be clear I am often installing and educating about 4-6 customers per day on using their new TV’s), retailers aren’t bothering to show customers how their TV’s SMART features look or function. In fact, most retailers don’t even bother having remote controls available for customers to test out the features and menus on the TV. In today’s market, I find this shocking. The user friendliness of the menu’s and functions on the TV is important and should be part of the customers buying decision. So if you are planning to spend your hard earned money on a new TV, I’d be asking to have a demonstration of the SMART features and menu options on the TV before buying it.
Trust me, I’ve had so many customers who I’ve installed the TV for and they are shocked or disappointed at the way that the SMART features work or the availability of particular apps with particular brand TV’s. For example; Spotify, Quickflix, Bigpond Movies, YouTube and other such apps may not be available with your brand of TV. If you know you want particular apps – you need to check that they will be compatible with the brand of TV you are using.
So, be SMART and ask to see the SMART features on your preferred TV before you buy.
The Remote Control
OK this one sounds a bit silly, but again, now days you aren’t just getting a remote control with labelled buttons on it… You are getting a SMART remote. Most of the 2014 model TV’s are only coming with the SMART remote (or clicker) which functions very differently from a traditional remote. In most cases they are interactive in several ways;
As you can see from this list, things have changed when it comes to remotes. If you aren’t too tech savy or have a preference about how you interact with your TV you simply MUST ask your salesperson to demonstrate the remote control.
Thanks to HDMI, connecting devices to your TV has become so much easier, almost everything uses HDMI connection. So all you need to do is simply count the number of devices that you plan on connecting to the TV and make sure that the TV you are choosing has enough (and I suggest a couple of extras for future proofing). This is not really a big deal these days as the majority of TV’s will have ample HDMI ports.
If you like the idea of displaying photos or accessing external content, USB inputs and an SD card slot are nice to have.
You only need to worry about analogue ports if you plan on connecting older devices such as Nintendo Wii.
If all new TV’s don’t currently have 3D capability, they soon will. In my view this should not impact your buying decision at all. I consider 3D just an add-on that the majority of people won’t use (or will use once or twice), after all there is very little content available to watch. If you are interested in 3D the only thing I’d be asking is how many pairs of glasses we get and how expensive is it to get extra?
Styling and Installation
We spend loads of energy selecting, buying and placing furniture in our homes that look great and function well, TV’s are no different. If you don’t like how it looks or don’t think it’ll fit with your décor, then you should probably keep looking.
If you are planning on setting up the TV on a cabinet, be sure to check your cabinet dimensions with the dimensions of the TV stand. Sometimes the two just aren’t compatible or pose a safety risk if not correctly sized.
If you are planning on mounting the TV on a wall, there are some different considerations such as wall space, mount type, viewing angle and such that you will need to consider. Take a look at our article Should I wall mount my TV? for more useful information about wall mounting.
With the new curved TV style, you may also want to pay particular attention to the mounting requirements and the room setup before deciding to wall mount.
I hope that this info has helped to make your TV shopping exercise a little easier and effective.
If you would like to talk to us about installing your new TV and connecting up all your devices, give us a call.
OK so we all “kind of” know what digital TV is these days because by now, in Australia, we should have all switched to digital. So what don’t you know about your new digital TV? You might be surprised (or not) to learn a little more about your digital TV experience.
What is digital TV and how is it different from analog?
Digital TV is the sending and receiving of moving images, sound and other data by means of digital processes on radio of discrete (digital) signals, in contrast to the analog processed signals used by analog TV.
Why did we switch to digital?
Digital TV provides improved picture and sound quality as well as greater programming choice. Using digital TV signal, broadcasters can provide viewers with access to a greater range of other features including:
· additional channels
· high definition channels
· widescreen pictures not available via analog
· ghost free reception
· surround sound
· electronic program guides (EPG)
· datacasting services
· closed captioning
· interactive services, and
· over the air upgrades for receiver operating software.
All of the above I’m sure you will agree increases our viewing experience, even if we aren’t yet seeing the introduction of lots of cool new interactive features by FTA’s.
While we are seeing an overwhelming benefit to digital TV, there are a couple of things that you may have noticed since having your digital TV in place…
[A couple of my recent customer calls. “Every time I use the washing machine, my TV pixelates”. “Every time I turn the lights on and off, my TV goes funny”. ]
The ‘digital cliff’
With digital TV, it is important to have a good quality signal because the picture and sound will suddenly break up if the quality falls below a threshold (‘digital cliff’ effect). Unlike analog TV, which gradually fades quality when signal strength or quality decreases, digital TV is excellent at correcting signal interference to keep the picture perfect. But if the signal disturbance is too great, the signal can go from perfect to disappearing completely. This behaviour is known as the digital cliff and describes the sudden loss of digital signal reception (take a look at the below image to get a better picture of the digital cliff).
So you may have had this experience;
- perfect picture
- pixilation (as you approach the digital cliff)
- picture loss (you have just leapt off the cliff)
If you are sitting close to the cliff’s edge you may experience intermittent pixilation or signal loss, often caused by something simple like a windy or rainy day.
Also with digital TV picture break-up can be experienced from interference generated by electrical equipment especially with arcing contacts e.g. motors in hair driers. This is known as electrical impulse noise and was a contributing factor in the cases of my recent “washing machine and light switch” customers. So keep an eye out the next time you are using your hair drier.
What can I do to keep away from the digital cliff edge?
Ensuring that you have good quality equipment (antenna, cable, and connectors) is the first step, but more important will be ensuring you have good signal strength and quality being received. Your local TV antenna installer can perform digital reception test to check the signal level and quality margins (basically see how close you are to the cliff’s edge). If you are too close and experiencing signal loss, your installer may recommend a Masthead or Distribution amplifier to boost the signal level and support higher signal strength and better signal quality to the TV.
Talk to us today about getting your digital TV performing at it's best.
In more recent years, this is a really common question as the family dynamic and access to technology increases. With many of my customers having TV’s in multiple family rooms, bar areas, media rooms, sheds and bedrooms, the desire for good signal across the whole house is certainly there. So how many TV’s can you have running off the 1 antenna???
Well, the answer varies I’m afraid. It will depend on a number of contributing factors such as:
- Signal strength and quality in your area
- Quality and condition of your antenna
- Quality of cabling
As a rough guide you could say that in a good signal area, with the right antenna and cabling, you could run up to 6 TV points off the 1 antenna. More common however is around 4 TV points running off a single antenna before you begin to experience degradation in the quality of picture. Some of my customers in more challenging signal areas, struggle running even 1 or 2 TV’s off the 1 antenna.
Arrange for a signal strength test.
In terms of the antenna, the age, type and brand of your antenna can play a large role in the quality of signal that you receive. Despite the hype, there is no such thing as a “digital” antenna, but the modern antennas are better at filtering out external noise, ensuring that the quality of the signal is maximised which is crucial to a good digital reception. There are many different types of antenna’s available all of which have a use and a role in this digital world. The different types of antennas along with their use will be covered in a future article.
Get a quote for a new antenna.
Then there is the cable to consider. You want to ensure that you have high quality RG6 quad shielded coaxial cable. Today’s digital TV’s require a certain signal level and quality in order to function at the highest level of picture quality. With only a finite amount of signal coming into the antenna, its imperative that there is minimal disruption to the cable between antenna and TV before it starts to lose signal and degrade quality. Some of the older air core RG6 and RG59 cables will experience greater signal loss and are more affected by other factors such as noise. It’s a much safer bet to ensure that you have good quality cable carrying a strong signal all the way to the TV points, with minimal interference.
Talk to us about a cable upgrade.
How will I know if I am getting the best quality picture on all TV points running off 1 antenna?
You will either notice picture quality issues (e.g. pixilation) or signal loss on 1 or all of the TV’s, which could be caused by this signal deterioration due to overload on the cable. Or you can ask your local TV antenna installer to test the signal strength for you.
What if I don’t have enough signal strength for the number of TV points I want to run off the antenna?
You could install a Masthead or Distribution amplifier to boost the signal level and support higher signal strength and better signal quality to the TV. This is a totally suitable solution for improving signal strength however does come with some considerations, such as additional cost and the need to have a power supply available.
If you would like further information or to book a service to get your TV picture up to scratch, give me a call.
I get so many questions and calls from customers who just want some help or advice relating to their audio visual technology. I thought it would be a good idea to start capturing some of the common questions and try to provide an online resource for people to get information. So, I hope that you will find some of the information contained in these articles useful. I will try to add as many new relevant subjects as possible to keep you all in the know. I really do want to make AV easy for you too.