If you’re looking for something new to watch on TV and feeling tired of your available cable channels, why not branch out into streaming media? Many families already default to turning on Netflix at the end of a long day, but this post is here to teach you how to stream movies and shows to a television or smart tv if you aren’t in the habit yet.
With large catalogues of shows available to stream on-demand, streaming media is an exciting thing to try for the first time if your household has only used cable so far.
How to find content to stream
As I recently discussed in my post on how to stream music, streaming media is a way to play back a piece of media without saving it to a device as a file beforehand. When you play music from your phone on your Bluetooth speaker, you’re streaming that music to your speaker. Similarly, when you play an unsaved video on your phone from a site like YouTube or Netflix, you’re streaming that video to your phone from the site.
There is lots of streaming video to watch online, both for free and with a subscription.
You can find free movies and TV shows to stream through services like Roku and YouTube, which both also additional paid content. If you have a library card, you might be surprised to find that you can stream free movies and shows using your online library account, too! Most major libraries in Canada will let you digitally “check out” shows through services like Hoopla, Kanopy, and the National Film Board of Canada. These pieces of streaming media are available to borrow, just like books are.
If you want to access a large library of content and you don’t want to wait for your holds at the library to come in, however, then a subscription streaming service is likely what you’re looking for. Find media to stream to your TV through services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, SportsNet, Apple TV, Crunchyroll, BritBox, and The Criterion Channel.
How to stream movies and TV shows from a smart TV
Streaming movies and TV shows is probably the easiest using a smart TV. Your smart TV does it all for you, so there’s very little lag or multi-device management.
Start by hooking up your TV to your home Wi-Fi network in your device’s settings. Then, use your remote to navigate to the different streaming services available on your device, or download the ones you need from your TV’s app store. You’ll need to sign in or sign up to each service that you want to use, and then you’re pretty much set! You can play, pause, fast forward, and rewind as needed. Use your television remote to navigate between different streaming services, and from streaming to cable channels.
How to stream TV shows and movies from your phone to your TV
If you want to stream movies to your TV from your phone, there are three ways to do so.
On a smart TV, you may have the option to cast a piece of media from your phone app to the matching app on your smart TV, as long as both your phone and your TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
If you don’t have a smart TV, or if you want to cast from your phone regardless, you can use a media streaming device such as a Google Chromecast to do so. Chromecasts physically plug in to your television’s HDMI input, and tell your television where to be pulling media from. That can be a file on your phone or a piece of media that you’re streaming online. Here’s a tip that I personally use: for laggier smart TV apps like Amazon Prime, you can sometimes get higher-quality playback from your phone and Chromecast than you can from the Prime TV app.
Finally, if you have a gaming console attached to your TV, you can often stream from those, too! Look for the right app in your console’s app store and sign-in to stream directly from your console.