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How to Watch Streaming Netflix Movies and TV on Your HDTV

written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/23/2011

There are many different devices that you can use to watch streaming Netflix online movies and TV on your HDTV. Learn how to set up Netflix with your computer, game console or other Netflix-ready device.

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    Basics About Streaming Netflix

    You can instantly watch many movies and TV programs on Netflix if you have a notebook computer or a Netflix-ready device. Compatible devices include the Roku Digital Video Player, the Logitech Revue set top box and game consoles such as PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. You may also need a high speed Internet connection and a wired or wireless home network to watch Netflix on your HDTV using these devices. You can play streaming Netflix movies on your HDTV in widescreen format, and you can pause, fast forward and rewind the media whenever you like. You can watch as many movies and TV shows as you like with no restrictions. You only need to subscribe to a Netflix unlimited plan to get started.

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    Watch Streaming Netflix on HDTV With Your Notebook Computer

    If you have a late-model notebook computer with a connection to your home network, you can use it to watch Netflix streaming movies and television in widescreen format on your HDTV. Check the computer to see what types of outputs it has. If your computer has a TV tuner, it may have RCA A/V or component video outputs. Even if you don't have a TV tuner, your computer may have outputs such as VGA, DVI, S-Video or HDMI. Your HDTV must have corresponding inputs if you wish to connect your computer using one of these formats. In most cases, you'll get the best video quality by using HDMI. Component video is your next best bet. If these aren't available, try DVI or S-Video or A/V. VGA should be used only if it's the only available output on your computer. Keep in mind that you will need to use a separate audio connection if you use VGA or DVI as a connection to your HDTV. Once the connection is made, the image on your HDTV will be a duplicate of your notebook computer's monitor. Simply open a browser window or Windows Media Center and navigate to the Netflix website to log into your account and begin browsing for movies and TV to watch instantly. To choose a computer that will work well with Netflix, read Top Home Theater Laptops.

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    Watch Streaming Netflix Using a Game Console or Internet Connected HDTV

    To connect your HDTV to Netflix with your Xbox 360, you will either need to connect the Xbox to your home network by a wired Ethernet cable, or buy an adapter to connect it to your wireless home network. You will also need an Xbox Gold LIVE membership. Once you're connected, go to the Video Marketplace to download and install the Netflix application, then activate your game console on the Netflix website. Since PlayStation 3 is Wi-Fi ready, you can connect it quickly and easily to your wireless home network. However, you must order a disc from Netflix to view streaming videos on your PS3. You can connect your Wii to the Internet and to Netflix just as easily. However, the Netflix disc for Wii will not be available until spring 2010.

    You can also use your home theater system or Internet-connected HDTV to watch streaming Netflix movies or TV. Consult the documentation that came with your equipment or navigate to the manufacturer's website or the Netflix website for instructions on how to set up Netflix on your home theater device.

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    Set Top Boxes that Support Netflix

    If your HDTV isn't Internet connected, you can use a set top box to stream Netflix movies and TV. Probably the cheapest and simplest way to connect to Netflix without your computer is to use the Roku Digital Video Player. This small device can connect to your home network, either with a wired or wireless connection. It has multiple outputs, such as A/V, HDMI, S-Video and digital audio to connect to your HDTV. Roku comes with Netflix already installed. To watch Netflix on Roku, just navigate to the Netflix website on your computer and fill your Instant Queue with the movies you'd like to watch. The movies in your Instant Queue will then appear on your Roku Digital Video Player.

    The new Logitech Revue, which features Google TV, also supports Wi-Fi and Netflix. It also has a fully functional Chrome-based web browser that support Flash video. It has one HDMI output and one HDMI input. The Logitech Revue also has a full sized keyboard with a touchpad so that you can surf the web as you would from your home computer.