Dennis Restauro owns and writes for Grounded Reason, a website focused on assisting people with technology choices that save them money and better their everyday lives.
The TV and Movie content available online is increasing every day. Cable and satellite TV are quickly becoming this generation’s VCR, as they are no longer needed to enjoy hit films and TV shows.
However, as the number of cable TV alternatives grows, so do the options for streaming this content to your TV. This can have a paralyzing effect when deciding which device to buy. This indecision leaves many trapped in their current cable and satellite TV viewing routine and hesitant to cut the cord.
What if I told you that well more than half of U.S. households own a device that can stream online content straight to the television? Furthermore, what if I told you it supports major streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant video.
That device is your video game console. Nielsen reported in its 2013 “U.S. Games: A 360 View” that by the start of 2013 57% of U.S. households owned a 7th generation gaming console. That number only accounts for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii. That percentage is likely higher since the release of 8th generation consoles like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the Wii U.
Even if you aren’t ready to ditch your cable subscription, you can still set up your game console for streaming to test those cord cutting waters. This guide will assist in setting up those consoles for an online TV experience.
Sign up For Streaming Services
Sign up with the streaming service you want to use. Xbox, Wii, and PlayStation all support Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. They each offer free trial options. Try all three and keep the ones you enjoy most. The links to sign up are below.
Xbox TV Streaming Setup
If not previously completed, set up Xbox on your home network. This will connect the Xbox to the internet so the apps can stream content. You will also require an Xbox Live account. Streaming doesn’t require a Gold membership. The standard free membership will suffice. The network setup instructions are linked below:
Power on your Xbox 360 or Xbox One and sign in to Xbox live. Sign in typically happens automatically if you have used Xbox Live prior to now. For those who need assistance with this part, the network setup links address account issues as well.
Install Streaming Apps
- Navigate to “video”, then to “My Video Apps”.
- There you will see if Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant video is already installed.
- Streaming apps that aren’t listed can be installed by navigating to the “apps” menu, then selecting “Browse Apps”.
- There you can find the Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant video applications, select them and install the services you signed up for.
- After downloading, if the app doesn’t start automatically, navigate to “video” , then to “My Video Apps”. From there, start your newly installed applications.
- Press the Xbox logo on the controller to open the Start Screen.
- Press the “My Games and Apps” menu to see if Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant video is already installed.
- If Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant Video are missing they can be installed by selecting “Apps” from the “Start Screen”
- After downloading, if the app doesn’t start automatically, return to “My Games and Apps” to start the app
Log in when the app starts. Use the login information for your Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix accounts. The Xbox is now ready to steam TV and movies to your television.
PlayStation Streaming Setup
If not previously completed, set up PlayStation on your home network. This will connect the PlayStation to the internet, so the apps can stream content. You will also require the PlayStation network account, which is included with the purchase of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
Install Streaming Apps
- Sign into your PlayStation Network Account
- Navigate to “PlayStation Network” and select “What’s New.”
- Choose the Streaming Application you want to install. If the specific app is not in “What’s New” check the “PlayStation Store” section.
- Follow the onscreen prompts and sign in with the appropriate streaming service account (Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.)
- Once installed, streaming apps can be accessed from the “Video” section.
- From the Home screen, select “TV & Video” and press down on the d-pad of the controller.
- Choose streaming app from the list and press the “X” button.
- Select “Download” and press the “X” button. The download button will be replaced with a progress bar, and you will receive a notification that Netflix is being downloaded.
- Press the PS Button once to return to the TV & Video screen.
- When the app finishes downloading, it will automatically install and notify you when ready.
- Log in with the appropriate app service login (Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.)
Wii Streaming Setup
If not previously completed, set up the Wii on your home network. The instructions are linked below for both Wii and Wii U.
Install Streaming Apps
- From the Wii Menu, select the “Wii Shop Channel” icon.
- When loaded, select “Start Shopping.”
- Select “Wii Channels,” and choose the streaming app you would like to install.
- Select “Free – 0 Points” or “Redownload.”
- Select either “Wii System Memory” or “SD Card, depending on where you would like to save the download.
- Next, select “OK,” then “Yes” to begin downloading the app.
- A screen will appear with Mario running across the screen and three blocks. Mario will hit the blocks as the download progresses. This may take a few minutes.
- When the “Download successful” screen appears, select “OK” to return to the Wii Shop Menu.
- Press the HOME Button on your Wii Remote and select “Wii Menu,” then “Yes” to return to the Wii Menu.
- Launch the app from the Wii Menu and log in with the respective streaming service account.
Amazon Instant Video is already available on the Wii U Menu. Simply launch the app and follow the on screen instructions. The Wii U has fantastic interactive support tools online to install Hulu and Netflix. They are linked below.
Cutting the Cord Has Never Been Easier
With gaming consoles being so prevalent in today American households, the means to cut the cable cord could be sitting right in front of you. Add a TV antenna for local broadcast stations and enjoy a modern TV experience without paying for an overpriced cable TV subscription.