Using the internet as your TV on Block Island
I moved back to Block Island after two years of being off, on November first of last year. During those two years, I was living back in Upstate NY and enjoying the blazing web speeds of cable internet, as most of our Summer residents and visitors do. Now back on the island, I have had to get used to cruising at minimal DSL speeds.
But truth be told, there is still a lot we can do with our minimal DSL speeds. And one of those things, which I've been doing since I returned, is to stream video to my TV. I decided to forego paying for satellite TV (there is no cable TV on the island) in favor of streaming the content I want directly. I was doing this on the mainland also.
What I'm going to describe to you is my particular setup, which works perfectly for me and what I want. There are many other configurations that will accomplish the same goal, but for my needs, this is banner. And if you don't know it already, I'm a Mac guy. So my setup involves Mac devices.
Before starting, I should say off the bat, that if you haven't read my last post about internet speed on the island, you probably should. If you're not getting at least 1Mbps download from your line I wouldn't even bother trying to stream video. So please click the link and do the test.
Here's my equipment:
- iMac as main computer
- Apple TV for streaming video from the iMac to the TV and streaming new movies through iTunes from Apple
- Playstation 3 for Watching Hulu Plus TV shows and Netflix movies
- 42 inch flat screen LG TV with multiple HDMI inputs as well as composite video inputs.
I promise I'm not going to get too techy here. I want everyone to be able to attempt this, especially if you're coming for the 3 main Summer months and want to save a few bucks by not dealing with paying for TV. Though, I should say that without TV, there are a lot of things you will miss out on. Daily news, sports, basically anything you want to see as-it-happens is out of the realm. But if you can survive watching yesterday's news (Meredith Viera looks better the next day) or yesterday's TV show or a movie released a few months to a year ago, this will work for you. And let's face it. During the Summer, do we want to be tied to a TV when we have miles of beaches to traverse and swim, greenways to hike, roads to run, waves to surf? I reserve my tube time for 9pm - 11pm in Winter while I fall asleep on the couch. I'll let you know what it is when Summer hits. But I seriously doubt it's going to be two hours a day. I mean, Captain Nick's and Yellow Kittens are going to be in full swing. C'mon.
So here's what I currently have going. I pay a monthly fee of $7.99 to stream Hulu Plus TV shows from my Playstation 3 to my TV. If you don't have a PS3, you can also do this using a computer with VGA out to your TV. And I pay Netflix another $7.99 a month to stream as many movies as I want to my TV, again from the PS3. That's $16/month for anything I want and the offerings are amazing. Want to go back and watch all the past episodes of Miami Vice, no prob. All past episodes of The Office. Yep. You name it, Hulu has it. Pretty much all current and past programming is available. So if you need to catch up on something (I spent 2 months watching all the LOST episodes and lost a lot of my own time doing it...don't get me started on the finale) they are there. If you want to watch a movie there are a plethora to choose from at Netflix.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm a Mac guy. So here's where the iMac and Apple TV come in. I download TV shows (Mad Men, Weeds, United States of Tara), from premium networks that you won't be able to get on Hulu, which is mainly network TV. Using the Apple TV and iMac, I can wirelessly stream those shows to the Apple TV from the iMac and onto my LG TV. The Apple TV is a little black box that resides next to your TV that plugs into your TV with an HDMI cable. Video and sound shoot through the HDMI cable and appear on your screen like magic. See, that wasn't very techy.
As a techy, I fell amiss by not going into how to set this up. Cabling, wireless, networking. But this was just a primer. If you're on Block Island and want to set up internet TV, post in the comment section. I'll answer any and all questions. And being here 24/7, I'm here to help. I can talk you through the setup and get you up and running. I'd love to see more people doing this and ridding themselves of traditional TV.
This IS Block Island. TV is not necessary.
Til the next time.
For more info, feel free to call me 401-477-0709 or email firstname.lastname@example.org