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Buyer's guide: How to add wireless functionality to HDTVs


Buyer's guide: How to add wireless functionality to HDTVsI would like to watch online videos on my HDTV, but it doesn't support Wi-Fi connections. I don't want to buy a new television yet. Is there any way to add wireless functionality to my TV?

Rohan Fernandes, Kirit Mehta, Yashpal Singh



You can invest in a digital media player for your HDTV. Your set must have a free HDMI port (and in some cases, a USB as well) to accommodate the device. This set-up will let you wirelessly stream content from the internet, or connected devices, and also has the ability to play a wide range of digital formats. Now, depending on your budget and specific needs, you can opt for any one of the two types of players...

Ultra-portable: Google Chromecast (available online for Rs 2,999) resembles a USB pen drive; connects to your TV via its HDMI and USB port (for power), and is capable of streaming content — pictures, music, videos — wirelessly from a PC, smartphone or tablet. You will require the Chromecast app (available for Android and iOS) to help with the initial set-up.

You can also consider the Roku 3500R Streaming Stick (Rs 5,000), which can be controlled via the Roku app (for Android and iOS) as well as the included remote control. While both devices will also let you stream content from the web, they do not come with internal storage that lets you store content.

Box-type: These devices also have to be connected to your TV via an HDMI port. The added advantage is that they come with extra connectivity options, including USB ports for flash and external storage drives, Ethernet for a wired network, optical-out for digital audio, a slot for SD cards, etc.

Here, you can opt for the WD TV Live (Rs 8,000), Roku 3 (Rs 8,500) or the Amkette evoTV (MC, AC or XT) (with prices from Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,500).

The WD TV is ideal for personal multimedia content and to access pre-loaded web services like YouTube and Flickr.

The Amkette players offer greater USB connectivity (four compared to the two on the WD TV and one on Roku) and are Android-based systems, giving you access to the apps on the Google Play Store.

The Roku includes a microSD card slot and a remote control that has a convenient 3.5mm jack for earphones (these are also included). When in use, audio is streamed wirelessly to it. However, it is handicapped by a limited support for digital file formats.

It can play MP4, MKV, AAC, MP3, JPG and PNG, when compared to the WD TV and Amkette players, which support a wider range of AV formats like DVD (VOB files), high-def MT2S videos, Windows Media files and high-quality audio standards like OGG and FLAC.
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