21st century video entertainment.

One of my things to research was related to music streaming options but our research veered off into video options.  The elderly tube TV we were using for our workouts (too old to pick up HD signal, but capable of hooking up to a DVD) was increasingly unsatisfactory.  Among other things, having to buy our media content on DVDs was getting on our nerves.

So here’s the quick checklist for what you need if you want to have decent video watching options but don’t want to deal with buying a cable TV package:

1.  TV features – issues seem to include:

  • Resolution – expressed in terms of pixels (p) but keep in mind that this is total pixels, and so the bigger the screen, the more spread-out those pixels are going to be.  So for a TV in the size we wanted (we were looking at things in the 40-inch range given the size of wall and room we were working with), 1080 seemed like the reasonable minimum.  Below that, we could see some effects of low pixels on curved sharp lines.  There was a really fancy 4,000 pixel OLED TV that was just gorgeous, but it was in the thousands of dollars so not what we were going for.  Maybe in a few years when they come down in price or we win the lottery.
  • Availability of inputs/outputs – all seem to have an input for a cable or antenna.  Other desirable stuff?  HDMI slot or slots for hooking up media streamers.  AV jacks for hooking up an older DVD player.  USB slot for hooking up storage media, showing pictures, etc.
  • Consider where you’ll put it.  Want to hang on the wall, make sure it as holes in the back to allow that.  Want to set it on a stand, make sure the stand will fit on the surface you plan.  
2.  Where the media comes from?  Here’s options:
  • You can have a smart TV, like a Roku TV.  These can access a variety of media streams.  The ones we wanted to make sure were included were Amazon and Netflix.
  • You can have a media streamer, which fits into an HDMI slot on the TV.  Roku does one of those too.  These will hook to your internet via wi-fi or wired connection and play stuff that’s available online like the smart TV can.
  • You can hook up an antenna which lets you get local broadcast TV.  This attaches via a coax cable.
  • You can hook up a DVD player and watch the stuff you already own.
So, we found a nice deal on the Roku TV, bought an antenna and a wall-hanging rig to go with it, and picked up the right kind of AV cables to hook up the DVD player to it.  So far, very happy!  Hanging a TV is pretty straightforward – they’re not too heavy.  Just worth taking the time to get things level!
Ready for a workout?

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