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Home / Tips and Tricks / How do I actually watch Netflix on my TV? Any way to get started streaming

How do I actually watch Netflix on my TV? Any way to get started streaming


Your TV can get Netflix today. Here’s how.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Netflix has so many great ones tv shows and movies that seemingly every time something new comes up in a conversation, you’ll hear, “It’s on Netflix.” For that reason, you may be wondering how to watch Netflix on your TV. Relax, it’s easy. We will tell you.

First, the basics: you have it Netflix app either installed on your Smart TV or on a device connected to your TV. The most common are specialized streaming devices – like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV – or game consoles, such as a Play station or Xbox. Once you have the app and device, you have a Netflix subscription and a stable internet connection.

Ready to get started? Here’s everything you need to know.

Get started with Netflix on a TV

Netflix plans start at $ 9 per month, a price that allows you to watch one screen at a time (TV, phone, or whatever), with the downside of offering relatively low video quality (standard definition or SD). For people who want to watch on a big screen, it’s worth switching to Netflix’s most popular plan ($ 14 per month), which lets you stream in high definition or HD to two screens at the same time. If you have one 4K TV or if you want to watch on up to four screens at once, you want the $ 18 plan.

Next, you also need a way to directly connect the internet to the device that will be streaming Netflix (more on this below). Depending on the device, you may need a wired Ethernet connection or, more often, Wi-Fi. To connect that device to wifi, make sure you know your wifi name and password. Netflix recommends a minimum connection speed of 1.5 Mbps and most broadband services can reliably achieve this, but if you’re not sure try visiting SpeedTest to measure your speed.

Netflix’s recommended speeds

Standard definition (SD)

3 Mbps

High definition (HD)

5 Mbps

4K / Ultra HD (UHD)

25 Mbps

Read more: How to Improve Internet Speeds for Netflix, Hulu & More

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Devices you can use to watch Netflix

Once you have an account and internet connection, you need a device to watch Netflix on. Just like on your phone, there is a Netflix app for TVs and other devices, including media streamers and video game consoles. The app is free, but you must of course install it on the device first. Note that all options below assume that Netflix is ​​onboard your TV or that you have a modern TV with an HDMI port.

If you have an older, analog TV without HDMI, these options will unfortunately not work for you. Roku used to make a streamer with analog output called the Roku Express Plus, but has been discontinued. If you really don’t want to buy a new TV to get Netflix, you might be able to find one second-hand.


Whether it’s a game console, media streamer or smart TV, there is a Netflix streaming solution for you.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Smart TV: If you’ve made a flat screen TV in the past 10 years, you can probably already watch Netflix on it. Modern TVs integrate streaming services such as Netflix into an interface known as ‘smart TV’. While some TVs have a dedicated Netflix button on the remote, most compatible models have a smart TV button that allows you to access the available streaming apps. The app may be older, slower, and not as slick as the modern version, but if you want to access Netflix now, it should still work.

Streaming device or game console: While some TVs have Netflix apps built in, many people watch Netflix on TV with a separate device connected to their TV. If you are not using the TV’s built-in smart platform, make sure that the TV has a HDMI port. Almost every device of the Netflix devices we will mention below uses HDMI connections.

Likewise, your Blu-ray player or game console may have a Netflix app. If you have a relatively recent console – from the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 and above – you can access Netflix on it. For example, the PlayStation 3 currently offers the most up-to-date version of the app, including browser sign-up.

Mobile device: Phones and tablets can also control Netflix on a TV, although the process can be a bit more complicated than either of the two methods above. If you want to use your phone to control Netflix, you can do a feature called Chromecast built-in, or for Apple users AirPlay, to stream video to your device. With recent TVs from Sony and Vizio, users can navigate the Netflix app on their phone and then press the Cast button (below) to stream to the TV. Apple users can use the AirPlay icon (a TV with an arrow below it) in a similar way for Roku devices, Apple TV, and other recent televisions. You can then control the action with the phone or TV remote control. For example, if your TV doesn’t have a Chromecast on board, you can get a Google Chromecast, which is connected to a free HDMI port.


With the cast icon you can stream to a compatible TV.

Ty Pendlebury / CNET

Sign in to Netflix

Once you’ve set up your device, open the Netflix app and you’ll be presented with a login screen. Recently, Netflix added the ability to log in with a separate device, even on older streamers like the PS3. No more typing long usernames and passwords with a remote control, just click Log in from the Internet at the bottom right of the screen. The device gives you the choice of a QR symbol or a code that you want to type into an already connected device (such as your phone). However, if your TV or streamer does not have this capability and you need to manually enter your Netflix login (username and password), confirm the credentials on a computer or phone before trying it on your TV.

netflix login

Log in with a remote control or log in via the internet.

Ty Pendlebury / CNET

Need a streaming device? Start here

While your current smart TV, game console, or Blu-ray player with Netflix is ​​the cheapest option, it may not be the best for you. For example, if you have an older device, the Netflix app may be slow or unreliable. You’ll also miss interface improvements or new features, such as the ability to run interactive shows like the Black Mirror special Bandersnatch or You versus Wild (although it is not guaranteed). Or maybe you’d rather use a real remote instead of your console’s controller.

The best way to access an up-to-date Netflix is ​​through a new streaming device. Prices start at $ 30 with the Roku Express. Simply connect one of these devices to a free HDMI port on your current TV and follow the on-screen instructions. Many streamers come with Netflix by default, but every device (except Chromecast) also has a streaming channel list or App Store to download the app for free.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Most TVs these days are 4K models, and our favorite steamer for 4K TVs is this Roku stick. It combines Roku’s simple interface with the improved picture quality of 4K and HDR – both of which are available on Netflix if you get the most expensive plan.

Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.

If you don’t have a 4K TV and just want the cheapest option, our pick is the standard Fire TV Stick. In addition to streaming Netflix and a ton of other apps, thanks to Alexa, it has a remote control with built-in voice search.

Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review.

The Apple TV 4K is the Rolls Royce of streaming devices, with a luxurious look and all fixins. It supports Dolby Vision HDR for higher quality images on certain Netflix shows. It also allows iPhone users to stream from the Netflix app using the AirPlay button. Please note that a new version is coming with an updated remote control.

Read our Apple TV 4K review.

For a more comprehensive list of media players, go to CNET’s best streaming devices.

Another option: upgrade to a smart TV

If you are going to buy a new TV, chances are that it has an up-to-date smart TV system. Our favorite is Roku TV. It is easy to use and offers the widest selection of streaming services available. And it is cheaper and more easily available than a new one Xbox series X or PlayStation 5, with prices starting at around $ 150.

Check out our list of the best TVs – they’re all smart TVs with Netflix built-in.

Have fun streaming!

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