Networking your TV
6 May 2011

Networking your TV

By Matthew Olan, Information & Support, Cedarglen Homes

So you bought a new house and you want to pre-wire for all of your TV components. It is going to be amazing. You remember to include your coax for your cable box, your HDMI to your TV from your blue ray player, Playstation or X-Box and Apple TV. You even ran the wires in the wall for your surround sound system! Perfect! This is going to be your dream media room. No more wires run under the baseboards or hidden behind furniture to distract you. Just you and your wall mounted big screen TV!

Just a minute now, I think we are missing something. How are we going to<strong> connect all of these devices to the internet and why would you want to do this?</strong> I guess you could use the built in wireless capabilities of most of the devices but not all of them have this feature. And we all know how slow and unreliable wireless networks can be. They seem to lose the connection right in the middle of every important thing we do. Plus they have to be set up securely so people can’t steal you internet. Have you ever tried typing one of those long security codes into an Apple TV or a game console. It’s definitely not very high on my fun list.

The solution to this is to <strong>include network cabling in your pre-wire.</strong> Cabled Network is faster (potentially 3 to 17 times faster), more reliable and secure by default. I would recommend running a network cord to your TV and at least one to your components. You could run one cord for each component you plan to hook up or you could just buy a switch. A switch will allow you to split that single cord and plug it into each device that needs it so they can all share it. I would recommend running the other end of the network cord where ever you plan to have your internet modem installed. Usually this is in your utility room in the basement. From there you can install another switch and a router and you can connect everything in your house to your internet connection.

Of course you don’t want to forget your computer. You should run a network cord from the basement to wherever you plan to install a computer so it can get on the internet too!

<strong>Why would you want to connect all of your components to the internet?</strong> That’s a good question. Some devices are obvious like your game consoles or Apple TV. But other devices like your blue ray player and TV are not as obvious. Blue ray players need internet access to do updates. If they can’t do updates you may not be able to play the latest blue ray movies. Blue ray movies also include many special features that need internet access to use. One special feature that Disney recently introduced is called <em>second screen</em>. Disney Second Screen allows viewers to explore the story behind the film a second device, like an iPad or laptop while watching the movie on the main screen. This only works if the blue ray player has network access. Many modern TV’s also need internet access to use all of the features they come with. Like a blue ray player, they need to do updates to make sure they work their best and many TV’s are starting to build in the ability to stream media from other devices like your computer.

The internet isn’t just for your computer anymore; it’s become an integral part of all of our communication and entertainment. So let’s not forget to network our TV’s!