How do I connect my television equipment to the internet?


Both the Sky Plus and BT YouView set-top boxes include access not only to their own video-on-demand services, but also to third party internet-based streaming services such as Netflix, the BBC iPlayer and equivalent services from ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Smart televisions from Samsung, Panasonic & LG also offer access to streaming video and audio services and to other internet based services such as YouTube, Facebook & Picasa.

In order to connect set-top boxes, games consoles and televisions to the internet it is essential that such devices have some means of connecting to the broadband router that provides general internet access for the home or business premises.

Most television equipment purchased within the last 5 years would have this capability using an integrated ethernet network socket. Some also have integrated wifi wireless capability.

Despite this, connecting television equipment to the internet is not straightforward matter.

The problem is that, in most homes, the broadband router is not usually adjacent to, or even in the same room as the television equipment.

In the paragraphs below we consider the various options for connecting your television equipment to the internet including:

  • direct cable;
  • ethernet bridge
  • direct wireless;
  • wireless bridge; and
  • homeplug;

You can also view a discussion of the above options in the Premitel You Tube Video on How to Connect Your Television Equipment To The Internet.

Direct Cable Connection

A direct ethernet cable connection  between your television equipment and your router (such as that shown in diagram below) is the best connection option in terms of performance and reliability.

direct-cable-connection

If your television equipment is near your internet router then this option would be relatively straightforward and inexpensive using ethernet patch leads that would cost less than £5.00.

You can view and buy different lengths of ethernet patch lead from various vendors on the Amazon website by browsing the search box below.


Unfortunately, in most homes it may be difficult to make a direct cable connection between the television equipment and the internet router because the television equipment and the router would typically be in different rooms.

Ethernet Bridge Connection

A possible solution to this problem is to install a network switch in the room where your television equipment is located (eg your living room). This enables the sharing of a single ethernet connection between the network switch and the router that is located in (say) your study.

ethernet-bridge-1

The ethernet connection between the network switch and the router is known as an ethernet bridge.

You can view and buy network switches from various vendors on the Amazon website by browsing the search box below.


However, with the ethernet bridge solution there is still the problem of installing a cable between your living room and your study, but it is a single cable connection rather than four.

The installation task is similar to that of installing a telephone extension, but with thicker cable and sockets that have more connectors.

If you are keen to have the best possible internet connection for your television equipment, but don’t want to install the cable connection yourself then you should contact Premitel for professional installations in Edinburgh and surrounding areas or a telecommunications cabling company in your area.

Direct Wireless Connection

In addition to having an ethernet network socket some televisions, set-top boxes, games consoles and media players have integrated wireless capability that enables a direct connection to the main wireless router.

direct-wireless

Although this seems like an easy option, it should be noted that in order for the wireless connection to be fit-for-purpose there must (obviously) be a good wireless signal in the room in which the television equipment is located.

It should also be noted that, even if there is a good wireless signal, a WiFi wireless connection may not be the best method to use for streaming a video signal.

Wireless connections are susceptible being slowed down by congestion caused by nearby wireless networks. They can also suffer from interference from electrical devices including television equipment.

If your television equipment does not have an integrated WiFi wireless capabability then you would need to purchase a proprietary wireless adaptor (or dongle) that would connect to a USB socket on the television or other device.

You can view and buy wireless dongles for television equipment from various vendors on the Amazon website by browsing the search box below.


Please note that when purchasing a wireless adaptor you should only purchase an adaptor that your television manufacturer recommends, otherwise there is a risk that it will not work. It may be possible to use a cheaper third-party wireless adaptors, but you should do this only if you know what you are doing.

Wireless Bridge Connection

A wireless bridge overcomes some of the disadvantages associated with the direct wireless connection option primarily because the wireless bridge device can be located away from the television equipment and would therefore have a better wireless performance.

wireless bridge

Another advantage of a wireless bridge over a direct wireless connection is that the wireless bridge device would typically have multiple network sockets (see diagram above).

This makes it possible to connect several devices such as a television, a set-top box, a media player and a games console using the same wireless bridge.

As with the direct wireless connection option discussed above the wireless bridge option requires there to be a good wireless signal in the room in which the wireless bridge is located.

Similarly the same congestion and interference factors that could adversely affect performance would apply.

The wireless bridge device would create the connection to the broadband wireless router and would be connected to the network socket of the television equipment using an ethernet patch lead.

You can view and buy wireless bridges from various vendors on the Amazon website by browsing the search box below.


It is worth noting that it is often possible to use as a wireless bridge devices that are advertised as a “wireless repeater” or “wireless signal booster”.

Suitable devices should have an ethernet socket and would need to have the capability of being switched from “repeater mode” to “bridge mode”.

One disadvantage of using a wireless repeater as a wireless bridge is thta a repeater typically would have only 1 x ethernet network socket. This means that only a single item of television equipment could be connected unless a network switch is attached to the repeater.

Click here for more information on wireless repeaters.

HomePlug Connection

In our experience the easiest and most cost effective way to connect your television equipment to the internet is to use HomePlug technology.

A HomePlug connection uses your existing mains electrical cabling and therefore would require no additional wiring.

HomePlug is not as good as a direct cable connection or an etehrnet bridge, but should perform better than wireless connections.

The diagram below shows a typical HomePlug connection scenario.

homeplug tv connection

The HomePlug master adaptor would be plugged into an electrical socket near your router and the slave adaptor would be plugged into an electrical socket near your television equipment.

The diagram above also shows that the HomePlug slave adaptor is connected to a network switch so that it can serve multiple devices.

However, a network switch may not be necessary as many HomePlug slave adaptors have an integrated network switch with two or more connection ports.

You can view and buy HomePlug solutions from various vendors on the Amazon website by browsing the search box below.


Click here for more information on HomePlug solutions.

It should be noted that HomePlug performance (ie connection speed) reduces the further the slave adaptor is from the master adaptor.

In some situation the speed could drop to such an extent that streaming video is not supported even though less demanding internet applications such as email and internet browsing work without any problem.

If that is the case then a faster HomePlug solution may solve the problem, otherwise it would be necessary to implement a direct cable connection, or relocate the router.

Get in touch with Premitel if you have a specific requirement or if you wish to discuss how your business could make better and more cost-effective use of its existing telecommunications and internet infrastructure and services.