With global viewer numbers that are simply staggering – rapidly approaching 150 million people – Netflix is the very definition of a TV revolution. It’s been a big driver in changing how we watch TV – and because it’s so easy to do, many of us watch Netflix on our mobile phones and tablets. It’s quick and easy (download the app, subscribe and you’re in), and you can watch anywhere, any time.
Watching Netflix on TV in the UK
But Netflix isn’t all about that quick mobile TV fix. The company produces a huge amount of its own shows and movies, and many of them are best seen on a proper TV screen. That’s often because the shows are just so immaculately made that they reward full-size viewing; Stranger Things plays much better on a big screen in a dark room than it is on the bus to work.
But what exactly do you need to stream Netflix to your TV? The good news is that there are plenty of options – and you may already have one or more of them ready to go. Here’s what you’ll need to bring Netflix to your living room.
Find a Compatible Device
First things first, find the right device for you to watch Netflix on. The options vary, but you’re looking for a TV that’ll deliver a better Netflix experience, such as 4K UHD TVs with webOS available in several LG TVs. If you want HD, Netflix is also compatible with several other brands, including Sony, Hisense, and Samsung. With the right TV, you’re all set, and you can start streaming Netflix directly from your television.
Watch Netflix On Your Smart TV
If you’ve bought your TV in the past few years, and it’s from one of the better-known brands, chances are it’s a “smart” TV – in other words, a TV that can run streaming apps right there on the screen. Almost all “smart” TVs will have a Netflix app either already installed or freely available, and many recent models even have a direct Netflix button right there on the remote control, giving you instant access. If you’ve got a smart TV, all you need to do is open the Netflix app on it and sign in using your Netflix email and password. And that’s it – you’re good to go! You’ll just want to make sure you’re on a fast enough home broadband connection (you’ll want a minimum of about 10 Mbps for HD, and around 18 Mbps if you plan to stream in 4K Ultra HD). Plus you’ll also need to be on the right Netflix plan for the quality you want.
Get a Streaming Device
Another option would be to purchase a media streaming device, such as Apple TV, Roku Streaming Stick, and Google Chromecast. You can also enjoy the best of Netflix using modern Playstation and Xbox consoles from the older Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 through to the latest Xbox One X and Playstation 4 Pro. Better yet, why not invest in an excellent media streaming device such as the Now TV Smart Box 4K? It delivers a more considerable streaming experience with over 50 apps, including Netflix so that you can watch fantastic entertainment from Netflix on your TV fuss-free.
Download the Netflix App On Your Device
Before you can binge on a thrilling crime drama like Marcella or appreciate Cillian Murphy for his work in Peaky Blinders, both of which are available for instant streaming on Netflix, you’ll need to download the app on your device first. Depending on the type of device, the Netflix app may come pre-installed, or you may be required to download it. If it’s the latter, follow these simple steps:
- Sign up to Netflix to create an account
- Download the app from your device’s app store
- Launch the Netflix app
- Log in to your Netflix account
- Start streaming! You can register up to six devices per account, and you can use 1-4 devices for simultaneous streaming depending on your plan (basic, standard, premium).
Stream Netflix UK Using a Game Console
As mentioned, even game consoles come in handy when streaming Netflix on the big screen. If you’ve got a Sony Playstation 4 or an Xbox One plugged into your TV, you’ve already got a big-screen streaming device ready to go – just download the free Netflix app from the console’s store and sign in. You can even buy low-cost media remote controls for each console for a more TV-like experience.
Stream from Your Device (Google Chromecast) to your TV
Follow these steps to stream Netflix from your device to your TV:
- Plugin Chromecast into your TV’s HDMI port.
- Connect Chromecast to your WiFi network. Your device must be connected to the same network as your Chromecast.
- Launch the Netflix app on your Android or iOS device.
- Once signed up, select the Cast button/icon.
- Select your Chromecast from the list of available devices.
- Start streaming your favourite shows or watch a newly added film.
- Your device is now connected to your Netflix account. Enjoy!
Pick the Right Plan to Stream Netflix
Despite a recent price rise, Netflix remains incredibly good value – especially if you’re on the cheapest option, the Basic plan. But that plan is limited to streaming only in Standard Definition – lower quality than even the non-HD channels you’ll find on Freeview. If you’re going to stream Netflix to a decent-sized TV, you’ll want to upgrade that plan to one of the better-quality options. You’ve got two to choose from.
The Standard plan carries that name for a reason – it’s the baseline experience for modern TVs, letting you stream 1080p high definition. That’s going to look fantastic even on very large TVs, it doesn’t use a ton of download bandwidth, and also gives you the ability to stream to two devices at the same time.
If you’ve got a swanky new 4K Ultra HD TV, though, you’ll want the Premium plan. That enables not only 4K streaming (and almost all Netflix’s own shows and movies are in 4K) but also unlocks enhancements like Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. It looks absolutely incredible on a quality 4K TV – and it’s great for families, too, with four people able to stream from the account at the same time.
Netflix’s Basic plan, which already gives you access to hundreds of movies and episodes, costs £5.99 per month. That’s cheaper than most if you’re okay with SD. To upgrade to HD, you’ll have to increase your monthly plan fee to £8.99/month, while 4K viewing is guaranteed at £11.99/month. Netflix recently raised prices for its Standard and Premium plans in the UK. To make the most out of your money, it’s only right to want to watch binge-worthy shows on the big screen.
Other External Streaming Devices You Can Use to Stream Netflix
If you don’t have a smart TV for watching Netflix, you don’t get left out in the cold. Netflix is available on so many devices it’s staggering, and whether you’re on a shoestring budget or want the most capable streaming box on the planet, there’s one that’ll suit you.
At the low-cost end, you can add streaming to a TV with some popular, easy to use devices. Google’s Chromecast (as detailed above) is a brilliant choice if you don’t mind using your smartphone as the remote control. It’s a little round device that plugs into an HDMI port on your TV, then lets you “cast” Netflix (and hundreds of other apps) to the screen with perfect quality. A 4K-capable “Ultra” version is also available.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
If you’d rather have a device with an on-screen menu and a regular remote, though, you can’t go wrong with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick (there’s an HD or 4K version) which is also perfect for streaming Prime Video if you’re a member. And Now TV sells a Roku-designed streaming stick and a 4K device.
Up at the more expensive end of the scale, there’s a device that can do it all – the Apple TV. But it’s not cheap. A small but incredibly powerful device that runs a variation of iOS (you can play games on it too), it’s up there with the best for picture quality, features, and app support, and its 4K version is one of the very few devices that supports Dolby Vision for Netflix (Google’s Chromecast Ultra is the other) as well as Dolby Atmos audio. The newer, 4K-capable version costs more than the older (but still powerful) 1080p HD version. It’s an extravagant expense to own one – but you do get access to Apple’s iTunes movie store, and their upcoming Apple TV+ streaming service and Apple Arcade game service.
Enjoy the Show!
Netflix has become the go-to streaming haven for entertainment fans. Yes, the number of streaming options continue to crowd the prolific niche of streaming TV, but Netflix? Well, it’s Netflix. It’s an established figure in today’s modern entertainment where people are no longer bound to limited space and where watching on the go is as essential as a cup of tea.
No matter whether you go for the basics or splash out on a top-end device like an Apple TV 4K, Netflix will give you the same user experience; their apps are designed to be almost identical across all the hundreds of devices they run on. So whether you do it cheap or get indulgent, you’re going to be having a great night in with some of the best shows on TV and free for the first 30 days!