Many members stream LDS content to their mobile devices, laptops, and computers, but are at a loss when asked to use audio-visual equipment at Church or select add-on hardware to bring Church media to their HDTVs. If you need help, this begins a two-part article on media streaming. The first part will cover basic streaming options at home and in meetinghouses, and the second will focus on add-on products for Internet TV and how well they perform with LDS media.
Typical sources of Church content are LDS.org, Mormon Channel.org and other Church web sites, or public channels such as YouTube. LDS apps, such as Gospel Library, Mormon Channel, and BYUTV also offer streaming.
When you stream media, you need a receiving device connected to the Internet and a way to deliver the stream to the device’s display or to another digital display. When considering your streaming options, the stream may start as downloaded media from the Internet which you view at a later time with a media player. You are probably familiar with using your smart phone, tablet, PC, or Mac connected to the Internet for streaming through a web browser or from a mobile app. Another choice is a “smart TV” connected to a network with a built-in web browser.
When you add a second output device to view streamed content, the two must connect (wired or Wi-Fi) with some type of hardware and software. If your source is streamed from the Internet directly, where and how you connect can be crucial. An Internet browser will not stream from YouTube at the meetinghouse because it will be blocked at the firewall. The solution is to capture content at home and stream with a media player. Streaming from local sources in meetinghouses is preferred to avoid bandwidth issues.
To connect source and destination with a wired cable, the source device has to be compatible with the destination and both share a supported screen resolution. You set a laptop to mirror to an attached projector. A wired connection between a tablet or smart phone and an HDTV requires an adapter specific for the device and a cable to connect the two.
Samsung has an adapter for Samsung android mobile devices. Apple sells a Lightning digital TV adapter or older 30-pin VGA adapter, and Surface tablets have compatible Windows adapters. Purchasing numerous adapters for meetinghouses to accommodate member preferences may not be practical, but some members purchase adapters and cables for themselves and use them successfully with meetinghouse projectors and digital TVs.
Becoming more common is the use of Internet TV add-on products for Internet streaming. Such devices are marketed as set-top boxes (iSTB), dongles, or gaming consoles. They deliver streaming on channels, apps, or “mirroring” from mobile devices.
Products and processes to support Internet TVs will be covered in the next article.