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I've Got My New Internet-Ready TV. How Do I Hook It Up and Get Online?
Your doorbell rings and there it is—you're the proud owner of a new Internet-ready TV. Along with the standard setup routine—a careful unboxing, integration into your home theater setup, calibrating the picture, etc. comes a new task: hooking it up to your home network so you can access all those great Internet features. Can this get complicated? Well, yes. But with a little patience and preparedness, you'll breeze right through it.

What Will I Need?
You'll need the basic components for Internet TV, which means, at the bare minimum, a broadband Internet connection and a router (and the TV, of course). If your TV has a wireless connection or you've purchased a wireless add-on, you'll be able to forgo cabling. If not (or if you'd prefer a wired connection), you can connect directly to your router with an Ethernet cable which is often included with Internet-ready TVs. If you favor a wired connection but your router is elsewhere in your home, there are other options, such as powerline Ethernet adapters, which send your connection over your home's electrical wiring. It will pay to investigate your options and choose the one offering the most bandwidth as that will provide the best experience.

Connect to Your Network
Once you've got the network ready, turn on your TV and follow the instructions for getting connected. Manufacturers have worked to make this step as painless as possible, offering quick-start guides or step-by-step documentation for getting up and running on both wired and wireless networks. Wireless-enabled sets can scan for available networks, and once you find yours, you'll just need to enter your password (if it's a secure network) to connect—just as you would with a laptop or smartphone. Wired networks are even simpler—no need to scan as it's already connected.

What Are All These Numbers?
As you're setting up your connection you'll likely see a lot of settings—DNS servers, IP addresses, default gateways, and so forth. If you're new to this, don't sweat it--the default setting on most sets will be to leave the networking "nuts and bolts" to your router (assigning an IP address to your TV, getting DNS server info, etc.). Advanced users, however, will be able to dig a little deeper if need be, making manual adjustments, adjusting proxy server settings, etc., as required.

Register Your Product and Authorize Services
Once you have a network connection you may need to register your TV to access its Internet services. Some manufacturers will provide you with a website where you can take care of that on a nearby computer. Once completed, voilà--you'll have access to your manufacturer's offerings.

Well, not so fast. Many of those offerings may be subscription services, such as Netflix or Pandora, and will require you to log in (or sign up if you're a new member). Some services will also require you to "authorize" the device, sending you back and forth between that nearby computer and your new TV.

Update Your Firmware
Once you're finally up and running, you'll want to make sure you have the latest firmware. This will help ensure everything runs smoothly, outfitting your set with the most recent fixes and improvements. Many sets have the ability to automatically update the firmware, but you may have to enable that function (your manual can help you with that). Alternately, some will let you download the latest firmware from the manufacturer's website (once again, that nearby computer will come in handy), save it to a USB thumb drive, and transfer it to the television following the manufacturer's instructions.

It's Not Working!
Last but not least, we have troubleshooting. The first rule of troubleshooting? Don't panic. Manufacturers do their best to make home networking easy—a feat in itself—but sometimes things will not work as expected. If you're lucky, specific connection/performance issues may be addressed in your manual's troubleshooting section or resolved through firmware updates. Manufacturers also offer support websites that should address common errors or issues (don't underestimate user forums either if you're having an issue. Chances are another owner has had the same experience). Many companies offer phone support as well—the number may be right there on your shiny new screen. And of course it wouldn't hurt to have that tech-savvy friend or relative swing by and help— just make sure to cook ‘em a nice meal.


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