How I Stream HD Movies Without Using WiFi
I have mentioned in previous posts that I have setup and configured a Plex media server in my home. This server allows me to stream my collection of movies, T.V. shows, photos and home videos to any electronic device that is connected to my home network.
For mobile devices, I don’t stream the highest quality video file that I have saved on my Plex server. Instead Plex will stream a smaller copy of the video to the mobile devices. The copy is also HD (720p at most) with stereo sound. When viewed on a mobile device, the content looks great.
The issue was streaming the best video quality to either of my two HDTVs. One HDTV is located on the same floor as my WiFi router and uses a Roku 3 to connect to the Plex server. The second HDTV is located two floors down in the basement, and is a Roku TV.
I can stream HD content from the Plex server at the highest quality (1080p with surround sound) without any issues. Unfortunately, streaming the same content to the second HDTV in the basement was not doable because of the weak WiFi signal.
My issue was determine how to stream HD movies without using WiFi, and without running Ethernet cables.
Many people that stream HD content in their home may run Ethernet cabling between the rooms in their house. For me that isn’t a viable solution.
All the rooms in my house are finished, including the basement, so running cabling through the walls is not an option. With the router and HDTV being at the opposite ends of the house, it is more difficult to run Ethernet cable between the devices.
I needed another solution. Luckily, there was an alternative.
I have written about powerline technology in the past that allows me to transfer data over the existing powerlines that are in my home. This technology has been around for years, and the network speeds have been increasing over that time.
Previously, I was using Actiontec PWR511K01 500 Mbps adapters, but one has failed after several years, so I stopped using them. They provided decent speeds and worked better than WiFi.
In my case, I now live in a different house then when I first began using powerline adapters. The biggest issue that I saw in my house is that I have aluminium wiring on the main and second floor and copper wiring in the basement.
I took a chance on using the powerline adapters to connect the HDTV in the basement to the router on the second floor. For high-quality HD content, I needed to buy faster adapters than what I previously used. This would ensure I had a fast connection to the HDTV from the router and provide better quality streaming.
Gigabit powerline adapters and streaming 4K content
I bought the Netgear Powerline 1200 and Extra Outlet (PLP1200-100PAS) adapters because of the gigabit ports. Realising that I wasn’t going to reach gigabit speeds with powerline adapters, I still figured they would be faster than WiFi.
After plugging in the adapters, I was glad I bought the extra outlet ones because they are huge. The adapters block the second outlet in the wall, so the extra outlet comes in handy. After connecting one adapter to the router, and the second to the HDTV using Ethernet cables I tested out the connection.
The adapters established a connection in seconds, even when one was connected to aluminium wiring and the second to copper.
I tested out the connection by streaming HD movies from my Plex server to the HDTV in the basement. The content streams full quality from the Plex server, over the powerline adapters, to the HDTV without any stuttering.
Next I wanted to run a more intensive test – streaming 4K content since the HDTV is a 4K television.
Using both Netflix and YouTube, I streamed 4K content to the HDTV without any problems. After playing 4K content for several hours from Netflix, there wasn’t a single pause or stutter when streaming. I didn’t play the 4K YouTube video for as along, but there wasn’t a single stutter during playback.
After the tests were successful, I bought a second set of the Netgear Powerline 1200 adapters. I connected the first HDTV to the router using the powerline one of these adapters. Now I can easily stream HD content to both HDTVs without any issues, even at the same time.
As for the Actiontec adapter (one still works), I connected that to the VOIP phone modem. It connects to the Netgear powerline adapters without any issues, as well.
The powerline adapters allow me to stream HD movies without using WiFi. Even over different wiring, the adapters have worked flawlessly and have allowed me to stream 4K content without any stuttering or buffering.