How do I watch stuff on my TV?

Tom Sumrall Contributing columnist

Tom Sumrall Contributing columnist

OK, Tony, I can watch WGN on my phone or tablet but I want to watch it on my TV. How do I do that?

I’ll get to that in a minute but I have a few maintenance things I should address. You can email me at [email protected] (capitalization is optional — I did it to make it easier to read and remember). Next, I’m keeping a set of clickable links (or live links – i.e. links you can click on) to my columns at — I hope that’s not too long for you to type. If it is you can use instead (they both take you to the same place). I tried to make them short and yet representative of that to which they refer.

Last, I came across an article at that discusses free streaming services — aggregators of channels if you will — which give you access to multiple shows and movies and so on. IPTV is great if you only want to watch a few channels. If you want more (like a program guide) you’ll need to subscribe to a service and there are a LOT of services out there, some of which are a bit shady. I can’t recommend any right now. That’s not to say there aren’t any legit ones, just that I haven’t investigated enough of them to make a recommendation. The CNet article is at (short link, but it’ll be available at later).

So, how do I play these shows on my TV? There are several different ways. I use a Chromecast. What is it? A small device that plugs into a free HDMI port on your TV (or monitor). You then “cast” videos or music or pictures to it from your phone or tablet or computer. The article at does a better job of introducing it and describing how to set it up and use it so I’ll refer you there (short link, but note that it’s a British site so prices are in pounds. You can buy a Chromecast here in the states at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, pretty much any store that sells electronics.

There are a few different versions of Chromecast; further the Chromecast capability can be incorporated into other devices like TVs (if you have a fairly new TV it may have Chromecast built in). The basic Chromecast is a passive device, meaning you have to have your content playing on another device (phone, tablet, computer) and direct that device to send (“cast”) the content to the Chromecast. This is all covered in the first RadioTimes article I linked to earlier. You control speed (and stop, pause, start) from the device that’s doing the casting. It may sound complicated and I suppose it is somewhat complex, but stick with it and you’ll get the hang of it.

I own several Chromecasts in various forms. Of course, I have the basic Chromecast, but I also own the Chromecast with Google TV (see or short link This device provides additional features and functions over the base Chromecast, like the ability to download and run Android apps. I’ve installed Netflix, Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, and a few others. With the included remote control I can use the apps to watch movies and TV without having to “cast” them from my phone. I have this plugged in to the monitor on my desk. Another device I own is a Shield TV from NVidia. It’s really an Android gaming console that also has the same capabilities as the Chromecast with Google TV — it’s plugged into my TV (no, I don’t use it for gaming).

That’s it for this week. Note that my intent with these columns is to spark your curiosity, give you enough information to get started, and arm you with the necessary keywords (or buzzwords) so you’ll understand the basics and are equipped to search for more detailed information.

Email me with questions, comments, suggestions, requests for future columns, whatever at [email protected] and don’t forget that I maintain links to the original columns with live, clickable links to all the references at or — it should be updated shortly after this column appears online.

Tony Sumrall, a Hillsboro native whose parents ran the former Highland Lanes bowling alley, is a maker with both leadership and technical skills. He’s been in the computing arena since his graduation from Miami University with a bachelor’s dgree in systems analysis, working for and with companies ranging in size from five to hundreds of thousands of employees. He holds five patents and lives and thrives in Silicon Valley which feeds his love for all things tech.

Tom Sumrall Contributing columnist Sumrall Contributing columnist