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A simpler way to stream video

My mom has discovered how to record TV shows on her DVR.

She’s discovered a few shows she likes, and I could hear the pride in her voice when she told me how she can watch “Blue Bloods” whenever she wants.

My wife and I were telling Mom about a few other shows she might like, including a few from Netflix.

Mom surprised me because she’d heard of Netflix, but she really wasn’t clear how she could watch it.

I explained to her that Netflix was a streaming video service that brings movies and TV shows to your TV, tablet, smartphone or computer. It costs $8.99 per month.

This is when I got a bit nervous – she asked how she could get Netflix on her TV.

There are plenty of ways to get Netflix to your TV, most of which involve a small set-top box that connects to your home network and outputs the video to your TV through an HDMI cable. Roku, Apple, Amazon and others offer such boxes.

There are also connected DVD players and game consoles that can bring Netflix and other streaming services to your set.

The reason I’m a bit nervous about setting one up for my parents is their fear of messing up their TV situation.

You see, there was a dark day in my parents’ lives awhile back – the day my dad made the TV go away.

He had accidentally pushed a button on his remote that changed the input on their TV, and they were without TV for a few hours until they could get me on the phone for support.

They didn’t realize hitting that input button a few times more would cycle them through the inputs until it circled back around to show their U-Verse box again.

So introducing a Roku box for Netflix viewing is easy enough for me, but explaining to my parents about regularly changing the input on their TV might be too much for them.

The easiest way of getting Netflix is having it built into your TV.

Smart TVs have been around for a while now, and I wasn’t exactly a fan of some of the early models. Now Netflix is working with TV manufacturers on a line of “Netflix Recommended” smart TVs.

I’ve been testing the Insignia 32-inch Class Roku TV ($229.99, bestbuy.com) and I think it’s a great set, especially for cord cutters.

The Roku operating system and channel system will be familiar if you’ve ever used a Roku streaming box. But if you are a new user, the TV does a good job of taking you through the setup of channels and services you’d like to watch.

There is a fair amount of signing up for accounts and filling in of log-in names and passwords to get signed into everything, but once you do, watching streaming content on the Insignia TV is dead simple.