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TV / video streaming

What's the best router for streaming video or programmes to a TV (2014)

There are now many services for streaming (sending) programmes, sports, films and documentaries to your television. Whether you are using large film libraries such as Netflix, Lovefilm, Blinkbox, NowTV or AmazonPrime, or if you're using tv catch-up services such as iPlayer, 4OD, or ITV Player, you'll need a good router to make sure the video streams smoothly and without stuttering. With the newer Full HD, 3D and 4K video standards in the mix, you may need a more powerful router to make sure you get the best experience.

When choosing the best router for streaming (sending) TV programmes or video to a television should take a number of factors into consideration:

Firstly, is the connection wired or wireless from the router. If it's wired, then almost any modern router will be able to do the job, but you'll want to make sure that the router has good Quality of Service (QoS) features. These should be listed on the box and on the manufacturer's website. QoS features will prioritise video above other internet or network traffic on your router.

If you're looking to send content wirelessly from a router to your television, then the specification of router you'll need will depend on the content you're sending. For standard TV signals then any wireless N (802.11n) router should be able to deliver the speed you need for a stable connection. If you're sending 1080p (High Definition) content then you'll want a high speed (300-600Mbps) wireless N router as a minimum. If you're sending 4K (Ultra HD) content or are likely to have a lot of other network traffic flowing at the same time you're streaming videos then you're going to need a wireless AC (802.11ac) router.

For a wireless router, our recommendations would be:

Standard definition TV   Any wireless N router should be able to stream standard definition TV
High definition TV (1080p)   Netgear WNDR4500, D-Link 850L or 860L, or Asus RT-AC66U
Ultra HD TV (4K)   Linksys EA6900, Netgear R7000 or D-Link DIR 868L

If you need an ADSL modem router, then we'd suggest either the D-Link DSL-3580L or the Netgear D6300.

Lastly, there are a number of routers which claim to be dedicated specifically for streaming of TV or VIDEO. These normally command a price premium over a standard router - but in our experience it is not worth paying the extra as most good quality routers are powerful enough to prioritise video streams appropriately.





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