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Connect All The Things…to Ethernet!

This quick post was inspired by a recent article on How-To Geek that describes How to Add Gigabit Ethernet to a TV Without It. I find myself violently in agreement!

things

They say:

TV manufacturers have rushed to improve their latest models with fast HDMI 2.1 ports capable of supporting 4K gaming at 120Hz in glorious HDR. Unfortunately, most of the same models still use outdated 100Mb Ethernet ports.

Further:

Most new TVs support 5GHz and 2.4GHz wireless networking, but Wi-Fi is notoriously temperamental. Even though 5GHz networks have a theoretical maximum speed of 1300Mb/sec, many confounding variables can affect real-world performance. Ethernet is far more reliable in this regard.

To which I’d like to add a Hell, yeah! At least in so far as avoiding Wi-Fi is concerned.

They go on to describe adding Ethernet connectivity by way of a cheap and reliable USB-to-Ethernet adapter. If the TV has a USB 3.0 port a suitable adapter will deliver the full gigabit experience. If the TV has a USB 2.0 port you can still achieve 400 mbps connectivity.

Our less barely one-year-old Vizio M65 resides in our living room less than 4 yards from a Ubiquiti Networks UniFi UAP-AC-PRO access point. Even at that distance, initial experiments connecting over Wi-Fi proved shaky. It would occasionally buffer or stutter.

For a time, I experimented with using a Raspberry Pi as a Wi-Fi bridge in service of the Tivo Mini. That was an interesting experiment. It basically worked. However, the arrangement was frail. The Tivo Mini was not good at recovering from a lapse in connectivity.

This prompted me to pull another strand of Ethernet to that location. There was already a one connection on the opposite side of the same wall, were a Tivo Mini lives in our bedroom.

Since I was pulling wire, I pulled three new strands:

  1. Vizio M65
  2. Tivo Mini on HDMI input #1
  3. Tivo Stream 4K on HDMI input #2

Since it has access to more services than the TV, the Tivo Stream 4k is our preferred way to access streaming services. Sadly, it does not have Ethernet. So, we use a USB-to-Ethernet adapter connected using the USB Type-A-to-C adapter that came with my Pixel 4 phone. In this manner, we are even able to power the Tivo Stream 4k via power-over-Ethernet.

So, in our effort to connect all the things, I think it best to connect them using Ethernet wherever possible. Use Wi-Fi as a last resort.

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