CONK! works great on your television. There are two main ways to hook CONK! up to your TV: via Google Chromecast; or via an HDMI cable. (For both these methods outlined below, you will need a modern digital flat-panel HDTV with an HDMI port – all HDTVs have at least one.)
A Possible Way: via Google Chromecast
For this, you’ll need a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer running a Google Chrome web browser (version 51 or higher; Chrome automatically updates, so you should have this), the Google Chromecast wireless dongle (you can find them at Target), and a wireless WiFi connection. Although there are more comprehensive instructions, here are the basics:
- Plug the Chromecast dongle into one of your TV’s HDMI ports; switch your TV input to that HDMI port if necessary
- Plug the Chromecast dongle into a power supply
- Download the Chromecast app from the app store of your device (it’s free)
- Follow the instructions on your TV screen to connect the Chromecast dongle to your WiFi
- Once connected, use the Chrome web browser on your device to navigate to a video on CONK!
- Hit the “Cast” button on the right side of the browser navigation bar. The CONK video on your device should now display on your TV screen.
However, there are two problems with this method:
- Not all CONK! videos display on mobile devices: If you’re using a smartphone or tablet to connect to the Chromecast, some of the videos on CONK! – roughly half of them – will not play on your device. And if they won’t play on your device, they also can’t be transferred to your TV set. (This is not a technical problem but rather a licensing issue; we explain this in detail here.)
- It just doesn’t work all that well: We’ve tested Google Chromecast with CONK! extensively, and even when using high-processing hardware the video on the TV has a tendency to be stuttery and jerky. Frankly, you’ll get much better results using the other method…
The Best Way: via HDMI Cable Directly to your TV
In addition to a WiFi connection, for this method you’ll need a modern laptop computer with an HDMI port (most modern laptops have these; see the exceptions below if yours does not) running a modern web browser (once again, we recommend Google Chrome) and an HDMI cable long enough to reach your TV from a comfortable spot. (These can run anywhere from $5-40; here’s a few at Amazon. BTW: Get the cheapest one you can find – they all work equally well.)
The setup for this is relatively simple:
- Plug one end of the HDMI cable into your laptop, and the other end into your TV
- Turn both devices on; make sure your laptop is connected to the WiFi, and switch your TV input to the correct HDMI port if necessary
- Depending on what operating system your laptop is running, your computer screen should now display on your TV
If your laptop runs Windows 10, you’re in luck – it should all work automatically. If you’re using Windows 7 or 8, you may need to enter your Display settings, adjust the screen resolution and choose a “Display Switch” (choose “Duplicate” when asked). If you’re on a Mac, you may need to go into “Displays” in your System Preferences and adjust your screen resolution. (Screen resolutions that work well on HDTVs are 1280×720, 1280×800, 1366×768 or 1920×1080.)
But, depending on your particular laptop, in most cases this is all automatic and it just works. Then to play CONK! video:
- Open the web browser on your laptop and bring up CONK!
- Navigate to a video you want to watch
- On that video’s page, click the “Full Screen” button on the video player; Viola! – Your chosen video is now playing on your TV, in fullscreen glory.
This method avoids both the problems associated with using the Google Chromecast mentioned above: 1), because you’re on a laptop, all CONK! videos will be accessible (believe it or not, our content providers do not consider a laptop computer a “mobile device” – go figger…); and 2), the transfer quality is just excellent – easily comparable to cable, no stuttering or jerkiness at all. For these reasons, we strongly recommend you use this method.
Obtaining the Hardware
If you don’t have a laptop computer: …you couldn’t pick a better time to buy one. You can now buy a very nice Windows laptop for under $200. (Here’s several of them at BestBuy.com.) We purchased a really thin Lenovo laptop with a 14-inch screen from Best Buy, specifically to do these tests, for $200 (on sale) – and not only did it work great for streaming CONK! to the TV, but we were super-impressed both by how well-constructed it is, and also how fast it ran considering its specs. Other than playing high-powered games, this machine would probably fulfill all your portable computing needs. It even runs Microsoft Office reasonably well.
The fact is, unless you own a “smart TV” (which has Roku hardware built-in) – and they’re fairly new, so not many people have them yet – every streaming service needs some dedicated hardware to run on a television. For example, to run Netflix on their TVs, most users purchase either a Roku box ($50-100) or an Apple TV box ($150-200). But when you add that into the cost of a year of Netflix ($119.88 for their Standard Membership), you’re already close to, or over, the cost of one year of CONK! ($19.95) plus $200 for a new laptop – and when all is said and done… YOU ALSO HAVE A NEW LAPTOP! Seriously, isn’t America great?! (FYI: Not only is there not a CONK! channel on Roku, but there probably will never be one; see our FAQ for more details.)
If you have a laptop computer, but it’s an older one: The primary problem here is that your older laptop probably does not have an HDMI port. However, virtually all laptops have some sort of video-out port – and on older machines it’s usually of the VGA variety. Below is a shot of a laptop that has both an HDMI port and a VGA port:
If your laptop has only a VGA port, you’ll need to purchase a VGA-to-HDMI converter. They’re about $20-30. (Here’s one at Amazon, and here’s another one.) One problem with doing this is that you will also have to get the audio to your TV separately (true HDMI carries both the video and the audio signals), but note that both the examples linked to above accommodate that. Also, DO NOT confuse this with a “HDMI-to VGA adapter” – that converts in the wrong direction. (Compare syntax to above; see?) However, once you have the converter, the setup works exactly the same way as described above.