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Can You Stream Netflix & Hulu With a Hotspot?

Q.  I’m tired of paying a million dollars every year for Internet from my cable company. I want to know if you can use a Hotspot to stream Netflix or Hulu on a Smart TV instead of using an Internet service from a cable service. And should the Hotspot have one of those unlimited plans. Will that work? — Shelley, Houston. 

Shelley, that’s a great question. As you know, you need an Internet connection to stream Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service, on a Smart TV or some other device that offers streaming services, such as a Blu-ray player or Smart TV device.

Many mobile phones and tablets can run on 3G, 4G, LTE or other Internet plans — and, yes, you can create a Hotspot from your mobile device to create a wireless Internet network in your home. For instance, your spouse and kids could access your Hotspot to surf the Net on their computer or other devices. (Consult the settings of your mobile to learn how to create a Hotspot.)

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Most Hotspots have data limits, and if you go over the data limit — which I guarantee you will if you start binging on Netflix — you will pay a fortune in overage charges.

But the Hotspot with an unlimited data plan could be a great alternative to buying an expensive Internet service from a cable or telco company.

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But before you go and set one up, here are a few cautions:

1. Yes, you can stream Netflix, or your other favorite streaming services, without fear of overages. But some unlimited plans come with a feature that will reduce the resolution of the picture once you start using a large amount of data. If you care about picture quality, this could be a real annoyance.

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2. Some Hotspots on mobile devices are not compatible with Smart TVs or even Smart TV devices. The set or set-top may detect the Hotspot connection, but you may not be able to actually connect to it to stream.

So before buying a long-term Hotspot plan, make sure your connected TV will be able to pick up the signal.

3. Hotspots sometimes will not produce a strong signal to your other devices in the home, which again could reduce the quality of your streaming picture.

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So, bottom line, the Hotspot with an unlimited plan removes the worry of excessive monthly charges, but there’s no guarantee it will work to your satisfaction, or at all. Again, before buying a long-term plan, give the the Hotspot a spin in your home for a few days.

Happy Viewing!

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— Phillip Swann

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About TV Answer Man (1685 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

6 Comments on Can You Stream Netflix & Hulu With a Hotspot?

  1. This is not all true! I was excited about getting Hulu Live, signed up and then found out you can not get Live if you only have a hot spot!

  2. James ward // April 15, 2019 at 4:04 pm // Reply

    Yes I just ran into the same exact problem.

  3. Playstation Vue solved this problem with the hot spot. You can force a location online in the manage subscription section. Therefore it does not check the IP address against the account zip code and reject it when they are in different locations. Hulu Live does not offer this option and therefore does not work with mobile hot-spot. I’m using the new T-Mobile Home Internet which is basically a super hot-spot. They promise 50M download speeds. In my case, I’m getting over 120M. Very satisfied so far. Took my Cable bill down to $0 from over $200/mo. Now pay T-Mobile at $50/mo + $49/mo for Playstation Vue for total of $99. Saving over $100 per mo.

  4. TV Answer Man // April 16, 2019 at 12:04 pm // Reply

    Good info.

    • John Williams // July 16, 2019 at 4:46 pm // Reply

      How does that work with Playstation Vue? We live full time in out RV and PS Vue now is telling me I have to be in my billing zipcode location at least every 60 days. That will only happen maybe once a year, if then. How do you force that?

  5. James Ward // July 16, 2019 at 6:42 pm // Reply

    Actually, PlaystationVue does not solve the problem completely. They allow you 3 times to change the location back to your billing address BUT after doing this the 3rd time they disallow you to change this yourself. Instead they require you to contact the Playstation VUE Service number (1 877 883 7669) and ask their support people to reset your location. This is a problem due to the fact that you can’t get a static IP address when using a hot spot internet provider. I talked to T-Mobile Home Internet and they assured me they are working on a fix but it’s not available, yet. So it works with some caveats. Hope this helps.

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