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Can I Watch Netflix Using a Hotspot?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (October 28, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q.  I don't have an Internet service at my home, but I do have the ability to create a Hotspot from my iPhone or iPad. Could I stream Netflix on my Smart TV using the Hotspot? -- Carl, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Carl, that's a great question. As you know, you need an Internet connection in your home to stream Netflix on a Smart TV or some other device that offer streaming services, such as a Blu-ray player or a Roku set-top.

Many mobile phones and tablets can run on 3G or 4G Internet plans -- and, yes, you can create a Hotspot from your 3G or 4G mobile to create a wireless Internet network in your home. For instance, your wife 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.)

The Hotspot usually requires more data and, consequently, a more expensive data plan. And therein lies the rub for your Netflix plan.

For starters, many Hotspots on mobile devices are not compatible with Smart TVs. The set will detect the Hotspot connection, but you won't be able to actually connect to it to stream.

Second, if you can access the Hotspot on your Smart TV, you probably don't want to. The Hotspot usually comes with a maximum data limit -- say, 5.0 GB a month -- and streaming requires a lot of data. If you used your Hotspot to watch Netflix, or any other streaming service, for any significant amount of time, you would exceed your data limit pretty quickly and be liable for the overage charges.

So, Carl, it was a good idea, but if you really want to stream video in your home, I would suggest signing up with an Internet Service Provider.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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