Tips for watching videos online

So you’re going to watch a Spotlight show online? That’s fantastic!

Nothing replaces the excitement and connection of a performance in person. But, streaming options definitely give us an enjoyable break from situations that keep us away from the theatre. And usually, this doesn’t have to mean watching a show on a small screen! These are tips to get the most out of the experience.

  • If it’s a ticketed show, purchase in advance. There could be issues with last-minute access.
  • If you’ve purchased a ticket, test the link that is sent to you — even for a future performance.
  • Whether free or by ticket, bookmark the link. Don’t lose it in your email days later.
  • If the video is on YouTube: 
    • Open while you’re logged into your own YouTube account. 
    • Click Save in the lower right corner of the video (desktop), or select Save to Watch Later from the lower right menu (the icon with three dots on the phone app). This will work for other devices later…

Watch it on a big screen TV!

As common as online videos are, many of us watch them mostly on small screens. Watching a show on your living room TV can make the event more of an event. Here are some common approaches for doing so.

Do you use a streaming device for watching TV or other media? This is best for YouTube videos.

  • Roku users can add the YouTube channel to their Roku channels. Apple TV, Android TV, and various smart TVs and Blu-ray players come with a YouTube option already installed. This is where it is helpful to “save” a video on your computer or phone first, where the controls aren’t as limited as the big TV apps. If you’re logged in on your TV app, you can pull up your YouTube library and/or history to find your show link quickly.

Do you have a TV with an HDMI input?

  • This is normal for all new TVs, and the most common way to hook up devices such as DVD players. (On older TVs, your HDMI option might be hidden in the “source” or “input” menu, where you choose between antennas, cable, etc.) If you have an HDMI cable and a  laptop or other portable computer with an HDMI jack, you can plug your computer directly into the TV, regardless of what streaming and/or livestream service is being used to show the video. Click the full-screen option on the video. Make sure the volume for the video is enabled on the computer, so that it goes to the TV. You can test this with some other online video in advance, so that there is no hassle on the date and time of the show.

About “casting” videos from phone or computer…

  • Most new devices also have the option of casting videos, wirelessly, to a smart TV that is on the same WiFi network as the device. This varies by device. This is not as reliable as the above recommendations. Your Internet feed, local WiFi, and/or Bluetooth device can experience glitches that make videos stall and stutter occasionally while casting, more commonly during a long video. Streaming services such as YouTube buffer videos in a way that covers up all but longer and more serious interruptions in your Internet feed. With a casting connection, you might miss some lines of the show. 

Whatever your preference may be, we hope that exploring the best viewing options for online shows expands your enjoyment of theatre — even when you can’t leave the house!