In theory, it should be possible to watch a TV program on an Android tablet and have it running on a computer via the internet.
But it’s not that simple.
“It can be tricky to use the internet to get the show on your tablet,” says Tim Frew, chief executive of the UK’s independent TV industry body, the BBC.
In a video produced for the Consumer Electronics Association, Frew says the main problem is the lack of easy way to watch on an internet-connected tablet.
“The internet doesn’t work well in a way that’s comparable to a phone, so you can’t get the internet on a phone and use the TV to watch it on an iPad,” he says.
“You’re basically using a phone to access the TV, then you’re using the TV and a PC to do the playback.”
Frew thinks the solution is to make it so that an internet browser is used to connect to the internet, and the tablet then uses a phone or tablet to download programmes.
But the problem is that it’s still hard to find a way to use an internet plug-in that doesn’t require an internet socket.
That’s partly because it’s hard to work out how to get an internet adapter, he says, and partly because “you’re not sure whether the plug-ins are compatible”.
In other words, plug-on devices can’t be trusted to be secure.
“I’m a bit worried that there’s not going to be a way for them to work without an actual internet connection,” he adds.
The BBC is working on a plug-and-play solution, and it says that it has found a way around some of the problems with internet-to-TV.
The plug-n-play method allows for the TV itself to be connected to the device via a cable, while the tablet is connected to an internet box that uses Wi-Fi.
The device also needs a “cable connection to the TV” to receive the signal.
This way, the tablet can use an existing cable connection to connect the TV.
This is useful for users with low-speed internet connections, such as those with iPads.
It’s also useful if the tablet has a USB port on the front, so that the device can plug into the internet and watch on the TV via a standard PC.
But that’s not practical for most people, and is usually restricted to people who don’t have the time to get a USB cable to their TV.
There’s also a “TV-to PC” solution, which uses a USB stick connected to a PC or laptop and a connection to a tablet.
The tablet then connects to the PC and a plug that plugs into the PC’s USB port.
This solution is the most widely used, but it’s a hassle to set up, says Frew.
“For the most part, you need to get somebody to do that for you.”
The solution could also be improved to use more standard USB ports that are easy to find.
Frew also says that a solution to the plug on TV problem could be developed by the BBC to make sure that it can be used for all programmes that are streamed to a computer or to a TV using an internet jack.
That would enable the TV’s signal to be shared with the tablet’s signal.
“We could do that without the need for a separate connection,” Frew adds.
In short, Freames’ solution is that the problem lies in the way the internet is being used.
“That’s where we’re at right now,” he concludes.
There are other solutions to the problem, though.
The latest of these is called “Wi-Fi Direct” which allows people to connect a laptop or a phone with a USB plug to a laptop, tablet or a PC.
Freams says that this solution is also “slightly more secure” than the plugn-plus method, because it doesn’t rely on a network to authenticate users.
“With Wi-FI Direct, you get the connection and then the connection is encrypted,” he explains.
“If someone wants to change the connection, they just plug in another USB plug.
That works fine.
But if someone wants the connection to be different from the one you’ve got, they plug in a different USB.”
Fream says that the technology can be adapted to make plug-N-play solutions easier.
But he also warns that the solution “may be difficult to implement” if the problem involves “people who don ‘t have a USB connection” or don’t trust the device to be safe.
The solution, however, is likely to be easier to get right.
“This is something that could be easily implemented,” Fream adds.