I've been reading the internet for the past several hours trying to figure out what the best options are for me.
1. I have unrestricted avi and mkv files on my external HDD. Most files are between 300MB and 10GB. I want to watch them in VLC.
2. I want to watch youtube videos.
3. I want to watch them on my TV screen. So being able to clone the Computer screen to the TV screen sounds good.
4. DVI-to-HDMI cable would work, but I prefer wireless.
So I'm guessing I need some kind of basic TV box that streams wireless for my TV?
I've looked at Boxee Box a little, but it's so expensive and I don't need any fancy apps, I just want to be able to play my files, watch youtube etc. This is just for when friends visit. Otherwise, I watch everything on my computer all the time.
I know about powerline adapters if wifi isn't fast enough to stream consistently. But I would still need some kind of TV box to be the middle man between the powerline adapter and the TV.
If the TV box has a couple of USB ports for when I do want to plug my external HDD in directly, that would be a bonus.
If there's anything that works with both Windows and Linux that would be awesome too, but Windows has priority.
I'm hoping to be able to do this without bad video dimension distortions, poor picture quality, or video lag.
I'm not a gamer so I don't own any ps3, xbox, etc.
Ideas? Suggestions? Comments?
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Actually if you don't have a bluray player a ps3 isn't a bad option if you buy a used one. Though its lack of ntfs harddrive support and limited file support does set it back from being an adequate file player. But it does vudu and all of the big streaming sites.
If you have a wifi n router you can do hd streaming very well. You can get the netgear universal wifi adapter that will turn any lan based unit into a wifi device (it is a n adapter). I can stream to my sony bluray player in a separate room without issues.
Your best bets are either a well labeled bluray player that lists all of its supported file types or a wdtv media player. The live models have all the streaming sites available to it.
Of course remember hulu will require a plus subscription to watch it on a standalone device if you don't have your computer connected directly to your tv.
But for the widest support a wdtv live model would be your best bet. Check them out there are a few varieties available to meet your needs.
Edit - the wdtv has usb ports so you can connect directly, the live hub model has an internal harddrive also.
Please note you should have at least a 5 meg connection for hd streaming. The "companies" say 10meg for 1080p streaming (at least vudu offers 1080p content, not sure about amazon and the others, they probably do by now).
Just remember that the little boxes are very good but once in awhile you may still come across a file that may need to be reencoded.
Edit - also if you want boxes that stream from a computer directly look for "dlna" certified. Those will see the streaming program from your computer.
I made that mistake when I bought my bluray player. It isn't a dlna player so it only does the self installed streaming services apps. But I have a 2tb usb drive that I can throw a bunch of files on so I don't need it to be a dlna player.
Oh and also its best to have a powered usb drive so you can be sure to have a reliable power source for your videos. A bluray player or other unit may not have sufficient power to power some usb drives - or at the very least you may have some playback issues on unpowered units.
Last edited by yoda313; 13th Apr 2013 at 19:37.Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Your response did help me track down more of what I'm looking for and come to a better understanding of what I really want to do.
A ps3 or wifi-enabled blu-ray player etc is very tempting. But there's so much hassle in that all files have to be converted to something the box can understand, whereas VLC understands everything. Plus, you're limited to media files and things like youtube.
I really wish there was a wifi device that projected the video/audio of your PC to the TV, regardless of content. Then there would be no annoying limitations. Anything your computer can do can be displayed on the TV screen.
The closet thing I found was this:
But the problem is you have to be within line of site of the device. So having your desktop computer and TV in separate rooms is a big "NO".
I guess buying a really long HDMI cable or dragging a laptop into the living room with the external HDD is the best we can expect from technology for now.
Originally Posted by arwen17
What I do is I have my dual core pc (older vista pc) hooked up directly to my hdtv. It has a hdcp enabled video card with hdmi out and that is connected to my hdtv. However I still have a wdtv gen 1 and the aforementioned bluary player with the netgear wifi adapter.
If you don't have a computer that you can dedicate for htpc use you can still use it to stream to a dlna settop unit. You'll need to have a transcoding software program loaded. It will conform the video to the player. Though they aren't a 100% perfect compared to having a hardware player that will natively play everything it is an acceptable alternative.
Though you'll need a fairly decent computer to do it and you should have decent bandwidth on your network to do it (wifi n preferebly and a few megs internet speed to ensure everything runs smoothly). Again its best to have a local file on a machine that will read it natively to make sure there are the least playback issues possible. But streaming is acceptable. Fyi you'll need at least a dual core to transcode. Probably higher for transcoding hd material.
Edit - fyi the ps3 will be the most limiting in terms of file playback, same with a xbox 360. Though I don't find them as limiting or as "lowly" as other members here do but they are not as sophisticated as compared to high end support that some bluray players have or the wdtv media players and similar units.
Do note that not all settop boxes are the same. Some roku models have only token file support. Many streaming boxes are mainly portal units that are really only designed to log on to youtube and vudu and amazon and the like. The ones that do offer file support may not be fully supportive. Read before you buy.
And the bluray players are actually surprisingly robust. More so than I thought. My sony (a 2013 model) can actually play a m2ts file that is just the ripped video and converted audio from a bluray movie. It looks and sounds great - the video is profile 4.1 and the audio is ac3 640kpbs converted from the original dts-ma track.
Though like I said you have to read up on any particular model you are looking at to know exactly what it can and can't play.
ANd lastly neither game console can read ntfs drives - at least not with stock firmware, if you do modding maybe but not out of the box. The closest you can get is to use mac hfs+ to format usb drives for the xbox 360. Than you don't have the 4gb file limit. But that is more of a hassle and the 360 does have file restrictions on what it can and can't play of course.
Last edited by yoda313; 13th Apr 2013 at 23:28.Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Well if your PC is in a different room to your tv how could you control the PC to play back on the tv when you are sat in front of the tv ?
Your options are limited to a media player/HTPC connected to your tv.
Originally Posted by db83
Also if you have a tablet various programs like vlc do have remote control apps. Though I've never used them so I can't vouch for their usefulness.
But however a htpc directly connected to a tv or a dedicated media player like a wdtv really are the best options.
You could still do a nas in another room and go through a dlna server if you don't want the files physically next to the tv. But that would still require a dedicated console type unit next to the tv (console as in hardware not necessarily a ps3 or xbox 360).Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
I don't necessarily need a remote to control the TV. Sometimes I'll know exactly what I want to play and won't need to do anything else. I can also use a laptop in the same room instead and then I'll be able to control it from the laptop.
But I've also seen some android or ipad apps etc that could be used to control the computer even if its in a different room.
Remote Droid app for Android looks promising.
Or just an old-fashioned remote access app like LogMeIn for ipad, which I know works great cause I use it all the time for general remote access.
I will probably eventually get some kind of wifi-ready bluray player or media box like wdtv, but right now I'm looking for a cheaper solution since I always prefer to watch things on my computer when I'm by myself anyway. It's only when friends are over that you really require a TV screen.
Originally Posted by arwen17
Does it have hdmi out? Or does your tv have a vga in port? You can hook it up that way. You can get longer cables if you need it to sit more comfortably.
Unless this is your main computer that is and you don't want to tie it up for watching stuff. Otherwise I'd just hook up the laptop to the tv and you are all done.Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?