I usually watch all my movies on my PC, but am going to be moving in with my girlfriend and want to be able to watch my movies on a TV with her. The videos will be MKV/mp4 (X/H264) with DTS (DTS-HD) and AC3 5.1 audio. I was thinking about getting a roku 4 and using Plex to stream the movies from my PC to the Roku, but have heard that Plex transcodes files and it would use a lot of resources on my PC. I'm just trying to find out what the best and cheapest method would be to play these mkv files on my HDTV with out having to transcode them or the audio?
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Get a media player with network (SMB) support, wired or wireless. Set up a share on your PC. Browse to the share and play the files.
Chromecast has because it has a built in H.264/VP8 decoder. and can play normal H.264 videos with L3.1 and L4.0-1 (High) videos. These are pretty common profiles. Just use the Chrome app Videostream and you can stream videos from your computer to the Chromecast. For an Xvid video, your computer will have to do a live encoding to VP8 in order to stream it, which Videostream does automatically.