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Thread: How to stream movies from PC to HDTV

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    Lightbulb How to stream movies from PC to HDTV

    http://gear.ign.com/articles/117/1170979p1.html

    You have a problem. The world has gone digital and you've embraced that, which is great. You've got an entire 1 TB hard drive filled with movies and television that you've purchased from your online e-tailer of choice. Ideal for your tablet and your smartphone, since you can import some videos with a few clicks and watch your content on the go. The problem is your home media center.

    You've got that beautiful 50-inch LED TV just gathering dust because all of the latest episodes of Glee are saved on your computer. Not only is it two rooms and one floor away, but it's also got a 21-inch monitor with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The solution is simple enough to identify, but may seem a little daunting to those who aren't so tech-savvy: just stream it! Fortunately, a variety of software and hardware solutions exist that have turned this into a relatively painless process. The desired end result, of course, is being able to access and view the content on your computer from anywhere else in the house. We're here to give you a few tips on doing just that.

    Prepping Your Media

    Before you can think about making sure your TV can receive streamed data, you must first do the necessary prep work on the computer side. Needless to say, a wireless network is a requirement here. There are different kinds of home networks you can create, including some more elaborate setups that allows multiple computers to access the same file system. For our purposes today, streaming video content from computer to TV is the primary concern, so that's how these solutions will be angled.



    If you're using Windows, either Windows Media Center or Windows Media Player both include built-in media sharing settings, though WMP is much easier to work with. You create a library with all of your content in it, much like you would with iTunes, and set up the application for sharing. The setup process includes checking off which devices you want to stream to (which will likely require some setup on the device side), the types of files you'd like to share (anything from videos and images to text documents) and the specific folder locations on your computer that are available for other devices to access content from.

    Of course, not everyone uses Windows. Even among those who do, the built-in media management applications may not be where your library lives. Lots of us are using iTunes, both PC and Mac users, due to the rise of the iDevice and the popularity of the iTunes Store. Similar deal there, since iTunes, like WMC and WMP, can be set up for file sharing. If you happen to be using an alternative, like Miro4, you're probably way ahead of this guide. That said, most media management apps for Mac and PC support file sharing, so just root around in the menus and set up your folders.



    If you're on a PC, chances are high that you've got virus protection software installed, which probably includes a firewall. Same goes for anyone using a wireless router; most of these devices come with built-in protections to keep your system safe. All of which means that you'll need to perform some networking wizardry to get your stream working. Given the multitude of possible setups, we can't really run through every single scenario here. Fortunately, that work has already been done for you. Bookmark PortForward.com. There are wireless networking guides of all types to be found there, including router- and firewall-specific instructions for opening and forwarding the necessary ports to get your streams up and running.

    Streaming To Your Gaming Consoles

    An Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 are, by far, your best bet for streaming content from your computer to your TV. Setup is easy, both consoles are already built to stream vast amounts of content in and out, and you get the added benefit of being able to use them for gaming as well. Provided you're using WMP and have set it to share the necessary folders with the available devices, all you really need to do is try to access the content on the console side.



    With the Xbox, that simply involves heading over to your Video Library and selecting your computer from the list that comes up. If it doesn't appear on the list then there is likely a mistake with your share settings. The PS3 is more complicated, but only slightly. First you need to navigate to the settings menu and select Network Settings. From there, make sure that Media Server Connection (the last item on the list) is set to "Enabled." Once that's done, a Search for Media Server option will appear on the Video, Music and Photos menus; select that in any channel you want to access content from and your computer should be found and added to the list. Once your computer is listed on either console, simply select it and you'll be able to browse through the folders and files you set up previously.

    It gets a little trickier when iTunes is what you're working with. If possible, your best bet is to locate the folders where your iTunes content is stored, add those folders to your WMP share libraries and stream using the above methods. Mac users don't have this option and some Windows-folk may simply prefer to avoid WMP. All of which means you'll need to use third-party software on the computer side to create a Media Server.



    There are a wide variety of options, all of which suit different purposes and support different platforms and/or file formats. Opinions vary regarding which one is the best, but some of the popular options to look into are TVersity (Windows only), TwonkyMedia Server (Win/Mac/Linux/Android), Connect360 (Mac iTunes/iPhoto to X360 only), PlayOn (Windows only, streams web content), Serviio (Win/Mac/Linux), Mezzmo (Win), Rivet (Mac) and Allegro Media Server (Win/Mac, designed specifically for iTunes streaming). Many will cost you some money, though some are free or offer free versions, such as TVersity, the free version of which strips out the ability to stream content from websites. The downside with all of the console streaming options is which file formats are supported; protected content is completely out, and some HD video formats simply won't play.

    Streaming To Your Disc Player

    Consoles aren't the only way to go. Nowadays you can find a range of Blu-ray/DVD players with built-in wi-fi chips that can stream in content from web sources like Netflix and Pandora as well as your media sharing PC. Let's get one thing straight though: if you're going to spend the money on a disc player with built-in wi-fi, don't bother with DVD. Go Blu-ray.



    Frankly though, the gaming consoles are a better bet. Both can play video discs, DVD-only for the X360 and Blu-ray/DVD for the PS3, and both have built-in wi-fi. Wi-fi chips built into dedicated disc players aren't always so reliable either; LG's BD570 is notoriously iffy when it comes to video-streaming, as is Sony's BDP-S570. Of course, the Sony model supports 3D Blu-rays, so if that's a thing for you, you might want to give it a try. Honestly though, a non-game console disc player should be your last resort for streaming video from your computer to your TV.




    Streaming To Your Digital Media Receiver

    A digital media receiver eliminates the needs for a game console or wi-fi-equipped disc player. These devices are built to receive streaming content. Apple TV is by far the most popular choice. It works with both Windows and Mac and it's pretty much the only way to stream protected content obtained via the iTunes Store from your computer to your TV. In some cases, as with video rentals, Apple TV even bypasses your computer entirely and streams content in directly from the Internet. Setup is simple and the $99 price point makes this option very attractive.



    If you're the type who harbors an aversion to all things Apple, there are other options, especially since iTunes-protected content probably isn't a concern. Roku is popular, but it isn't an option for our purposes here since it can only stream in content from the Internet. Sony offers the SMP-N100 for $99, essentially reproducing many of the basic features of Apple TV (sans iTunes protected content streaming). Like Roku, the SMP-N100 can stream in content from a variety of web-based sources, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon and Pandora. It has the same DLNA compliance that the X360/PS3 do, which means the work you did setting up share folders on your PC will be picked up here. The user interface is essentially a stripped down version of the PS3's XMB.



    Alternatively, you might want to take a look the Western Digital's WD TV. This puppy sells for quite a bit more, with a $179 price point on Amazon at the time of this writing. You get more from it though, including a built-in networked 1 TB hard drive and a wide range of compatibility with different file formats. There's one giant downside, which is no built-in wi-fi, though WD TV does support a number of USB-based wi-fi dongles. With a 1 TB of disk space to work with, it's also possible to simply load your content directly onto it and cut streaming out of the picture entirely. The price and the lack of built-in wi-fi make this a much less attractive option, however.

    If price isn't a concern at all, you might also want to consider the newly released McTiVia. The Windows and Mac compatible device sells for $289.99 on Newegg at the time of this writing. Like everything else we've discussed here, it can stream content from your computer to your TV, but it also has the added ability to function as a wireless access point, allowing you to control up to eight computers using an attached mouse and keyboard. The price is quite high and the device is still very new, so it's difficult to recommend this. If you're feeling adventurous though, and money is no object, the McTiVia might be worth checking out.

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    Default Re: How to stream movies from PC to HDTV

    isn't 7-8k priced media player like apacer and blah blah do the job for steaming?
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    Default Re: How to stream movies from PC to HDTV

    apacer kan lagbe. All u need is to setup a wifi network if u have WIFI on ur tv and WIFI adapter on ur pc. R kisu lagbe na.

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    Default Re: How to stream movies from PC to HDTV

    from BD perspective, i would say, buy a stand alone media streamer like ac ryan playon hd or asus oplay, install a large hard disk and fill it with movies as much as you want. we dont have good enough internet service in bangladesh to stream movies.

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    Default Re: How to stream movies from PC to HDTV

    ya .. speed kom bd te :S


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