Streaming Media from PC/MacBook to HDTV - India specific solution

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Apoorv Khatreja

Apoorv Khatreja

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Wasn't sure where to post this, but this seemed like the most relevant section. So I have a 40" LED backlit LCD Sony Bravia TV in front of me, and what saddens me is that I don't have a solution to play all the media content on my PC/Laptop (a lot of it is 720p, very few 1080i).So to keep it simple: I don't watch Indian television at all, haven't watched it in about 4 years now. So I'm not getting any DTH/IPTV service for it. The only thing I want to play on it is movies and tv shows that I've downloaded online.The way I'm currently doing it is transferring that stuff to a USB drive and plugging it into the USB port behind the TV, which is not only tedious, but a really stunted way to do it, since a lot of formats and codecs are not supported on the TV. Also, the only file system recognized is FAT32, so no HD movies > 4GB can be played via this method.What I am looking for is something like Apple TV, which is available in India. I want to wirelessly stream content to my TV, and I need the device which will enable this to support a very wide variety of formats/codecs, especially MKV, H.264, XviD, DivX etc.I also do understand that I'll probably need to upgrade my home wireless router to one that supports 802.11n (for streaming of HD content), and I'm willing to spend money there if required.Do you guys have any solutions in mind? How do you do it at your place?
 
Sushubh

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saw your tweet and thought that you had posted about a solution!i used wd hd tv. it was not wireless but there are plenty of models available that support wireless streaming. roku is pretty popular in the US market not sure if it would work here. i think i already have a thread about the streaming devices on the forum. let me hunt that for you.
 
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Btw, is being wireless necessary?? If not then, u too must be aware of HDMI......great reproduction of the media on TV. Its my personal experience.
 
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agantuk

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First things first. I am sure you would have checked it, but no harm in asking. Does your TV support DLNA? If YES, that solves the problem :D

---------- Post added at 01:30 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:27 PM ----------

Also, what I do in my case is, I use a portable drive which I play using my WD TV media player. This way I also avoid the FAT32 restriction of 4GB. First choice would of course be to verify if your TV has DLNA support, but remember that your TV has to be in a good range of your WiFi router as high definition over wireless does require good signals and high speeds for optimal viewing.

Another alternative would be to have get a networked drive, connected via the patch (LAN) cable, and into your TV. THat is a messy set up with wires all around.
 
Apoorv Khatreja

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Wireless is necessary because both the PC and laptop are usually stationary (I use the MacBook as a desktop, mostly) and are far away from the TV.

I do not wish to use the TV as a monitor for either the PC or the laptop.

As far as DLNA is concerned, the page for my TV lists that it is DLNA compatible, but I have no idea how it works (apart from the fact that I would require some kind of external USB adapter). If someone could elucidate on how DLNA works, I'd be grateful.

This is my TV - KDL-40EX520 | 40" BRAVIA EX520 Series HDTV | Sony | Sony Style USA

As far as using an HDMI cable is concerned, even if I ignore the aesthetic factor and distance between the devices, I currently don't have any device that supports output via HDMI (I can get an adapter for the MacBook, but that defeats the whole purpose). The PC's video card does not support HDMI.

---------- Post added at 04:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:46 PM ----------

Also, does WD TV Live support the MKV format? Most of the HD content on the internet is MKV.
 
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agantuk

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Did you check the TV manual? That should have the model specific instructions. However, in brief, this what you would need to do.

1) Set up your computer. You can do this by opening Windows Media Player, and enabling the Streaming option. If you are using the Windows Media Player on W7, you would see the option upfront on opening the player.

2) Connect the USB to your TV. Go to the DLNA option in your menu.

If everything is set up fine, which it should, you should now see your computer listed on the known devices. You are ready to go

---------- Post added at 05:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:04 PM ----------

Also, does WD TV Live support the MKV format? Most of the HD content on the internet is MKV.

Yes it does. So far it has played all the formats I use. I don't use RMVB though, and I think it is not supported. However, I doubt there would be quality content in that format.

---------- Post added at 05:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:07 PM ----------

This is the link for set up on a Sony. Pretty straight forwar.d

Connecting to a Home Network
 


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The best option by far would be just to get a media player like wd live or Asus o!play(I use this personally)... I no buying a media player & External HDD can seem like too much of an investment(10k total approx) but it is so worth it... This just the 2 cents from a guy similar to u who hasn't watched normal tv for the longest time now:) ...
 
Apoorv Khatreja

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Hmm, so DLNA just makes the USB interface on the TV able to connect to a LAN network. The file format limitation still remains because the decoder used is one from the TV.

From what I've researched, Western Digital makes at least 10 devices for this purpose, and the only one that does what I need is the most expensive one - WD TV Live Hub.

WD TV Live Hub
- Has support for both wireless + ethernet (though would require an external wireless adapter, listed here List of compatible devices for the WD TV Live Hub Media Center)
- Has an internal 1 TB hard drive, which would be nice for permanently storing media
- Has support for formats such as MKV, H.264, which is a rare thing in these devices

Now, as I see, this would cost a total of around 20k. 11.5k for the device (cheapest listing on eBay - eBay India: WD TV LIVE HUB 1TB Full HD 1080p Media Player HDMI-1YR (item 170621303357 end time 27-Apr-2011 19:22:19 IST)), 1k for the wireless USB adapter, 5-6k for the 802.11n wireless router + modem, 1-2k for cables, installation and other stuff.

After spending 62k on this TV, I feel sad to have to spend 20k for this :(
 
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[QUOTE=Apoorv Khatreja;

So to keep it simple: I don't watch Indian television at all, haven't watched it in about 4 years now. So I'm not getting any DTH/IPTV service for it. The only thing I want to play on it is movies and tv shows that I've downloaded online.
Would you like to share the kind of US TV shows you like/have !
But I myself download nothing.
I get most US serials (Slightly old(previous year) but entire season DVD's)from Hollywood /USA serials specialists here !!
 
Apoorv Khatreja

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Does anybody here actually use DLNA? How much does that adapter cost/where can I get it? UWA-BR100 | Wireless Adapter | Sony | Sony Style USA

---------- Post added at 07:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:45 PM ----------

@ulysses

I watch way too many TV shows to list here. The list is just too long. Some on the nice ones - House, Lost, Lie To Me, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Big Bang Theory.
 
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agantuk

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If you are inclined to purchasing a media player, let me tell you that you can get good options in 10K. You can have a look at WDTV Live itself as that supports a connection. I am not sure why you require an internal hard drive, considering you already have the media on your PC / laptop. Are you planning to download directly to the internal HD? If not, IMO atleast, that option is not required. Another good player that you should definitely look at it PlayOn. They make pretty good stuff too

---------- Post added at 08:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:21 PM ----------

This is what you need for your TV:

eBay India: Belkin Wireless G USB Adapter F5D7050ak with bill (item 170611765552 end time 04-May-2011 17:47:13 IST)

---------- Post added at 08:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:22 PM ----------

Change settings for streaming media in Windows Media Player

Stream your media to devices and computers using Windows Media Player
 
Apoorv Khatreja

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That is a 802.11g adapter, and will not be able to stream HD movies at a sufficient data rate without stutter. Of course, I'll have to upgrade my home wireless network to 802.11n before a usb adapter that supports it would be of any use.
 
Apoorv Khatreja

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For anybody who is interested, this a follow-up to my query.

I ended up buying a WD TV Live HD Media Player - WD TV Live

Apart from the initial hiccups, its working great. Plays a ton of formats, 720p, 1080p all without any issues.

Right now, I've connected it via Ethernet to the home network. Once I purchase a decent 802.11n router, I plan to get a supported USB adapter to change the setup to wireless.

The issues I am facing are probably related to stuff out of my control. Like Windows. The Samba shares from the Windows desktop take a while to show up in the WD TV Live interface. Like 5-10 minutes. The Samba shares from my MacBook show up instantly. This was kind of expected.

To circumvent this, I am using UPnP/DLNA media servers from Windows Media Player, Vuze etc to stream to the WD TV Live box. UPnP servers show up immediately and work more reliably than Samba network shares. Downside to this is that I haven't found a decent tool that will monitor a folder for changes and automatically add new stuff to the UPnP server automatically.

Also, streaming 720p/1080p content from my MacBook (which is connected to the home network wirelessly on a 802.11g network) sometimes hiccups, depending on the codecs. The hiccups go away when I copy the content to the local hard drive connected to the box (I have 1 TB portable WD drive, which I've now connected permanently to the WD TV Live). Expected, and should go away once I do the 802.11n upgrade.

A few other quirks: interface sometimes hangs, and I have to reboot the box. Remote buttons are somewhat a pain to press to register the action. It also forgets a few of my audio/video settings sometimes, not sure why (I force it to use 1080p/60Hz and 12 bit deep color mode for all content).
 
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Thanks for sharing :)I just want to know the advantage of separate media player ??I have bought a Seagate Black Armor - 2TB ...Network Hard Disk ....which supports DLNAand i am going to buy an LG478500 Model DLNA supported TVJust play anything from hard-disk (Laptop or NAS) to TV ...and TV supports ALL possible formats - MKV, MP4 etc