Skip to comments.Question for tech heads
Posted on 08/06/2013 8:52:20 AM PDT by chuckles
I have an old laptop connected to my TV to share my network and wifi. Is there a set top box that would allow me to access my network and internet with surfing ability? The boxes I see seem to be limited to Hulu and Netflix but not able to look at my hard drive in the other room. If I wanted music or films stored on the bed room puter, is that possible with a set top box? I wouldn't do away with my laptop unless I could get the same service as the laptop. Also, what if I found content to watch that wasn't on Netflix? Could I watch a local church service via a browser? I want to do away with my laptop without hamstringing what I already can do and I don't want to pay as much as a new Walmart Laptop.
Chromecast is reported to play whatever you have on your browser.
It's pretty cool.
if you have USB ports just get a plug-in wifi network adapter for $20
I have a Boxee box (now pseudo-supported) that provides access to my network attached storage as well as browsing and application support.
I’m not sure I understand. The set top box will already access wifi. Does a USB wifi adapter get me in a private network? Google TV has Chrome on it so I could get out to the net, but getting back to the networked computers seems hard from a box.
What is Plex? How does it work with a Roku?
PLEX is a software server. I use it to ‘stream’ videos on my desktop computer and NAS drive to my TV.
I also have ROKU to stream Netflix, etc.
I also have the WD TV Live which is a box that operates similar to PLEX to connect to the NAS drive.
I don’t know of any method/software that would allow you to serf the web in the manner you describe.
Many media players are able to see both your network and any loose harddrives in it, as well as drives plugged straight in.
I’m still looking at the other suggestions, but so far the Plex seems to fit the bill. Others may be cheaper though.
Your TV should be able to network mount a NFS/Windows File Share. Store your movies, music, and data there, and mount the server via your laptop and tv. Most modern Wireless routers have a USB port that can be shared as a fileshare. You can use that, or simply have a low powered computer that’s always on attached as the server.
Be sure to check out the minimum system requirements for running media server software. A multi-core CPU is pretty much a requirement.
I added a Sony Blue Ray Player BDP-S390. I selected this model because it works with Amazon Prime. I can view and play most any media on my PC thru the Blue Ray Player thru my home network.
That comment really hit me. Back when I was a kid, I used to repair neighborhood TVs. The black and white ones with tubes.
We've come a long way...
ping for later read
I think I misunderstood the question - sorry
If your laptop display is connected to the TV i dont understand why you are limitted to netflix
I’m trying to disconnect the laptop and substitute something else. The laptop is satisfactory right now except it sits on my stereo speakers and has wires running everywhere and my wife says to hide it. These set top boxes are generally limited to Netflix and other “built in” apps. Others have a Chrome browser built in for the net, but still won’t allow a look at home movies and pics back on the main computer. The laptop is just basically using the TV as a large screen and works fine as long as you don’t mind getting up each time to access something else. I also have a neighbor that has shown interest in my setup but doesn’t have the trash laptop to put on her TV. She does, however have the “Hopper” from Dish. I haven’t figured out how to access the hopper yet to go where I want on the net. A Walmart laptop can be had for less than $300, so there is an upper limit on costs here also. A Roku with Plex should do the trick, but I haven’t yet looked at other suggestions. I glanced at the Chromecast thing and it looks interesting. I will have to explore how it works and how to work it. Other devices are like the Logitec box with a wireless keyboard. It looks like Google TV devices have what I have in mind, but you can almost feel them trying to keep the devices limited to what they want to do rather than just giving out the full capability.
$35 for the PI, $20 for a wireless USB stick, and around $50 for power supplies, wireless keyboard, USB hub, etc. and it's a very nice media player.
Samsung has a sharing app that will stream music, pics and video. It comes on all their blu ray players.
TheXPi.com sells three models of Raspberry Pi for different solutions:
The Bender runs XBMC for media center access to media resources on your network.
The Farnsworth is a video game emulator solution running MAME.
The Fry is a Raspbian Raspberry Pi solution with the straight Raspbian OS.
I have a Bender, and it’s amazing. Interfaces perfectly with my Synology NAS. Price is right as well.
I got a Samsung blu ray player that does everything you’re asking for. Got it at bj’s for $90.
I have the WD (Western Digital) Tv Live Media Player, yes; this little box can be connected via wireless to your computer, then play any media you have on your computer drive through your tv set.
While the Roku was specifically designed to stream Netflix; it really only plays Mp3 audio files, and Mp4 video files with AAC audio well. Sure, it has the ability to play Mkv video files with AC3 audio, but in my own experience, it doesn’t to these things well at all, where the WD tv live media player can play ANY format thrown at it, and does this very well.
The WD tv live media player can access your computer wirelessly without adding PLAY ON, or any other channel. Here’s a very easy to understand video showing how to access media that is residing on a computer’s hard drive (using Windows 7) wirelessly through the WD tv live media player =
The WD tv live media player can play media in ANY FORMAT through wirelessly accessing a computer’s hard drive, or using a USB port (via an external hard drive, or a flash drive).. while I also have a Roku, in my experience,the WD box outshines the Roku in every way..
I’ve read that certain broadcast channels can be accessed through the Roku via Play On, or some other channel. Some Roku channels may also provide a Web Browser so the internet can be accessed through your tv set. The WD tv live media player does not have that ability, as of yet.
Also, I’ve read that DELL is coming out with a gadget, that LOOKS like a Flash drive, which can wirelessly connect to any device that has a HDMI port; it’s actually a very small COMPUTER with a Web Browser in it.
The article stated that DELL would be releasing this gadget later this year, with retail price to be somewhere around 100 dollars. Here’s the article =
Wow, I had no idea there was so many solutions out there. I have a lot of reading to do. All the set top boxes usually just showed “apps” to get Netflix and Hulu. I found out about the Google TV with Chrome and went from there. I will explore all these solutions to see what’s best and cheapest. Thanks for the warning about Roku players. I was looking pretty strong at them, but even with the Plex option, I’m not sure if it would satisfy my requirement to just surf the net and play a church sermon from a local website. It seems I would have to download it to a local drive and play it from there. I like the Google cast thing, but it seems to be limited to 720p. I could live with that if needed, but I’m still looking.
Plex works good but has some drawbacks. It won’t stream video in .iso or Video ts formats. I have over 500 movies in video.ts folders that it won’t stream. In my case I set it up to use it with my Roku box and when I played the movie it started playing fine. What happened though is that it plays the first .vob file inside the folder and then stops. Some movies are broken up into multiple .vob files and that means you can’t watch the entire movie. What I had to do is use a third party recode program like “Handbrake” to put it into an MP4 file. It takes a long time to convert a lot of movies but it works well.
Then you could make the changes you want to make the perfect player in a box. If you could write "apps" for it, you could make personal folders, specific web sites and other things all show up on the screen for a one click play. I'm reading that Roku doesn't even have YouTube as an app. Seems strange to me to make someone go to Chrome and type in the address each time. One of my desires is to get Gateway Worship video's to play on my 55 incher with 80watts per channel stereo. It would be about as easy to type in the address on the laptop as type in the Roku each time. Not everybody is that enamored with just going to Netflix and Hulu each time.
The WD player seems to play everything right now, but I'm still reading.
I was going to splurge for the WD player but I hesitated because of everything I have connected to my two big HD sets. I’m in the process of putting together an alternative to cable tv for when my cable contract expires so I built an I7 media server in my basement with 10 Gigabytes of storage to start out. I ripped all my DVDs to the server and so far it’s nice. I agree with you though about the laptops. I have one that I use for television media and it works pretty good. What I am thinking of doing is building two more micro atx tower machines for the big sets. They are cheap to build and I don’t monitors for them so saves some bucks right there. It just needs enough power and decent graphics card. Using a solid state hard drive also speeds it up considerably. Your also right about VLC player it works great and plays almost any file extension.
Plex lets add YouTube to the Roku but I’ve never tried it to see how it works.
If you need a video converter,( as well as a converter for almost anything) I like DVD Videosoft Free Studio. You can download any app you need or download the whole studio to do any conversion you can think of. The price is FREE with no nags.
Thanks I’ll give it a try. Sounds good especially with no nags.
Chuckles, both the latest Roku (2 and 3) and the WD TV live media player can handle 1080P HD.. AND, if you have a fairly new Surround sound reciever, they can both do 5.1 surround sound with Netflix (useing Dolby Digital Plus)..and many other video services as well.
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