Stream dreams
February 5, 2010 6:57 AM   Subscribe

Do I want a wireless bridge?

The AirPort Express that I was using to stream music from desktop PC to audio system located in my LR just died. I almost convinced my wife to let me set up our PC in the LR and use it for, well, everything. That didn't work. Now I'd like to stream whatever is on my desktop to a 46" LCD and audio system. Music, videos, pictures, etc. How to do that, and as inexpensively as possible?
posted by fixedgear to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Buy a cheap little windows computer and get yourself a DVI to Component cable. Put a wireless card in it and buy yourself a wireless mouse and keyboard. Or a little htpc like this Asrock. Supports HDMI, HD, etc.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:12 AM on February 5, 2010

Yeah, you need an HTPC. You can buy barebones ones from places like Newegg for a couple hundred bucks. And they even sell them in horizontal cases that look like home theater components. Sneak it by the wife as a "receiver!" They never know what that is anyway ;)
posted by jckll at 7:18 AM on February 5, 2010

Mac Mini's are perfect HTPCs. If you're already a Mac household you should definitely consider this route over a Windows HTPC.
posted by odinsdream at 7:41 AM on February 5, 2010

Video is going to suck over wifi, no matter what, if that's all you have, but I'd say one of the cheaper ways is to use a Playstation 3 with TVersity. You could also use an XBox (1st Gen) with XBMC, but that might be a little loud, fanwise.
posted by rhizome at 8:09 AM on February 5, 2010

My current way of doing this is an Xbox 360 and TVersity as the server. If you don't need HDTV, a vanilla Xbox can be had very cheaply second hand. Mod it, install XBMC, and you have a fine media center. I hope to get the Boxee Box whenever it's available.

Your question is about "wireless bridge". That's a specific bit of networking that lets you have two ethernets in your house joined by WiFi. It doesn't work very well. For a home theater app I suggest you just get a USB wireless network adapter and plug it in to whatever playback device you have. Even better is wired, if at all possible.
posted by Nelson at 8:19 AM on February 5, 2010

Video is going to suck over wifi, no matter what

Thats not necessarily true. My HTPC is on a wireless bridge and using iperf I get around 17-20mbps of bandwidth. Thats quite a bit to transfer movies I download either by opening them on a file server share or just transfering the entire file (takes a couple minutes, but so what). Most HD content is heavily compressed if it comes from an internet source. If you have a solid G or N connection you should be good.

Things like netflix or hulu steaming work the same as any other computer.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:32 AM on February 5, 2010

I would go with a nettop like this Acer Aspire (ION) for $199 or this barebones MSI Wind at $149.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:14 AM on February 5, 2010

what brand is the 46 inch tv newer samsung models can play movies and audio prom the network on the tv itself.
posted by majortom1981 at 10:15 AM on February 5, 2010

It's a Sony Bravia, no, it doesn't have built in wireless.
posted by fixedgear at 10:44 AM on February 5, 2010

The Bravia has an ethernet port yes? Mine (a 46W5100) does. I picked up an Asus WL-330e a few weeks ago for it and while I've only watched a little netflix, it seems to work great. It's even powered by the usb port on the back of the set.
posted by Big_B at 12:15 PM on February 5, 2010

My model is 46V5100, so sadly, no.
posted by fixedgear at 12:30 PM on February 5, 2010

Well I posted somewhat quickly anyway, and forgot to mention that there are some issues with streaming to the tv, even though it is DLNA compliant. Windows Media Player works but has limited functionality, and TVersity and PS3 media server don't seem to work at all.

I have used all of those with a PS3 to stream to, and if you end up going that route I'd recommend PS3 media server. Based on my short term, limited experience so far.
posted by Big_B at 8:45 PM on February 5, 2010

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