What's the best way to stream audio or video straight to my TV?
July 5, 2010 12:34 PM   Subscribe

I want to be able to stream music or video straight from my PC to my TV and stereo system. What's the best way to do this? Will a WD TV Live work, or are there other options?

I've got a Windows 7 PC in one room and my HDTV/stereo system in the other room, and I want to be able to stream any sort of media - music or video, in this case - from my PC to the stereo. Both rooms have wired Internet connectivity to maximize bandwidth, so that's not an issue. The part I'm having trouble with is how exactly to do it.

For the record, my previous solution was to run HDMI-DVI and RCA-1/8" wires from my desktop to the TV, and then to extend my desktop to use the TV as a monitor. I can't do that anymore 'cause we moved and my desktop is now much further away.

My ideal solution would be to right-click on a file and say "Send to TV" or something like that; I would rather not have to set up a full library of available titles or MP3s, but I'll slog through that if necessary.

I _think_ the WD TV Live by Western Digital will do what I want, but I'm not positive. It's got HDMI and optical outs, and that's the best I can find. Has anyone had any success doing what I want to do? Will the Asus O!Play or Roku HD work? Are there other options out there?
posted by gchucky to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I use my Playstation3 (Xbox also works, as does any other DLNA compliant) and the very easy-to-setup PS3 Media Server. The media lives on your PC, you just tell PS3 media server what folders to monitor, and it streams nicely across to your device connected to the TV.

Looking at the manual for the WD TV Live, it seems like it works even easier, by simply accessing any shares that you setup on your computer (when you hook it up to the network).
posted by antifuse at 1:13 PM on July 5, 2010

I use WD TV Live Plus to stream the video I have online to my TV. I use the HDMI 1080P and composite outputs, depending on which TV it's attached to. It works great. I can verify it works with PAL and NTSC, VIDEO_TS, ISO, wma, avi, mp3, mp4, mkv, m2ts and more I don't recall at the moment.

Its setup is simple. If online, it will do automatic firmware notifications. The one negative point is it doesn't have built-in wireless. I read of people using cheap USB wireless adapters with no problems. You can read customer reviews at the following links:
Western Digital WD TV Live HD Media Player
Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player
posted by Hilbert at 3:20 PM on July 5, 2010

I'm really happy with my WD TV LIVE.
It's a simple solution that I think is well worth the price, just plug it in and away you go.
Here's a comparison of the WD products
. I've not used Windows 7, but both the WD TV LIVE & the PLUS say they support Windows 7 Play To, which I'm guessing is what you're after?
If you've got the PC & media player in different rooms, I imagine you'd be doing most of your navigation in front of the TV anyway.
You don't have to spend ages organising your files in libraries, but it's probably help.
The WD players will catalogue all your media in a list anyway.
posted by goshling at 4:30 PM on July 5, 2010

Maybe I'm missing something but if you already have all of the equipment connected, why not just install XMBC on the computer and play your music and movies through that?

Is there some feature of WD TV Live that XBMC doesn't have?
posted by gfrobe at 5:36 PM on July 5, 2010

antifuse: That media server solution sounds pretty good. I should give it a shot with my PS3.

Hilbert, goshling: Those are pretty good endorsements for the product, and basically just answered my questions. I was looking more for confirmation that what I had in mind was right.

gfrobe: I don't have an HTPC; it's just my desktop in one room and my receiver/TV/game systems in the other. Is there some way to run XBMC without a receiver on the other end?
posted by gchucky at 6:33 PM on July 5, 2010

TiVo works fine for this, plus you get a DVR out of the deal, and can easily dump recorded content back to the PC if that's of interest.
posted by Lazlo at 8:09 PM on July 5, 2010

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