How can I watch downloaded videos on tv efficiently?
August 8, 2011 10:10 AM   Subscribe

How can my parents watch downloaded videos more efficiently on their TV?

I got my parents a WD TV Live a while back and they keep it connected to their TV. I also got them an external hard drive, to which they download videos. Currently they download videos and save in the external HD and move that to their WD TV to watch it on their big screen TV. Is there an easier way of doing this?

In addition, WDTV has been acting up, not recognizing connection to the hard drive rather frequently. While this isn’t the biggest deal, I am trying to explore different options that make it easier. I’ve looked at other products similar to WDTV, but they’d still drag around their HD. My parents are quite technologically challenged, so easier the better. I’ve checked out several postings on this subject, but many were product recommendations but don’t address my multiple step concern.

btw, most of the videos are avi format, but I am sure you knew that. The TV my parents have is an LG HDTV. Not sure if that makes any difference.
posted by icollectpurses to Technology (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Depending on what they're watching, they might be better served picking up a television with a network connection. You can now stream directly from Netflix and other services on a couple television models. Some televisions will even play divx/xvid off of a usb device, though I don't know the codec details, so I would look into that first.

A usb flash drive would be way easier to carry around and as long as they don't expect to cart their whole collection around storage size shouldn't be an issue.
posted by ODiV at 10:19 AM on August 8, 2011

I bought my family member a Boxee Box for your exact reasons.
posted by royalsong at 10:26 AM on August 8, 2011

The WD TV Live can play files off an SMB networked server as well as USB. Get a NAS box that works over SMB and you should be set.
posted by zsazsa at 10:31 AM on August 8, 2011

2nding the Boxee Box. It's magical for watching locally-downloaded content. Pretty simple for the technologically-impaired, as well. (I found it much simpler than my WD Live - I really dislike the WD Live, to be honest)
posted by cgg at 10:38 AM on August 8, 2011

They're downloading contents from a usergroup website. Not accessible like youtube. Would Boxee work for that?
posted by icollectpurses at 1:43 PM on August 8, 2011

Yup. It can play just about any video file you throw at it.
posted by royalsong at 2:31 PM on August 8, 2011

Our solution was to buy a $50 off-brand DVD player which had a USB port and watch everything off a thumb drive.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:14 PM on August 8, 2011

Thirding the Boxee Box, though admittedly, if they're not tech savvy it might not be the best option. When it works, it works beautifully; when it doesn't, it requires a lot of tech savvy to get it back.
posted by anotheraccount at 7:04 PM on August 8, 2011

I'd personally go with PlayOn. As long as you can install VLC on the workstation they're downloading from, the free version of PlayOn will stream the media to the WD TV Live.
posted by Nerro at 7:55 PM on August 8, 2011

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