Remote setup for web video on TV?
October 30, 2011 7:26 AM   Subscribe

Best setup for watching web video on TV? I currently have a PS3 which I occasionally use to watch Youtube etc via the TV. I'd like to do this more (especially longer videos) but using the PS3 is annoying for this, and I'd like some way to set up the videos on a laptop or tablet and send them wirelessly to the TV. What are my options?

A few more details that may be helpful:
- to clarify about the annoyances: using the PS3 browser via the TV is not a good experience: the browser doesn't seem very functional compared to Firefox, and the PS3 controller + distant screen isn't a good UI for setting up. I want to make this process easier.
- the solution doesn't have to be easy to set up initially - I'm happy to configure hardware and software; but it does have to be easy to use.
- I would consider a solution that involved changing the TV if that would make things easier, but I'd prefer to keep the existing set if possible - I have plenty of spare inputs.
- I'd prefer not to use Apple, but I'm open to persuasion.
posted by crocomancer to Technology (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Not interested in persuading you, but if you don't find a non-Apple option that meets your needs, the Apple option is easy to set up and easy to use.

From your iPad (or iPhone), when you start a video, you can press a button which will pop up a list of places to play the video and send it to the Apple TV. The latest iPhones and iPads can also mirror their screens to the Apple TV.

My biggest problem was not video inputs but digital inputs to my stereo. I ended up spending more getting a S/PDIF switch box than I did on the Apple TV.
posted by Mad_Carew at 7:51 AM on October 30, 2011

Sounds like you need the PS3 Media Server. As long as the PC w/ the server installed and the PS3 are on the same network, watching videos on the PS3 is easy as pie. Once
posted by griphus at 7:59 AM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Roku, BoxeeBox, GoogleTV, etc, should all easily be able to let you watch 'web videos' on your TV, and they're all getting cheaper.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:01 AM on October 30, 2011

...I think I may have misunderstood your question. The PS3 Media Server will give you the ability to watch movies on the PS3 easily. It won't provide the content. Do you have content you have a hard time watching on the PS3? Or do you need content sources?
posted by griphus at 8:11 AM on October 30, 2011

Best answer: If the main goal is "use your laptop to do this" then boxes like a Roku won't help you. Roku has a youtube channel, but you use the Roku interface to navigate. And it doesn't have channels for all possible video sites, mostly just youtube. You can't watch Hulu, for example, without a Hulu Plus subscription.

Is this your situation: You encounter a cool video on youtube, vimeo, some TV network's website, Hulu, etc on your laptop, and want to watch it, right then, on your TV screen. You can, clunkily, navigate to that webpage on the PS3, but would rather just have the TV mirror your laptop screen.

If that's what you want, I can't wait for the answers, because that's what I want, too.
posted by donnagirl at 8:17 AM on October 30, 2011

Best answer: There's this. I got a laptop which had something similar which came with it. There's a lag sending the content to tv so it wasn't good for browsing but you could play video. I never used it that much however.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:25 AM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're willing to consider a paid solution, there's PlayOn which will let you stream all sorts of stuff to the PS3, including Youtube videos (though with Youtube the uploaders of the videos have to be in a list you create). It's nice for Hulu, in particular, because you don't need a Plus account to stream to your TV, and it lets you stream stuff that isn't enabled for TV/Mobile viewing (though you obviously need a Plus account to access Plus-exclusive content).
posted by hoboynow at 8:40 AM on October 30, 2011

Best answer: How critical is the wireless aspect of this?

My setup has a 35ft high-end DVI-HDMI cable and then some high-end audio cables of the same length that go from the back of my living room (where my computer is), around the walls behind furniture, and into the back of my TV. The cable cost me all of $15 + shipping from Monoprice and they are very thick and well-shielded due to the length. I got those for my old box and with my new one I could just simplify and go with a single HDMI if I wanted.

In any event, I plug them into my TV and just set it as a second display, then I can put VLC in that window and when it goes full screen its just like watching something on TV.

For control purposes, I have VLC Remote for my iPad which is amazing. Let's you drag to track around to different parts of the video, control audio, access your files, etc. The only minor annoyance is that you have to have VLC open for it to recognize and connect to it. But if I'm too lazy to get off the couch, I just use iTeleport to remote desktop in and just open it up and then I'm good.

Another software solution that I've often seen recommended that I'm curious about is XMBC. I tested it out on my computer and it was cool and it looks like there is apparently an iPad remote control app for it. What's nice about it from what I've seen is that it can access databases and download summaries and covers for movie files you may have obtained from Bittorrent sites or DVD rips. I'm thinking about setting that up for my fiance who is not that tech savvy as it could be a good middle ground for her needs and mine.
posted by Elminster24 at 9:23 AM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

We got a Roku about a year ago - solved it all for us. No more searching with those weird controllers on the Wii.
posted by saffronwoman at 9:32 AM on October 30, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for responses so far. To clarify a bit further - I want to be able to to do what Donnagirl said. I will have a look at Elminsters idea, but I'm wondering about devices like the one Bitdamaged linked to - anyone have experience using them?
posted by crocomancer at 10:28 AM on October 30, 2011

Best answer: Do you have a television with VGA or DVI plugs? If you do all you have to do is plug your laptop into the television and play. Nothing else is needed. If you do not you can set up a media server on Windows Media Player that will stream files from your PC to your PS3. Granted it only recognizes certain file types and you wont be able to watch Hulu or Youtube from your laptop. Good luck, hope this helps.
posted by Odinhead at 11:13 AM on October 30, 2011

Best answer: I have both Google TV (Logitech Revue) and a cheap laptop with HDMI out for this purpose.

A cheap computer with HDMI out is great for Hulu (free, no Plus crap), web videos and lots of Flash-based stuff. You don't need a wireless adapter (they're laggy, buggy and a pain). You want a wireless keyboard with built-in mouse/trackpad (this one isn't too spendy and will slide in a drawer/under the couch:

I'd recommend just leaving the laptop all the way over there (points at tv) and just using the keyboard here (points at couch).
posted by Gucky at 11:46 AM on October 30, 2011

Basically it sounds to me like you either want to set up the PS3 Media Server on your computer (which I haven't gotten to work wirelessly, admittedly) or an AppleTV.

Shouldn't be too hard beyond that. ; )
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:49 PM on October 30, 2011

Roku has a youtube channel

No longer available. There was a Youtube private channel that some users may still have access to, but Google got it shut down for new users.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:09 AM on October 31, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all. I think I have been overthinking this - probably PC + long HDMI cable is the way to go.
posted by crocomancer at 12:48 PM on November 3, 2011

Response by poster: Just to say I carried out this plan and it worked really well.
posted by crocomancer at 7:11 AM on June 15, 2012

« Older My dad told me all guys were like Parker from...   |   3 Weeks in London with a 1 year old, what can we... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.