Connect laptop wirelessly to TV
July 7, 2012 4:45 PM   Subscribe

How do I wirelessly stream laptop output to TV? No DLNA, no Intel WiDi, but HDMI port available.

I have a TV that does not have DLNA, so I use a Blu-Ray player for Youtube, Netflix etc. Unfortunately, there are many other sites that have media streaming, which don't have apps.

I have been using my Win 7 Laptop to connect it to the TV using a HDMI cable, but it ties up the laptop to the TV (near the TV, that is!)

Is there a hardware/Software/Hybrid solution that will allow me to extend my laptop display wirelessly to the TV?

Amazon has this device, but the reviews are not encouraging. Do you have any solutions?

I have read similar questions here and here, but since they are at least 3 years old, wondering if there are new/better solutions now.
posted by theobserver to Technology (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you search for wireless HDMI at Amazon, you'll find several products that will theoretically do the trick.

Another option if all you want to do is stream media from your laptop to your TV is an Xbox 360 or PS3. Both consoles make it pretty easy to wirelessly stream content from your computer to your TV (via the console).
posted by GnomeChompsky at 4:54 PM on July 7, 2012

Raspberry Pi with some form of wireless network? Relevant thread but there are probably others, I just grabbed it off the first page of search results.
posted by XMLicious at 4:55 PM on July 7, 2012

i personally keep a dedicated (if older) machine next to TV, for that purpose only. Consider asking around if some one has an older machine they're not using, put ubuntu on it (there are a myriad of guides, and it's super easy) and just keep that machine connected to the TV.
posted by pyro979 at 5:12 PM on July 7, 2012

Oops, I got that backwards when I skimmed the thread I linked to above, it's about connecting to the Raspberry Pi's desktop from Windows. Here's one that discusses using Remmina from the Raspberry Pi to connect to a Windows box through Remote Desktop, which would also work with any old computer running Ubuntu as pyro979 suggests. (The thing with the Raspberry Pi is that for $35 plus shipping it already comes with a built-in HDMI port.)
posted by XMLicious at 5:26 PM on July 7, 2012

You can get a Roku Box and use Plex on the laptop... works alright. I prefer to use the PS3 Media Server to stream from my PC to the PS3 hooked to my television.
posted by ph00dz at 6:16 PM on July 7, 2012

I also use Roku and Plex. Pretty happy so far.
posted by hwestiii at 6:31 PM on July 7, 2012

I have an LG BD670 3D Wireless Network Blu-ray Player with Smart TV, connected to my (non-smart) TV. It has built in WiFi, can play Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, etc. and also plays files from a USB-connected external hard drive. It comes with PC software, so you can stream PC files to the device using DLNA (although it does stutter a little, with really BIG 1080p files over DLNA - it is easier to play these via the USB port on the player). It plays just about every format I've thrown at it.
Overall, I love this player. It provides all of the connections that my TV does not have - and saves me ever having to connect my own PC to the TV. It has some adverse reviews on Amazon, possibly because people are not used to devices that update their firmware monthly or because they have problems setting up WiFi. I'm an engineer. If you think of this player as a CPU-based device, it works exactly as you'd expect. I have had the player for about 18 months, with no problems at all. For the price, this is a great solution that does it all!
posted by Susurration at 7:11 PM on July 7, 2012

Response by poster: @ph00dz: Can the Roku+Plex combo stream media from a browser based interface? Think Netflix, but without the app being available.

Susurration: I have a similar setup, but need to play web-based streaming outside the popular channels (Youtube, Netflix, Hulu Plus etc).

Also, any solution needs to allow me to "extend" the displays - one browser window plays the media, while I work in parallel in my programming editor.
posted by theobserver at 8:36 PM on July 7, 2012

Streaming laptop video via wireless is going about things the hard way, because video with anything approaching decent resolution at anything approaching a decent framerate has a a massive bandwidth requirement. The best way to connect a video source to a video sink is a length of HDMI cable, hands down. Anything else is going to make your picture suffer. In particular, running video over VNC or RDP looks just horrid.

So what you want is a cheap dedicated video source connected to your TV via HDMI cable, to which you can send compressed media files wirelessly. Depending on what formats you're interested in, that could be as minimal as the aforementioned Raspberry Pi running the VLC media player.
posted by flabdablet at 1:24 AM on July 8, 2012

Previously. I ended up using a long hdmi cable.
posted by crocomancer at 4:02 AM on July 8, 2012

Response by poster: @crocomancer: Alas, my dreams of couch-surfing are dashed.

The only option I could think of is to use another laptop near the TV and log into it using VNC/RD and then play videos from it.
posted by theobserver at 9:56 AM on July 8, 2012

'Course... that's not really an unreasonable option -- it's just a little fussy.
posted by ph00dz at 10:20 AM on July 8, 2012

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